Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Wake Up Times

Read parts one, two, and three!

Ok I'll admit it. This is the post in the series that I've been dreading writing the most. So let me be clear. This method works for me, but I don't think it's right for everyone. I know everyone has their own circumstances, and I would never dream of telling someone else how to do things. However, getting my children to have wake up times is one of the most helpful things I've learned to do since becoming a mom.

Basically a wake up time is what it sounds like. My kids(unless they are sick or they happen to be a nursing infant;) don't get out of bed until I come get them. This might sound overly strict, but teaching my children to stay in bed until a certain time(at our house it's between 7:30 and 8:00) enables me to have a quiet time and take a shower, and it prevents anyone from waking up too early. I also use this same principle for nap times. As a result, my kids almost always are able to get the rest they need, and it significantly cuts down on meltdowns.

Now I'm sure you have questions, like what do you do if they wake up before it's time and say they are hungry or need to go potty? When this happens, I let them go potty and give them a snack to take back to bed with them. If one of them tells me they aren't sleepy, and would like to stay up I give them their Bible and their "journal" and have them do their own quiet time in their bed. Since my kids do share a room the rule is they must stay in their beds and read and color quietly in order to be courteous to their sleeping sibling.

Implementing the wake up time has been tremendously helpful to me. And honestly I think it's been just as beneficial for my children because it provides them enough time to get the rest they need.

How about you? Do you give your kids a wake up time?

Linked to A Wise Woman Builds Her Home.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Routines and Schedules

I am a big believer in having routines for yourself and for your children. I realize that this might not be possible for everyone, and to others it might seem stifling, but truthfully I think I'd go crazy if I didn't have some idea of what to expect everyday. And I honestly feel like my children do much better knowing what to expect day to day.

Below I have written out our daily schedule. But to be clear even though this is what I want our days to look like, that doesn't mean they always do. But at least I have some idea of what we should be accomplishing through out the day.

6:00- Me- wake up, eat breakfast, do Bible Study, take shower.

7:30- Nurse Max, start load of laundry, make bed.

8:00- Jack, Anna, and Lily wake up. Get dressed, and head to table for breakfast. Read Bible over breakfast.

8:30- Brush teeth, do girls hair, and "chores." I'll usually unload the dishwasher and clean up breakfast around this time too.

9:00- Max down for morning nap. Free time for older three kids. Depending on the day and what needs to be done I'll either do a job that needs done(laundry, sweeping, putting ingredients in bread machine), or play with the kiddos.

9:30- Read aloud time. I am reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to them while they sit and play with blocks or do puzzles.

9:45- Usually "Lily" time.

10:00- snack. I usually try to get some housework done while they are eating.

10:15- "school" time with Jack. Jack loves to do school, so I'll work with him on reading and counting. Anna and Lily usually sit at the table and color(I don't make them, but they don't want to miss out on anything lol!)

10:30- Free time.

10:45- Anna time.

11:00- Read books of their choice.

11:15- Max up from his nap, and hungry and since I'm a good mom I'll nurse him:) while the older kids have  free time.

11:30- Video/art/bake/ free time. Depends on the day!

12:00- Lunch time.

12:30- Clean up lunch, and toy pick up time.

1:00-4:00- Anna and Lily nap. Jack goes down about two to have some quiet time, and usually sleeps from 3-4. Max naps from about 1:30 to 4:00. I usually reserve two o'clock to do something I enjoy and to rest. And at three o' clock I usually have to try to catch up on housework.

4:00- Everyone is up. I nurse Max, and then start dinner. Sometimes I let them help, but other times it's just not safe for them so they'll usually play or color or watch a video while I make dinner.

5:00- Quick clean up.

5:15/5:30- Dinner time, and Erik is home!!

6:00- Family time/free time.

7:00- reading and baths.

7:30/8:00- Beautiful bedtime, and nurse Max.

8:00-11:00- hang out with my hubby, clean up kitchen, finish laundry, and collapse into bed because six o' clock will come far to soon!

Do you have a routine that you follow, or do you enjoy being a little more relaxed about things?

Linked to A Wise Woman Builds Her Home.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

What I don't do

There was rejoicing in my home this morning.

Why, you ask? Well because for the first time in over a week my kids were going to get to leave the house.

 Admittedly, we had some sickness last week so that is partially why we hadn't left the house in so long. But I feel like I need to be honest with you all. When people ask me how I "do it", the truth is I don't really do a whole lot.

I don't work(outside the home) and I am not committed to any regular volunteer work in our church. I love to have people over, and I love bringing meals to families, but other than that I really feel like, in this season of life, I need to be home ministering to my family first.

It does become monotonous being home day in and day out(especially in the winter), but being home so much has helped me adopt a more relaxed attitude. I want my kids to be kids. Yes I'm raising them to be adults, but  I don't necessarily think they need to be acting like adults right now. They build a lot of forts, and take the cushions off the couch to jump. It doesn't really matter to me if they run in the house and maybe get a little loud at times. What matters to me is that when I tell them it's time to calm down, they obey. I try not to make a big deal out of  little things, and just let them be kids.

Truthfully I think I'd go crazy if I was always running around with four small children. Just the logistics of getting everyone dressed, putting shoes on(and making sure they are all wearing socks-bonus points if they match!), making sure everyone has a coat on, and buckling everyone into their car seat is enough to wear me out. On the days we are out running errands I don't even realize it's cold outside because it's such a work out getting everyone out the door! :) One day they will be older and won't need me to do everything for them. When those days come I'm sure we'll be doing more outside our home. But for right now, being home and not being involved in very many  outside activities has been tremendously helpful in having four little ones.


Friday, January 13, 2012

Acceptance & Strategies

To read about this series click here!

I'm not sure what goes through people's minds when they hear my children are four, three, one, and seven months, but judging by their reactions, I think it's safe to say most people think we are crazy. I understand where they are coming from, and their reactions don't really bother me. Anymore that is.

When Lily was born(almost two years ago), I was scared to death. Jack was two and Anna was seventeen months. They were all still in diapers. I was worried about how I would handle not getting a full nights sleep when I already had to care for two toddlers. And with the exception of a few people, nobody had a positive thing to say about having three kids under the age of two. Almost every comment was negative. We were being asked everything from how we expected to manage all those kids to what we expected it to be like when they were all teenagers. That, coupled with the financial stress we were under at that time, made what would already be a tough transition much more difficult.

When Lily was eight months old I found out I was expecting Max. He was due in June, and that would mean we were going to have four children under the age of three. But I wasn't scared this time. Sure I had some normal anxiety, but truthfully I was excited. I couldn't wait to have a newborn in the house and to see how my older kids would react to him.

So what changed this time? Certainly not our finances. We were getting as many(if not more) negative comments as when we were expecting Lily. The only thing that was different this time around was that I chose to accept things as they were. I fully expected to be tired after I brought Max home. But I accepted it, and realized it was only going to last for a short time. I figured my older kids would have a tough time adjusting to the new baby. But instead of letting it make me feel guilty, I chose to plan little things I could do to reassure them of how much I loved them. Little things like giving Lily extra snuggles and encouraging her to about what an awesome big sister she was, reading to Anna while I was nursing Max, and cuddling with Jack while he watched one of his videos. Just simple little things to help make the transition easier for them.

And after my older three went to bed for the night, I just held and cuddled Max for the next few hours. The only time I wasn't holding him was when Erik wanted to hold him. Experience reminded us that in just a few short months Max would be going to bed at the same time the older kids were, and we would have our evenings to spend alone again.

Whether you are expecting your first baby or your tenth baby I think one of the most important things you can do is accept that things are going to be different and at times more difficult. Don't let fear and guilt overwhelm you. Instead, think of some strategies that will help make the transition smoother.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

How Do You Do It?!(A Series)

"How do you do it?!" I hear this question almost every day. Grandparents, friends, strangers, and even some of you who read this blog have asked me to share how I manage my little ones. I have thought about sharing some of my strategies here for quite some time, but have always talked myself out of it. I don't want anyone to feel like I have it all together(far from it!) And I also don't want anyone to feel like they have to do things the exact same way I do them.

But I am also aware that many of you read here have several small children, and would like some ideas about how to structure your days. And some of you are just curious about how I survive with four kids under the age of four! So after thinking this through, and some praying, I have decided to begin a little series here. But I can't stress this enough, I don't have this mothering thing all figured out.  I have plenty of times where I'm completely overwhelmed. I don't have perfectly obedient children, which is a good thing since they don't have a perfect mother! ;). However, I almost always am able to get a full nights sleep. I am usually able to have time to rest and do something I enjoy in the afternoon during their rest/ nap time. And for the most part I don't feel like I'm depriving anyone of attention.

In this series I plan on covering,

-What I don't do
- Acceptance
- Routines/Schedules
- Wake up Times
- Training our kids in right behavior
- Errands and Grocery Shopping

I am hoping to take the next couple of weeks and cover each of these topics. If you have any questions please ask. And PLEASE if you have any helpful tips to add, please feel free to do so. We can all learn from each other, and I'm very much looking forward to learning from you all.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

My Journey to Real Food

Interestingly I got the inspiration to write this post while eating a package of cherry twizzlers, but I still don't feel too guilty about talking about this subject..I did title this post "journey" after all..

For almost every single day for the last three years, my husband has suffered from migraines. He's been to doctors, chiropractors, taken extra vitamins, and none of it has helped. A few months ago I started really praying for him to have some sort of relief from this constant pain. One day when I was visiting the Passionate Homemaking blog, I randomly decided to search and see what information she had on migraine headaches. The main piece of information I found said that MSG can trigger these headaches. So naturally I googled what types of foods had MSG in them.

I was surprised and overwhelmed to discover that almost every type of food we ate contained MSG! It seemed it was in practically everything!

I told my husband about what I had read, but when I told him what foods seemed to contain the most MSG, he brushed it off. However after two really severe migraines, he decided it might be worth a shot to try eliminating some of these foods after all.

That was back in October. And do you want to know how many migraines he's had since we've started moving towards a more natural diet? Maybe five or six total(as opposed to having one every day). And when he gets one it can almost always be traced back to a certain food he's ate.

So now I'm becoming one of "those" people. The words flax seed, coconut oil, and grass fed beef makes my heart go pitter patter. Going to the health food store makes me absolutely giddy(which isn't at all embarrassing for the lucky family members who get to go with me.)  I love learning about this stuff! I still have a lot to learn, and our pantry still contains some refined and processed items, but at least we are moving in the right direction.

This post is linked to Finer Things Friday.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Favorite Books from 2011

I really love to read. I especially love  reading books that pertain to the season of life I'm in. Last year I shared some of my favorite reads from 2010, so I thought it'd be fun to carry on the tradition and share my favorite books from 2011.

What's that you say? Those of you who know me in "real life" are shocked to see this book on my favorite list? I mean it's not like I've loaned it to several of you or anything...:) Seriously, though, this book is only 104 pages, but it's packed with wisdom and encouragement. It's written by a woman who has five kids under the age of five. She's not a mom who has "it" all together, and her kids are still young so she knows how
tough it can be taking care of little ones. Reading this book was a good reminder not to be selfish with my time, and to strive to reach my children's hearts before trying to accomplish everything on my to do list.

 Give Them Grace was the book I  anticipated reading the most this past year. When it finally arrived on my doorstep, I started reading it immediately. Give Them Grace serves as a good heart check for parents who are relying too much on formulas for raising godly children. The authors point out that sheltering our children from every perceived negative influence might not be the best parenting tactic. But the thing I loved most about this book was the reminder that our children will never be good without Jesus. It's our responsibility to point them to the Savior, but ultimately it's Jesus who saves. Which is such a relief, because I mess up all. the. time. Every parent does, that's why when we discipline we should point our kids to Jesus. When they do something good we should point them back to Jesus. Every thing they do we should strive to point them to Jesus. That was the entire premise of Give Them Grace, and it was such a blessing to read.

I love the Duggars, and I find Michelle(the mom) very encouraging. The book discusses how they handled the trial of having a premature infant while also caring for their other 18 children. And they also give more details about how they raised their children, and how they made things like Bible memorization and family worship the best part of their childrens day. I've even taken some of their ideas and used them in our families life.

I read a lot of great books this past year, but those would probably be my top three favorites. This year I'm planning on reading Real Marriage(the hubs and I are both going to read that one), and Crystal Paine's The Money Saving Mom's Budget. I am also hoping to read through the Bible in a year(I've never done one of these plans before, and am really excited about trying it.)

What were some of your favorite books this year?

Share this!

Link Within

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
01 09 10