Lazy Reasons I Love Fall {Guest Post}

It’s Babywise Friendly Blogging Network day and Kimberly is here today talking about lazy reasons she loves Fall. I am over at Journey to Parenthood today.

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I love the fall.  The crisp weather, the yummy fall foods, the feel of a fresh start.  I just really enjoy it all.  More specifically, after a summer of running around with the kiddo in high heat and humidity, I love how fall gets a little easier.  Here are a few of the lazy reason I love the fall.

1) Less sunscreen.  I know, sun protection is important.  I don’t mess around with it.  Any time we go out to play in the summer the whole family has to be lathered up.  And of course we have to reapply if we are out for a long time, or doing a bunch of water activities.  In the fall?  We don’t have to do that as much.  Long pants and long sleeves come out.  Feet are covered.  Has the neck and face gotten sunscreen?  Then we are good to go.  Instead of a process with a wiggly toddler and messy hands, it takes about thirty seconds to get some coverage on that sweet little face and we are good to go.

2) Less bathing.  This one sounds gross, but here me out.  I am a big fan of using the excuse the kid was in the pool or playing in the hose all day for not needing a bath.  But we don’t go swimming every day.  It gets so hot in the summer, everyone always ends up sweaty.  Bare feet get dirty.  Heck, even feet in crocs or sandals get all sorts of dirt on them.  This means every night, even if there isn’t a full bath, there is a big wipe down to get all the dirt and sweat off.  In the fall?  Feet are clean under shoes and socks.  My little man can run around to his heart’s content and not break a sweat.  And me?  I can put him to bed with a little less guilt when we skip a bath.

3) Slow cooker comeback.  I am a person that uses the slow cooker almost year round.  It really helps with prep and makes dinner prep easier.  But in the summer rich soups and stews just don’t sound appealing.  As soon as the temperature starts to dip I know we are just about ready to dive back into hearty pastas and chilies.  I love the ease of tossing food in the slow cooker in the morning and having a great dinner (with leftovers) when I get home from work.  Even vegetables get a little tastier in the slow cooker, and my son sometimes actually likes them that way.  I know by February we are going to be tired of my slow cooker routine and we’ll start dreaming of fresh summer salads.  After a summer of trying to use up fresh produce and try new things, I am eager to toss some carrots and potatoes in the pot and call it done.

4) Outside playtime.  Yes, summer is often seen as the best time to get out and play.  I disagree.  I absolutely hate being hot and sweaty, unless I am actively working out.  Of course kids don’t seem to mind it, and want to run around in the hottest parts of the day.  I go outside with my son, but I usually find myself trying to duck into shade, or position myself to grab any sort of breeze I can.  In the cooler weather?  Let’s play!  I love running around the yard without thinking it is too hot to move.  I love taking walks and checking out the leaves changing color.  I love that we can plan an outing without packing a case of water to combat the dehydration from sweating.  The cool air invigorates me and I love playing outside with my kid in the fall.

5) Football starts.  I enjoy sports, don’t get me wrong.  But I am not a huge football fan.  Pat on the other hand, huge fan.  A we-need-to-watch-every-game-we-can fan.  It does get old, save for one silver lining.  We have a little deal.  Pat can watch all the football he wants, but he has to hang out and play with Ben while he does so.  What does this extra father-son time mean for me?  Freedom to get to all the projects I have been putting off forever!  I try to include Ben in what I need to do.  I think it’s good for kids to see just what goes in to keeping up a home.  Sometimes though it is just easier to get things done without a toddler along.  Ben isn’t super in to football, but he adores having time with Daddy to play.  The tv may be on, but he doesn’t really watch it.  So Ben gets Daddy time, Pat gets football time, and I get time with both of them occupied.  Win!

In a few years my son will start school, and I am betting fall will usher in busier times instead of the opposite.  For now though, I am enjoying these lazy fall days.

Tips & Tricks: Middle Child Syndrome

The Babywise Blogging Network is bringing you Tips & Tricks today on the topic of siblings. Don’t forget to visit our Pinterest Board as well.

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Rather suddenly, Sweet Pea was thrown into the position of “Middle Child” in our family. With an older sister that naturally just demands attention and then a baby brother that required so much of my attention during his first year, I have definitely seen some of the signs and symptoms of Middle Child Syndrome in Sweet Pea.

It is very easy to “overlook” a naturally reserved, quiet middle child when you have two others demanding your attention. Here are some things we are consciously doing to make sure Sweet Pea does not feel overlooked in our circus:

1. One on One Time – Sweet Pea needs one-on-one time with her parents. Time when she has our undivided attention. This is the main reason I do preschool first with Sweet Pea before doing school with Little Bug. That is Sweet Pea’s time. I will also sneak other times throughout the day where my focus is just on Sweet Pea. We may read a book together or play a game, both of which Sweet Pea really loves to do!

2. Special Outings – Dave takes Sweet Pea on errands sometimes to be able to have some special on-on-one time with her. I think it’s a wise idea to schedule special outings for all children with each parent every month or so. This is something I would like to eventually implement in our family.

3. Positive Reinforcement – Middle children tend to act out negatively (to get attention they feel they are lacking), so anytime I catch Sweet Pea doing something noteworthy, I make a big deal over it! She has a natural desire to be a helper so it is easy to find things to compliment her on. Her daily chore is to put Sarge’s milk cups together for me. She does an excellent job and I make sure to praise her every day for a job well done.

4. Be sensitive to needs – Sometimes, in the chaos, I just need to STOP and ask myself, “What does Sweet Pea need right now?” and that can help to calm the chaos of everyone around. She might simply be needing her water cup refilled and if I take 2 seconds to open her water, she can go to fridge to refill her cup and that is one less person needing something at the same time from me!

It’s important to make all our children feel special, but in this season, I think our middle child needs this assurance more than the others. How does your family deal with Middle Child Syndrome?

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Click on the links for more Tips & Tricks!

Apffel a Day
Chronicles of a Babywise Mom
Faithfully Infertile
Giving it Grace
The Journey of Parenthood
The Moses Home
Team Cartwright
Wiley Adventures

Celebrating the Changing Seasons {Guest Post}

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I love the changing of the seasons. There is something about it that brings hope, joy, and a reminder of a fresh new start.

In my family we love to celebrate and we love to make our own family traditions. The season changes is such a good reason to do both.

Here are some ways you can celebrate new seasons and and place to start for making your own family traditions:

1. Make your own rules

Fall is by far my favorite season and every year around mid-August my heart starts beating a little faster in anticipation of my favorite time. Because of that September 1st is the absolute longest as I can wait for Fall. I cannot wait a day longer, much less 21 days longer to satisfy the calendar or weeks longer to match the weather. Does it matter if  no one else starts that early? Not to our family! We set our own rules for stuff like that. It makes it feel more special to me that way.

2. Pray for blessing over the new season as a family.

I think it is so important to surrender the coming weeks and new season to the Lord before it even starts. We like to pray as a family on the "first day" of the new season and ask God to bless it and sometimes specifically ask for a season change in our hearts too.

3. Think about all 5 senses:

– What are some visual changes you can make to signal change?

In addition to other seasonal decorating in my house, I like to change out my front door wreath to match the new season.

– What about smells?

We have a different Scentsy scent for every season. When I bust the Cider Mill out, my heart goes potter patter and I get giddy with Fall bliss.

– What recipes can you make a tradition for each season (taste)?

For Christmas and Winter, we love tamales and queso. For Fall, we like Chai Lattes and hot tea

– What does it sound like?

-My friend Jen makes me a new mixed cd for every season. There is a Fall Mix , Summer Mix, Christmas Mix, and this Spring there will be a Spring Mix. I love it. I love having the music match the festivities of the season!

– What does it feel like?

This is the one that is the most difficult because it is out of our control sometimes. I can’t make it not be 100 degrees in September. As much I would will it to be 62.7 degrees outside, it will not comply. But I do think we have some sort of control over the emotional climate of our home. I like to think about what people might feel when they walk in my home. Regardless of the season, I want people to feel warmth, to see Jesus, and for our personality to shine through.

What traditions does your family have to celebrate the changing seasons?

Carrie regularly blogs at www.wileyadventures.com and you can find her on facebook here.

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You can check out How Independent Playtime Saved Our Homeschool at Chronicles of a Babywise Mom today.

Read all of our posts today via these links!

Apffel a Day
Chronicles of a Babywise Mom
Faithfully Infertile
Giving it Grace
The Journey of Parenthood
The Moses Home
Team Cartwright
Wiley Adventures

Car Seat Safety

The Babywise Friendly Tips and Tricks Thursday this month is all about safety! I am passionate about car seat safety. I have no control over whether my children are in a car wreck or not but I do have the ability to ensure they are the safest possible each time we get in the car.

I have seen countless pictures of infants and children strapped into their car seat with the chest belt down near their belly. If that child was in a car accident, the chest belt not being in the proper place can cause serious injury to your child and/or cause them to be ejected from their carseat upon impact.

The chest belt should line up with your child’s armpits.

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Moving the chest clip to be in line with your child’s armpits could save their life!

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Check the other Babywise blogs for more safty tips!

Our Babywise Friendly Blogging Network pinterest page has more tips and tricks on various topics!

BFBN Week: Friday

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Our last post this week comes from Claire at My Devising. She is writing about dropping the morning nap, which is a sleep transition all babies go through usually between 12-18 months of age. It can be a challenging sleep transition but Claire has given some excellent pointers in making this transition be a smooth one for you and your baby!

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This concludes our Babywise Friendly Blogging Network Week! If you missed any posts this week, you can find our posts by clicking on these links:

Prioritizing Sleep {BFBN}

 

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In order for your baby to learn healthy sleeping habits, you are going to have to make some sacrifices. At the same time, implementing Babywise does not mean you will never see the light of day until your baby is two years old.

Here is how I prioritize sleep with my babies so we still reap the benefits of Babywise without feeling like we are all held captive to being home so the baby can sleep.

1. When baby is 0-3ish months old, go and do whatever!!! Babies in this age bracket tend to sleep well on-the-go. They will sleep in the car seat, stroller and carrier without missing too much sleep from not being at home in their bed. Take advantage. Go and do as much as you wish when your infant is this young and able to sleep just about anywhere. However, don’t overdo it. You do want to start as you mean to go on and if you are constantly on the go, baby won’t learn to sleep at home in bed! You want balance. Home some days, on the go some days.

2. All three of my babies stopped sleeping well on the go at about the age of 4 months. Four to eight months is pretty “restrictive”, if you want to use that word. At 4 months baby is more aware and won’t fall asleep or stay asleep for the entire nap while on-the-go. During this phase with my babies I do plan to be home for most naps. Considering babies at this age are taking 3-4 naps, that can feel pretty restricting.

3. Take heart though. This season only lasts for….a season. It is not forever! In my personal experience with my babies, being home for naptime during the ages of 4-8 months works best. A baby that doesn’t get adequate sleep in this age bracket is very susceptible to becoming overtired. I try to avoid my babies getting overtired at all costs. I would rather miss a social event than deal with an overtired infant afterwards under most circumstances. That is me though. I know others that take the baby along and are fine to deal with the overtired infant afterwards. I just don’t like going there.

4. To avoid having an overtired infant there are things you can do. A) Opt not to go if it interferes with the baby’s naptime. I have passed up many social opportunities when my babies are 4-8 months old. B) Have someone stay back with the baby. That could be a grandparent, babysitter, or even your spouse. There have been many times when Dave and I divide and conquer when we have a baby 4-8 months old. If the girls have a birthday party at 10am, one of us will take the girls while the other stays home with Sarge so he can take his morning nap. C) If baby must go, take a pack n play, sound machine, black garbage bags and tape! If you are going to someone’s house you could probably easily set up a sleep area for baby while the other kids play. Use the garbage bags to black out any windows. Yes- I have done this and it worked perfectly!

5. When we have a baby in the family, we just know that for the first 18 months or so, we are going to have to work around the baby’s sleep schedule and make sacrifices here and there to avoid baby getting overtired. We are definitely on the more “restrictive” side because we would rather deal with missing out on things than an overtired baby! It’s just a season though! Once baby drops the 3rd nap, the late afternoon and evening are suddenly free. This is the stage we are at now with Sarge. He recently dropped his 3rd nap and now we have from 4:30-7:00pm before he goes to bed to do things as a family! Around 15-18 months toddlers drop their morning nap and then suddenly you have mornings free again. That is when baby’s schedule really opens up and you are reaping the benefits of all those times you prioritized their sleep and sacrificed when your baby was younger. They have developed good sleep habits that will benefit them for a lifetime.

6. Interrupting baby’s sleep is unavoidable at times. Life happens. When baby does get overtired there are things you can do to help them recover from the lost sleep. A) Early Bedtimes! Several nights in a row of early bedtimes once your baby is overtired can really help them recover. 30-60 minutes depending on how overtired they are can really help. B) Early naptimes. Laying them down 15-30 minutes early for naps for a few days can help too. C) Baby may need you to help them sleep while they are overtired. Hold them. Rock them. Use the swing. Give a paci. Don’t hesitate to help them find sleep. An overtired baby NEEDS sleep most of all. Help them get there however you can so they can recover and get back on schedule.

Prioritizing your baby’s sleep during the first year will take some sacrifice on your part, but it is totally worth it. As your baby gets older, their sleep schedule will afford you more flexibility and because you prioritized their sleep when they were little, you will have a child with healthy sleep habits and a whole family that is well rested.

It’s Babywise Friendly Blogging Network week and this week you are going to be able to read many posts about sleep as we are all writing on that topic.  Here is the week’s schedule:

BFBN Week: Thursday

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It is Day 4 of Babywise Friendly Blogging Network Week and Carrie from Wiley Adventures is posting about conquering the 45-minute intruder. Most babies experience this at one time or another, but some babies chronically take 45-minute naps. Carrie’s fourth baby did this and in her post Carrie shares tips on how to survive this. Click here to read her post.

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I think all new parents have said at one time or another, “Why can’t the baby come with an instruction manuel?” Well, it has arrived!!! Emily from Journey of Parenthood has essentially written an instruction manuel for you! Visit her blog today to read her Infant Sleep Guide. I would have paid money when Little Bug was a newborn to have this knowledge at my fingertips!

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This is the schedule for the week:

BFBN Week: Wednesday

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It is Day 3 of Babywise Friendly Blogging Network Week! Kimberly from Team Cartwright is posting today about keeping her child’s sleep schedule in tact while on vacation. She gives three reasons why she and her husband choose to not throw his schedule out the window while on vacation. To read her post, click here.

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Brooke from Apffel A Day has written an encouraging posts for moms today. Go visit Apffel A Day for an uplifting post about having confidence in the methods you use to teach your children to have healthy sleeping habits.

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Here is the schedule for the week:

BFBN Week: Tuesday

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It’s Day 2 of the Babywise Friendly Blogging Network Week! Stephanie from Giving it Grace is posting today about the importance of a sleep routine. If you’ve just had a baby and you are wondering if a sleep routine is beneficial to you and your baby, this post is for you! Stephanie has even given you a step-by-step example sleep routine that you could implement with your baby starting today.

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Shea from The Moses Home is bringing us a post today about protecting baby’s first nap. Shea has a lot of wisdom to share concerning the first nap. Shea has included a wealth of knowledge about the first nap that includes a synopsis of what to expect from the first nap during your baby’s first year. Click here to read more about this topic.

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Here is the schedule for the week:

BFBN Week: Monday

It is Babywise Friendly Blogging Network Week this week! Every day this week the members of the BFBN will be writing posts about the hot topic of sleep. Whether you have a newborn, infant, toddler or older child, you will find excellent information here this week about your child’s sleep!

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Valerie from Chronicles of a Babywise Mom is bringing us a post today about how Babywise has benefited all four of her children. Her children range in age from 2 to 10 years old and in her posts she write how she has seen the benefits of Babywise in all four. What a testimony to Babywise that all four of her children are aware of their sleep needs and disciplined enough to know when they need sleep…even her two children who don’t particularly like to sleep! Click here to read Valerie’s post.

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Here is the schedule for the rest of the week: