Friday, May 25, 2012


This has been a week of milestones all around for both my girls!  It's been one exciting week:

  1. Belle can finally pedal and steer her own bike (with training wheels)
  2. Belle not only was excited to swim in the pool, but was jumping in (with her life jacket on).  Last year she was petrified to be near the water without one of us holding on to her.  
  3. Evie is finally out of sleeping in the Rock N' Play cradle (she was sleeping in the cradle in the crib--I know, I know, but it was survival for awhile around here)
  4. Evie has graduated OUT of being swaddled!
  5. I know that Evie is almost 7 months and should be doing this already, but she FINALLY rolled over and has done so a few times this week!
  6. Last, but not least, Belle has been wearing her underwear most days lately and today we went to the mall with them on.  I knew it was a risk but figured we had to try it sometime.  I told her she HAD to tell me when she had to go to the bathroom, but assumed she would probably forget, so I brought a diaper and a change of pants.  While in JCPenney, she out of no where said "I got to go potty!"  We found the bathroom, she went, I cheered, and she told everyone on the way out of the store that that she went "potty on the potty."  We actually made up a song about it that I need to video and post.
I figured I post enough about the things I struggle with in parenting, that it was high time I posted about the successes we are celebrating around here!

Monday, May 21, 2012


Lately, Belle is the funniest person I know.  No joke.  Although this stage has been a tough one for us with her sleep issues, it has been so much fun because I can sit down and have a full conversation with her.  In case you haven't experienced it before, a conversation with a two and a half year old is hysterical.  My favorites of Belle tend to be her one-liners.  They come out of no where and Paul and I can't help but crack up.  Many of you have seen some of the best on Facebook, but I thought I needed to write these down so I don't forget!

1.  On the way home from Kalamazoo the other day, Evie kept spitting her pacifier out and crying.  I was getting exasperated and at one point said to myself "ugh, Evie, get your frickin' paci!"  The next time Evie started to cry I hear Belle in the backseat say "Ev!  Frickin' paci!"  Lovely.

2.  While putting the top to Belle's bathing suit on her she looks at her chest and says "Mama, look at my cute boo-boos! (boobs)"

3.  While walking in Target, we pass by the bra section.  Belle pulls one of the bras off and walks toward me with it.  I tell her to put it back and she says "Mama, this is for me.  Mama, this fit me?"  I am fairly certain it was in the "C" range, and I pray it never fits her!

4.  Again, while at Target, I told Belle we were headed there to buy some Spanx for a dress I have.  When we got into Target I saw someone I knew that I went to high school with.  Belle promptly says to her "We're gonna buy Spanx!"  Thanks, Belle.  Remind me never to tell you when we are buying any other sort of embarrassing, private things.

And the list continues....(after reading this, I realize she has an infatuation with undergarments and body parts a little bit)

Oh, and I am switching up the blog look eventually.  My header was all wrong and didn't even include Evie! It's a work in progress right now.

Friday, May 11, 2012

6 Months

I can hardly believe that Evie is already half a year!  My, how time flies!

Evie is one happy baby.   So far she has been doing pretty good with eating.  She likes all fruits, all orange veggies, and I can sneak the green veggies to her if I mix them with a fruit or an orange veggie.  She usually wakes up once at night, but it tends to be sometime after 4am, which I am more than happy with!

Her napping is hit or miss.  Recently, she has finally started to give me 3 solid naps a day that are at least an hour each.  Cannot complain about that!  I do, however, look forward to when she is on two naps, so we have a bit more freedom to run around town.  I am sure Belle will be more than happy for this also!

She LOVES her sister still, and is probably one of the most easy babies to make smile.  I always know when Evie is real tired because she begins to laugh at EVERYTHING!  She babbles a ton and loves to screech while hanging out.  I'm getting the sense that she just likes to listen to herself.

The jumperoo, exersaucer, and playmat are all her favorite toys.  Basically, she just likes to hang out and watch everyone else around her. If she has a good seat she can be entertained for awhile!  Thankfully, she also enjoys watching Praise Baby here and there, which allows me to get things done around the house when she is up and Belle is napping.

Still no movement when it comes to rolling over!  LOL, what is it with my kids and having no interest it flipping around?  She will completely roll to one side and then roll back to her back.  Honestly, the thought of her really moving petrifies me, and I am not ready to be at the stage of following her around everywhere just yet.  She does, however, really want to sit up.  The poor girl is constantly pulling her head up and trying to sit up.  I think it's because she can be more nosy and see what everyone is doing :-)

Again, I cannot believe how fast 6 months has flown by!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Body Image

Lately, I have really been struggling with the same issue over and over again--my self-image.  I have gone over and over it in my head, asking myself "WHY???"  Not "why am I fluffy in certain areas?" but "why do I care so much about whether or not I have a little more love on my handles than other women might?" The fact is that COMPARISON has stolen my JOY in this area.  I have a hard time loving the body I have because I am constantly comparing it to other women's bodies who I view to be "ideal."

Before some of you roll your eyes at me, I am aware that I am not a big person.  No, I don't think I am massively obese.  Honestly, I can't say I have ever ran into a woman who wasn't self-conscious about some part of their body.  I know some women who are more confident at 300lbs than some of my friends who are 110lbs.  I don't care how big or small you are, every woman struggles with insecurities about their figure.  Personally, I think it's stupid that we as women do this to each other.

I can honestly say that as soon as I hit puberty I began to be self-conscious of my body.  I remember clear as day a time when I was in 7th grade.  I was going to wear a two piece bathing suit for the first time and I just kept thinking my belly looked big....I was 120 lbs.  TRUST ME, there was nothing big about my belly.  I also remember feeling insanely self-conscious of my figure my senior year of high school when my friends and I all went on Spring Break together.  Ha!  I found some of those pictures and was in awe at how amazing my body looked.  Zero cellulite, tight abs, boobs where they are supposed to be, and the only love handle to be seen was the natural curve of my body.  I asked myself "why the heck did I think I was fat then?!?!"  In talking about it to my sister, she made the joke that we will probably look back at pictures of ourselves from now in ten years and ask ourselves the same thing.  Why can't we just love the bodies we have in the moment?

I have spent so much time over the past 15 years being self conscious of my figure that I have very rarely taken the time to love the body I have (although, there was for sure a when time I took full advantage of low cut tops and short shirts that showed just a bit of midriff.  I didn't love ALL my body, but I sure made certain to show off my best assets).  I have spent a lot of time thinking about how to love the body that God has given me in a way that is not vain.

Here is what I know to be true:

  1. I am going to be 29 this year.  It is time to stop thinking I can compete with all those girls between the ages of 18 and 25.  I AM aging.  Time to own it, right?
  2. Speaking of competing with other girls, why am I?  My husband thinks I am beautiful and he actually has to see me in all my glory. If he thinks I am hot, why should I care about how I measure up to the nearest teeny bopper.
  3. I have so many things to be proud of in my life, so why is my poor body-image clouding my perception of my overall beauty?  I have worked really hard to earn a BSW and an MAC.  Those were huge accomplishments for me.  I can crochet anything someones asks of me, and have started a project collecting hats for babies in the NICU in honor of a sweet baby girl born too soon. I have a phenomenal group of friends that love me for my inner beauty.  My husband really is the greatest person I could have asked for.  I love to sing and think I am actually good at it.  I really make the best popcorn around, etc, etc
  4. My body is never going to look tip top amazing because it has been a home for the two most beautiful girls I know.  Yup, I have a big 'o scar under my belly button from my c-section with Evie.  I have stretch marks on my belly and my hips from my skin being pulled to make room for my babies.  My belly muscles are for sure not tight and taunt after 2 babies have stretched them out.  And, sorry to say it, but "the girls" are for sure not where they used to be after nursing two babies.  Ha, nothing a good bra can't fix!  What I look at as my most ugly "flaws" should really be my most proud "beauty marks."  
  5. Let's be honest.  I know how to get a rock solid body.  Working out and eating healthy.  Can I do these things?  Yup.  Do I want to?  No.  I can't imagine waking up earlier than I do to go for a run.  I'd rather sleep in and have a bit more energy for the day.  I would rather eat french fries than carrots (doesn't everyone?).  Self-discipline is not one of my shining personality traits.  Just because I am not great at getting a rock solid body does not mean I am not great at other things (see point #3).
  6. The more I focus on my problem areas, the more my girls will suffer.  I want them to know that they are beautiful because of who they are on the INSIDE.  Their dress size does not determine their worth.  I need to teach them this by my actions and my words.  I never want this to be them:

Again, I am not writing this because I think I am a huge, fat, blob.  I am writing this because I am so sick of being held prisoner by negative, self-loathing, thoughts while comparing myself to others wishing I looked like them.  I want freedom.  I don't want my girls to ever feel like they are less than who they are because they have cellulite in their legs or arms that jiggle.  I am so beyond sick of the perfectionist society we live in that expect women to have perfect bodies and bounce right back after a week after giving birth (no thanks to Heidi Klum).  I am even more sick of allowing society's expectations to get into my head and to make me feel less than who I am.  

My new goal is to love myself inside and out despite what the scale says.  I want to stop being a slave to society's ideal of how a woman should look.  I do think it is important to be healthy, and I know I can always do a better job at this, but it is high time I spent more time striving for health rather than vanity.  There is a difference.  It is time to strive for God's approval, rather than man's.  

Monday, May 7, 2012

$13 Miracle

Who is sick of hearing about Belle and sleeping?  Yeah, I didn't think so ;-)

Good news.  Great news. Phenomenal news.  We MAY have a solution.  I am so reluctant to write this because I feel like I might be shooting myself in the foot or jinxing our good progress.  Either way, I need to celebrate and include all of you!

Let's start from the beginning really.  6-7 months ago Belle went from a child that slept like a champ.  Went to bed at 7:30, fell asleep with no issues, and woke up at 7:30am the next day.  Oh how I took my fabulous sleeper for granted.  Basically, we moved her into a new room, into a twin bed, and then she became a big sister.  So, the bedtime battles begun.  Belle loved her new freedom and began to not only get out of her bed, but get out of her room.  Paul and I would sit at the top of the steps just putting her back into bed.  Ugh.  So, began our long list of tactics to "fix" this issue:

  1. Supernanny approach:  Every time she opened the door we walked her back to her bed without speaking or looking at her. (this usually resulted in Paul and I fighting and Belle enjoying every minute of running back and forth between the hall and her bed...the girl loved it)
  2. Spanking. Nothing is more aggravating than having you child laugh at you after you spank them or giving your child the choice between getting back to bed or getting a spanking and them choosing the latter.  Really?!?
  3. We tried taking things away.  At one point I got so carried away she literally had a mattress with a fitted sheet and a pillow.  After about 30 seconds I told myself I needed to calm down and give the poor girl her comforter back...she honestly could have cared less.  Each item we took was quickly forgotten.
  4. Tried giving her a bath every night with sleepytime bubble bath.  Really?  Why I thought this might work is beyond me.  This girl has never calmed down in a bath.  She throws things, drinks the water, pours it on her head, sings, etc
  5. Kept to a strict bedtime routine:  put on pajamas, brush teeth, read books, pray, sing, scratch her back, leave.  Honestly, the longer we sat in her room the more wired she became.  
  6. Gave her a "bedtime basket."  This consisted of items she could play with in her room-books, magna doodle, doll, etc.  She didn't have to fall asleep, but she was expected to stay in her room.  These items quickly became fun things to throw, break, or just wake her up more.  No calming down here.
  7. Bought bunk beds.  Belle sleeps in a bunk bed at my parents' house and does awesome.  We thought maybe she liked being up higher, and didn't want to get up and down.  Wrong-O.  She eventually was avoiding the ladder all together and was flipping herself over the railing, hanging over the edge until her feet touched the bottom bunk, and then dropping to the ground.  Future Olympic gymnast?
  8. Melatonin.  Oh, what a tease.  This actually worked for about a month and then we noticed it began to not have the same effect.  Turns out her body built up a tolerance.  Ugh.  Now we use this for times she HAS to fall asleep on time.  This hasn't been a total bust, but it is more a band-aid rather than a solution.
  9. Ran her around like crazy to exhaust her.  Nope...opposite effect.  
  10. Skipped her nap.  Unfortunately, she skipped her nap and then was a massive disaster who still didn't fall asleep until 10:30pm.
  11. Restricted sugar an hour before bed.  Fail.
  12. Restricted any sort of bright screen an hour before bed.  Fail.
  13. Offered a prize bucket with AMAZING toys and gifts she could pick out if she stayed in her room.  This was a kind of fail. She would say she wanted something and then come out of her room 5 minutes later, then I couldn't really hold that as an incentive since she failed.  However, she gets to pick something out here and there when she goes to bed well without screaming or crying.
Are you as exhausted reading that list as Paul and I were trying to implement it?  I am sure I am forgetting about 10 other tactics we tried, but you get the picture.  I began to feel like I was missing something as a mother and Paul and I would get so frustrated and argue.  This was a problem that needed to get resolved quickly.  We did have her blood drawn to rule out any biological factors (all was good), and then saw a therapist for many ideas.  She had mentioned a baby gate in front of her door as another sort of last option.  

Step in my neighbor, Marci, who told me to cut the top part of a door off.  Genius!  This was similar to the baby gate idea the therapist mentioned, but WAY cheaper.  This way I could lock the door, but Belle could still see out and call out to us as needed.  I was game.  

I think I have just been waiting so long for my kid to make the right choice and learn to mind Paul and I when it came to this issue.  My sister finally said "Bets, she is 2 and a half."  Point taken.  Sometimes we just have to make the choice for our children once they have proven they can't make the right choice on their own.  Many people told me to just lock the door, but something in me just wasn't settling well with that idea.  Cutting the top of the door off was the compromise to help me feel better about it.

Paul headed to the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store to buy a $13 door, and he and his brother, Marc, quickly chopped the door and put it up.  We made a big deal about it with Belle and she thought it was great.  When we  put her to bed I told her I was shutting it and locking it, but I could hear her downstairs if she needed anything.  She was surprisingly cool with it.      

All in all, the worst she has done is thrown diapers over the door and climbed onto her dresser to peak her head out and yell "Mama!  What are you doing down there?"  she plays with her books, dolls, Leapster, etc, but pretty much crawls up to her bunk and has been asleep far before she would have in the past 7 months.  I think the open top makes her feel safe, and the locked door has given me my sanity back.  I can actually relax at night and not dread bedtime.

So, keep praying this solution works.  I am hopeful, but this girl is one master problem solver.  Smart little cookie I have on my hands :-)