Parenting Tips

10 Tips to a Successful Happy Road Trip with Littles

Ten Tips to a Successful Happy Road Trip With Littles

Have you ever taken a road trip where it felt like you were driving forever?? Or your baby decided to test out her lungs and scream the entire way?? Did you have to make a million stops because someone needed something or had to pee every five seconds?! Well aren’t you excited?  Because we have ten tips to help in creating a roadtrip that is happy and successful with littles, despite the craziness!!

Recently we returned home from our summer road trip.  It was a blast with good memories; but our car ride to and from our long destination was anything but quiet.  Babykins cried the whole way there despite being fed, changed and entertained the whole way.  Does your car look like you’ve driven through a hurricane too when you finally arrive at your destination??  Do your littles have total melt downs too?? I ended up sitting down to figure out what worked best for us.  Driving back home we had a 5 minute cry instead of the entire way!  So we took a rest stop break and had a cuddle and some milk, and went on our merry way!

1. Wait Until Nap Time

We have found that the girls do better for sitting during long periods of time when they can sleep part of the way home.  We plan to travel right when nap time happens!  Usually this works because Babykins will close her little peepers and sleep the first half of the road trip!! Phew!!

2. Watch Movies

We are Disney fanatics at our house!! Big Girl quotes movie tag lines all the time and so for us this was a no brainer! We limit tv time at home and so getting to watch not just a movie but 2 movies is a huge treat!! We have found that Walmart usually has a Disney movie on sale for a decent price; so this is when we usually grab a couple.

3. Listen to Fun Music

Switch up the tunes and listen to some new cds or old new cds that haven’t been played for a while.  When we are taking a break from movies we listen to music the girls haven’t heard in a while or the song they want to sing over and over and over.

4. Grab some fun treats from the Dollar Store

Sometimes running through the dollar store with $20 just for distraction toys helps a lot too!! The girls get pretty stoked when they can choose a new colouring book, stickers and a toy to play with on the way.  Instead of allowing them to have al the treats at the beginning, give them something new each hour! That way there is always something to look forward to!

5. Stop at Rest Stops

This past road trip took us double the amount of time it should have taken.  Babykins decided to scream or cry the entire three and a half hours that we needed to drive.  We ended up stopping. A lot. But we discovered in the process that there are designated rest areas that usually have a park to play at.  The girls were totally stoked to run off some energy and I was stoked to have a break from crying.

6. Play at the Park

If you don’t have designated rest areas to stop at, find a park.  Before we discovered the parks on the highway I would drive into small towns and drive around until we stumbled upon a park.  As adults we find it hard and tiring sitting for long periods of time and so it’s nice to stretch the legs and let the kids burn off energy.  Sometimes stopping for one hour is what saves us from a screaming meltdown from the two littlest.

7. Go Shopping

The gas station bathrooms kind of gives me the heebeejeebees!! They usually are dirty and run down.  With having a baby that’s crawling and being on my own I had to find another alternative.  Now I drive into a town about half way and stop somewhere where they have carts; that way I can strap baby in and go to the bathroom or hep the other girls without having to worry about her crawling in the yucky dirty who knows what is down there floor!!

8. Plan to use the entire day

I stopped making plans for the day we travelled.  It was stressful trying to get somewhere on time when traveling with littles who needed to stop and then we couldn’t because we needed to be somewhere.  When we just took the entire day we could slow down and then everyone seemed to be a lot calmer.  Also when we get home I can get everything unpacked so we are ready to jump back into life the next day!!

9. Lower Your Expectations on your Littles

Having your babes travel and be perfect just doesn’t happen! If it does in your house, share your secrets!! When I am not stressed about travelling and come across more laid back the girls seem to be too.  It’s easier to deal with the stress of crazy drivers or crying babies when you don’t expect perfection!

10. Learn to Laugh

It’s easier to laugh off that your road trip took double or triple the amount of time and make jokes.  It is awful travelling with people who consistently are angry and fighting so I would say biggest lesson we have learned is to just laugh it off when things aren’t going the way you envisioned. We have cherished memories traveling now that we have learned to laugh!

Enjoy your summer road trips!! Because oh puh-lease!! You’ve got this momma!!

Any tricks, secrets, tips we’ve missed? Please share below because we all can use the help and tips we can get!

Healing After Trauma, Parenting<3

Nightmares and What to Do About ‘Em

Nightmares

Since we seem to be on a sleep kick phase I thought today we could talk about nightmares! Nightmares seemed to spike for Big Girl after watching scary movies and after trauma had occurred in our family.

We struggled for about a month every night where Big Girl would wake up in the middle of the night and refuse to go to sleep after the nightmare occurred.  3:30 seems to be the prime Time at our house when I am awakened by sleeping troubles.  I  felt so helpless for my sweet four-year-old when she would lie awake beside me.  Refusing to go to sleep because her nightmares consumed her.

So I thought and thought and thought…

I tried everything I could think of.  We would play lullabies, pray that the nightmares wouldn’t happen, pretend she had magic in her dreams to do what she needed to fight the evil or wars off the bad guy.  Nothing seemed to help.  It was devastating and exhausting.

It was time to bring in the Professionals

So I decided to ask the professionals for help.  Nightmares can be so scary but there has to be a way to fix them! Nightmares at our house were solved with introducing a helper figure into a dream!

So what exactly is a helper figure?? When I was four I would dream about being kidnapped by Captain Hook all the time.  You know how the nightmare goes!  You are taken and try your best to escape and get away.  You get captured.  You bolt to a sitting position, heart racing, palms sweaty only to realize you were having a nightmare.  In a situation like that, your helper figure could be Peter Pan who would keep you from getting kidnapped or Jesus who would stop Captain Hook.  The helper figure would be someone your child sees as a hero in their life or someone they can identify with as a friend and protector.

We can escape our nightmares by introducing helper figures.

Big Girl’s hero is Eliott, Pete’s dragon.  He has wings she explained to me.  We fly away after he breathes fire at the person trying to hurt me.

Sometimes though she wakes up and asks for her Tiger Lily, her lovey we introduced to her when she had disclosed the trauma she had faced.  She also has Pink Seal who reminds her of being brave she received from a play specialist.

Take the time to use play to teach your children to brace and utilize those characters that they can identify with.  girl reading about heros who can help her in her dreams.

Share with us, are there any other tips and tricks you have for fighting off nightmares?? Share below I would love to add them on to help other mommas!

Because oh puh-lease!!! You’ve got this momma!!

Parenting Tips, Parenting<3

The Best Sleeping Tip for Babies and Toddlers

Why I chose to share my Sleeping Tip With you!

One huge reason why I wanted to start blogging was that I wanted to help other mommas. Whether it was trying to find the best sleeping tip (I found it, keep reading to find out more!!) or dealing with a picky eater, or just unsure about parenting in general.  I want to be the bigger sister that I never had to navigate this crazy journey of motherhood.  I didn’t have an older sister who could give me the ins and outs of what to do when your baby is teething or not sleeping.  Google and Ask Dr. Sears’ became my best friends and I researched everything.  After I had researched I would pray to see if I had found the right answer for my babes.

Dear Precious Sleep, Where Have you gone?!

Now, sleep seems to be on my mind lately probably because I am not getting much of it! It seems when you have three littles you lose sleep because of nightmares, or sneaky naps (when your 2.5 yr old decides to hide somewhere and go to sleep), or wanting to nurse ALL night long, or stuffy noses.  Many nights I count how many hours I have slept.  On a good night, I get 7 hours on a rough night it is 4 or 5.

You are probably thinking now wait just a second Merrawyn! What more can be said about sleep! But I want to approach it from a different angle.Seep deprived momma

We don’t sleep train!

Right now there is a huge debate on sleep for babes whether you should let them cry it out, sleep train your baby, or stay with them until the little angel nods off to dream land.  Please know I am not here to tell you what to do because you are the momma and oh puh-lease you’ve got this!! But I won’t be talking about cry it out or sleep training.  I go to my babes when the first cry out because that’s what is best for me and my littles. I didn’t always have this confidence though and I wanted to tell you how despite being sleep deprived I am happy with my decision.I am happy with my decision to attachment parent despite being exhausted and sleep deprived.

 

Why I Hate Sleep Training!

When I first had Big Girl I definitely had to pick my parenting style and beliefs fast because she came via emergency c-section four weeks early.  Big Girl was shipped off quick to the NICU (Neo-natal intensive care unit) and was in a little pod because she weighed in at only 3 pounds 15 ounces.  I had to decide right then if I was going to stay in my own hospital room for healing or motivate myself to get out of bed after feeling like I had been hit by a truck.

I chose right away that I wanted to be a hands on momma and with my little pea.  For eight hours we were separated and I didn’t officially get to meet my little until I was transferred to her hospital and got myself out of bed.  So for me, the sleepless nights came as a welcome sign and one of gratitude that I got to be a momma.  My small but Mighty Mouse 🐭 taught me that life is so precious too precious that motherhood was a gift, not a right.  So I try to treasure each moment and minute I have even if it is during a temper tantrum or they have broken my favorite dish or lamp.

Sometimes though as a momma we lose sight of what we believe or want.  As a recovering people pleaser, I would lose sight and listen to what others were wanting me to do.

Crash, boom bang!

It was probably around the year mark when I started to get A LOT of pressure from family members for Big Girl to be sleeping the night through. They would pressure me with the belief that she should just lay down on her own and go to sleep and I was spoiling her by rocking her every night.  Our sleep routine consisted snuggling on down in the rocking chair, singing lullabies and nursing until those piercing brown eyes would doze off.  They believed it was the time that she needed to do it herself.  And I am so ashamed to admit but I caved.  I fell to the pressure.  Only one time.  But it is one of my biggest parenting regrets still to this day.

Sleep training leads to baby crying and insecure attachment

We did her bedtime routine.  We brushed her teeth, read stories, said prayers and then I laid her down and I left her crying in her room.  I closed the door because it was truly breaking my heart but I thought these family members were older and wiser so I was resolved to try.  It was ten minutes of her crying in her crib. And then I hear a huge crash.  And more crying. I rushed upstairs to find that Big Girl had somehow figured out how to pull herself out of her crib.  She sat by the door and knocked and cried and knocked some more.  I still to this day do not know how she got out!

I ran up as soon I heard the crash.  When I opened the door it broke my heart that my little girl was sobbing and inconsolable. I had left her. I had broken that trust for my babe and I couldn’t do it again.  And I haven’t!

It’s then that I set out on a different journey of figuring out attachment parenting and sleeping.

The No- Cry Sleep Solution

This is when I discovered the No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley.  She is such a gem and a peach!! I adore her philosophy surrounding children.  And I can assure you that after this I have never had to even consider a method that didn’t feel right to me or my chiclets!

The best advice I received right away was that if it works for you then keep doing it.  It’s not what works for your momma, your grandma, aunt, sister or friend.  At the need of the day if you aren’t happy with how sleep is going with your babies change it.  If you are happy, leave it. Don’t fix what isn’t broken despite what others are telling you.

You create a connection when you choose to attachment parent at night

I can assure you that if you rock your babe to sleep she will one day sleep on her own. She won’t need you forever and time passes in the blink of an eye! Cherish the moments they are little and squishy and fit in your arms because one day they won’t!!

So momma in terms of sleep and telling you what to do, trust your instincts.  You don’t have to let your baby cry it out or sleep train them if you yourself don’t want to! The best tip that I can give you as a momma is doing what works best for you and your little one.  You know best so trust those dear instincts!

Because, oh puh-lease!! You’ve got this momma!!

Parenting<3, Play

How to Attend a PlayDate like a Rockstar!!

Attend a Playdate like  a Rock Star!

Times have really changed for playing with friends and so I decided it was time to share how we attend playdates. I absolutely adore going on Facebook and reading the remember when posts; “If you were a 90’s kid, you…” or “If you grew up in the 50’s, you…”  So, I remember when…  I was a little girl when you wanted to play with your friends your momma told you to go outside! ALONE! Because all the kids were outside playing either down the street in front of someone’s house, in front of the church that was across from our house, or at the park!  There were kids everywhere and there was always fun to be had!

Then slowly…

As I grew up that the younger generations were no longer running wild and free outside.  Kids didn’t come out anymore without an adult and all of a sudden parents started this crazy thing called “Play Dates”.  Now I have to be honest with you, I am writing this post because I didn’t understand how play dates worked until just recently and it was all because of a flopped play date.  Well, er, maybe you can’t call it a flopped play date but the aftermath definitely was.

The Story…

A darling mom invited us over for a play date at her house.  We arrived a little later than originally planned due to a baby blowout landing us right before lunch time.  Due to a rush to get out our door, the girls had eaten some dried cheerios and milk on the way there and were hungry!  No problem I thought, we must be having a little snack there because its right before lunch.

Well boy was I wrong.  An hour passed, then two, then another half an hour.  And Curly girl started to cry that she was hungry.  The mom was a dear and offered her a cheese string, so we thanked her and then Curly Girl asked for another and another and another… She had like 4 or no maybe 5 cheese strings and I just wanted to melt into the couch.  I knew my child was going to be hungry and I thought there was going to be a snack, but I didn’t think that my daughter was going to eat her out of house and home!!

After the two and a half hours had passed, I tried to get my littles rounded up so we could get out the door and each time we did the mom and I would get distracted talking! By the time we left the girls were miserable they were hungry and Big Girl and playdate Girl were in constant battle.  I drove my girls to the nearest fast food place where they stuffed their faces because they were so hungry and I thought, man that was a failed play date!!  Needless to say, we have never been invited back or have we had a playdate with this darling family again.

So, what went wrong??

For a long time, I was nervous to go on other play dates because lets face it that was an epic fail!! I thought maybe it had been somehow my fault.  Maybe we had stayed too long.  Maybe we should have brought lunch over to eat.  Maybe we just didn’t click.  Maybe this. Maybe that.  I felt quite embarrassed about seeing this Momma all the time and knowing we had this failed playdate.

Play Date Etiquette

Now, I am going to give you one of the greatest gifts ever and share my knowledge with you so hopefully you never have a catastrophic playdate because man is it AWKWARD! So without further ado here is how to attend a playdate like a rockstar!

Plan to stay for 2 hours max

I started to treat my play dates a lot like I would an actual date when you are out on the dating scene.  On the first couple of dates you want your date to feel happy and content with you so you always leave them wanting more.  That means leave when the going is good!  So for the first couple of times plan to make it a quick thing!  Let you littles go off and play and visit for a little while then gracefully bow out.

My friend, who also is like the Playdate Jedi, said that she has noticed that after the 2 hour mark is when kids start to bicker and fight.  They will play nice for quite a while but that 2 hour window is when meltdowns start happening.

Side note: This is totally different if you are best friends or chummy pals with the person you are having the playdate with.  If they invite you for snack or lunch and neither of you have anywhere to be then throw this above advice out the window.  There are some friends’ houses we go to where we black out the entire day because we know the kids get along and there is much catching up to do!

Help clean up

There have been times after having friends over growing up where my room looked like a bomb had gone off.  Toys were exploded all over the room, down the hallways and into the bathroom! So, ten minutes before you have to leave.  Have your kids help clean.

It makes life a lot easier for the Momma whose house you are at when you help to clean up the explosion.  We have also found that the houses where we stopped to clean we have always been invited back!  Also by cleaning up the mess helps stop the play and gets your littles’ mindset ready and prepared that it is time to go!!

Bring a Snack

After my flopped play date with my ravenous starving kids, I tried to think of a gracious way to have snacks on hand. Just in case my babes were ever hungry again! Without eating them out of house and home! Now, I always plan to bring a snack to share so I don’t feel like melting into the couch when my kids are hungry and ask for something to eat.  We have brought:

  • watermelon
  • strawberries
  • bananas
  • cantaloupe
  • mini muffins or cupcakes
  • fun-shaped disney cookies
  • banana bread
  • zucchini loaf
  • popsicles
  • fishy crackers and cheese strings
  • popcorn

Don’t Gossip

There have been a couple of play dates that I have gone to where it was SUPER uncomfortable.  It’s really bad form to talk about another friend or family that you know that leaves them in a bad light. Especially, when you know that the family being talked about is also a family that happens to be a good friend. So don’t talk about others. Just don’t do it. Stop the gossip if it is happening by changing the subject or removing yourself from the situation.   The only time I think it is okay to air out dirty laundry if it is a close friend, your babes are all off playing and you need to vent.  Really keep the topics light and airy.  If you are struggling to come up with things to talk about, try to find something that relates you to that family.

If I expect my girls to stand up than I need to as well. So if it is happening stop it.  Really keep the topics light and airy.  If you are struggling to come up with things to talk about, try to find something that relates you to that family.

Conversation topics we have covered:

  • Church activities
  • Family traditions
  • Related littles’ activities (dance, gymnastics, school)
  • parenting advice
  • Books you’ve read
  • Fun activities or dates you’ve been on
  • Summer camps
  • Drop in activities for littles

Send a thank you

Its always nice to feel appreciated.  I think we can always leave the world a little better off than we found it by being kind.  Send a thank you text or email letting the family know you enjoyed the day!  Even if your kids fought with their kids the entire time. Or it wasn’t as enjoyable as it may have been other days. ALWAYS thank your host.  It just makes everyone feel good!

So let us know below, do you have any play date tips? Flopped play dates? Hilarious play date stories?  Share them below, we would love to hear from you!

Because, oh puh-lease!! You’ve got this Momma!!

 

Creating Family Culture

How To Create a Summer Bucket List

Creating Summer Bucket Lists

Dance ended on Saturday as Big Girl’s recital and year end BBQ took place.  It was an amazing wrap up as we found out that she had won a dance scholarship for her spunk, tenacity, and leadership abilities!  This warmed my heart and was a great kick-off to our Summer season.  We all love dancing, singing, and music.  Our house is never without one or the other happening!  Even our Caterpillars seem to wake up and dance to the music.  It brings a great joy!  Another thing that these girls seem to truly enjoy are the warm days of summer! In order to do so we love to use a Summer Bucket List!  That way everyone has a say.  Want to know how we do it?  Just keep reading!!

Summer Bucket Lists

Last year at the beginning of summer I tried to plan things that we wanted to do before the warm days quietly faded into Fall.  It was a pretty rough list and it wasn’t in a cute spot or decorated; just written in a coil notebook.  With two weeks left of the lazy hazy days of Summer, my dear friend introduced me to a fabulous idea that was floating around the internet: summer bucket lists!  Why hadn’t I thought of this?!  The teacher in me loves the cutesy handouts!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A cute printout clipped to a board displayed in her kitchen displayed the ideas that she and her girls had wanted to do that they had brainstormed 2 months before!  Some of the fun ideas that they came up with were:

  • Watch movies all day long in their pajamas
  • Have a science day ( Mentos candy and coke experiment, shooting off balloon launchers, etc.)
  • Visit all the playgrounds in the city
  • Set up the tent in the backyard and read books

I learned last year that Summer doesn’t always have to mean that your family goes on fun expensive cruises or flights to Mexico or another exotic place.  Just having summer fun days together as a family means a whole lot more.   Our bucket list was based more on family day trips we took that were fun but still left some gaps to try to plan a fun day!  So before we are into the full swing of Summer, us girls will be making a Summer Bucket list to really soak up the quiet days we have and play hard on the days where we are doing something fun!

Creating Family Traditions through your Summer Bucket List

Including my littles in the plans for the Summer really seems to make it that much more enjoyable and fun!  We found that in creating our list that it allows for fun traditions to develop.  For the last two Summers past, we traveled to Tourist Attraction Locations that were about 5 and 6 hours away from where we live.  We were able to enjoy the Dinosaur Museum and spray park there, and then to also go to a Christmas Store in another town and buy personalized Christmas ornaments for our tree. It was a treat at Christmas time to have my four year old bring up a sweet cherished memory she had from the summer past.

It doesn’t have to cost money!

Being in university for a long time, then being a stay at home mom, and NOW a single mom; I can say that we don’t have a lot of extra money just laying around to do the things that you really hope to do (like Disneyland or Camping every weekend).  So instead we focus on free events or activities; we really like free!

Look around to find free swimming pools or spray parks, free concerts or events.  We have found both, we really like to hit up all the summer parades where the girls can collect candy (that I stash away for bribes or potty treats) and cheer on the different floats that go past.  Last summer, we also found a free pool that we hit up every couple of days.  It was nice because not a lot of families went there and so we were able to have our own pool without the cost of upkeep to have one in our own backyard.  Big Girl was even able to teach herself to paddle across the pool with a pool noodle she would borrow from another family that frequented the pool as often as we did.

Road Trips

Another idea to slam on that Summer Bucket list are road trips! They can be a lot of fun, even if it is just for the day.  I know The Dating Divas website focuses on strengthening marriages but I found some of the ideas are super useful in planning family dates as well!  One idea that I found when I was just a brand new mommy was being tourists for the day!

Now it definitely wasn’t Summer when I stumbled across this sweet little idea; it was the winter and extremely cold.  But I loved this idea so much that I decided to implement it even in the bitter cold temperatures! We were living in the city at that point so I chose to tour just the outside of our city in the small town we actually live in now! We visited a petting farm, found some cute little Halloween pumpkins to decorate and had an outright blast! You never know where your adventures may take you or the future they may have in store for you!

Our Summer Plans

When I asked the girls what they would like to do this Summer the focus seemed to be around camping with Gramma.  Big Girl excitedly piped in, “I want to look at the stars and sleep under them! Oh, and eat burned marshmallows.”

So without further ado our ideas so far:

  • Summer reading challenge (you know the one where you read in a different place every day? read on your doorstep. The top of the stairs. the bottom of the stairs.  I know! I know!  Total geek alert :))
  • Visit Old Fashioned Train Museum
  • Go camping with Gramma, even if it is just in our backyard!
  • Visit the local spray parks
  • Run in the sprinkler
  • Make yogurt popsicles
  • Geocaching!!!!
  • Canada Day Parade (and others around our town and local cities)

(UPDATE)  I really just had to come back and add to our list because Ruth over at livingwellspendingless has the ULTIMATE bucket list ideas!!!  I am so in love with them all but here are my absolute faves that we will be aiming to accomplish this summer!  Go check out her list; you won’t be sorry!!

  1. play spot the different creatures in your backyard
  2. read by flashlight
  3. find and feed ducks at the local pond
  4. buld something with sticks or scrap lumber
  5. take a nap in a shady part outside
  6. Build a dino habitat outside!

So, what do you have planned for the summer?  Do you fill out a cute Summer Bucket List?  Share your ideas below 🙂

Parenting<3

Why You Need to Know Your Conflict Management Style as a Parent

Lessons I’m Learning:

Each day deeper I get into this parenting journey I realize more and more that parenting is not a one size fits all kind of thing.  Actually, parenting differs with every child you may have.  For Big Girl I have to be unwavering in my resolution once I have made up my mind on something because she will argue to the death about it.  Curly Girl I have to be tender in my discipline because she is my sensitive soul.  Babykins is still about patience as she learns the ropes of her life around her.

Many times, with Babykins I think of the movie Monkey Kingdom (have you seen it?  We adore it!) when baby monkey gets the free pass to be annoying and the other monkies just have to deal with it because the baby is just learning about the world around him.

So what does that have to do with you?  Patience my grasshopper I am getting to a very important subject!  When I recognize that my parenting has to change with each baby I have come to reflect on how conflict needs to be handled differently with each child as well.

Conflict

When I went to university we sat in a classroom and were given an assignment, to ask our partner several questions.  We were then given a label of the following: teddy bear, turtle, fox, owl or shark.  At the time I was young and was stoked when I was given the label teddybear!  Sweet I thought!  Teddy bears are loving and cuddly and who wouldn’t want to be a teddy bear?!  We were then put into groups based on our label.  Here is what we came to learn:

Teddy Bear (Accomodating)

Teddy Bears are people who try to keep the peace because they are loving and want others to be happy.  They are willing to give up their own wants and desires in an attempt to make those around them happy.

Teddy Bears can struggle with low self-confidence and self-esteem and may get taken advantage of because the other party will always get their way.  Sometimes, because a teddy bear always gives in to what others desire and want, they can build resentment and anger that may increase over time.

Turtle (Avoiding)

Turtles are people who tend to minimize or avoid conflict.  They usually have a belief that conflict over time will be resolved on its own.  This means that there is a tendency to create situations where the two that are in conflict both lose even if the relationship is maintained because problems are never solved.

Turtles need to be leery because they may sometimes get walked over by avoiding conflict.

Fox (Compromising)

Foxes are those who are willing to use their tools of communication to find a solution that has a positive outcome for all involved.  They are willing to give up some of their own personal goals and will encourage others to do the same if it means a positive outcome to the conflict.

Sometimes foxes may be viewed as manipulating because everything is based on compromise.

Owl (Collaborating)

Owls are people who highly value relationships and live their lives based on integrity.  That means they are people you can trust.  They will win your respect, and trust because they value your relationship.  Owls tend to look at situations where a solution occurs when all parties win.

The only downfall of owls is that sometimes conflicts require a quick solution to the problem and this conflict resolution takes too long.

Shark (Competing)

Sharks are seen as brave and courageous.  They can be the voice that stands up against bullies.  Sharks can quickly get to a resolution but it may result in one party winning while the other loses.

Sharks need to be cautious that they are not too pushy and over-domineering resulting in the loss of relationships.

 

Now what?

Once we had learned this information in university, the professor told us that we were armed with the knowledge needed to be proactive in dealing with conflict.  So how does this relate to you as a parent? How we treat our kids is how they will treat others.

I don’t know about you, but I am hoping that because you are reading my blog, that you want a child who is sensitive to others feelings, who will work to communicate and solve their problems with the desire that everyone wins, who will stand up for others, and generally be a good person.

Do you want to be intentional in your parenting?  I know I do, and the only way to do that is to educate ourselves on how and why we do the things we do.  This means that our conflict management styles will rub off on our children and how they behave. Do you want to have the child that is a yeller because you are?  Do you want your child to fight to the death about how they respond to conflict?  What is your goal?

Parenting Conflict Comparisons

Parenting is such a humbling experience if we allow it to teach us how we can be better.  Many times I have caught Big Girl throwing around the same threats I use when Curly Girl or Babykins are not doing what she wants them to.  “Fine Curly Girl!!” Big Girl exclaims “Then I won’t go to the park with you!  or I’m leaving without you!”  I cringe when I note the impatience in her voice.  But it has  become my inner mirror to gauge myself on the ways I am responding to my girls.  I often have to reflect on the questions of,

  • is this how I am responding to my girls?
  • what is a better way to set the example?
  • am I being kind? patient? loving?

Now it is time to reflect as a parent on what you believe and think.  Does your conflict management style fit your parenting beliefs or how you want your child to act?

My Conflict Management Style Now

Through the last ten years since taking my conflict management course in school, my conflict management style has changed.  This is probably from becoming more confident but also through some super hard lessons learned.  I have become a compromising Fox where I truly believe that sometimes you win some and sometimes you lose some.  There are times where it is worth the fight to problem solve with my Big Girl of her doing one activity she wants to do and then being able to do one activity that I want to do.

However, I don’t want to always be a compromising fox; my goal would be to become a collaborating Owl.  I want to create such deep connections in my relationships that others can trust and respect me because I have treated them as a child of God that they feel His love.  We may have differing opinions but I want my children especially to know that I am here to constantly invite them to higher ground.  To be as the Savior would be.

So tell me, what conflict management style are you?  Are you a teddy bear? fox? turtle? Owl? or Shark?

 

Parenting<3

Don’t Pee in the bushes!

Curly girl decided to potty train herself back on her second birthday. She had been interested in the potty around eighteen months and I kept pushing it off because I had just had babykins and I wasn’t ready (because potty training early is really just as much work for mom as it is for child) AND… she literally needs to pee every hour on the hour.  So, before we leave the house to go anywhere we make a big production and go to the potty!

With the weather warming up I decided to take the girls off to the park and knowing that Curly Girl will need to pee after being there for a little while we ALL go to the potty.  We hadn’t even been there ten minutes when Curly Girl runs up to me repeating over and over again, “pooh!! pooh!”  Her words for I need to go!!  Now the park is about a half an hour walk home and there would be no making it back! So what’s a mom to do?!
Go pee behind the bushes! Now CG must have thought this was super great because she did it the next two times we went to the park! And I didn’t think anything of it until…

Now CG must have thought this was super great because she did it the next two times we went to the park! And I didn’t think anything of it until…
We had gone to a friend’s house for a play date. The girls had all dressed up as different princesses and were busily playing outside. They were dancing across the lawn, watering the flowers, and singing for each other.  Everything was a-okay or so I thought.  And then, the next thing I know when I look out the window is to see Curly Girl’s bare bum hanging out! Her pants down and her dress up!
My friend and I both run outside to find that Curly Girl had not peed in her yard! Oh no! She had pooped in her backyard!!! Not even in a corner discretely! Smack dab in the middle of the yard she pulled up her dress and did her stinky business!

At the time I was dying of mortification!! I bring her inside and clean her up, asking where she should go pee after this whole fiasco. Her response, “in the bushes!” *face palm*

Huge parenting lesson learned:

Don’t let your kid pee in the bushes!

Parenting<3

The Best Diaper Cream Ever!

I have to admit it. I may have a slight baby lotion and baby soap addiction. Really, I just love baby products. Even before I had babies I would buy them! Because let’s face it. They are gentle on the skin and you smell delightful afterward.
I always thought with my love of baby products I knew which ones I would use on my babies. But shockingly, my favorites have changed over the years. When I first had Big Girl I was given a small sample of diaper cream called Sudocrem. The slogan of this miracle maker is “for all life’s little dramas”, and it truly is!

This diaper cream works magic! I love it for diaper rashes because this stuff works quickly! Within hours you will have a baby with a bum that’s healing rather than an angry diaper rash.
But guess what that’s not all! This diaper cream is our go to for cuts and scrapes, eczema, acne and even burns! We’ve used it on all of the above and it has worked absolutely amazing.
One product we definitely can’t and won’t live without is Sudocrem!


Have you used it before? What is your go to for diaper rashes? Or what is the magic item in your first aid kit?

Parenting Tips, Parenting<3

5 Go To Dinner Ideas for Baby Led Weaning

Dinner Ideas for Baby Led Weaning

It’s really hard to think of meals especially when you are trying to introduce your dear babe to Baby Led Weaning.  Please, don’t think you are the only one.  Here is what happened at our house. We sat down for supper to eat when funny enough a text popped up on my phone. “In a supper rut! Quick; what is your absolute favorite meal?”
Been there?? I know I sure have! I find that supper ruts kick in for us as the seasons change or when schedule changes happen! So dear friend without further ado here are our 5 go to yummy meals:

Crock Pot Salsa Ranch Chicken

Crock Pot Salsa Ranch Chicken– I have done this both in the crock pot and in the oven! We prefer it with rice but this one is to die for and truly my go to when we have company over for dinner!

Crock Pot Pulled Pork

Crock pot Pulled pork– my friend dropped off pulled pork for us once when I was sick. Loved it!! Easy go to! Just throw it in the slow cooker with a little water and bam good to go! Once it is cooked you pour BBQ sauce over it mix it up and viola all done! We eat it with loaded baked potatoes. So boil up some frozen broccoli or the California mix, add some bacon bits and cheese.  Place on top of baked potato. Enjoy!

Unforgettable Chicken Casserole

Unforgettable Chicken Casserole– have you ever had those super delicious chicken croissants that have grapes and pecans in them?! Literally to die for!! This is a casserole version of it!! My girls licked their plates clean (literally)

Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Soup

Slow cooker chicken taco soup-Did you notice a pattern? I sure have! I like go to easy meals and this is one of them! It truly is a fix it and forget it meal: also totally delicious. Don’t forget the taco chips!  If you are doing this with Baby led weaning make sure you just give it by spoonfuls to baby to try with her holding the spoon or add just the chunks without the liquid to the high chair tray!  Enjoy!!

Haystacks

Haystacks- one of my favorite meals growing up were haystacks! My mom would cut up all the ingredients put them on the table and you would build them yourself. It’s really a salad bar at your own kitchen table! We would have taco chips, browned hamburger meat or chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, black beans, cucumber, salsa, sour cream, and corn.

 

What are your favorite go-to meals for the summer?? Share below! Anything shared we will cook up and try ☺️

Parenting Tips

Ten minutes a day keeps the tantrums away

Pure Bliss

Remember my parenting doomsday?!  If not you are in for a real treat!After my “aha” moment that my kids were not to blame but I was; everyone has been happier! The girls spent most of today playing together with very little disagreements.  Quiet time this afternoon went off without a hitch. To end the day the girls were asleep as soon as their heads hit their pillows!  So what changed from our terrible awful no good day to today?  I’ll let you in on the best parenting secret ever; special time!

After my “aha” moment that my kids were not to blame but I was; everyone has been happier! The girls spent most of today playing together with very little disagreements.  Quiet time this afternoon went off without a hitch. To end the day the girls were asleep as soon as their heads hit their pillows!  So what changed from our terrible awful no good day to today?  I’ll let you in on the best parenting secret ever; special time!

Special Time – Just 10 minutes twice a day!!

I came across some information a little while ago that changed my parenting completely. The days that I am on top of doing special time the girls are better behaved and are a lot more fun to be around. The important thing is consistency. I am going to sound like an infomercial but in as little as ten minutes twice a day you can have a changed kid. Our babies crave our attention. They want to know that they are just as important as the “important” stuff that goes on in our lives. So when you take ten minutes in the morning and ten minutes in the night to fill your babes buckets they are filled with love which in turn leads to a happier child

How It Works:

All that is required for you as a parent during special time is to let your child lead and be with them one on one! Let your little take charge for a change!

What We Do:

The girls don’t get a lot of time to be on TV or electronics.  So, the girls will pick the iPad or computer usually. Other times however they choose Barbies, coloring, or helping with chores that I am in the middle of doing! Whatever they choose is up to them.  But truly all that matters is that I’m fully present! It might not always be fun or interesting for me, but consistently setting aside the time to be interested and available helps develop that close bond and relationship so much!

Many times during special time Big girl will talk to me about her fears or concerns. She will tell me about the dreams she’s had or the nightmares. Curly girl mostly ends up smiling and laughing a lot, which then leads to more hugs and kisses.  And who doesn’t want that!? And babykins, well special time with her is fun to see a mischievous personality start to blossom and develop as she dive bombs into me and then laughs hysterically.

So, Why Do It?

Our babies need our time where we aren’t bombarded by electronics or technology or even jobs that steal our precious free moments. Our babes want to be included and when they are, friendships and close bonds begin to grow. When my girls feel closer to me they open up more and tell me what goes on in their lives whether it be for the good or bad. So if you want to end the bickering matches, the tattling, the sighing complete with eye rolling (big girls favorite), and fighting to get them to do the chores; just give them your time!

 

Do you do special time?  What are some of your favorite special time activities?