• Uncategorized

    VBS 2018

    This week, we’ve had Vacation Bible School at our church and it’s been so fun! It’s been a few years since we’ve participated due to vacation being the same week, so I was so excited we were home this week!

    Kevin and I volunteered in the toddler room. We had around 10 kids each night! This was also the first time I’ve seen Caleb around a big group of other toddlers for an extended period of time. Let’s just say that at 16 months, he held his own with the two year olds. I’ve also felt an increased pressure to find a copy of a good parenting book for strong-willed children. (Any recommendations?)

    Our big boys were in classes of their own this year and both seemed to really have a great time.

    Since this space is a scrapbook of sorts, I’m going to let the photos do the talking. (Warning: Picture overload!)

    I’m so thankful for the incredible blessing Vacation Bible School has been to me my whole life. It brings me such great joy to see our boys making so many memories and growing in the Lord due to VBS.

  • books

    The Best Books I’ve Read Lately

    I’ve read some really great books recently and can’t wait to share them with you! From an inspirational biography to what I’ll call a self-help book (that I didn’t know I needed!) to a good beach read, my recent reads have been great!

     

    Beautiful Day by Elin Hilderbrand

    I’ve talked about my love of all books Elin Hilderbrand a time or two before and this book certainly didn’t disappoint. It sucked me in from the very beginning. It’s a story of a bride who lost her mother but was left behind a notebook pertaining to her future wedding. I smiled and cried my way through the entire book. The relationship intricacies among the four siblings, their father and step-mother, and her fiance and his family were so relatable to me even though those same relationships don’t exist in my life. I read this book in a matter of days. If you’re looking for a quick and easy read that ends well, run and get this book!

     

     

    Image result for girl wash your face quotes

    Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

    I’m perhaps the last woman in the world to read Girl, Wash Your Face and I have no idea what I was waiting on. I really purchased the book on a whim because everybody has been reading it, but had no clue how much I needed it. I tend to try to make myself believe I’ve got it all together, but reading this book made me realize I’m not alone in that. Fake it ’til you make it is great, but sometimes, you just need to see other women struggling with the same things.

     

    Grace, Not Perfection by Emily Ley

    This was another awesome book that spoke to me on so many levels. I’ve shared briefly about this book before, but it deserves another shout out. I’m fairly hard on myself in some aspects — and not necessarily the “right” aspects — and this book showed me the importance of giving myself grace. I can’t do it all or be it all. Sometimes the best thing is to just be and give myself grace. If you struggle with a Type A personality, I definitely recommend reading this book.

     

    The Light Within Me by Ainsley Earhardt

    I really like Ainsley Earhardt. She grew up not too far from where I’m from and I’ve always enjoyed her interviews. I picked her book up and was startled at the similarities in her life and mine. It was so refreshing to read her story and gave me so much hope. I always like a good “feel good” book and even though this isn’t typically the type book I’d refer to as “feel good,” I couldn’t wait to finish it. Seeing how she has overcome obstacles and struggles in her professional and personal life was encouraging. I also loved how she shared how God worked things out for her at just the right times.

    What are some good books you’ve read recently?

  • life lately,  random

    Life Lately | 6.4.18

    Happy Monday, friends! It’s time for another week – make it count!

    I thought I’d share a few snippets of our life lately today.  Between birthdays, end of school, and one of our little ones being sick, I haven’t had much time to blog lately.

    Kaden’s school did a wax museum a few weeks ago and he had to dress up like a famous South Carolinian. He was assigned Josh Turner (country music singer) and he couldn’t have been cuter!

    I stopped by the mall to pick up a few birthday gifts with Caleb in tow without my stroller and he was so good! Thank goodness he likes to walk! He was getting hungry (it was about his normal snack time) as we were leaving, so I treated us to a snack at the Barnes and Noble Cafe. Times like these are priceless to me! Each time I’d hand him a bite, he’d say “thank you.” Melt my heart!

    Last weekend was a weekend of celebrations! Our niece turned 17, we had a graduation party for my sister, and my mom had her birthday. I dubbed it party weekend! My sister’s graduation party was at the farm and Caleb “caught” a fish!

    This one loves his snacks!

    Kaden’s class had their end of the year party last week. I went to help with the ice cream bar and Caleb joined me. To say Kaden was excited to show off his brother to his class is an understatement.

    We celebrated K.C.’s end of school year with an award’s ceremony. He was recognized for Honor Roll and our district’s gifted and talented program.

    The big boys’ last day of school was Friday and they were so excited! I’m pretty happy about not packing lunchboxes or having to get everybody out early each morning for the next few months!

     

    Caleb was really under the weather last week. He started running a high fever Tuesday and ended up having a double ear infection. This was his fourth ear infection in a year. I’m hopeful he won’t have more. On Friday, he broke out in a bad rash, so we went back to the doctor and he had some type of viral infection. He literally just wanted to be held and slept so much this weekend which was a drastic change for our normal energizer baby. Thankfully, he seemed to be almost back to himself yesterday. Kaden was about the only one who could get him to play.

    My cousin got married this weekend and I was asked to direct her wedding. It was the sweetest wedding! Unfortunately, I didn’t snap any photos at the rehearsal dinner and only got a few at the wedding.

    We filled up Caleb’s baby pool yesterday. He may have taken Bun Bun swimming with him. I’m also not sure who enjoyed the water more – Caleb or Kaden and our neighbor!

    There’s a little life lately for you! Here’s to a fast work week, long weekend, and good health this week!

  • family,  fun,  summer fun

    Summer 2018 Bucket List

    There are officially six more days of school for my kiddos which can only mean one thing — it’s almost summer! Summer is one of my favorite seasons (ok… I can really find something I love about every season) and I can’t wait to have so much fun. Here are just a few things I want to do this summer. (I should add that while I stole this idea from my sister, it’s funny to see how we both included so many of the same things.)

    Read a book on the beach

    Take the kids to the zoo

    Make jam with my mom

    Make homemade ice cream and boiled peanuts

    Go to a baseball game

    Stay outside all day

    Read ten books

    Run 250 miles

    Have one date a month to somewhere new

    Learn to play six more songs on the piano

    Have a picnic

    Take a day trip to the beach

    What are some of the things on your bucket list for the summer?

     

     

  • random

    When Harry Met Meghan: A Royal Wedding Recap

    Ok, ok, I know it’s been four dayssince the Royal Wedding, but I still want to share my recap so I can remember how I felt about it years down the road. And I may have rewatched some of it last night for the third time, but who’s counting?

    Who woke up bright and early Saturday to watch the Royal Wedding?

    I did. And it was fabulous! Here are just a few of my favorite things about it.

    The dress.

    Image result for royal wedding photos

    Like the rest of the world, I couldn’t wait to see what Meghan’s gown looked like and I wasn’t disappointed. I love the classic, sleek lines. Having flowers from every corner of the Commonwealth embroidered on the veil was a beautiful touch.

    The DRESS.

    Image result for royal wedding reception dress

    As much as I loved the wedding gown, Meghan’s rehearsal dress was just — if not — more lovely. It made me wish for another reception and way longer legs because my 5’3 self would never look good in a dress like that!

    The Processional.

    Image result for royal wedding processional prince charles meghan

    Prince Charles escorting Meghan down part of the aisle was beautiful. Truth be told, it made him endearing to me. Regardless of the relationship Meghan has with her father, not having him there to walk her down the aisle had to be sad for her. I loved that her best friend’s sons trailed behind her and then Prince Charles took over.

    The message.

    Image result for royal wedding bishop

    I thought Bishop Michael Curry was fabulous. His message was great and I loved that he shared the Gospel. I did wonder when the candles were going to be knocked over though!

    The attendants.

    Image result for meghan and harry boy holding train

    The children were all precious!

    The music.

    I love anything John Rutter.

    Amal Clooney’s dress.

    Image result for amal clooney royal weddingGorgeous, just gorgeous.

     

    Overall, the wedding was fabulous! It was so touching to see their love. And I have to admit, I was really excited to see my favorite royal, Kate, less than a month after having Prince Louis.

    Image result for kate middleton harry and meghan wedding

     

    What were your thoughts on the Royal Wedding?

  • Friday Favorites,  random

    Friday Favorites | 5.18.18

    Happy Friday! I’m linking up with Momfessionals, Grace and Love, and A Little Bit of Everything for this week’s Friday Favorites!

    one

    I had an awesome Mother’s Day last weekend! My boys showered me with love and I enjoyed every second of it!

    two

    I went on a field trip with Kaden to WonderWorks yesterday. It was so much fun! I love seeing my kids in their daily environments that I’m usually not around. Not that I didn’t know it already, but Kaden is the life of the party!

    three

    My sister graduated from college last week! We had an awesome time in Clemson celebrating her!

    four

    The Royal Wedding is tomorrow! My alarm is set and I can’t wait!

    I remember getting up early to watch Will and Kate get married. Did you?Image result for royal wedding harry graphics

    five

    I’m officially counting down the days my kids have left of school this year AND the number of days until we go on vacation. Mama needs a break!

  • books

    10 Summer Beach Reads You Won’t Want to Put Down

    If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know I love to read. I particularly enjoy books that come out this time of year. There’s just something extra special about reading by the beach. We have a few trips planned this summer and I can’t wait to dive into these books!

    By Invitation Only

    I love, love, love Dorothea Benton Frank and can’t wait to read her newest novel, By Invitation Only. This book is about the differences between the haves and have nots, and from the looks of the reviews, it’s going to be awesome!

     

    The Perfect Couple

    I discovered Elin Hilderbrand about two summers ago and can’t believe I waited that long to read her books. Since then, I’ve devoured nearly every book she’s written and can’t wait to read her newest novel, The Perfect Couple, when it comes out June 19. I also really want to go to Nantucket and visit the spots she writes about so beautifully.

     

    The Secret to Southern Charm (The Peachtree Bluff Series)

    I’ve bragged about this book a few times on here already, but seriously, it’s so good! I’ll share my review of it shortly, but go get this book. And if you haven’t read the first book in this series, Slightly South of Simple: A Novel (The Peachtree Bluff Series), go get it right now!

     

    Beach House Reunion

    Mary Alice Monroe is another of my favorite writes. She makes the Low Country of SC (one of my favorite places) come alive so beautifully in all of her books. Her newest novel, Beach House Reunion, is sure to be a great read. I can’t wait!

     

     

    A Nantucket Wedding

    I gave my mother-in-law A Nantucket Wedding for Mother’s Day. She’s a huge fan of beach reading, too, and I thought this one looked like something she would like. I’ve not read Nancy Thayer yet, but this book looks like it will be a great first read for me.

     

     

    Dreams of Falling

    Karen White is always a great read. I love the intricate details she weaves throughout her books. I always find myself wanting more when her books end. Dreams of Falling looks to be just as good as The Beach Trees, my favorite Karen White novel.

     

    All We Ever Wanted

    The book I’m most excited to read is Emily Giffin’s All We Ever Wanted. I love Emily Giffin, and it’s been far too long since her last novel. You better believe this one will be on my doorstep the day it’s released.

     

    Between Me and You

    Between Me and You is a novel I stumbled across when I was ordering another book on Amazon and it looks so good. The cover and title drew me in, but when I read the brief synopsis, I knew I had to add it to my reading list — please tell me you keep a running tally of books to read.

     

    Cottage by the Sea

    I have to admit, the first Debbie Macomber novel I read was picked because the cover was pretty. (What? You don’t pick books based on their covers?) Since then, I’ve really enjoyed everything I’ve read by her and Cottage by the Sea looks to be another hit in my book.

     

    When Life Gives You Lululemons

    The Devil Wears Prada was one of my favorite movies back in the day and this new novel, When Life Gives You Lululemons, by Lauren Weisberger is sure to be great!

     

    What books are on your summer reading list?

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  • family,  motherhood,  weekend

    Mother’s Day Weekend 2018

    Being a mom is the best and most rewarding job in the world. It’s also the toughest job. I had an awesome time celebrating Mother’s Day this weekend. I didn’t take a ton of photos like normal – in fact, I didn’t even get a photo of myself with all our kids together – but it was fun!

    Kevin, Caleb, and I spent a few days in Clemson around my sister’s graduation. We drove up Thursday afternoon and had dinner with everyone at The Cheesecake Factory. It’s safe to say Caleb enjoyed his first visit. I also enjoyed my White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cheesecake at midnight.

    Stephanie graduated at 9:30 Friday morning, so we were up early to make it from our hotel in Greenville to the graduation at Little John Coliseum. Graduation was great. Senator Tim Scott gave the address and included three points that are good for all of us to remember:

    1. It’s only failure if you choose to quit.
    2. Stand up for those who can’t stand for themselves.
    3. Hold tight to your dreams.

    After graduation, we went to Joe’s Pizzeria for lunch. It was so good. The dessert pizza was to die for! It basically tasted like cookie dough on a sweet crust. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

    We decided to stay an extra night and go to the Clemson vs. Austin Peay baseball game. Even though we didn’t win the game, we had a blast. Caleb made friends with the family behind us and even crawled up in one man’s lap. I guess it’s time we start teaching him “stranger danger!”

    Since we had no plans Saturday, we took our time driving home. We made a few stops in Columbia to look for some Mother’s Day gifts to no avail. I’m looking for some new decor for our mantel and also would like some new bathing suits, but couldn’t find either. We made it home mid-afternoon and just chilled the rest of the day.

    Mother’s Day started off awesome with breakfast in bed. My sweet husband cooked scrambled eggs and toast and sliced a kiwi for me. It was divine! Why is food so much better when someone else cooks it for you? Also, our sweet baby slept until almost 8am, so I was able to sleep later than normal, eat breakfast, and get ready for church before he was up.

    We had a nice service at church and grabbed something from Grouchos for lunch. I made the mistake of letting Caleb have a little of my sweet tea with his lunch. Let’s just say about .5 seconds after he drank it, he went absolutely crazy. He was so funny! Thankfully the restaurant was empty and he was able to run around wild.

    For Mother’s Day, I decided I wanted a new bike, so we picked out one of those. I also got a seat for the back so Caleb can ride with me. Our big boys love to bike and I usually go along with them running, but I thought it’d be fun to bike some, too. Growing up, my dad biked and I would ride along with him. Some of my best memories come from those days. When the big boys got home yesterday afternoon, we tested out the bike and went for a short ride. It was fun!

    Last night, my father-in-law grilled ribs and chicken and had all of us along with my parents and sister over to eat dinner. It was delicious! We sat outside most of the night. K.C. found some old water guns which turned into the boys all getting soaked. They had a blast!

    _ _ _ _ _

    I’m so thankful for my sweet mom! She has always loved me, guided me, and encouraged me. When I think back on my childhood, I have so many awesome memories because of my mom. I’m so grateful God made me hers. I am who I am today because of her love.

    I’m also thankful for my sweet MIL. I know I’m blessed to have not only been born into an awesome family, but to have married into one as well.

    _ _ _ _ _

    These three boys are my heart. What a great privilege it is to be called mama by them. They constantly amaze me and fill my life with so much love and laughter. They teach me, mold me, and stretch me every single day. I hope and pray that they always feel my love. What a great blessing it is to have sons!

  • encouragement,  growth,  life

    Busyness is not a badge of honor | Take back your life

    How many times have you answered, “We’re doing good! Staying busy!” when someone asks you how you are? Maybe you haven’t ever done that, but I sure have (way more often than I’d like to admit… or basically anytime I’m asked that question.). When did it become the norm to be so busy?

    While I was talking with my mom (Hi, mom!), she made the remark that she hopes I enjoy life and won’t be so busy all the time which really made me start thinking about my life and busyness in general.

    I don’t really remember being busy growing up, nor do I remember my mom being that busy. She was a stay-at-home mom and I just remember being able to go and do things, but not feeling a sense of busyness. Yes, there was homework everyday and after school activities, but I enjoyed all of that and it didn’t feel like my life was busy at that point. I also didn’t have any responsibility to anyone but myself which was probably most of it.

    Today, though, I just feel busy. I feel like I go from one thing to the next and some days, barely have time to breathe.

    Our society places so much emphasis on what we do and how we fill our time. We’re encouraged to volunteer in our kids’ schools, we’re supposed to get at least thirty minutes of exercise each day, and we need to cook a balanced dinner every night. Don’t forget that we should be getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night, spending time outside, taking time for ourselves, staying up on the news, and keeping our homes tidy. We also have that big thing called a job to contend with every day which brings along with it a commute, childcare arrangements, and clothes that must be ironed. Most of us have children we want to spend quality time with as well as a spouse. And finally, there are those things that we really can’t not do like eat, shower, and sleep.

    When did the equation that busyness equals success become true?

    In my own life, I look back at movies and shows I watched along with books and magazines I read and in my mind, I thought doing it all well all the time was something to strive for. I marveled at successful women in corner offices who wore heels all day, played with their babies all night, and went on lavish vacations with their spouse all while looking like they stepped off of a runway. Busyness became a thing to strive for because if I’m busy with almost every minute booked, I must definitely be doing so much good — and have an incredibly full life. Right? Wrong.

    Busyness does not equal success.

    Busyness does not equal value.

    Busyness does not give you worth.

    Sadly, busyness seems to be the way so many of us signal our worth to others.

    The myth that busyness means quality, worth, success, and value has to stop. So how do we stop it?

    For a moment, picture your perfect life. What does it look like? My bet is you aren’t chained to a calendar or a to do list. You’re probably on a beach somewhere without a care in the world (What? Is that just my perfect life?). While what you immediately pictured may not be possible for you at this very moment (Hello, I have to work to provide for my family unless someone out there wants to send me an endless supply of cash!), the way that makes you feel is entirely possible. It’s just up to you to make it happen.

    So how do we make it happen?

    Let go of the idea that being busy is a virtue. It’s not. Being busy whether you’re busy doing good things or busy doing idle things isn’t that great. Yes, I understand there are some times in our lives where we truly are so busy that we can’t see straight because of circumstances around us, but for the most part, we control how busy we are.

    Decide what’s most important to you. What things/people in your life are most important to you? What do you do just to say you do it or so you receive some type of recognition? What can you back out of? Before Kevin and I got married, I was really involved in my local Junior League. I enjoyed getting to see friends and volunteer in some neat places, but when Kevin and I met and eventually married, I decided to drop my membership. With meetings and volunteer hours, I knew I wouldn’t be able to devote the time I wanted to to my family and that commitment, so I did what was best for me.

    Take charge of your time. There are 168 hours in a week. 40+ of those hours are spent working and 56 are spent sleeping (if you sleep 8 hours/night). That means you have 72 hours to do all the things. What things? The things that are important to you. Get a paper calendar if you don’t already have one. It can be fancy or plain; just get one. Look at each day and see where you have those 72 hours and let them work for you. Don’t become a slave to your time.

    To start with, I encourage you to think about the things you know you waste time on. For me, that’s my phone. It’s so easy to say I’m just going to scroll through Instagram real quick and then 30 minutes later, I’m three months back on someone’s feed. There’s a great app I recently heard about (I can’t remember where) called Moment that tracks your screen time. It will blow your mind when you see how much time you spend on your screen.

    After that, think about other things that are time suckers for you and determine whether or not you can automate them or at least, make them easier. I’ve shared before how Walmart’s Grocery App and pick up service has given me back at least an hour every week. My kids know to write what they need on the list on the fridge and it’ll get ordered. Amazon Subscription delivers diapers to my door once a month. My big kids pack their lunches most days which means they are not only developing responsibility and independence and getting what they want (within reason) for lunch, I’m also not having to decide what to pack and spending 15 minutes each night packing it. If cleaning your house sucks time out of you, see if your budget will allow for a housekeeper every so often.

    Determine what things in your life aren’t negotiable. For me, I need some time with Jesus everyday (and just to lay it out there, when I’m superwoman busy, it doesn’t always happen), I want to spend quality time with my husband and kids, have time to run 4-5 days/week, and have some set aside time to read or do something else just for myself. Those things aren’t negotiable. Yes, there will be days when I have an event for work or the kids will be sick or I just won’t have the energy to run after my boys are all asleep, but as a general rule, these things are most important to me.

    Make margin and begin to live your best life. Hold yourself accountable for your time. It’s your job to make sure you have time to live your best life. Daydream, swing in the hammock, go for shaved ice, have an impromptu date, walk around your neighborhood, watch the sunset. Do those things that make you happy. Work hard while you’re working, but enjoy life when you’re not. Prioritize those tasks that have to be done and do them now so that you are able to relax without a million things hanging over your head. Put your phone down and actually have a conversation with your spouse and kids. Sit around the table and eat together as a family. Bake some chocolate chip cookies. Curl up on the couch with a book. Just talk. Live.

    While it’s overwhelming to think about slowing down sometimes, it really is the only way we’ll be able to live our best lives. You can’t be your best for yourself or your family if you’re not taking time out. Invest in yourself. Invest in your time. You won’t be sorry that you did.

  • family,  parenting

    5 Tips to Establish a Routine for Your Baby

    Before Caleb was born, I read gobs of books about preparing for labor and childbirth, but I didn’t devote much time to reading about what to do once the baby actually arrived. In my mind, I’ve kept two other tiny humans alive since they were two and three; how different could a baby be?

    As time went on and I got closer and closer to having Caleb, I thought more and more about what I wanted our lives to look like with three kids. Three is a big number — it means we’re officially outnumbered — and according to the experts, having three kids is harder than four!

    Here’s what I knew I wanted to happen:

    • I wanted the baby to sleep good and not wake up his brothers.
    • I wanted to continue to have structure in our home. (If you can’t tell, I’m pretty big on routine.)
    • I wanted the baby to be a good eater.
    • I wanted to be able to have some time to relax and do things to take care of myself. (I know that may come across as selfish to some, but if I’m not taking good care of myself, how can I take good care of my kids?)
    • I wanted the baby to be able to adjust well no matter where he was and be able to cope in different situations.
    • I also wanted him to sleep well and through the night. (That was a BIG one!)

    Basically, the answer to what I wanted our lives to look like all boiled down to a good routine. It’s proven that routines help babies adapt and in my own life, I know how “off” I feel when I’m out of my normal routine.

    Kevin and I are both pretty structured when it comes to things with our older boys and we can definitely tell if they’re off their routine. While they’re older now and we aren’t as strict with bedtime every night as we were when they were younger, we are still fairly structured with their nighttime routine. Even going to bed thirty minutes later than normal for them makes a huge difference in the mornings at home. If routine affects my older kids, I knew it would for sure affect our baby.

    Here are a few things I did to help Caleb adapt to a routine. But first, please note that a routine shouldn’t start on day one.  In fact, I’d encourage you to wait six to eight weeks before beginning to develop a routine especially related to eating and sleeping. When babies are first born, they need to eat and sleep so often. You shouldn’t ever deprive your baby of milk and sleep for the sake of a routine. That said, Caleb was a pretty easy baby and became very predictable as he grew and we started setting a routine. I could tell time off of when he ate and napped.

    1. Take note of your baby’s cues.

    From day one, I kept track of when and how much Caleb ate, slept, and had dirty diapers. I did this to make sure he was eating, sleeping, and having enough dirty diapers, but also because I wanted to see what seemed normal to him. When he was a few weeks old, I was able to use this to tweak his normal sleep and eating pattern into a good routine for all of us.

    As a mom, you really will know what your baby’s cries mean. You’ll know if it’s a cry because your baby is hungry or because he just wants to be held. I found that knowing what was normal for Caleb was especially helpful when he wanted to eat more for a few days or seemed to not sleep as well during a growth spurt.

    2. Implement changes slowly.

    Rome wasn’t built in a day and you can’t expect to get your baby on a schedule overnight. It definitely takes time and it definitely changes as your baby grows. Caleb’s schedule at two months was drastically different than his schedule at four months. Just a few weeks make a huge difference in the life of a baby.

    3. Focus on consistency.

    I chose to be very consistent with Caleb from the beginning. For instance, when I started bathing him, I did the same thing every day at almost the same time. I also kept his nighttime routine consistent.

    At first, I gave Caleb baths in the morning after his first nap. He’d wake up, eat, play, and sleep, then eat again and take a bath. I also started off bathing him in his bathtub. During bath time, literally from almost day one, I would sing songs to him and point out his eyes, nose, ears, mouth, arms, legs, tummy, and feet. After his bath, I’d get him dressed for the day and we’d play in his room before reading some books and putting him down for his next nap.

    A month or so before I started back to work, I transitioned his baths to nighttime because I knew that would be easier for all of us when I went back to work. Even though the time was different, I kept the same routine.

    4. Be adaptable.

    The best advice I can give you on getting into a routine is to be adaptable. You can read hundreds of articles, books, and blog posts (like this one) about getting your child into a routine, but you have to remember that every baby is different. While there are general time frames to follow, your child may require more or less sleep/food than a typical baby his age.

    I’d also encourage you to look at your regular life and how that schedule impacts it. Personally, I wanted to have good amount of time to play with Caleb at night after work, so I didn’t ever put him down for the night at 7 pm as many programs encourage. I feel very blessed that the school he attends is really intent on following the parents’ schedule for infants before transitioning them to a more standard schedule all the kids are on around one which helped me tremendously. Caleb was able to take a late afternoon nap so when we got home, even at four or five months old, he was able to stay up until about 8 which gave me a few good hours of playtime with him.

    5. Have a plan.

    Finally, I think it’s so important to know in advance what you want to do when it comes to sleep and feeding. I’ll talk specifically about sleep here, but next week, I will share what we did when it came to feeding Caleb.

                           Do you want to let your baby cry it out?

                           Are you co-sleeping?

                           Will your baby nap in the crib?

    Those are all things you need to think about. And remember, there’s no right or wrong way when it comes to these things. As long as the baby is sleeping safely (no blankets, bumpers, etc.), it really comes down to your personal preference.

    We kept Caleb in the Bassinest in our room until he was five months old for nighttime, but he started napping in his crib at about eight weeks. I knew he’d nap in a crib at school, so I didn’t want that to be foreign to him. Fortunately, we didn’t have an issue with this transition.

    When it came time to transition him to his crib overnight, we were met with a few bumps though. After some trial and error, we determined that he needed socks on to sleep. If his feet get cold, he wakes up. He also needs his paci, and thanks to a friend’s advice, I put several pacifiers in his crib so if he wakes up without one in his mouth, he’s able to grab another and go back to sleep.

    I found it extremely helpful to follow an actual plan when it came to transitioning down on the number of naps Caleb took. I downloaded the Moms on Call app and used it for this. Having a guideline of how to transition and when was very useful and took the stress out of this. As we transitioned his naps slowly, he began to sleep longer stretches at night and by 8 weeks old, he was sleeping through the night. (He was formula fed and it’s proven that formula fed babies are able to go longer stretches without milk, so he had everything he needed. He also went through times when he was teething and in a growth spurt where he woke up multiple times for a bottle, but as a whole, he started sleeping through the night at eight weeks.)

    All in all, having a routine works best for our family. I thrive on routine and structure and it seems that my kids do, too. That said, it’s important to not stress yourself out about staying on an exact schedule. If you have a good routine, I’ve found that deviating from it slightly will not cause a problem. I always plan ahead when I know we’ll be far off of our routine and that has worked for us. Remember, there is trial and error involved in setting and sticking to a routine, but it’s definitely worth the effort it takes.

     

    Do you have a routine for your kids?

    What’s the biggest challenge you had to overcome?

    Have you stuck with a routine as your kids have grown or slowly let go?