25 Secrets of Happy Moms~ Secret # 21:)

I love reading parenting magazines for a lot of reasons. To get new ideas and insight, to find out the latest info, to read about things that relate to my life right now, and to feel connected with other moms like me. When editors ask questions that inspire me, I usually respond. I have been lucky enough to have two responses I’ve written published in American Baby magazine within the last year and a half. I thought that was kinda neat, but I was really suprised when I saw something I’d written in this article by Parents magazine! Check out “secret” #21 at this link written by yours truly;)

25 Secrets of Happy Moms

Hope everyone is enjoying this lovely spring weekend and soaking up lots of family time!:)

~Bella’s 18 month update!~

This is so true! I started blogging about my pregnancy with Bella and have literally documented her entire life so far. This is such a great way to remember all of the little things that are often forgotten over the years and also for our friends and family that may not get to see the girls often. I only wish there was such a thing as blogging when my first was born! But no worries, they have all certaintly been blogged about since I started this!:)
So on to the 18 month update!…..

It is finally time for another Bella update. She turned 1 year old last July, which makes her 18 months this month!! After Bella turned one, I decided to update every 6 months because there are not as many monthly changes as there are in the first year. So her next update will be this summer when she turns 2 years old!! Wow, time is flying and with every day that passes we see more and more of that sweet little personality shine through. I think it is safe to say that Bella has established herself as a sweet natured yet very determined child. She knows what she wants and there are no moments of indecision for her! Once she decides what she wants she goes for it wholeheartedly. This reminds me very much of Hailey as a baby. But Bella differs in that she is much more outgoing and LOVES to be the center of attention. If the attention in the room is elsewhere she goes about dancing, singing, trying to “show” you something (which is pretty much anything she can find at that moment). She is a lot like Mary Kathryn in that she is very empathetic. If she sees someone upset she is going to go love on them, give them her toy, or entertain them until they smile. Bella is definitely the baby of the family and her sisters dote on her all of the time. And Bella loves that of course!:)

Weight~ Bella is 21 pounds and 7 ounces! Though she is only in the 6th percentile for weight, her growth chart shows that she is growing “just perfectly”. Both Hailey and Mary Kathryn were in the 6-9th percentile range at this age. I just have petite little girls I guess!:)

Feedings~ Bella is a good eater and can eat just about anything we eat. Some of her favorites are scrambled or poached eggs, chicken and rice, pancakes, and chicken. She is still not able to drink cow’s milk or many other dairy products but she loves her vanilla soy milk!! She will also drink apple juice or water but LOVES soy milk. Whenever I have tried any cow’s milk she breaks into a rash and gets severe diarrhea, so no milk right now. I am actually considering taking her to an allergist to check it out. Below is a picture of the rash she first got when I weaned her from breastmilk to organic whole milk at 1 year.

Sleep~ Bella goes to sleep for the night between 7 and 7:30pm. I give her a sippy cup of soymilk and then lie her down awake and she goes right to sleep. I am so thankful for this because the sleepless nights from last year are still vivid in my mind! On Tuesday nights we are late getting home from cheer practice in greenville, so I put her pjs and nighttime diaper on right before we leave to come home from cheer around 8:00pm. She sleeps the hour drive home and then I just transfer her right from the car to her crib when we get home. Bella also takes 1-2 naps for a couple of hours each day. It depends on what our schedule for the day is like whether she gets one or two naps. With two older sisters in school and with extracurricular activites, Bella has to go with the flow:)

 

Play~ Bella loves to play with her friends Audrey and Ellie when she is at the babysitters. She has become quite proficient at calling out their names when we drive up to Ms.Ann’s house. She knows it is time to play with her bestie:) She also loves to play anything that Hailey and Mary Kathryn are playing whether its barbies, dolls or coloring pictures, she is right there with them. Her play kitchen is also a favorite as well as her babydoll and carriage.

Development~ Bella can run, jump, climb stairs while standing and holding the rail, hold a pencil or crayon correctly, talk in short sentences, identify familiar people and objects by name, sing songs in their entirety and all kinds of big girl things. She is also aware when she goes potty in her diaper because she will come up to us while holding her diaper to let us know. We may start introducing the potty chair sometime around her 2nd birthday:) No hurries though!:)

Favorite things right now~ Her wubbanub pacifiers (I have decided to start that weaning process around 2 years), her sissies, her pink blanket and she loves going to watch cheerleading competitions! It’s a good thing because she goes to lots of them! In fact, she makes multiple attempts during the competitions to run out on the mat/stage. It’s only fast mommy reflects that have stopped this from happening! I also can’t wait to take her to Mary Kathryn’s recital in June. I know she will just love it!!

Just look at how much Bella has grown since this picture was taken at a few weeks old!!

And now look how big she is!!

18 months already!! It never ceases to amaze me at how fast children grow. Motherhood is such a blessing and a tremendous responsibilty. It is so easy to love them and make them happy, but we mothers also carry the responsibility of nuturing their realationship with God, directing the growth of their charachter, helping them to develop their individual gifts and talents, setting clear expectations of right and wrong, and the list goes on….
What an important and hard job we have! My prayer is that God will lead me in this and guide their little hearts in their journey.

Happy 18 months Bella!!!:)

Reflections of a third time mom…..

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Reflections of a third time mom…..

As a new mother to baby number three, I have noticed that this last baby has been by far the “easiest” baby. She is good natured, sleeps well, plays independently, rarely cries and is just overall a pleasure to be around. This was not the case with my first child, Hailey or even my second child, Mary Kathryn. Hailey was clingy, fussy and often times hard to console. Mary Kathryn was a little easier but still was not what you would call an “easy“ baby. I remember when I was pregnant with Hailey, I was under the mistaken idea that parenthood is something that comes naturally. After all, look at all the mothers who do it everyday. I also naively thought that having a sibling and babysitting had prepared me for having my own baby. The first night my husband and I brought her home, I realized how very wrong I was.

Once reality set in, I found myself thinking, “Why is this so much harder than it looks?”. I was breastfeeding around the clock and could hardly sleep for checking to make sure she was breathing. Getting a shower without a crying baby was impossible and the days of hopping in the car to run to the grocery store were long gone. As a first time mom, the first few months of my baby’s life had me feeling as if I were barely keeping my head above water. Life with a baby is something no one can really prepare you for. Though it is one of the greatest of life’s experiences, it is also, by far, one of the most challenging. Now, looking back, I can see that once little Hailey came home with us, our lives immediately began revolving around her. Instead of integrating her into our lives; we allowed our lives to be controlled by baby. After many comments on how well adjusted this third baby is, I have to wonder. How much of this is her natural disposition and how much has having a more experienced mother contributed? If only I had known then what I know as a new mom now.

At my third child, Bella’s, two month checkup my pediatrician was amazed at what a good baby she was. She smiled happily at him, did not fuss throughout the checkup, and was easily consoled after getting her shots. After I thanked him for his compliment, he went on to say that as a third time mom I had “figured it out”. On my way home I thought about this and decided that ,yes, I have finally started to figure this mom thing out.

For starters, with my third child Bella, I knew to expect a complete change in lifestyle once we brought her home from the hospital. I knew that I would no longer be able to come and go as I had once again become accustomed to. Knowing this took away some of the shock we had after our firstborn and then again when adding another baby to the mix. As a third time mom, I have learned through experience that by doing a few important things, I can set my baby up to be a “good natured” baby.

Here are some of the most helpful things I have learned from my journey through motherhood:

Start as you mean to go on….

It was so tempting to hold my firstborn constantly. After nine months of carrying her inside me, I was hesitant to let go of her for long. By baby number three, I realized that if I didn’t allow my baby to become accustomed to sleeping without being held, I would have a very clingy older baby on my hands. So while I hold, play and cuddle with Bella, I also allow her times during the day where she plays independently in a bouncy, saucer or play mat. Naptimes are spent in a bassinet or crib so that she does not always associate sleep with being held. Naptime is also a time when I know I will be able to do chores, rest, or spend time with my older children. I have found that by starting these practices from the beginning, Bella has become a less clingy baby than my first two babies were.

Put baby on a schedule…..

This has been the biggest factor in integrating baby number three into our family. My first child ate, slept and played with little routine or schedule. This left my husband and I often trying to figure out why our baby was crying. Was she tired? Hungry? Sick?. During my third pregnancy, I worried about how I could best integrate the new baby into our already busy life. With two school aged children I would need to know when I could do homework, give baths and cook dinner without a crying baby. Eventually I found that the feed, wake, sleep schedule would work best for our family. For example, by following a schedule, I know that if baby is fussing, and she has already eaten and played, then she is probably ready for her nap. Of course, I always take into account any cues she may be giving me. A change in her normal cry always warrants further investigation. Having a schedule has allowed me to plan my errands, lunch dates or doctors appointments during a time I know she will be at her best. By being able to better anticipate my babies’ needs, I am often able to avoid a fussy, inconsolable baby. Hence, the many compliments on a good natured baby.

Don’t expect too much…..

One thing that was especially difficult for me after the birth of my first baby was keeping a clean, organized house, cooking dinner and getting the laundry done. Maintaining the standard I had set for myself prebaby became almost impossible. Accomplishing the smallest of household chores is so much harder with a baby to care for. This time around, I am no longer sweating the small stuff. My priority is being the best mom I can be. And if some days I am able to get the house spotless and all the laundry done, well, that’s just icing on the cake.~

 

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