our sleep routine for the boys.

I am always interested in hearing about other mom's sleep routines with their kids so I thought I would share mine too. If you have any other tips, suggests, or advice I would love to hear them. Our sleep routine is split between Nick and myself. Many of your spouses might work nights or get home late so I know this does not work for everyone. Thankfully, Nick works 2 miles away and he is always home for dinner and therefore he is a big help to me with the boys. Getting ready for bed is a special time for us as a family and I am thankful that Nick enjoys helping me out.

 

After dinner around 6:15 PM Nick gives the boys a bath while I clean the kitchen up from the dinner. When I am finished I lay out the kids pjs and help Nick with bath time. Calvin and Max get a bath every single night, they have been doing this since their first week home. They love the water, we love clean kids, and it really doesn't take long at all so it is a win win at our house. Calvin is 3.5 years old and is at the stage where he can go without a nap. We head back into the living room after they are dressed and the boys play until it is Max's bedtime.

At 6:40 PM I take Max to get ready for bed. 

- Turn sound machine on (best invention ever!!!!) 

-Put Max in his sleep sack

-Give him his "night night" aka Aden and Anais security blanket

-We  read 2 books, recite the Lord's Prayer and then nurse him. Max was fully weaned for the last month but then after he was sick he would cry to nurse again so I began nursing him again just right before bed. We are going on a little couple's trip in a few weeks here so I plan to fully stop while I am away. 

-When I am done nursing Max, usually 5-10 mins. I lay him in his bed sleepy but awake and recite the Gloria Patri and leave the room. He usually doesn't say a word and will get cozy and fall asleep. Other times he might whine for a second but he is always excited to go to bed which makes it easy for me. He is out by 7:00 PM or earlier.

Calvin is allowed to watch a show with Nick while I am putting Max down and have some one on one time with Dad. If he does not nap he is in bed by 7:15 PM but he if does nap he can't fall asleep until after 8 PM. Most days I have him rest by me while Max takes his long nap so that the boys are both in bed by 7:15 PM and Nick and I can enjoy a few hours alone kid free. 

-At 7:00 PM Calvin brushes his teeth and goes potty

- They read two books and recite the Lord's prayer and then pray for the needs of friends and family

- Sound machine, night light and lavender spray

- Nick says good night and then leaves the door half way open and leaves the room. Calvin has a big imagination and will go through weeks where he is scared to be in his room alone but thankfully the past two months he has been really brave. I think since he is usually so tired from not napping he is too exhausted to fight sleep. 

Calvin wakes to go potty usually around 1 PM and then jumps in my moms bed. This has been happening for a year now and my mom loves it so we don't plan on disrupting his routine at this point. The boys both wake up between 6:30-6:45 PM and then we do it all again. Some people ask me if Nick misses putting Max to bed or if I miss putting Calvin to bed but we really like splitting the tasks up between us both. This gives us one on one time with the boys and it is only for a short season until they sleep in the same room (I plan on doing this once Max turns 2 in November). 

The best part of the early bedtime is that there is still enough time left in the day for me to get any errands done, have a date night, watch a movie, blog, read, clean the house, or have company over. I love knowing that we can get out of the house sometimes without the boys being sad that we aren't home.  In a few months things might change a little we will readjust accordingly but for now this is working out pretty well. 

What does your sleep routine look like? Do your kids have a security blanket or sound machine? What is your favorite book to read for bedtime?

being on the same side.

From day one after you give birth you are forced to make decisions on how to feed, bathe, raise, and care for your baby. You continually try new things until you find what works for you and your family. Most of the time, at least in our family, I am the one trying a new technique or routine and Nick follows along. Even though I have worked with kids my entire life (my mom owned her own daycare center for 15 years) I still had to figure out what worked for both me and my boys and many times that means trial and error.

What I have found most valuable is being on the same side with your spouse. Nick knew early  on that I wanted to breastfeed and once Calvin was born he was my biggest supporter in keeping at it since we agreed early on that is what we would do. After a few weeks of pain and tears I was on the verge of quitting when he reminded me of reasons why we originally planned that I would breastfeed. Milk supply was never and issue but we re-evaluated together if this would work for our family or not. By God's grace things got better once I saw a great lactation consultant and this was the first of many decisions we would have to make together as parents.  

Another big discussion we had to have was how our boys would sleep. I am really into schedules and wanted to have some consistency in our lives. When I was the midst of suffering from postpartum depression with Calvin, I desperately missed having alone time with Nick to talk about our day and just enjoy being together. Putting Calvin to bed early (which he liked and needed) helped me to be able to be both mom and wife. Nick loves to talk and read in bed so we decided early on that it was best for us to have our space separate from Calvin, even if that meant Calvin slept in our empty walk-in closet with the door open. The important thing here is that both Nick and I had to communicate what was important to us and to our son in order to create an environment where everyone's needs where being met. Calvin needed sleep to grow and thrive and we needed adult time so that we could be better parents, and remain spouses. 

In most areas dealing with the boys Nick lets me decide what might be the best plan for the kids and then we discuss if it is working or not. I feel empowered a lot to know he trusts me and the time I put into asking other moms questions, reading, seeking advice, and looking into resources on how to best make choices for the boys. Many times he comes home to me shoving a book in his face with tabs on parenting styles, hoping he will get on board with me on or an email to read on advice from another momma. Sometimes when it is 5 PM in the evening and I am exhausted from the day he will be the one to encourage me to keep at the work I have begun. We try our best to work as a team and to make sure we are being consistent in the ways we parent.  Much like marriage, parenting takes communication, patience, and compromise.

Each day as the boys get older and change we are forced to talk about how we are doing and what we need to do to ensure they are safe and healthy. Thankfully, we also have a huge support team of grandparents, sisters, seminary moms, church family, and friends who we can go to at any time to seek counsel. Bringing up children in the love and knowledge of God is hard work. And since each child has different needs, talents, and weaknesses we are constantly being sanctified in the process of raising them. 

Some of our biggest decisions we have had to make are:

sleeping arrangements

food and mannerisms

discipline

catechism

sports

education

potty-training

weaning

Do you and your spouse see eye to eye on parenting? Do you often need to re-evaluate parenting styles like we do? Do you have a support team of moms to go to when you need advice? 

image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg

my love story.

Guest Post by: Rachel Crum

My husband and I were recently watching Parenthood, one of the later seasons, where Crosby goes through a bit of a crisis wondering why he doesn't feel a "connection" with his newborn daughter. He keeps waiting for that huge semi-truck of love to come slamming into him and he's jealous of the way his wife seems to feel towards the tiny, crying, never sleeping baby now haunting their house.

Watching this made me think about how I felt those first weeks as a new mom. The last couple of months before my daughter was born, people kept asking me, "Are you SO excited to meet your baby?!" And I remember thinking, "Well...kind of." I couldn't wait to see her face for the first time, to hold the child kicking inside of me in my arms. At the same time, I didn't know what to think. I knew I loved my baby, but I felt like someone standing waiting for a mail-order bride to exit a ship. I felt like I was waiting for a stranger-- a stranger who would be a part of my life for the rest of my life. I felt nervous, I felt scared, I worried about how our life was going to change, I worried if I would know what to do. I wanted to see my daughter, but I honestly didn't know anything about her, and I didn't have a relationship with her to reassure me, so I felt more scared and apprehensive than I had before my husband and I got married.

I thought, and hoped all of this would change as soon as I saw my baby for the first time. I thought maybe that truck of love really would hit me and I would never look back. But as much as I cried when they held her up for the first time, as amazed as I was to look at her sweet face, a face I never could have conjured up in my imagination, as much as I loved her, I was so scared. All of my love felt like fear.

I was terrified for her well-being, terrified when she was crying, terrified when the nurses took her away, terrified I didn't know how to feed her and was she eating and how long was it going to hurt like that?! I was terrified because I didn't know how to get her to sleep, or how to swaddle her blankets the right way so they actually stayed tight, and I was terrified to hold her and burp her and change her diaper and bathe her and dress her and be left with her. She was so tiny and helpless! There was a huge burden weighing on me to be the one responsible for the life of this new human. Everything was so new to me. All my years of babysitting felt like they had done nothing to prepare me for this. As I looked at the tiny baby in my arms, I felt love, in some form, and an overwhelming amount of fear.

I'll never forget telling my husband I didn't understand all the happy, lovey-dovey newborn posts my friends put on Facebook. I was too exhausted and painfully sore and hormonal and panicky and overwhelmed to post things about I couldn't believe how much I loved my new baby and I couldn't imagine life without her and I loved being her mama. I could remember life without her, and it had been a good life where I actually slept, and my breasts weren't about to fall off my body, and I wasn't covered in puke but terrified to shower. And I had always thought I would love being a mom, but I had pictured lazy days at the park, and reading my favorite children's stories, and baking muffins and playing play-dough together, not crying while breastfeeding, or being up at 2 in the morning because we had no idea how to get her to go back to sleep, or looking at the tiny person in my arms and wishing so badly she could knew me or could show some sort of affection.

I had a lot of moms tell me, "It gets easier," especially around three months mark they said, but I just remember thinking, "How?! How does this get easier?" The advice felt so vague and, at the time, everything felt so hard. But, I'm thankful to say, it really did get easier. It got easier because I gave up breastfeeding (because of several physical problems), which finally allowed me to feel like I could go out in public. It got easier because my daughter finally started sleeping at night, and even though she would still wake up to eat a couple of times, she didn't stay awake and went right back to sleep. It got easier because she also started napping longer than 40 min, and she stopped puking the contents of her stomach all over me every 10 min (well....eventually). It got easier because I figured out when and how quickly to take a shower and get dinner prepped. It got easier because I became slightly more confident, like being three months into a new job. Even if I didn't know the answer, at least I knew things to try, and the ways to do them.

And if you were to ask me when I felt that swell of love, that bursting, been-run-over-by-a-truck feeling, I would tell you, like Elizabeth says in Pride and Prejudice, "It has been coming on so gradually, that I hardly know when it began." As the fear that characterized my early love slowly subsided, something else inched its way open. It came in all the little moments: my daughter curled up on my chest, asleep, as I kissed her downy little head, hanging out on the bed with sun streaming in the window as I read her Harry Potter, her first smiles, reaching out her arms in recognition towards me, her first laugh. She was three months old before we first heard her laugh, but when she did I realized everyone was right. It really does get easier.

It took me a while to understand that when I had a baby, I entered into a relationship with my child, and it was ok that it unfolded slowly. I loved her from the beginning, but it was a new, hesitant, fearful love--for a tiny stranger. Just like any relationship, time is the key. As I spent every day feeding, caring, comforting, and playing with my baby, my love for her deepened. I began to know her facial expressions, her likes and dislikes, how to hold her and get her to sleep. I began to know HER, and knowing her, I loved her. Now there are times where I put her down to sleep, shut the door, and walk out a little teary, because I didn't know you could love someone so much. I didn't know.

 

image.jpg
image.jpg