Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Power of Laughter

If you are too busy to laugh, you are too busy.  ~Proverb

My husband has had quite the run this week a nasty cold/sore throat turned into a ear infection and tonsillitis, fever etc. He has been sleeping most of the last few days and is doing much better today. Last night we got to spend some quality time together just sitting together watching comedy videos on you tube. Not something we would normally do but after a hard week for all of us, we both needed to just laugh- how often do you get to really laugh? I think most of our answers would probably be, not enough. So, if you need to just have some fun and you don't have much money- you tube is a great alternative to a night out. Make yourself some pop corn or dessert, maybe some hot chocolate and try not to take life so serious all the time.It can really make a difficult week so much better. I can be a pretty serious person so this is a good reminder for me.

 Here were some of our favorites:

Brad Stine- Airbags are for babies -LOL
"Babies" Tim, Bob and John 
Teenagers- Tim, Bob and John 
Marriage- Tim,Bob and John 
Bob Smiley on Childcare 
Tim hawkins on Dangerous Toys <3
 Tim Hawkins on Bad Candy 
Tim Hawkins on Hand Sanitizer 
Tim Hawkins on favorite Bible verse 
Tim Hawkins- Products 
Tim Hawkins- Imagine 
Tim Hawkins- The wife song 
Tim Hawkins-Chick Fil A 
Tim Hawkins on food choices 
Tim Hawkins on raising kids 
Brad Stine- Barney vs Captain Kangaroo 
Brad Stine- Pardon Me 
 Brad Stine-Chopsticks

So consider a stay in date night with some good comedy:-D! 

Next week I should have a few new creations to show off,but until then check out my new shop banner my friend Carolyn made for me here. Currently 20% of profits go to help care for orphans as well as helping christian families adopt with Show Hope.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

From Dumping Grounds To Craft Room

 Due to some technical difficulties, I am late on this post- but here it is:-). Do you have a dumping room in your house? Ever since we moved in this is the one room we have not painted or done anything with, I was so excited to get my hands on it so it finally feels like we are not walking in to someone elses kids room every day. This is what was:

The closet attached


My sewing/craft area in our living room

 This is what is :-) :

Took this idea from

Magnetic make up board(from etsy)

A few of the people that matter most to me

The never ending mend/working project pile

Curtain I made that I was waiting for a sale, will be adding some pink to the top as well.

This is how I store my fabric for my business

I like to crochet too

Notice no shelf on the desk anymore...

This is a ribbon holder I had got that does not work well standing up and down- you pull on one ribbon they all come undone, works best on the wall

I did have a shelf on top of that desk before right? I decided to fix up the closet a bit as well, we now have a family closet down in the laundry room, took the clothing bars out and made it into a mini play room with a toddler bench from the table shelf.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A few More Resources

Kevin Leman was nice enough to take two of my suggestions for blog posts via facebook, both talk about parenting- the first the difference between being a permissive, authoritative, and authoritarian parent. The second the difference between praise and encouragement. Enjoy!

What Kind Of Parent Are You?

The Dark Side of Praise

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Attachment Parenting part 4/4 (The Heart)

In conclusion, I would say AP parenting has made me be a more compassionate and understanding parent, it has helped me get behind my child's eyes, I still loose my temper at times-especially if I am so focused on what I am doing and how the kids are interrupting it and complicating my life! It is common sense parenting to me.It is a lot of work with a new baby, but I find it more work to not be as connected- then I have no idea whats going on when my child acts up, or the baby is crying- i just throw my hands up in the air and say why me? I am too busy for this today!  I think AP helps me to be a better christian parent when used correctly. I personally feel that, done the correct way it can more accurately help me parent the way the Bible talks about-specifically when it talks about guiding and teaching a child while they are young and sitting on your lap. I think it teaches me to have a calm response and not a swift reaction. I highly recommend it (when applied with balance). Also, if you do not do AP- I do not consider you a disconnected, bad or detached parent.To each their own- do what works for your family!

Again- This is just what I have found in the past 2 1/2 years, what I did not know before I became a mom. What I have learned in the process, hoping it will help other moms of babies and toddlers. I cannot give too much advice, nor would I pretend to know about parenting a 5 yr old or a teenager. I only know about what works for my first son and my baby thus far. It is very hard to not care what others think of how you parent but I encourage you to look at your child's heart. It is easy to judge others kids by the fact that they are energetic and bouncing off the walls, however if they have a heart for God that is more important than great manners and a inner rebellious spirit. I am constantly feeling convicted and  challenged by God to not nit pick at my sons manners but to focus on his heart- that is what God cares about anyways right? Who cares what the lady at the grocery store thinks- does she know your child's heart !? (Easier said than done- I know!) My friend Cassie is so encouraging on this issue- it has really helped.

The Bible is the ultimate guide, but for more specific parenting problems and options, some books/videos really can help.

Toddler/ Child Discipline:

Have a New Kid by Friday ( Love and I highly recommend).... he also has Have a New Teenager by Friday!
Making the"Terrible Twos" Terrific (do not agree with everything but you are going to get that with parenting books)
Happiest Toddler on the Block  ( I do not love this book, the author believes in evolution.There is a lot I do not agree with but there are a few tips in there that really do help, I would not buy it-but I would get it out of the Library or borrow it for those tips.)
Creative Correction- I loved this book because it had stories for each misbehavior-to get to the heart of your child, it had bible verses for behaviors. Certain parenting techniques I would never use because I think they are too harsh. Overall- there was much to be taken from it, but some should be left (my opinion only).

I enjoy me some super nanny- she gets the children to behave right ( I would use her time out technique and stay in bed technique) but I think it is important to know that good behavior does not always mean a good heart.

Newborn Cries and what they mean (This really helped with my second. While the baby is crying, turn it on and see which sound matches)
Happiest Baby on the Block- I could not make it through the book-but I LOVE the DVD.Perfect for dealing with newborn crying. 
The baby book- birth to age 2  ( In the process of reading, so far-so good)
Safety measures to co sleeping 
Breastfeeding, natural birth, and co sleeping- LLLI 
Co sleeping concerns- Sears- I love Sears stuff because, he has the information but I never hear " before we evolved" a reason to back up his opinion.He claims to be a Christian, he is not a fan of regular corporal punishment- that subject is between you, your Bible and God- I am not a theologian, and I also do not think they know everything!
No Cry Sleep Solution 

Books I want to read:
Its your kid not a Gerbil and Home court Advantage - not letting your kids be involved in too many outside activities, which helps you spend more time teaching them and building a strong family.
No-Cry Discipline Solution- I was not crazy about the title as I thought it might mean being too easy on children-but it means teaching children to obey without tantrums,crying etc., I loved her no cry sleep solution so I would give it a read.
Why Christian Kids Rebel- I really want to read this one, it caught my eye and one of the reasons it gives is " parents treat their beliefs like a hobby" and boy did it convict me.
The Parent you want to be: Who You are matters more than what you Do- That statement is SO true. I look forward to this one.

If any friends or family want to borrow any of the books I have read, let me know- I own them. If you have read any of these books let me know what you did and did not like about them below in the comments.

One word of caution- make sure in all your parenting reading that you spend more time actually parenting your children- than reading about it! You will not get anywhere if all you do is read about parenting-although it is easy to fall into. Motivate yourself to put your children's  heart,behaviors, needs and issues before your housework and hobbies, in return I have found that if I do that,more housework gets done, there is more harmony and obedience-because I took care of wrong behavior right away-the longer I pretend not to see my son touching something I warned him about- the longer it will go on, the more confused he will be when I do discipline him- the worse I will feel for sending mixed messages.

By next Friday I will hopefully have a cute little craft room to show you completed. I hope something I have said has encouraged or given insight to you as a mother, I pray that God gives me the right words to say and the right way to say them so that they may be used to touch your heart.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Attachment Parenting-Part 2/4 (myths vs truths)

There is plenty on the internet you can look up about what Attachment Parenting is, but not so much about what it is not. So I thought I would dispel some myths and misconceptions.

The co sleeping stigma- I have no doubt this is a big reason why AP is looked down on by some Christians. I have to say, it is such a personal choice. It has been shown to be very good for babies to be close to their mothers- it regulates their breathing and sleep cycles. We should be mindful to realize what are opinions and simply a western way of thinking vs. the facts. In most other countries babies sleep with their parents,in America we really have a push towards independence of children, in all aspects. I really do not feel that God cares where a baby or child sleeps, some people want to stay away from it because it is a habit they do not wish to continue, that is your choice as a parent, no one else.Let me say though, that the idea of meaning to start as you want to go on- while sounding great in theory and having some very good points, we should remember that all young babies know is being held 24/7, rocked almost constantly, and being fed non stop- you are not getting them used to that- they were born with that, all you are doing is weaning them off of that the first year, i personally choose to do that gradually. Many feel that it is important for children to learn to sleep on their own because they will be doing it for awhile, however there will come a time when they  will probably get married and will need to learn how to sleep with someone else, so if your really thinking about their whole future in this area- you can look at it both ways.
A note on safety- look up safety guidelines if you choose to co sleep ,when done correctly it may reduce risk of SIDS - not increase. More babies die in cribs each year than in their parents bed- never let a baby sleep with you if you or your partner have drank alcohol, have taken sleep aids,do drugs,smoke or are obese (parent roll overs usually happen with one of these factors). Beware of government( and state) funded propaganda-be a balanced researcher. I once heard of a mom saving her babies life because she "had a feeling" (her baby was laying in a bassinet close to her bed) the baby had stopped breathing and it was saved, there are many stories about mothers helping babies like this through their co sleeping arrangement.The AAP has just recently changed their recommendations for sleeping arrangements to encouraging parents to keep their baby in their room for a year (but on a separate surface)- for increased safety of the child- I think as the research continues to come in they will eventually accept it as the same as crib sleeping, safe as long as the correct safety measures are in place. I personally believe that the reason that pacifier use and placing infants on the back has been shown to reduce SIDS is primarily because both mean lighter sleep (less sleep for parents and babies) and there is a possibility that deep sleep is not the best for baby- risk wise, although all of us parents really want it. Also the risk of suffocation if much less. Look at the research on both sides and make your decision best off of what you see.
Example of Propaganda:
Adds meant to show parents how dangerous co sleeping is due to the county's high death rate of babies in parents beds. However they may have missed their mark a bit ( in my opinion). Safe parents do not let their child sleep on pillows in highly cushioned beds with big comforters. Maybe that is as dangerous as a knife in bed, but not the way many of us co sleep.

Every baby and family is different. I personally, don't want my 2 1/2 yr old sleeping with me (he now sleeps best in his own room,SIDS is no longer a concern, sleeping in his own room gets him good sleep), but I don't care what other people do! I think the reason some Christians are so against it, is because of the misguided idea that it means you have a child centered home, that your marriage is not a priority- I respectfully disagree. I am not going to lie that the trap is not so easy to fall into- having a child centered home is probably one of the things that is so hard to stay away from when you have real small ones. Let me tell you though, when my husband joins in, and picks the baby up in the middle of the night and cuddles him, like he did last night, and when he feels attached to that baby and overwhelms him with love- that helps our relationship- that makes me say " wow, my husband loves our family and cares about helping me out"

At the risk of sounding like a broken Leman record ..." Children are an extension of their mother"- and it is so true. Love on your kids, and your wife will love on you. Also, co sleeping absolutely does NOT have to affect physical intimacy in a marriage.All I will say is- where there is a will- there is a way, and if you have a husband- there is always a will, it's how God made them.Yes, i hear you chuckling! As an example... the Duggars keep their babies in their room until about 18 months (co sleeping, defined as keeping baby close while sleeping) they also have young visitors through the night, I think we all know their intimacy is not lacking-19 kids& counting! If you choose to have your baby in bed/room it should be a joint decision/ husband supported.

On this subject of the Child centered home. I hear this warning often it almost always hits a nerve with me because sometimes it comes across (to me) as, children are second class citizens,they are too be seen and not heard. I am sure that is not what is meant,but it can come across that way if you hear it enough! To clarify this, that is not what Jesus says at all, they are a gift to be enjoyed, they are a blessing given. Your life is going to change when you have kids-they WILL inconvenience you, your priorities are going to change. Your marriage is going to change- but it can all change for the better! 

Children and Parents are equal in Gods sight, we just have different roles- you are to be in authority over children.You are to put your marriage before your kids which as my friend put it so well she said, "not having a child centered home to me means that if you have a date night with your husband and your child is crying, you tell them its ok hunny, you will be alright but mommy and daddy need to spend time together", you don't let that stop you from going out (I would reschedule for bad sickness of course). That is balance to me. Not having a child centered home also does not mean that it is to be a marriage centered home (like so many think) it is to be a Christ centered home! Marriage comes before the kids wants and desires but God comes before the marriage, making your marriage an idol is not going to make it what it should be. Put God first, and the marriage (between two believers) should come together much better,easier,faster than if you try to piece it all together yourself.

But won't  Attachment Parenting teach children they are the center of the universe? no, not if it is done correctly. If anything it teaches them to think about other people, to share and be compassionate, to think about others feelings and be considerate. Today I was changing my baby's diaper and he was upset. My toddler came over, got down close to the baby and said "I talk to levi, its ok baby!" and now as I am in the other room he is saying " he wants his mommy, I cant hold levi- I too little". I made a belt for my 2 yr old because his Sunday pants kept falling down, he did not want to wear a belt the one day. Since he had never had a belt before, and it would not be the end of the world if he did not wear it, instead of forcing it on him and saying too bad your wearing it because I say, I replied with" well I would like to you wear it since I made it for you, it makes mommy sad you do not want to since I put hard work into it, but you may choose." The reply?  ' I want to wear it, not make mommy sad, want to make mommy happy!" Kids want to please their parents but if they do not think its achievable they can stop trying to hard. You don't just give them whatever they want.You are understanding, but you are not permissive. I do not spend my day entertaining my kids generally speaking, I will however get them involved in something and continue on what needs to be done- you will be interrupted if you have toddlers- that is just the way they are but you can teach them to wait a little.You teach by example.You are compassionate yourself. There is a difference between being compassionate to your children and letting them walk all over you! You dont let them back talk you, you dont let them say no in a defiant tone without a consequence.

I try not to pick my baby up when hes screaming in his highchair, but I understand that he wants to get down. So instead of leaving him scream to figure out that I dont like it, to which they usually just exhaust themselves to stop crying, I choose to say" no levi, that is not the right way to ask" and I will show him how to sign - up, please or all done(at this point he has already stopped crying, may sign as he learns them- and I pick him up). Does it teach him that screaming gets attention because I turn around when he does it? I guess you can look at it that way, but Iv found if I at least teach him the right response, he can know what is expected instead of not knowing what to do to be picked up. There is a lot of changing that goes on between a baby and a toddler when it comes to their brain, yes they are smarter than we sometimes give them credit for- but we should not expect that they can put things together just as fast and easy as an adult can. In my opinion toddlers can be much more manipulative than babies, they make more connections and if you give them too much they will keep pushing it.

This mother is a sign language teacher, all babies do not sign this many signs at a year-but the more you sign with your baby, the more they will learn. The other night I was surprised my 9 1/2 month old was throwing his mesh feeder on the floor, yet he still seemed hungry, since I was attentive, I noticed he then held his hand out and was signing milk. That was his way of saying, no more apple, I would like milk please- and he was thirsty.

I would never claim that my way is the only way to do it correctly- it is not, this just the way that works best for me to teach my children  the way I feel God wants me to. To be compassionate and caring, by learning the lesson myself. The power of Christ in me, is what is helping me to balance, have self control of my tongue and body language ( in the way I speak to my kids), I am learning to respond to my children instead of reacting in anger/frustration. It is an ongoing lesson when you have a toddler. Self control does NOT come naturally for many people. I would generally explain my approach(and what I aim for) as soft spoken, but firm( yes it is possible with Gods help).

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Attachment Parenting-Part 3/4 (Rules, Encouragement, and Grace)

Attachment parenting is not a set of rules, you dont have to follow all of them. I just think it is a good tool that helps me out. As an example, many who follow attachment parenting do positive discipline (usually meaning no time outs or punishment-which is usually coined as time outs or corporal punishment)- I  however do choose to do time outs and other creative disciplines/reality discipline but I also use some positive discipline techniques. I personally choose not to use many rewards to curb my child's behavior because I want him to obey for the right reasons-but I do think there is a place for them, just have not figured it out yet.

Something that is working out extremely well with my two yr old is encouragement, not praise. (have a new kid by Friday) Encouragement is saying things like " good job, that must make you feel proud of yourself, look all your hard work seems to have paid off, you are really working hard to use the toilet- must make you feel good" etc. Praise is " what a good girl you are, wow your so amazing, your the best kid/player on the team, I am so proud of you(guilty as charged). I always wondered why praise felt fake, and once I read about it-then it all made sense. The encouragement is empowering, the praise is just saying your the best-dont need to work harder or my mom thinks I am the best player on the team, and I know I am not- so she must be lying to me to make me feel good. I am still learning about this, it is a area that I really believe in and I have noticed a huge change in my child using the potty since I have been working at it. He is now in the " I can do it myself" phase-which I am LOVING!....Although it may mean cleaning up a few messes around the toilet- it is worth it.

"Rules without relationship breads rebellion" -Giving boundaries is needed for children, but only focusing on the rules and outward behavior and not the heart, can lead to trouble. AP/strong relationship helps me to focus on the heart of my child. I remember a once or twice when my parents gave me grace, I deserved to be disciplined but they said " today I am giving you grace". Which is what Christ has done for us, we still get consequences sure, but He does more than his " fair share" of grace giving don't you think?! I do not think we should do this all the time for toddlers especially- but once in good while to say " you deserve to be disciplined but today I am giving you grace like Jesus has given me" may be a good idea. I just did this for the first time the other day.

All AP parents do not parent exactly this way, some fall into the "holes" of letting go of their authority and coddle. Some are a little more grace based parents than I am. Some may be more strict. It all depends on the person. I am absolutely not perfect, but my husband and I try very hard not to repeat ourselves too much ( a very,very hard thing to master.....very very hard). I believe I can still teach my child to obey first time with this style- which is our goal. I am not perfect with it, it is a area I think most parents struggle with- do not nag, say it once and if the child does not obey, discipline. That does not have to mean spanking or time out, it can mean that when the child later comes to you wanting something(which is only a matter of time) you express "I am sorry, I would love to help you out and get that cookie for you, but I asked you to clean up your toys and you did not obey" or something to that affect- it works- even with young children(although be mindful of their short memory span). Using this style can be very hard if you are worried about what other people think, seeing your child do something wrong in public and seemingly getting no consequence. However it really works, it really teaches them to think about it the next time they are about to do that same thing again. I once treated myself to some french fries after a less than ideal experience when my toddler in a store, think he got some of my fries? I heard about it the whole way home to " no fries for Isaac, I not listen to mommy? Mommy says no fries"....he loves fries. In my opinion this was not a time for grace.

One thing I have noticed- it is so important to learn how to say this in a matter of fact tone, not like your waiting for a argument/tantrum(in toddlers). My mother in law is awesome at this, particularly with my 2 yr old. When you say it like your waiting for a argument the kids pick up on it. "Fighting is an act of cooperation" (Making children mind without loosing yours, Have a new kid by friday) Links above in 4/4. If you are overly authoritarian it comes off as a " I am using my power and am better than you"  feeling to it. Try to remember how you felt when you were a kid and an adult talked to you in that type of tone. It makes a huge difference!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Attachment Parenting Part 1/4- Coming out of the Closet!

I am coming out of the closet!... I am a Christian, and I like Attachment Parenting(mumbled under breath)- there, I said it! That feels good, until I get some nasty comments of course ;-). Before you stop reading, give me a few minutes. I enjoy reading "self help books" on marriage and parenting and almost all are written by Christians. I have found that there is often a stigma about the concept of Attachment parenting- a misguided idea of what it means, and that it means the same thing to all people- it does not! I will share with you what I have found in using AP. First off, if your new to the term, Attachment Parenting it is usually explained by the 7 B's. Which are :

1.Birth bonding
3.Baby wearing
4.Bedding close to baby
5.Belief in the value of baby's cries(their only way to communicate)
6.Beware of baby trainers

That last one is the one I think is where AP parenting gets its bad wrap from, some parents who practice it- do not know balance and become the "Martyr mom" or "helicopter parent", giving their children everything they want-thinking it is a need.

I don't think I knew anything about Attachment Parenting when I had my first son- I just knew what I liked to do and what would get us sleep- and the apartments around us. I wore my baby because I got more done that way, and had a quiet content baby -babies who are worn in a sling or carrier/carried tend to learn more when they are up with mom seeing what she does-this does not mean you do not allow them to crawl and explore-just another tool in your tool belt. Balance- I think we all have to work on that regardless of what parenting style we choose. Balance when I had a young baby for me, meant that Id allow myself a shower at least every other day, allow myself to eat and drink even if the baby was crying, and allow myself to get out of the house- if I wanted it. My first was a high needs baby, and I did have postpartum depression, but that did not come from AP- AP is what made things better for me, it is what helped me figure out my baby's problems instead of saying" oh well, he will grow out of it- whatever IT is"- No I was going to find out what it is(and what it was, was acid reflux around 8 weeks and lactose intolerance which was discovered around 8 months).

 One of the myths with Attachment parenting is that if you keep your babies close to you, it will foster dependance- it will do the opposite! You teach your child (babies in particular) to be confident by not constantly pushing them to be on their own and in return they become very independent. Sounds backwards? I've seen it work first hand, around 10 months to a year, my formerly difficult baby started to keep himself entertained- ALL DAY, nearly every day. He hardly needed me for anything-give him his toys and let him go to town. Sure part of it may be personality, and age, but I have seen children who are pushed for independence so much and they seem to have the hardest time with separation anxiety. You can have a independent child without this, every child is different-but I found it helps.

Now along with this is the misconception that Attachment parenting means coddling. Absolutely not. The difference between a healthy AP relationship and coddling means that, you do not keep the child close to you because of your own need to fulfill yourself and keep them from experiences or even consequences. You let them experience failure-they cannot always be the winner, you let them experience natural consequences, you don't protect them from their own bad choices- within reason of course(running into the street for instance). AP does not mean you are a permissive parent or do not discipline your child! It means that you have a close attachment/relationship so that when you do talk to them about what they have done wrong, you can have a conversation and instead of them being bitter and closing their heart because mommy does not understand-she never understands. They open it-not always, because they may be really mad they got in trouble for something- but I think it makes them become a little more of a sponge for wisdom.

Part 1 of 3

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Best Advice, Never Given Enough

" Sleep now while you can", " Be strict with them from the moment they are born", " Close the door and let them cry, they need to learn to self soothe", " If you don't start with veggies before fruit they will not eat their veggies"," If they are not out of your room by 4 months, you will never get them out", " you should get or borrow a crib"," you hold your newborn while they sleep?, not a good habit to get into!", "your baby is gassy?, must be mommy's fault since your nursing" Everyone of these was something I heard when I had my first son, everyone has advice for a first time mom- and I mean EVERYONE, even me

One of my dearest friends is embarking on this awesome journey into motherhood and is reminding me of all the excitement, anticipation, advice, and stress that can be involved. You want to get everything right- the right baby products, the right advice, the right books, the right vaccines etc. You are thinking about how much your life is going to change-usually for the better. Everyone is usually excited for you and that is great! It is so awesome to become a mom, besides knowing Christ as my Savior, and marrying my husband- it is the best thing that has ever happened to me. It has helped me become more patient (and I thought I was patient before- boy am I learning), it has helped me to be a better person because I have little ones watching me, but one of the things that you only get from becoming a parent- is understanding Christ love for His children, to think I love my sons this much and he loves us even more, and sent His only son, for me. That realization came very closely right after having my first son- a love unmeasurable. That is the amazing part, but then there is the parts that are not so enjoyable, lets be real here. The baby that has colic or reflux or thinks its party time all night long, the toddler who cant ever make it to the bathroom on time, Iv heard teenagers are just grown up toddlers as well. 

There comes a point where you have to look at a first time mom and realize- she is overwhelmed,tired, recovering from birth or has anxiety about the upcoming birth,and has hormones mixed in, and maybe just maybe we should not give our advice- maybe we should all shut our mouths! Radical, I know but maybe the best thing to say to a new mom is - "I know your going to make a great mommy, what a lucky baby!" Same to first time dads! Because giving too much advice can sometimes cut down instead of build up,because sometimes what the advice comes across as is " I know more than you, you cannot possibly think for yourself". I know that is not what most of us intend to say at all! When I give advice it is usually meaning to tell them what it took me so long to figure out! 

Being a parent is not like fixing a plumbing problem, there are very few one way to do things correctly. You know what saying something positive like that to first time moms does? Empower them! Isn't that what we are all hoping to do with our advice? Empowerment works so much better than fear, for husbands too- haha.

I am now going to open my heart up to you and share from my experience as a first time mom-which is not easy to do on a public blog. I had a particular issue with my first son that many people have, I also believe it can often times be a first born trait- he seemed to never sleep.

Being my first time doing this, I looked for help and was given much advice by well meaning moms. Most of them told me to let him cry more and learn to self soothe, or give him solids/more solids. Between all of the stress of having such a difficult baby, and the advice that made me feel inadequate- because nobody seemed to understand and sympathize, my own insecurities and most definitely sleep deprivation- i ended up with postpartum depression. When you have postpartum depression, anything anyone says to you can make you break down, its like pregnancy only worse.With postpartum depression each woman can have a different type of specific problem- I did not want anyone touching my baby. 

I took most of the advice I was given actually. I gave him solids- and my problem got worse because he ate too much after I was told to give him as much as he wanted- so he screamed, I was told to leave him in his bed until he slept- well, i took him out to feed him and change him but he still did not sleep-the entire day! He was happy,then sleepy-but did not sleep, then happy again, then crying, then screaming. That night before my husband got home I was a mess, I had a migraine- I puked 4 times (I puke from headaches if I don't get them taken care of soon enough). All I wanted to do was sleep and cry. My husband wanted me just to lay down with the baby and nurse him to sleep because we were both exhausted and clearly nothing else had worked that day. I was so sad, but I felt so much pressure to get this baby to sleep on his own(especially if it was him manipulating me)- especially after I had gotten advice that I would be questioned on later. You know what though- I did do just what my husband suggested- and I will never ever regret it! My son had woken every 2-3 hours a night up to 8-9 months old, taken 2 hours a night to fall asleep even if he was rocked!(around 6 months). Some things were habits, some were phases. By twelve months- he slept 12 hours straight in his crib, almost every single night, the rest is history. So what changed? I learned to stop stressing about what everyone else thought my baby should be doing and started listening to the brain the Lord gave me. I tried a few things out of books that I liked that helped(My Favorite-The No-Cry Sleep Solution,by Elizabeth Pantley ), got him on a better routine for his specific age(which you can find on the internet). I remember having my son crying and praying to God- "please guide me to do the right thing, I want to pick him up but so many christian mothers I know don't do things that way- it must be some sort of biblical thing- I must be doing it wrong." You know what came to me again and again" Ashley, just pick him up, comfort your baby- its ok!". My husbands aunt said to me once" It is not a biblical issue" that little sentence gave me so much freedom. 

Kevin Leman often says" Don't major in the minors"- that's exactly what I was doing- judging my self worth and how good of a mother I was on how well my baby sleeps. I am happy to say that today I have found the absolute best advice for me as a new mom was " Do what works for your family, do what you want!" As long as what your doing is not illegal, or morally wrong, or goes against the Bible- you have nothing to worry about. God does care about the little things in your life, the minors - and if you ask him for guidance He will give you something- just like He gave me. 

  As one whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you; and you shall be comforted in Jerusalem. Isaiah 66:13

Now, don't I have another little one now? Yes, and he is a completely different child than the first. He takes to a routine much better, he usually naps awesome(going through a phase now that reminded me of this) but overall the kid is just easier and happier than my first. Me? If I want to co sleep- I do, If I want to put him in his pack n play to sleep- I do. He is learning to sleep in different places and that works best for us. If i want to rock him I do. I just enjoy being a mom SO much more this go around because I am spending time enjoying the amazing little blessing God gave me because I know it really does go so fast. Really for me- the first year is all about bonding and enjoying, things change so fast that young that it really doesn't matter to much what you did or did not do. The second-third year is when the teaching and guiding really comes in. 

I still ask for advice with my toddler with each new age but I realize I can take it or leave it and that I know my child better than anyone else. You do too! You need to make your parenting decisions based on what you feel is right, not what grandma, the lady at the laundry mat, the doctor, your mother in law, your sister, the lady at church- you get the point. Do what works for your family!
Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28