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  • Pets and children can become stressed during moving. If moving locally, you may want to leave these special family members with a friend during moving day.
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    July 7, 2015
    What To Do Now To Make Potty Training Easier Later

    Some kids potty train very easily. Others…not so much. But a few weeks of mess and toddler angst is usually preferable to changing diapers until the kid is in kindergarten. My nephew is about 15 months old. He’s still a little young for potty training, but we have started thinking about it. That’s why I;m really excited that I stumbled across this article by Doman Mom for things that you can do with your baby that will make potty training easier in the future! Check out some of her tips here:

    -When you notice your baby “going,” acknowledge it with a word or phrase. Your baby will learn to associate the word (poo poo”) with the action / sensation. 

    -Let your mobile baby watch you go to the bathroom, so they can model their behavior later.

    -Buy a small potty and keep it around long, long before you plan to use it. Some kids do not do well with new things! Have your baby sit on the potty when he goes, even with his diaper on.

    Photo Credit: Michael Bentley 


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    June 1, 2015
    Telling Twins Apart

    I know I’ve talked about my friend who is pregnant with twins nonstop for the past month or so, but that’s because her due date is so close! It’s in ten days! And I’m so excited for her and her husband (and myself, I can’t wait to meet them and play with their little twin toe-sies). But it’s time to talk about the elephant in the room when it comes to newborn twins. How…do you tell them apart? Sure, when they’re older it’s easy- they’ll both have distinct personalities and will physically express themselves differently through clothes, hairstyles, etc. But when they’re babies…not so much. My biggest fear would be for them to get mixed up, and the wrong one being called the wrong name for the rest of her life. And I feel like it’s something all twin parents worry about. Well, my friend’s husband shared this article by Joe at Dad’s Guide To Twins on his Facebook today, and it has several great ideas on keeping them separate from the second they’re born:

    -Gender/Sex- for nonidentical twins, obviously.

    -Size- Even identical twins will be born with different lengths and weights.

    -Hair- color, length, baldness.

    -Skin color

    -Birthmarks

    -Clothing color schemes

    -Paint a toenail

    -Personality and mannerisms

    -Hospital wristbands- keep them on as long as you need to!

    Photo Credit: Donnie Ray Jones 


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    April 27, 2015
    Houdini Baby? How To Keep That Diaper On!

    My nephew went through a phase where, after almost every nap, he’d take his diaper off! Talk about unpleasant- especially if there was something in it. Making sure he was in a onesie, and it was completely buttoned before he went to sleep, worked for us, but some babies even manage to wiggle their way out of that! If your baby is a master of escape, check out this post by Jackie at Happy Hooligans for her Houdini-proof way to keep diapers on sleeping babies:

    -You’ll need a pair of one piece, footless pyjama sleepers .  You may already have a pair, but if you don’t, you can cut the feet off a footed pyjama sleeper.Now, put the sleeper jammies on your child BACKWARDS!  Yep, that’s right! With the zipper at the BACK! Chances are your child will not be able to get out of the backward jammies no matter how hard she tries.

    Photo Credit: David Goehring 


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    February 12, 2015
    Having A Baby And Saving Money

    Babies are expensive. There’s no denying that. I’ve heard that it takes an estimated $250,000 to $1 million to pay for a child from birth to age 18 (not even counting college). One million dollars over 18 years. That is insane! But for almost everyone, it is worth it. But, if there is any way to ease up on the cost, it’s also worth it to take advantage. For tips on how to frugally prepare for a new baby, check out this post by Stacy at Adventures In Coupons:

    -Write out a realistic list of everything you need

    -Buy used if you can. Babies grow out of clothes extremely fast.

    -Barter with friends for what you need

    -Use reusable cloth diapers

    -Talk to a pregnancy crisis center- they help low income families with baby supplies

    -Sign up for baby freebies and mailing lists

    -Breastfeed if you can

    Photo Credit: Alamos Basement 


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    February 2, 2015
    Adopted Children- Dealing With Attachment

    I do not have any adopted children, though I have considered it many times. Being a parent is difficult, and adoptive children come with their own set of challenges. One of the main challenges with adopting is forming deep attachments initially. Often, you miss out on months (or years) of baby bonding time, and you have to work really hard to form that parent/child connection. Some children come from neglectful or abusive backgrounds, and they can be even more difficult to work with. For tips on how to build a stronger attachment with your child (adopted OR biological), read this post by JoAnn Solchany, PhD. At Baby Center:

    -Be predictable. Be there for your child. Respond to his cries, yells, and calls either physically or verbally within 15 seconds.

    -Be empathetic and sensitive. Ask yourself, “What might my child be thinking right now?”

    -Don’t take your child’s behaviors (expressions of fear, anger, frustration, terror, and other difficult feelings) personally. Your child’s ability to express emotion is not yet fully developed.

    -Never let her feet touch the floor! Hold her, touch her, and wear her. You cannot hold them or spoil them enough!

    Photo Credit: basibanget 


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    January 27, 2015
    Dealing With Critical People

    Maybe you’ve decided to homeschool your kids. Maybe you’ve decided that you want six kids, or maybe you only want one (or none!). Maybe you want to adopt children, or become a foster parent. Maybe you need to move for your job, or maybe you want to become a full time stay-at-home parent. Maybe you have a lenient discipline style, or a very strict one. Whatever your parenting choices, they are yours. Sometimes it’s nice to get helpful advice from people who have been through the same situations, but ultimately, you know what is best for yourself and your family, and no one else. Your parents, friends, or in-laws might have their own opinions, but it can often come off as critical. When you find people criticizing how you raise your children, it can be an extremely emotional event– even if they mean well. But it’s important to keep in mind that it is your life, and that all decisions are yours to make. For more on dealing with people that criticize your family choices, read this post by Rachel at The Realistic Mom:

    -Develop some kind but firm responses

    -Take the positive and constructive element out of any criticism before you brush the whole thing off. 

    -Differentiate between concern and arrogance

    -Remain teachable

    -Draw boundaries with people when necessary

    Photo Credit: a2Gemma 


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    December 1, 2014
    Common Parenting Phrases… That You Should Stop Saying

    Everyone knows that you shouldn’t curse around your kids, because they pick it up! You also shouldn’t say anything that will damage their self esteem, or scar them for life. Most people are aware of this. However, there are other phrases that EVERY parent says (me included) that are actually harmful as well– some are very surprising! No, your kid won’t be emotionally ruined if you use them, but alternative ways of wording things are sometimes much better. Check out this article by Michelle Crouch at Parenting.com for the phrases:

    -”You’re okay.”- Try giving him a hug and acknowledging what he’s feeling by saying something like, “That was a scary fall.” Then ask whether he’d like a bandage or a kiss (or both).

    -”I’m on a diet.”- Watching your weight? Keep it to yourself. If your child sees you stepping on the scale every day and hears you talk about being “fat,” she may develop an unhealthy body image. Instead, encourage healthy eating habits and how fun exercise is!

    -”Be careful.”- Saying this while your child is balancing on the monkey bars at the playground actually makes it more likely that he’ll fall. “Your words distract him from what he’s doing, so he loses focus,”

    -”Don’t talk to strangers.” Since the vast majority of child-abduction cases involve someone a kid already knows, you might also adopt McBride’s favorite safety mantra: “If anyone makes you feel sad, scared, or confused, you need to tell me right away.”

    Photo Credit: Ian D. Keating 


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    September 4, 2014
    Asking Vs. Telling

    Discipline is always hard for me. I love kids, and I hate confrontation. So, dealing with discipline problems with children is pretty much my worst nightmare. My golden rule is to treat kids with as much respect as possible– like they’re real people! When I need them to do something, I always ask. But, sometimes, just “asking” doesn’t cut it when you need kids to follow instructions. As much as they need respect, kids also need discipline. But how do you know when to ask, and when to tell? Read this post by Heather at Mamas Spot for advice:

    I have a tendency to ask my kids almost everything. “Do you want to put on your shoes now?” “Should we have macaroni and cheese for dinner?” “How about you go brush your teeth?”

    These are questions that present a problem if they are answered with no, because they are not really choices. If we’re going outside, we need shoes. If I’m preparing mac and cheese for dinner, that’s what we’ll be having.

    By setting limits with your children using clear and nurturing language, you are in actuality providing children with the safety and consistency that they need to have all the freedom you want them to have.

    Photo Credit: Andrew Taylor 


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    August 12, 2014
    Why Your Baby Needs Tummy Time

    My nephew Jayden is an explorer: he loves rolling over, looking around, playing with toys, and crawling (well, more like scooting, to be honest) around on his tummy. This was not always the case though! Initially, he HATED being put on his belly. I guess it’s understandable; all he could see was the blanket underneath him, and he was still developing the muscles needed to lift his head up and balance on his arms and legs. Once he got more practice, he got the hang of it though! While it can be uncomfortable for babies, tummy time is essential for muscle development. As always, make sure tummy time is spent while the baby is AWAKE—when sleeping, infants should always be placed on their back. Read this article by Tonya at Therapy Fun Zone for an explanation, as well as tips to make it easier:

    When a baby is born, they have been all curled and flexed up in the womb for months. When they come out, their muscles are still in fetal flexion and it takes time for them to stretch out those muscles. Tummy time does not have to be forced, and it does not have to be painful (for anyone) but it does have to be done (and is likely being done without your knowledge). When you lay or sit on the couch with your baby on your chest, that is tummy time. When you hold your baby in the football hold (which many babies prefer), that is tummy time.

    Photo Credit: mazaletel


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    August 4, 2014
    Switching to Baby Food

    My nephew Jayden is almost six months old! Wow, does time fly. Seriously, it seems like he was just born yesterday. But now he’s almost sitting up on his own, laughing, smiling at faces he recognizes, and rolling over and trying to crawl. Another major change? Simple formula just isn’t cutting it anymore. About a month and a half ago, we started introducing cereal into his formula to help fill him up and give him more nutrients. Even more recently, we’ve been experimenting with baby foods and other soft “people” foods like mashed potatoes. He LOVES peas, sweet potatoes, and pears, but isn’t so crazy about squash and applesauce. But, just like with all baby milestones, it’s not going to happen at the same time for everyone: every child different skills at different paces- you just have to be able to tell if they’re ready. For more info on when to switch to baby food, check out this article at WebMD:

    Most pediatricians, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend introducing solid foods to babies at between 4 and 6 months of age. That’s when they start to lose the “tongue-thrust reflex” or extrusion reflex, which is important for sucking the breast or bottle but interferes with feeding.

    If your baby is around this age, can sit up well with support, and shows interest in the foods he sees you eating, it’s probably a good time to make your first forays into feeding baby solid food.

    Photo Credit: Jencu 


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