Category Archives: Parenting

When You Don’t Listen

It’s hard to share stories when they are about failure and pain. It’s easy to share when they are victories and stories of hope. But the hard ones need to be shared too. 

God has always been present through the course of our lives. I can look at all sorts of examples where God helped us. And where we trusted Him to give us wisdom in different situations. And now I am living an example of where we ignored God’s prompting and we are suffering the consequences. There’s no right choice and we’re not being punished. We’re just facing the reality of a bad decision that was completely avoidable had we listened. 

If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m talking about the puppy. He’s adorable. And sweet. And funny. And a puppy. 

We have come to the regretful decision that we are not the best home for him – or any dog really.  I almost feel ashamed writing that. We made a decision and a commitment. And it feels like a failure to not be able to live up to that. But I am willing to look like a failure to protect the sanity of my family. However loved an animal is, people come first. And for us, that means no dog. 

Thankfully, the breeder is awesome and is going to rehome him for us. And he’s still so young, I don’t imagine they’ll have any trouble. He is an excellent dog, we are the ones with the problem. 

I didn’t write this post just to share our failure from a human, pet loving standpoint. This post is about trusting God. 

While we were deciding together whether the dog was a good fit, we prayed for wisdom. And God gave it. But we were so excited and he was just so cute, we twisted the circumstances to make them look like it fit what God answered. And now we have a mess to clean up. Instead of being disappointed myself about a month ago (when the boys had no idea we were considering a dog), we are having to face our own disappointments and manage the grief of two very heartbroken boys. The easy answer is to keep the dog. But we are faced with the reality that keeping him would be worse for our family than not. 

And it’s my fault. Well, our fault, but I’m the one writing. 

God gave us the answer we asked him to give. And we ignored it because we thought we knew better or could handle it anyway. Big C is likely going to remember this forever. And that breaks our heart. But we will use this opportunity to teach the boys how to handle grief and sorrow, how to enjoy good memories and they will see that even when it’s sad, mom and dad choose them over an animal. 

We would love your prayers for healing for the boys. We’ll all be ok, but it’ll be sad here for awhile. I just wish the consequences for my actions didn’t mean sorrow for my kids. Trust God. He is faithful. He is still faithful even when we ignore him. 

Trust in the Lord for he is good. His love endures forever. 


Slowing Down


Life happens so quickly. Days turn into months which turn into years. The fact that it is already January of 2016 is mind boggling to me. But it’s always that way. As the kids get older, time only seems to move faster.

One thing I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is slowing down. This time of year always seems to be hectic, life with littles always seems to be hectic, life seems to be hectic. I don’t want to ‘busy’ ourselves right through life.

So, I’m going to focus on slowing down. I’m not sure what that means really. I think it can mean something different for everyone and every family. But here’s some things I would like to do:

  • Be intentional about activities. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we could schedule every second of every day with some activity. A Jennie Allen study (Stuck) I did awhile ago talked about praying over your activities and seeking wisdom on which you should do. I want to be that intentional. Because life gets too full and often times they are all good things. But that doesn’t mean I’m supposed to participate in all of them
  • Be intentional about each day. Life moves so quickly and when I look back, I see a list of things I didn’t do. As a mom – and a mom who plans on homeschooling – the list of things I haven’t done with the boys is right up front. I am learning not to compare myself to others and I am truly not worried about what the boys do or do not know. However, I haven’t been intentional and there are lots of things I am committing to actually make happen this year. If I build habits and a routine, we will all grow to count on them. Things like reading aloud, listening to the Bible, memorizing scripture, and serving others are all things I’d like to work in.
  • Enjoy the moments I can. Every moment with littles is not perfect and happy. Some days are down right terrible. But when I focus on all the things that are going wrong, it makes things even worse. I learned when I was teaching middle school that my attitude drastically affected my students’. If I could rally on even the toughest days, it always turned around. I am trying to take deep breaths and focus on the positive moments at home. And of course, today is a perfect day to practice what I preach.
  • Rest. Ha! With 3 kids?! But yes. I need to be intentional about my time and that includes rest. For some reason, I always feel guilty about rest. I feel like there is always something I could be doing. But you know what? I can’t be the best me or have a positive outlook or be efficient if I’m not well rested. I am working on finding rest in each day.

2016 is Here!

It’s 2016. Somehow, I never got around to writing down goals last year and I really want to put some things down on virtual paper this year. I know that writing it down can play a huge role in helping me accomplish things, so here goes.

1. I want to be more intentional about spending time reading the Bible. The more time I spend reading about what God has done, the less I think about myself, the more I think about serving others and the better shape my heart is in. Another part to this goal is creating a habit and love of the Bible in the boys. So far, I haven’t done anything overly intentional with them. We read a children’s Bible occasionally, but nothing much. Here’s what I’d like to focus on this year:

A. Listen to a portion of the Bible every morning. I’m going to grab one of our favorite children’s Bibles on Audible and play it over a Bluetooth speaker in the kitchen in the mornings. Talk about starting the day off right for all of us!

B. Continue my prayer journal. I read and completed Beth Moore’s Whispers of Hope prayer devotional last year and it was awesome! Since then, I’ve been following the same format, but writing in a little cashier’s notebook and I love it.

C. Read the Bible more. We ordered a copy of the Bibliotheca project and I am SO excited to get it. It’ll be awhile and I don’t want waiting for it to be an excuse not to read now, but seriously, I can’t wait for it to arrive!!


2. Focus on giving and others. I fall into the trap of wanting more stuff all too often. And I hate the clutter and the attitude that comes with it. This year I want to focus on giving even when I don’t want. Especially when I don’t want to. I need an intentional reminder to stop thinking about myself and to look for ways that I can serve others.

3. Complete our Emergency Fund. Money seems to have a mind of it’s own. Or maybe, take control of our minds a little too easily. Working for Ramsey Solutions has definitely not made us immune to struggling to keep our budget in order. Completing our EF seems to continually get put on the back burner. So this year I’d like to change that. I’m going to put a real goal to it. I’d like to be done with our EF by July! 6 months of buckling down and getting gazelle intense will be so worth it.

4. Make healthy choices around food and exercise. I know what needs to be done, I just need to do it. My goal is to make decisions intentionally. And I’m excited to have my foot back. I have a little more time to be careful, but I am mostly free to do whatever I’d like. Now to figure out what exactly that is!

They are Sleeping!

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I’ve shared our various sleep issues over the past few years and I have a victory to report!

Both boys go to bed easily (on most days)!

Every time we would slack off on our routine, then they push the boundaries. If we keep at it, they are great and they know exactly what to expect!

Here are some details:

  • We bring the boys upstairs, change into jammies, go potty, brush teeth and go into their room.
  • We read one story (sometimes more) or D plays guitar
  • We tuck the boys in, pray with them and spray the Bad Guy spray.
  • If they call us, we go check on them, but tell them it’s bedtime and we won’t be coming in again. (Man, they used to abuse this. “I’m still hungry” “I have to go potty” “I want another story” and the best one “Pray with me again”)

The best part is that Big C is not scared anymore. The hardest part of transitioning from sitting next to him to being able to walk out of the room is we knew he was genuinely terrified. I am so happy that we were finally able to find a combo that worked! Little C is a sleeping ninja (other than waking up at 5am!), but he has never struggled to fall asleep.

Here’s a rundown of our bedtime transition:

  1. From the time I can remember, Big C needed us to rub his back, sit near him, or sit right by his door for him to fall asleep.
  2. When we moved to TN, we couldn’t even sit on the other side of the room – we had to be near him.
    1. We tried moving slowly every few nights. We tried a book that talked about Mom leaving. They didn’t work.
  3. We introduced Bad Guy Spray and were finally able to leave the room.
  4. He called us back constantly so we implemented the “We’ll be back in 3 minutes since you are 3 years old.” routine. It worked like magic!
    1. At the beginning, I was VERY intentional about holding to that 3 minutes. Even if I thought he would fall asleep anyway, I checked on him. I knew that I needed to build up the trust that if I said I’d check on him, I would. For naps, he’d often be asleep between 6 and 9 minutes. Bedtime took longer but, not too much.
    2. Because he was so good at nap, we were able to change what we said at night. “We’ll check on you in a little bit.” “I have to go do xyz, I’ll be back.” He started to go longer periods without freaking out so we went with it.
  5. It’s been probably 6 months of transition from checking every 3 minutes to being able to kiss him goodnight and walk out.

6 months seems like a long time, but we had 3 years of bad habits to correct. And the 6 months really went quite smoothly, not to mention SO much easier than before. I don’t regret our choices at all. We probably could have made him tough it out, but it would have broken my heart. And honestly, 3 years is just not that long. 3 years of spending extra time comforting, holding, or hugging our little boy. At times it was frustrating. Infuriating. Exhausting. But I know that he is not scared and that he now knows how to go to sleep on his own.

Essential Oils for the Win

I’ve been interested in essential oils for almost a year now. I have friends who use them and the researcher in me has read just about anything I could find about them.

Several months ago, I knew I wanted to start using them, but I was not sure exactly which ones I should start with. We had lavender, tea tree, and peppermint that we used to mix into our deodorant but we had not used them for any sicknesses or anything. Over the course of the last year we have been incredibly healthy (yay!) but that meant no real chance to start. And even if we did get sick, how would I try out oils I had not bought yet?

Well, this week we have had quite the round of sickness. Little C had a fever and developed a cough and he’s too young for any sort of cough medicine. Thankfully, I have a new friend who sells essential oils so I messaged her to see if she had a respiratory blend (called Breathe). She was awesome enough to deliver it to our sickly household and she also brought me small samples of Basil and Rosemary to try for his cough.

The next day the doctor told me that Little C also had an ear infection on top of the cough. I grabbed some garlic oil (not essential oil) drops from them and they also recommended using the Basil/Rosemary blend behind his ear.

Last for the Little One, he ended up with diarrhea and vomiting from some unknown bug. Another friend brought me a sample of a digestive blend (called Digest Zen) to try out on his belly.

To top things off, Big C started complaining about his ear and even had a hard time napping because of the pain. We did give him a dose of Advil because he woke up mid nap and I wan’t sure what oil to use right then. When he woke up, I used the same Basil/Rosemary blend on his ear and also put in the Gaia Kids Ear Drops.

And don’t you know? All of our issues are gone! Each one resolved within a day or two!! Obviously, I hate that the boys got sick, but I had been needing a chance like this to dive right in and I am totally blown away. I was interested, but definitely still a skeptic at heart. Not any more!

Here’s what we did:
*All oils were diluted with a carrier oil, especially since they were used on the kiddos.
1. Peppermint on the feet (covered by socks) every 30ish minutes to bring down the fever.
2. Next Day: Breathe on the feet for the cough and the Basil/Rosemary blend on the chest and around the back of the ears. (Make sure essential oils do not get in the ear canal.) Also the Gaia Kids garlic ear drops.
3. Repeat Day 2 routine. We reapplied the oils 3-4 times over these two days.
4. After Little C threw up at night and then had water diarrhea in the morning, I used Digest Zen on his belly and feet that afternoon. His next poop was partially solid and by the next morning it was no longer diarrhea at all. This was the most dramatic improvement in the shortest time and fewest applications!
5. We also used the immune builder/germ fighter called On Guard on the boys’ feet and my wrists while they’ve been sick.
6. For Big C’s ear we used the Rosemary/Basil blend and then we also used the On Guard blend around his ear. He stopped complaining of any pain during the first day.

Other than 2 doses of Advil for Big C because I don’t believe I have an oil that deals directly with pain, no traditional medicines were used. Little C had fever, cough (croup sounding), diarrhea, vomiting and an ear infection. We did not use a single traditional medicine and his symptoms went away faster than I would have expected from the traditional medicines. I am so excited not to have to pump his perfect little body full of drugs!

I am Proud

So this post is going to be a little weird. But I need to write it for me.

I am proud of the things I have been accomplishing.

I hesitate to say that. I don’t want to sound arrogant or like I am bragging. But all too often, I don’t take even one second to be proud of the things I do. It’s a vicious, defeatist attitude that steals the joy from every moment. “You can’t be proud.” It says. “You’re being a jerk if you say that.” “You’re not really that great anyway.” “Look at all these things you don’t do well.” It is really easy for me to get down on myself and doubt my roles as a mom and wife and friend. And I genuinely believe that Satan uses those doubts to keep me from becoming the person I should be.

So, I’d like to share a few things because I am proud of the changes I’ve been making.

I am proud that I can take the boys almost anywhere and they are really well behaved. Not perfect of course, but really good. And I have learned through trial and error a bunch of ways to make our outings go so smoothly.

I am proud that I have been teaching myself to cook. Over the last few months the quality and taste of my homemade meals has increased dramatically. I’m sure Damien appreciates that!

I am proud that over the last year I have actually blogged pretty consistently.

I am proud that I haven’t bit my nails since January. (Silly, but 29 years in the making!)

Thank you for allowing me to stop and be proud of myself for a few moments. Each positive change comes with baby steps. And failure before success. And during success.

The one major area I struggle with staying consistent in is spending time in Bible study. I had been doing really well and now I have lost focus. So time to restart and be proud of the changes I will make.

Night Weaning Update

Three days in a row. Three whole days!!! I have gotten to sleep uninterrupted for three entire nights!

When we finally decided to night wean Big C the results were just as dramatic. And I’m thrilled that night weaning has been magic for Little One too.

Nights 1-3 Little C woke up every three to four hours. He really didn’t complain too much and we were able to get him to sleep in 10-20 minutes. He has woken up at 5/5:30 pretty much his entire life so instead of trying to stretch that to six we just decided that to be the time I could feed him.

Nights 4-6 he did even better. He only woke up once before 5:30 and technically didn’t complain much but he had a really hard time falling back to sleep. It took us about an hour each night to get him back to sleep. Really, we just finally got too frustrated. He would be asleep, we would get back in bed and about 1.5 minutes later he would be up again. Finally, we were too slow to go back in there since he was barely complaining anyway. And what do you know? He fell asleep all by himself! That was a little sleep practice thrown in. It’s actually one of the things we’re trying to help Big C with so I’m so glad the little one is doing it already.

Nights 7-9 he was perfect! He slept from 7am – 5:30am with no wake ups. At 5:30, I fed him and he went back to sleep for about an hour. We’ve been waking up at 5:30 without going back to sleep for months. And that was when he woke up every two hours. So 6:30 is amazing. And I actually kind of like being up in the morning when I’ve had some solid rest.

One kid down and the other is in progress. The big one’s a whole other story, but he does sleep ‘through’ the night so I’m feeling amazing.

Here’s the story of the first night with Little C.

If you want to read about night weaning with Big C, start here.

Night Weaning Round 2

So we’ve been working on getting the little one to sleep better for months now. It’s been a series of baby steps. Some forward, some backward, but last night we had a huge success!

Little C went from 9:30 – 5am without any milk!!! And he slept until 7:15.

We’ve been doing so many different things, here are some of our victories:

-We taught him to fall asleep without being attached to me.

It took a night of extreme patience, but it worked wonders. I intentionally detached him before he fell asleep and then I rocked him, patted his back, held him, sang to him, set him down and finally laid down on the ground and let him crawl, squirm, and scream on me until he finally fell asleep on top of me – 45 minutes later. Since then he has gone to sleep in between 5 and 10 minutes with very little fussing or complaining.

-I limited his night feeding’s length.

He was nursing a million times a night and I knew he didn’t need it. And since he could fall asleep on his own, I have been intentionally cutting the night feedings short. It didn’t seem to add much time between feedings, but I knew it would be helpful as we continued.

-We cut out dairy from his diet.

Since we have stopped giving him dairy, he falls asleep faster, stays asleep longer and eats more real food during the day. This has been the biggest improvement in sleep we’ve had. It’s only been a few days, but he actually went 3 or 4 hours at night.


-We officially night weaned him between 11pm and 6am.

He fell asleep around 7:30pm, woke up at 9:30 (I fed him like normal) and then did not wake up again until midnight. I did not feed him. Instead I picked him up and sang to him and just hugged him. At first he was pretty mad, but he fell asleep in about 10 minutes. I was happily stunned and went back to bed. He woke again around 2 am (I’m not sure since Damien took this one) and Damien got him back to sleep in about 10 minutes as well. Another wake up at 4:30 and 5am went pretty smoothly. But at 5:30, Damien pointed out that he had actually gone from 9:30-5:30 without any milk so I fed him as much as he wanted. He went back to sleep until 7:15!!!

Here is our journey from the first time around. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

And here is a link to Dr. Jay Gordon’s page about night weaning. It has been so successful for both boys, I would highly recommend it. We still have more nights of adjustment ahead of us, but I am so impressed with how Little One did. I was hoping it would go well since we had already been ‘messing’ with him at night, but I didn’t dare hope for how well it went last night. I’ll update again after we have some more milk free nights under our belt.

30 Days of Hustle… Times Infinity

I already shared how I worked with a health coach for 6 months last year. It was awesome. The greatest thing I learned was how important it is to make goals and follow through. I loved that she helped me make 1, 3 and 6 month goals. It was even cooler when I could check things off that I had accomplished.

Since I stopped working with her in August, I haven’t been as intentional about my goals. I’ve still been working on things that I care about, but not with as much intensity or purpose. And I haven’t succeeded in completing as many either. So for New Years, I’m going to re-evaluate my goals, make sure they are specific and work hard to make sure they happen.

Another influence over the past year has been Jon Acuff. His book Start and his blog Stuff Christians Like are inspiring and hilarious and often exactly what I need. He just started a group called 30 Days of Hustle. It’s closed for now, but in 30 days it will open back up for anyone to join and then it’ll start over for another 30 days. The purpose is to encourage each other to hustle. Dreams and goals and resolutions come true with hard work. I want to work smarter AND harder. That’s how I’ll make a change.

In 2013, I am proud of a few of the things I accomplished:
– I lost 30 lbs and have kept it off
– I have continued to exercise several times a week
– We have cut out almost all processed food
– I actually enjoy running!
– I ran a sub 30 minute 5k (3.1 miles)
– I ran 9 miles – the furthest I’ve ever run at one time
– I’ve been fairly consistent about blogging – which I really enjoy
– We’ve been married 10 years!
– I am actively working on yelling less and loving more – part of the Orange Rhino Challenge
– Made an effort to cook more at home and I’m starting to enjoy cooking

During 2014, I’m looking to work on some of the following:
– Become intentional about spending time studying God’s word.
– Kicking my sugar addiction by completing the 21 Day Sugar Detox
– Create habits that help keep things cleaner/less cluttered around the house
– Train for and complete my first half marathon (April 26th!!!)
– Complete the Rosetta Stone Spanish program that we already own
– Be connected to my electronic devices less – especially when the boys are around/awake
– Spend quality time with the boys each day. Even if it’s just a few minutes at a time.
– Become even more comfortable in the kitchen and learn how to make good food!
– Continue being active and exercising at least 3x a week

I plan to focus on one thing each 30 days and build them into habits that I can continue. I’ll probably add more things that I would like to work on, but this is my starting point. At the very least, I’ll have 12 new things accomplished this year. What are you working on? Do you have someone to cheer you on? Small steps will lead to a big change if you follow through!