Wednesday, December 28, 2011

"Survival" with the Littles Part dos ~ Bedtime

Lindsay "sleeping" in her new "bed" our first week in our new house - 2010

  I am a bit more lenient on bedtime than I am on anything.  I know, shocker, right?  Sorry, Smockity, my kids are only allowed to go "down" the slide. 

 It has been a long road, but I finally realized, my body and my husband's NEEDS sleep and we'll kinda just take it where we can get it.  It's almost like a drug ;) 

  When Derek was born, I co-slept with him while I breastfed him.  As he got older and I quit breastfeeding (bad mom!), we put him in his crib.  I'm not sure how it all happened, but I remember having a pillow in his room and laying on the floor next to his bed waiting for him to go to sleep, so Ronnie and I could sleep together alone.  Then my wise aunt, gave us some advice, he was only doing this because we let him.  So we did the "let the child cry themselves to sleep" thing.  It was hard, very hard.  Especially when he would make himself throw up.  It did in the end work, but it was almost too much trouble.

  Lindsay, was a very, very easy baby.  Thank Goodness!!  Because I was pregnant with Hannah by the time she was 4 months old and was very sick!!!  I would breastfeed her and rock her and put her to bed.  She didn't sleep with us until much later.  Derek and Lindsay both spent a lot of time at other people's houses while Hannah was in the hospital, so they learned multiple sleeping arrangements wherever they were.

  By the time, Leah came along, I was babysitting 6 other children, 2 of who came at 5 am! (Did I mention, I'm not a morning person?  I'll touch on mourning routines around here, next post.)  I took 2 weeks off for maternity leave for Leah (Who does that?!?!  I'm nuts, I know!) and then started baby-sitting again.  It didn't take me long to figure out, I couldn't handle all the extra kids (one of which was the same age as Leah) and my newborn and be the mother, I needed to be.  I hated giving it all up, but it was something I had to do for our family.  This is why I call it survival.  You go through seasons and you know you just can't do some things anymore. 

  Anyhow, Leah, slept a lot, so this was very nice for me during this tiring time.  Isn't it wonderful, how God knows exactly what we need and what we can and can not handle?!?!?  Since, I breastfed Leah, the longest, I did co-sleep with her quite a bit more.  However, she did not give us any trouble transitioning into her own bed.  (Her toddler bed, has been a different story!) 

  We no longer practice (for now) letting the child cry themselves to sleep.  For the most part, bedtime is very smooth around our house.  The children put the pjs on, brush their teeth, and if everyone is in a good mood, we sit down on the couch to read a story before bed.  Daddy fills up sippy cups (yes, I let my children take milk to bed, I know, I'm a terrible mother!) and then Daddy tucks in the girls and I tuck in Derek.  There are some nights when Ronnie has to work late and I tuck them all 3 into bed or when I have a meeting and Ronnie tucks all 3 in, but for the most part, that is how we do it.  They all 3 drift off to sleep very easily. 

  During the night, however, is another story.  I'm normally up at least once, sometimes twice, a night, filling up a sippy cup or taking someone to the bathroom, but they always go right back to sleep, we are never up for more than 5 minutes.  We do allow our children to get in bed with us, if they have a nightmare or can't seem to get back to sleep on their own.  So, there are many mornings that we wake up and have 1 or more children in bed with us.  And I am thankful for a husband that allows this.  Some of my fondest memories are being able to get in bed with my parents or grandparents after having a bad dream. (And I had a lot of them, really, I did!) 
  There also has been many of nights, that I have taken a baby to the couch to sleep, so that Ronnie does get a good night's rest.  It's better for me to be tired at home, than for him to be tired, driving a semi all day.  And we have quiet time here, so if need be, I can lay down, he doesn't have that luxury. 

  Remember, the main thing is to cherish the small moments while you can, and if that means loosing a little sleep because someone needs Daddy or Mommy to cuddle with, it will be worth it in the long run.  Behavior issues are another story, and I don't encourage anyone to give into bad behavior, but for us, a couple of hours of co-sleeping works.  For me, I have to remember to put my husbands needs first.  So for us, getting all the children to start off in the beds is priority.  That gives us some one on one time to discuss and day and go over what's going to happen for tomorrow. 

  Children are a blessing!!!  The "littles" stage does not have to be a burden, even with multiple "littles".  Because they won't stay little!  Attitude

Getting ready for bed last night.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

No Santa........Really?

***These are our convictions only, this does NOT mean, I think you are sinning if you're not like us!!!***

  Ok, you have to admit, you knew it was coming....That we would sooner or later be convicted about Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy.  Especially, since we started wearing skirts more often, I mean, really don't the two go hand in hand?  ;)  (Enter Sarcasm Here) 

  I know that I don't have to explain our convictions to you, but since I have been searching my heart and soul out trying to find the right answers on things, I thought I'd just share with you our feelings and convictions on the whole situation. 

1.)  No, we have not changed religions.  We are just digging much deeper than we ever have before.  We still believe in the Gospel and we believe there are many biblical principals from the Old Testament that Jesus did not come to change as many believe today.  

2.)  The Bible tells us again and again not to lie.  It's even one of the Ten Commandments.  Ephesians 4:25 ~ So you must stop telling lies.  Tell each other the truth...

  ***Santa does NOT exist, he does NOT live at the North Pole, he does NOT have flying reindeer, and I could go on and on.  If I continue to tell my children this, I would be lying, therefore, I would be deliberately sinning. 

  Now, I have had the conversation on 4 different accounts now.  "Well, I know a lot of Christians out there that do Santa, and their children have turned out just fine."   And here's where I stand on this: 
  1.)  Christians "out there" do A LOT of things "Christians" aren't supposed to do.  They claim to believe in God and go to church, but the Bible tells us, they are "lukewarm and He will spew them out of his mouth". 

  2.)  God's people are to be SET APART.  We are not to do or act like the world around us.  God gave the Isralites almost two whole books in the Bible of rules that were to set them apart from the other heathen lands.  If we give into every popular thing that goes on around us, how are we any different?

  3.)  Satan is very good at using Santa, to pull people away from Christ.  We tell children there is a Santa and there is a God.  St. Nick and Jesus Christ were both historically real people, we can prove that, but Santa and God are both not visible, when children become of age that they do not believe anymore, some have questioned whether or not God is real.  (A friend of mine said he answered this to his child after they told them the truth about Christmas, by asking, how much time do I study about Santa?  How much time to do I spend with God?  If God were not real, why would I put so much effort into studying his Word?)
  Satan even uses movies and stories about Santa to make us feel guilty about not believing.  Derek loves the Polar Express (because of the train), but we have had to stop watching it so much, because it does make you feel really guilty.  It even made me feel guilty about not believing, and I knew that was Satan attacking me!!

  3.)  It comes down to being a heart issue.  God does not look at the outward appearance, the Bible tells us this again and again.  He also gave us the holy spirit to guide us.  Being still and listening is the most important.  If something does not set well with you, then God is most likely convicting you of something.  Which is what happened to us.  We just kept coming back to the same old thing and it didn't feel right.  Once we told the children, it was like a giant burden was lifted off of our shoulders and we could be normal around our kids.  Derek had been asking lots of questions relating the North Pole to heaven and if Santa delivers presents to Hannah.  And since Santa can see us when we are sleeping, does he live in heaven with God while watching us.  It was just becoming too much for us.  Especially having children in heaven that Derek was relating to.  

How did it look for us? 
  Well, I definately recommend watching the Veggie Tales St. Nick movie, for small children, if you haven't already.  Then, we did a history lesson about the real St. Nicholas.  Who by the way, is an amazing person, and definately someone small children can look up to and learn from.  Then I set the children down, for one of our serious talks.  I very gently told them the truth.  Needless to say, Derek, blew up, which I was prepared for.  After crying and being very upset for about 10 minutes that Daddy and I had lied to him, which by the way, we had promised never to do, he calmed down and was perfectly fine with the entire issue.  I explained, that we would still have Christmas, Easter, and they still could receive money for teeth. 
  And I will say, that this Christmas was by far, the best Christmas we have ever had.  To make our Christmas more about Christ this year, we told the children, they would only be receiving 3 big gifts from us, just like Jesus, and some stocking stuffers.  They did not break down and have a panic attack, their faces lit up when their 3 gifts were placed under the tree!!!  They couldn't wait to open "only" 3 gifts.  We also shared Christmas morning again, this year with my parents, who of course spoiled the children as normal.  Which was so wonderful to have them here to see the children's faces!!! 
  Giving only 3 gifts also took a lot of burden off of my shoulders too, financially and time wise.  There is so much hoopla around Christmas anymore, when in all reality, Christ came here very simply.  The sermon on Sunday touched on this.  He was born in a stable, not a castle, that he deserved.  Shepards were called to come see, not rich and famous people.  He was born to commoners, not well to do parents.  Simple is better. 

  I only wish this to be an encouragment to you, not a guilt trip.  I also dare you to research and read about all the true meanings behind Christmas.  Research St. Nick, he was an amazing Christian, research Christmas trees, stockings, and all kinds of Christmas traditions and then do what works for your family.  I pray that the main idea in your lives are Christ.  No, we do not know if Christ was actually born on December 25, but it does give us a day to set aside and remember.  Which is what He ask us to do....."Remember Me". 

Working on our Gingerbread Stables

Working on the MM's

Decorating Cookies for the Nursing Home

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"Survival" with the Littles Series

There are many days I feel like the old woman who lived in a shoe......but then I found this pictures and counted my blessings!!!  :)  I'm just kidding!
However, having a blog you are able to make your life look great from the outside, when in fact some days it feels very far from wonderful.  And I spend most of my evenings pouring myself into other women's blogs just trying to glean from their wisdom of child-rearing.  When most days I feel disappointed, because alot of these women have older children to help out (not that, this is the answer to all of my problems), but I can see how older children can be such a blessing to a large family.  So I decided to do a series on living in a family with "littles"  And in this season of life, I call it "survival mode".  I currently have 3 under the age of 6 and we babysit an 8 month old (who's name is Leigha, yes it gets very confusing around here!!!) everyday during the week.  So life can get pretty crazy around here most days!  So, hopefully (if I can get it accomplished;), I'm going to share little tid-bits of what does and does not work for us on a daily basis.
This week will be a Christmas special....

Yesterday, I spent most of the day wrapping presents.  I had originally decided not to put the presents under the tree until Christmas Eve, until we had to have a big "family meeting" about behavior (another post, another day), and then decided that yes, I would put the presents out to do some behavior "training" (for the most part, we like the Pearls "To Train Up a Child").  I waited until Quiet Time to wrap all of the children's gifts.  This year, we are doing 3 presents a piece, just like baby Jesus received.  So I wrapped all 9 presents and placed them under the tree and then as the children began to stir I opened my bedroom doors and let them "help" wrap family members' presents.  Leah sat on the bed with me and handed me my needed supplies.  While Derek and Lindsay helped with giving me tape and carrying the presents to the tree.  It went much, much smoother (is that a word?) than expected!!!  And so far, no little fingers have touched or bothered the presents.  However, we have little Leigha back today, so we'll see!!!
Last night, we went to Wal-Mart as a family and spent the entire time hiding from each other buying presents for each other.  It was great!  The kids really liked sneaking around, while Mommy and Daddy was on the phone making sure we didn't run into each other.  In addition to their 3 presents they will be opening from Mommy and Daddy, they both picked out 2 presents to buy for each other (with their own allowance, after a little talking to).  We will be doing more "sneaking" today as we wrap those presents!  Daddy wrapped Mommy's presents in the garage last night, it was quite funny!

A couple of nights ago, I got the bright idea to make these wonderful Gingerbread Stables from Raising Arrows,but we are not really crafty people, so it didn't go so well.  I would upload pictures for you to see, but after spending the past 15 minutes looking for my USB cord for my camera, I guess that's not going to happen this morning!
We ended up just decorating the graham crackers like they were cookies with icing, mm's, gum drops, and candy canes.  It was something very simple for the kids to do and Ronnie and I sat at the table with them and just had a good time spending time together. 
The next day, I baked some sugar cookies and let Derek and Lindsay decorate them with the leftover icing, sprinkles, and mm's and we took a trip to the nursing home (the funeral home as Lindsay calls it) to pass out some Christmas goodies, while Daddy was in the woods hunting.  I made sure to pack the stroller, because I knew there was no way, Leah could handle holding my hand that long.  Thank goodness, I did, because she was not a happy camper for most of the trip!  It was a great trip for the older kids to get into the Christmas spirit, though!  There eyes just lit up giving out their cookies they had made.  And the elderly were wonderful and very thankful to talk and see the kids.  We will definitely be making a trip back!!!
Well here is just a few ideas of what are family has done for Christmas to teach the main idea of giving and Christ.  I will share more of what works and what does not later on when less of the "littles" are awake ;)  
Have a great day!!!
And Remember "All things are possible, through Christ, who gives you strength!!!" 
 Phillipians 4:13