Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Gatlinburg trip

trying to get the kids settled down in the hotel room so they could go to sleep.

I had to get in at least one picture!
walking around by the river.
The kids didn't believe us at first that we would be in North Carolina that day too!
The kids up at the top--well, as close to the top and we decided to drive that day. they were surprised at how cold it was up there. it was 34 degrees and at the bottom it was 50 degrees!
This was our view from around 5,000 feet. Not very impressive. The kids thought it was neat we were in the clouds though.

This was our view from our hotel room balcony. The clouds were so low you couldn't even see the impressive mountain tops.
Those were some pictures from our very short "mini" vacation to Gatlinburg, TN. We only went because my husband had to drive that way for work so we took the fam with hopes of finally getting to see the Smoky Mountains he had been talking about. The weather didn't seem to want to be on our side. The trip was still nice even with the rain but the scenery wasn't quite what I had hoped. Luckily, it won't be our last time there. We'll get to go again!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Unsafe baby slings??

I am a HUGE fan of "baby-wearing" and like I said in this previous blog post my Hotslings sling is my favorite carrier. Recently in the news there has been stories about unsafe baby slings and a recent recall of one brand of slings. Here is a news story about it. I can totally see why they would be unsafe BUT I honestly think it's not the slings fault completely. I believe a big part of the problem is that it's not being used correctly. There are warnings on the labels and packaging of all baby slings. I've watched my Hotslings video MANY times before I ever used it to make sure I was using it correctly. It showed how to use it correctly and that if it wasn't used correctly that suffocation could occur (the main position that could cause suffocation is when a baby is placed in the cradle position like this which is for babies ages 0-4 months which is why they are saying it's not safe to use a sling until a baby is 4 months of age). I have actually never used my baby sling in the cradle position. I tried but I never felt I had them in there right and they always seemed to be in too much of a "C" position where their airway could be restricted. So I used my good judgement and didn't put the baby in like that. And another reason I didn't use it much in their first few months of life was because my babies just didn't seem to like being in there like that. BUT they LOVED the sling when they could be carried facing out in the front-carry position (for babies 2-8 months of age) or carried on my hip in the hip-carry position (for babies 6 months & up). I have a feeling this media attention brought to slings is going to give them all a bad rep. I am STILL 100% pro-babywearing and pro-baby slings. BUT I do feel it's important to use them correctly and if you aren't sure they are being used correctly or don't feel they are being used correctly then definitely don't use them. That is just common sense isn't it? The same goes with any baby item. Car seats for example--just think of all those babies placed in car seats and the straps aren't secured correctly? Should we not use them since some might not use the correctly? NO but we educate parents on how to safely secure their baby in the car seat. People have been "wearing" their babies for centuries all around the world. There are many benefits as well as convenince to wearing your babies. Just use common sense and your better judgement. The slings themselves are not what is "unsafe" for the most part. I believe it's the users error that has made them unsafe. I believe that parents need to gain wisdom on how to safely wear their babies. I hope that this new finding of "unsafe" baby slings doesn't cause people to feel the need to express their opinions to us "babywearing" mothers out there. Those that aren't educated on baby wearing are the ones that I can see making comments to us when our babies ARE in the carrier the correct way and making us feel as though we are doing harm to our child. After reading this news article it does make me more conscious of the possible harm that can be done by wearing a baby incorrectly. If I do have any more babies I would probably not wear my baby in the cradle position just as a percaution which is what I have done in the past as well. Not saying that people out there shouldn't, I'm just saying for me personally I would choose to wait until my baby is about 2 months old and use the front carry where I know there are no possiblities of suffocation. With the past two babies I've used a sling for that is what I did. Yes, I did try the cradle carry but by not feeling 100% comfortable with it, I chose to not use it that way. That is common sense don't you think? So for you baby wearing parents out there continue to wear your baby but pay close attention to how your baby is being carried to ensure your baby is as safe as possible. To those opininated people out there that always seem to have some type of unwanted advice or opinions on how parents are raising their children please keep your negative comments to yourself. Its not fair to us who are making sure our babies are taken care of and safe to feel uncomfortable. This article here tells about the recalled Infantino slings. I think it's great that they did recall that item since that particular one has been the cause of harm to many infants. I'm not familar with that actual brand of sling so I'm not sure how versitile it is and if it can be used in the same positions has the hotsling sling can. If it can only be used in the cradle hold then it's probably a good idea that it was taken off the shelf to keep people from using it incorrectly and to keep those that wouldn't use it with caution. By writing this blog post, I don't want you to think that I think it's wrong that they pulled those off the shelf, I'm writing this to state my opinions about it and to make my readers aware that not ALL baby slings are "bad" and should not ever be used. I believe it's important for all of us "baby-wearing" parents out there to use this finding as a warning of how important it is to use our slings correctly. Okay, I'm off my soapbox now!

After three...

Yesterday my husband reminded me of something that was said to us almost 7 years ago. We had just moved to Stephenville, TX and I was pregnant with our first baby. We went into the local bank to open a checking account and the lady that worked there was telling us that she had 4 kids. I remember Ryan and I saying, "wow, four that is alot!". She told us this: "After you have 3 it doesn't get any harder with a 4th! It doesn't seem any different". I do have to say that I agree with her. Once you adjust to having 2 or 3 adding more doesn't make anything seem more difficult! I wish I could go and visit that lady today and tell her that we learned first hand what she was talking about. She would probably be shocked to know we now have 4 children as well!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Spring has arrived

I love this picture. The kids were planting some seeds with Daddy.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


One of my favorite things...."wearing" my baby girl! I think it's one of her favorite things as well! I have a few different baby carriers and this Hotsling is definetly the easiest to use and my favorite by far. What is your favorite style or brand of baby carrier?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Nashville Zoo

We are members to the zoo in Waco. We love going to zoos so when we moved to TX last August we bought a zoo membership for our family because we knew we would definetly get our money's worth. And we did. We went to the zoo in Waco probably 10 times in the 6 months we lived there. Well, with our zoo membership we can get in Free and a number of zoos across the United States and one of the zoos just happens to be the Nashville Zoo. So on Saturday we spent the afternoon at the zoo. It cost us $0.00!!!! We figured up the cost and it would have cost our family $55 to go to the Nashville zoo one time! Crazy! That is about how much it cost us for our family membership to the Waco zoo! And now we can go for FREE until our membership expires on October 31, 2010! Here are a few pictures from our day.

Our "Green" Day

The kids enjoying their Green Pancakes--Mason felt the need to "show" me what was in his mouth! Silly Boy!!!

Our "green" pancakes!

Mixing the pistachio pudding (in a green bowl too!)

Here was our blob of Green Playdough

In celebration of St. Patricks Day we devoted this past Friday (yes, I know St. Patrick's Day was on the 17th and not the 19th) to celebrating all things "green". The kids had a blast! I think Mason FINALLY recognizes the color green! We started off by making some homemade green play dough. (this was mainly for Mason--he's obsessed with playdough so he was excited to get a new color of playdough). We kept singing the "green" song so Mya would remember how to spell the color green. (The song was sung to the tune of "BINGO")
and Green is it's name OH!

Jordan enjoyed reading the ingredients for all the "green" stuff we made. After the playdough we made pistachio pudding, cut up some kiwi fruit, made green kool-aid and finished with lunch--green pancakes! Our green feast was sure fun!

Here is my homemade playdough recipe. I LOVE homemade playdough! In my opinion, its better than the stuff you buy. It doesn't make quite as much of a mess (and I hate messes). It's also much easier to clean up. Here's the recipe I use:
You will need:
* 1/2 cup salt
* 1 cup flour
* 1 tablespoon cream of tarter
* 1 tablespoon oil
* 1 cup of water
* food coloring (optional)
What to do:
**Combine ingredients in a saucepan. Heat gently, stirring all the time. When the dough has a good "playdough" consistency, take it off the heat and allow to cool!
I haven't done this yet, but I heard you can add a little bit of the powder from a kool-aid packet and it will give your playdough a yummy smell! I wasn't sure I wanted to make our playdough any more appealing though, I already have trouble with Mason trying to eat it every now and then!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Our House

This is our backyard. Down at the bottom of that hill is a creek that runs thru there. It's SO peaceful listening to the water. I can't wait to see what this looks like when the leaves are on the trees!

view from the driveway and the side of the house
The other side of the house and top and bottom deck.

The front of the house

We are just staying in a temporary house in Tennessee right now until we can find the exact area we want to be in. We are renting and have a 6 month lease. However, the house is going up for sale this spring so if it sells we have to move out. We knew this going into this and it's okay. We wanted to test out living in the country. I mean, we are in the sticks in this house! So far I am really enjoying the peacefulness the country brings. The bugs however, I'm not such a big fan of. I'm not sure what to expect this summer. It's only early spring and I've already seen a bunch of wasps coming out of who knows where, Jordan had a tick on him, there are dead lady bugs all over by the basement door and there has been quite a few spiders on our deck! The house is huge though, 3000 sq foot! We have a whole area in the basement that is finished that we don't even have a use for! I love that we have a room that works perfect as a homeschooling room. The house has been for sale before and no one bought it (obviously). It's over priced and the lady we are renting from said they won't come down in price. And the house itself is nice...but there a lot of odd things about it that I can see why it wouldn't sell. I am having a hard time feeling "settled" in this house just knowing that we could potentially be moving out before our 6 month lease is up even though I know it's probably unlikely. The house also has a pool so in a month or so we'll get to open that up. That will be fun! So anyways...here's a few pics of the house. I don't have any of the inside (besides the homeschooling room). It's just not picture worthy yet! I still have some boxes left to unpack! But here's some of the house.


I didn't really think about what I was doing actually had a name. I've been co-sleeping with Gracie for almost 9 months now. It really just started out when she was a newborn as a way for me to get sleep. I was a tired & exhausted mom to 4 kids. The very little sleep I got was precious and any way I could find to get a few more minutes of sleep was something I was looking for. Since I was (and still am) breastfeeding Gracie, when she woke up at night I would just lay on my side in bed and she would nurse and we would both drift off to sleep. (I have to say I have LOVED the side laying nursing position with all my kids. It was SO relaxing. That 15-30 minute break was wonderful.) I find that I'm a VERY light sleeper when it comes to my kids. Any sound or movement they make I hear them. I'm not at ALL concerned about rolling over on them. Of course there are some safety steps to take to make co-sleeping safe. It's funny how my co-sleeping has evolved over time with each child. With Jordan I got up thru out the night and sat up in a rocker to nurse him. I remember how tired I felt at night. It almost hurt to just keep my body upright while he nursed. It was so tiring. Once he was sleeping thru the night he slept in his crib. Then Mya came along. The same thing. Nursing her in that rocker was dreadful. Of course I loved that bonding time with my baby, but when it's every 2 hours you have to sit upright in a chair those middle of the night feedings became very tiresome. By the time Mason came along I said FORGET the rocking chair for late night feedings. I spent the first 2 months of his life sleeping in the living room on our recliner. He layed on my chest. When it was time to feed him....I would nurse him and we would both drift back to sleep. I had my feet up, blanket on me, and the chair was reclined. It wasn't my bed, but it was much more comfortable than sitting up in that little rocker/glider. I was sleeping pretty much all night. My neck was a little sore in the morning but at least I felt rested. After about 4 months he wasn't nursing very much at night. He slept in a bed next to mine. If he would get up at night I would bring him in bed with me to nurse him. And there he would sleep the rest of the night. It was a hit or miss as to whether he would spend the whole night in his bed or mine. He STILL comes in my bed at night. As much as I say I want him to stay in his own bed, there is nothing sweeter than my little 2 yr old boy wanting to cuddle up next to me at night. He has this obsession with rubbing our arms...so when he wakes up all he wants to do is lay in bed and rub my arm until he drifts off to sleep. SO sweet! When Gracie came along I started bringing her in my bed at night to nurse and there she would stay all night long. I didn't really have to fully wake up when she needed to nurse. She is almost 9 months old and she still sleeps in my bed. The nice thing is she goes to sleep in her bed around 8:30pm. Then wakes up anywhere around 11pm-1am to nurse and then stays in bed with me. Right now she is nursing as I type this. She'll end up going to bed with me. She does however think I'm an "all night" milk bar! She is still nursing quite a bit at night. However, I don't think it's that much, she just nurses herself back to sleep when she wakes up. I've tried getting her to take a pacifier but it's a no go. She just wants to nurse. So I let her. Maybe that isn't the "right" thing to do in most people's eyes but it's what works for us. I know she wont' do this forever and it doesn't affect me or the rest of us in any negative way. I can definetly say I'm a big fan of "co-sleeping". I wish I would have done it more with the first 2 when they were newborns. Those night time feedings would have so much more of a bonding experience and not so dreadful. When the sun comes up and it's time to wake up my bed usually has 3 or 4 little bodies in it! You will always find Gracie laying close to me, Mason next to me and Mya next to him (she usually sleeps in her bed until early morning. I don't even hear her come in, she just comes in quietly). Every now and then Jordan will wake up and be laying at the end of the bed. Where does Ryan sleep you ask? The poor guy has been camping out on our futon in the living room for well over a year!! We plan on changing that soon. We need to get Mason to go back into his bed (he shares a double bed with Jordan) when he wakes up at night so it's just us and Gracie in our bed. So I would definetly say we are co-sleepers. It's what works for us. We actually started a new bedtime routine when we moved here a few weeks ago. It works out SO much better than what we did before. I put Gracie to bed in her room around 8:30pm. Then I lay in the boys bed with them (in between them to keep Mason from messing with Jordan). Mya has been laying on their floor in there. All 3 of them fall asleep in about 30 minutes. Then I leave their room and put Mya in her bed. That saves me tackling bedtime 3 different times. Jordan always went to bed good, but Mason doens't just lay in his bed if I put him in there awake and Mya likes having me lay with her to. So now I just get all 3 done in a third of the time! So we kinda created a "sibling bed" for them as well. Sleep is such a precious thing and however you can get more of it I say go for it! I've read articles and blogs about how people feel guilty for co-sleeping and how people have said it's "wrong". As long as you make sure you are co-sleeping safely for an infant then there is nothing wrong with it! It's a wonderful bonding experience that I will forever cherish. Plus the extra sleep at night makes everything else fall into place! (the picture I posted with this isn't our actual co-sleeping sleeping arrangement..it's just a picture of the 4 kids one morning in my bed after we woke up. We were all laying there talking and I had to take a picture!)

Happy St. Patrick's Day

We started our school St. Patricks Day celebration today. We learned the history of St. Patirick and also made a few shamrock crafts. We were also visited by a leperchan. We didn't see him but he peed in our toilet and didn't flush!!! He left some green tinkle in our potty!!!! The kids thought that was funny! Mya informed me that there were no such thing as leperchans! By the way..in case you were wondering it was just green food coloring in the toilet! We will do some more stuff tomorrow then finish off our celebration on Friday with a "green" feast. I'm going to the grocery store tomorrow and going to find as much green food as I can! Should be fun! Here is a picture of us today wearing our green clothes! Jordan's shirt has green stripes. It's hard to see in the picture. Happy St. Patrick's Day Everyone!!!