Gratitude

11/25/2014

Our very first Christmas together, Pat and I received a journal from Terry, Pat’s step mom. Inside, we found a talk given by Elder Eyring on the topic of gratitude. Since then, I’ve made it a goal to read it each year.

Elder Eyring encourages individuals to write a few lines in a journal each day on how they have seen the hand of God in their life. I’ve taken the challenge seriously, and haven’t missed a day during the last 8 weeks :) I can honestly say after actively looking for ways that I have been blessed has changed my perspective on life, and left me in a grateful state just in time for Thanksgiving.

I encourage you to listen to Elder Eyring’s advice if you’re looking for a way to make a positive change in your life. {Here} is the talk.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Activity: Apple Turkeys

11/20/2014

Thanksgiving activities

Last year my SIL busted out an activity in minutes and it was a huge hit with the kids. Today I was a little desperate for something to help me entertain my kids, so I grabbed a couple of apples, a few toothpicks, and some finger foods, and repeated the activity.

Apple Turkeys

Thanksgiving activities

Supplies

  • apples
  • toothpicks
  • finger foods, I used cheerios, raisins, cheese, and goldfish. Ledger wanted to add feet afterward, so we added popcorn for feet, but the turkey was eaten before I snapped a pic showing the feet :)

Stick four toothpicks on the top of each apple, throw the finger foods in separate bowls and let the kids go to town with it. Let them snack on the food while they do it :) My twins who were too young to participate on their own had fun handing me each item from their tray and watching me put it on the toothpicks.

Oh, the mask…Batman (AKA Cannon) wears that mask the majority of each day and it was not coming off just to make turkeys. He really did wear it the entire time. :) 

Thanksgiving activitiesThanksgiving activitiesThanksgiving activitiesThanksgiving activitiesThanksgiving activities
Ledger had just as much fun picking the turkey apart and eating gobbling it right up!

I hope your kids enjoy it as much as mine did.

Letter Recognition: Alphabet Train

11/13/2014

letter recognition activity

After graduating with a degree in Elementary Education, I appreciate a good file folder game, especially when kids can play with little effort expected on my part. Ledger, my three year old, knows each letter in the alphabet, but I’ve noticed he struggles with a few lower case letters, (Most books are all capital letters). When my friend posted an image similar to this on instagram, I knew I needed to recreate it into a file folder game and make a few changes to help with capital and lower case letter recognition. I also added an extra set of wheels to help with reading in the future :)

alphabet train 
Alphabet Train

What You Need:

9 Pieces of cardstock or construction paper (I let Ledger pick the colors)
Velcro dots
Black marker
Scissors
Somewhere to laminate each boxcar/wheels and train
Tape
The two printables posted below in the box app

  • Cut 4 pieces of construction paper in half and write three CAPITAL letters on each half, (Only two letters will be left on the last boxcar). Save a little room below each letter to fit the velcro dots.
  • Print the wheels printable from below, write lower case letters on each wheel. (I used three different colors for the wheels) I also wrote one word starting with each letter for when Ledger begins reading. Three pieces of paper was enough to do both.
  • I had a few wheels left over so I added each member’s name of our family. If I did it again, I’d leave a few empty for back ups, we’ve already lost the “i”.  
  • Print the black train, also shared below.
  • Laminate the train, each box car, and three wheel pages. (I figured I’d laminate it if I was going to put the work into it. My boys are so rough, I knew it would be destroyed after one use).

Alphabet Toddler activity

  • Cut out the train, box cars, and wheels. Add a velcro dot under each capital letter on the boxcars, and on the back of each wheel.
  • Tape the train and each boxcar on the wall and you’re ready to go!

I love this File Folder game because it really does challenge my three year old. He can sing the alphabet song, and recognize every capital letter, but has rarely seen the entire alphabet listed in front of him and it takes him a minute to find some of the letters. When he matches a wheel to each letter, we practice the different sounds each letter makes.

Toddler Activity (He was thrilled to find his name)

When we’re finished I pack it up into a vanilla file folder and put it in the bin with the other file folder games we have. It makes it easy to rotate games so Ledger doesn’t get sick of the games.

Enjoy!

16 Months

11/11/2014

When our kids reach the age of about 15 - 18ish months, life becomes bittersweet in our home. I remember feeling this way with Ledger, but this time around, this stage is much more sweet. We’ve been blown away how much the twins remind us of Preslee. I know most of it is due to toddler mannerisms, but between both boys, they have sparked so many different memories, helping me focus on the good. As I’ve seen little glimpses of the girl we miss so much, there have been moments I’ve felt Heavenly Father urge me to slow down and enjoy this stage with Cannon and Cruiz, reminding me how blessed we truly are.

Grief blog(Cruiz)

Whether it’s Cannon’s grin, slobbery kisses, or the way he calls out Momma each morning, Cruiz’s eyes, the way he sleeps, or his cuddly moments due to teething; or how both boys react when I point the blow dryer in their face, followed by dance parties in our tiny little bathroom, my heart feels like it’s about to explode.

Grief blog

So please forgive me if things slow down around here for a little bit, (I know they already have).
I’ve made it a goal to listen to the prompting and enjoy every moment with these boys for the next little while. I know each stage passes by all too quickly and I won’t get this sacred time back.

grief blog

Today I’m feeling extremely grateful Heavenly Father trusted me enough to be their mom,
I love all 4 of you more than you know.

Colic: Remedies for Desperate Parents

11/06/2014

coliccoliccoliccolic 

We were lucky. Extremely lucky. Our first two babies were easy, and have I mentioned amazing sleepers? Then, SURPRISE! Our third pregnancy blessed us with two babies – identical twin boys, who weren’t so easy :) Not only were we outnumbered, but just after being released from the NICU, crying rocked our world. There was SO.MUCH.CRYING! When one boy fell asleep, the other started up. We even heard crying in our heads when they weren’t crying, and I was convinced I had gone crazy, along with our two year old - who after about two months literally snapped, especially in confined spaces…

Out of desperation I began researching colic remedies and had a difficult time finding one place that gave me more than one suggestion. After hours of research, reading the different suggestions many of you gave us, and spending 7 months with two colicky babies, I’ve finally compiled what we learned.

colic baby

1. HEATING PAD - Cruiz never reacted to the heating pad, but it did help Cannon calm down a little. Put it around their tummy, and then swaddle them up. This is the heating pad we use.

2. GRIPE WATER – I know gripe water is the first thing people recommended, and is pretty inexpensive, so I’d start here. There are many different kinds, and we tried them all, but we noticed the gripe water with peppermint helped the most, but still didn’t do much for our twin boys.

3. COLIC TABLETS - We started off with these colic tablets. These worked great with Ledger, our second child, but didn’t have the strength we needed with our twins. I was later told to dissolve them in gripe water, and the mix of the two does the trick.

4. GAS RELIEF DROPS – Our babies were gassy. It’s true. I bought these gas relief drops and after I gave them a dose, they would start burping and passing gas, which always makes for a happy baby.

5. ESSENTIAL OILS – So many people suggested oils! Lavender is known for calming, and peppermint helps with pain, I know many people who have benefited from essential oils, but it didn’t seem to help our boys. I was told to drop a couple drops of peppermint in a bottle and it would help soothe their stomachs. But I love the idea of a natural remedy to help with my babies.

6.COLIC CALM – Oh baby, this stuff is AMAZING! It’s pricey, but it’s a small price to pay for sanity. Don’t let the black color turn you off, with a little spray and wash, it came out of everything. We called it black magic in our house. It didn’t solve our problem, but it would help sooth them almost instantly. Until we worked with a doctor this was by the most helpful product. Find it at Walgreens or Amazon.

7. BABY ZANTAC OF PREVACID – Our babies spit up everything all hours of the day, and then would scream terribly. It seemed like their spit up was burning their throats. It took us about three months to figure this one out, but both babies had acid reflux. Our pediatrician prescribed baby zantac, and the boys were given two small doses a day and it’s made the biggest difference! (Quite common in preemie twins)

8. CHIROPRACTOR – I had a friend refer me to Madison Ridge Chiropractic in Rexburg, ID because they work on children up to a year for free. I thought if it didn’t cost me anything, it wouldn’t hurt to try. To be honest I was skeptic, but after Dr. Roderick explained the process, and showed me what the babies would feel I said lets give it a try. The first couple of weeks I went 2-3 times each week, and then about once a week until they were 8 months. And it seriously makes the BIGGEST difference! Every time we went, within 4-6 hours both boys will poop at the exact same time, (I kid you not) and most often a blowout, and would instantly smile, and fall asleep for hours. The chiropractor explained colic is related to stomach problems, and when their little bodies are aligned, everything inside runs better and more effectively. Both boys had issues filling a diaper regularly, and our visits to the chiropractor fixed that problem. We were also grateful because we learned Cruiz had torticollis, where his neck was kinked and he always looked to the right, (common for twins, because its such a tight fit in the womb). Dr. Roderick fixed his little neck, and I grew to love the man. After a couple of months the boys both boys started acting a little better for awhile, and I took a few weeks off thinking I didn’t need to go anymore, but slowly they returned to their old ways. Once I returned, the crying lessened. I’m a full - fledged believer of this one!

9. PROBIOTICS – I had a surprising amount of comments left about this item, so I gave it a try. Healthline.com says, “Researchers at an Italian university reported that giving infants a probiotic during their first three months of life can help prevent stomach problems like colic from developing.” To my amazement, it helped. When I added this along with the zantac, we almost had normal babies…almost. It may seem pricey, but a little goes a long ways. This is the brand we used.

10. NUTRAMIGEN – Seven months later, I finally hit my breaking point, and ended up at my pediatrician’s office on a Saturday morning in tears. After discussing the boys’ history, our pediatrician wanted to switch their formula. We first tried Enfamil Gentlease, and later switched to Nutramigen (formula to help with a cows milk allergy) It’s crazy expensive, but learned from many of our readers that WIC will help with it, and if you have twins, contact your pediatrician, and even Enfamil, they help twin moms out. But within 3 days, (It takes 3 days for formula to get out of a baby’s system) our boys stopped crying, and even began sleeping at night. It was the first time we saw our boys actually function. This formula completely changed our lives, learn more about it {here}.

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Here’s to hoping something on the list helps. If not, give me a call, I’ll be more than happy to come babysit so you can drive to the nearest frozen yogurt shop, eat your emotions away, and sit in silence, all the while giving yourself a pep talk, that you really can get through the next day… which I did a little too often :)

And now that I’m on the other end, I can say it was totally worth it.

colic 

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