April 22, 2015

I'm Full of Sh*t

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We love and adore our children so we clean up their dirty diapers. Let's get it straight no one actually enjoys this task, it's just part of the job. So the day your little one is ready to start potty training must feel like a glorious release from endless hours of cleaning up nasty messes. But I can only imagine because that day hasn't come for me, yet. My little man is still happily in diapers - not pull ups - just the good old fashioned diapers but I await the day anxiously. 

So when it comes to potty training advice I'm full of... you get the picture. 



But here's what I do know:
  • Potty training typically takes place between ages two and four.
  • Boys tend to start the process a little later than girls (at least this is what I tell myself).
  • Boys never really learn the process - I mean they spray everywhere - have you seen the inside of a men's restroom? - what I really mean is good luck to my fellow boy moms.
  • Once you start potty training - it's an all-hands-on-deck process. No weak links allowed. 
  • Try not to confuse your toddler by switching from diapers to pull ups - choose one and commit. It may be convenient for you to transition back to diapers for a quick run to the grocery store but the idea is to allow your little to realize the consequences when they go potty in their big boy/big girl panties.
  • But since you already know the consequences of said potty training I would recommend bringing a couple spare changes of clothing for you and your little (you never know when sh*t can happen).
  • Allowing your littles to watch you potty (as uncomfortable as it might make you feel) will give them a sense of comfort and help reduce any trepidation they might have about using the potty.
  • When your little can pull their own pants up and down - it may be a good time to start thinking about potty training.
  • Talk to your toddler about their potty habits so that they become comfortable articulating what they need from you once the diapers disappear.
  • I hear summer is the best time for potty training because you can put your kids in their big kid underwear and let them run around outside and hose them off if when they get messy. 
  • I've also heard that rewarding your little for their crappy behavior (see what I did there?) or potty efforts that go well encourages them to continue down a path for success. Stickers, suckers or extra time outside can all be great motivators. 
  • Patience is key. It's a messy and nasty and smelly and gross (okay I'll stop) job training a toddler about how to use a potty. Just remember the reward once they can do it all by themselves - no more diapers, no more smelly trash cans, no more wiggly babies with half-secured dirty diapers dangling from their thunder thighs and no more fear of the super soaker (boy moms - you know what I'm talking about). 
But what do I know? I still have a little guy in diapers so frankly I'm no expert but I will be knee deep in sh*t before I know it so any potty-training advice you can offer is much appreciated.  If you're a blogger grab our button, follow our hosts and join the conversation. If you're not a blogger share your thoughts in the comment section and check out all the other great moms sharing their poopy stories. (The pons are ridiculous today). We're here to cultivate a community of mamas that can learn from the experiences of one another and we'd love to hear what you have to say. 

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Here is the schedule for upcoming Mamas Tell All topics:

April 29: The Man Behind the Mama – talking about husbands, boyfriends, etc.
May 6: Fighting the Green-Eyed Monster - talking about how all mamas sometimes get jealous of others
May 13: Dating my Daughter/Son – spending special time on “dates” with our kids
May 20: Last Year We Bought a Zoo (or Not) – a discussion on pets in the family - do you have any? why or why not?

Check out previous posts from this link up here:
Be Blessed,
Brittany
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April 15, 2015

What Did You Just Say?

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My little man recently turned two. Two, the age of terribleness, as some people refer to it. The age when personalities blossom and babies become little girls and boy. The age when boundaries are tested and speech develops. Your little can finally express his wishes and desires, his wants and needs. He can tell you when he's tired and that he doesn't actually like "Nemo" but loves "Cars." This transition to communication helps break through so much of the frustration little ones face prior to their speech explosion.

Since we are just really testing the waters of communication I don't have a lot of stories about funny things my little man has said however here are a couple of my favorites so far:

  • When I put my little guy in time out he looks up at me and says, "Austin adorable - hug?"
  • He calls his belly button a "belly butt"
  • Donuts are commonly referred to as "no nuts" 
  • He loves to go shopping and clearly requests to go to "Costco, target and Depot" meaning the home depot
  • He calls his grandma "GaGa" even though he can clearly say "Grandma" - the name she prefers
  • Whenever he says pizza it comes out "pa-pa-pa-iza" 
  • I love it when he says, "green" but just leaves out the "r" - this happens most often at a red light, "Geen please - go go geen"
He repeats just about everything and he picks up on things so quickly. Don't believe me? Just watch how cute this video is of him wishing his uncle "Happy Birthday."



If you have a little one that's a talker I'm sure you have some great stories! Grab our button, follow our hosts (myself, Christine, Ashley and Melissa) and join the conversation. We're here to cultivate a community of mamas that can learn from the experiences of one another and we'd love to hear what you have to say. 

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Here is the schedule for upcoming Mamas Tell All topics:

April 22: Saying Goodbye to Diapers – tips and tricks or just stories about the potty-training process
April 29: The Man Behind the Mama – talking about husbands, boyfriends, etc.
May 6: Fighting the Green-Eyed Monster - talking about how all mamas sometimes get jealous of others
May 13: Dating my Daughter/Son – spending special time on “dates” with our kids
May 20: Last Year We Bought a Zoo (or Not) – a discussion on pets in the family - do you have any? why or why not?

Check out previous posts from this link up here:
Be Blessed,
Brittany
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April 8, 2015

The Art of Disciplining Children

mamastellall

We cuddle and care for our little ones but at some point there is a shift. A shift when we as parents need to take on a disciplinary role. Our drooling little jelly beans intentionally cross the line and suddenly the thought crosses your mind, "did he just defy me on purpose? He knows better. Why would my precious angel ever {fill in the blank}?"

And then said thing happens again and again (and again) and you notice a pattern of defiance. Your toddler is exploring boundaries and so you quickly have to set those boundaries and expectations. But how? Do you spank, use timeout, scream and shout, ignore bad behavior in hopes it will 
stop when he doesn't get the attention your toddler is seeking?

I don't have all the answers. I just hope I have a couple, or enough to successfully help my son navigate through life with his feet planted firmly on the ground, a strong and faithful conviction in the Lord and a sense of family and an integrity that cannot be shaken. 

Each parent needs to find the disciplinary action that works best for them. It's not my place to be judgmental I can only speak from my experience and my experience is that parenting is hard. None of us really know what we're doing, we're all just trying our best to raise the best children possible. 

When it comes to discipline, no matter what your method, you have to be consistent, it should come from a place of love and respect for the child and the punishment should fit the crime.  




1. Consistency is key. As children grow older they will test the boundaries to see just how far they can push back on the restrictions they face. As a parent it's imperative that you stand strong in your resolve. Wavering once you've set standard leads to confusion for the child. They need to know that their actions have consequences or else they will grow up believing that you will waver with everything and that there are no ramifications for bad behavior. 



2. Love and respect for the child comes before all else. Disciplining your children should be about instilling virtue in their life, keeping them safe from harm and mentoring them to become active participates in their community. It's so easy to become frustrated as a parent - to hit a limit and a breaking point. Remember that the purpose of the disciplinary action is to teach your child a lesson, to guide him or her in the right direction. If you come from a place of love and respect instead of anger or impatience you are more likely to actually impart those lessons.



3. The punishment needs to fit the crime. This is a principle that we base our whole judicial system on so it only seems fitting that it would apply in the home as well. Don't over or under exaggerate the punishment. For toddlers, a good rule of thumb is timeout should be as long as they are old. For example, my two-year-old sits in timeout for two minutes.


I bet you have some great advice on discipling children, please share! Grab our button, follow our hosts (myself, Christine, Ashley and Melissa) and join the conversation. We're here to cultivate a community of mamas that can learn from the experiences of one another and we'd love to hear what you have to say. 

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Here is the schedule for upcoming Mamas Tell All topics:

April 15: Kids Say the Darndest Things – the crazy things that come out of our kids’ mouths
April 22: Saying Goodbye to Diapers – tips and tricks or just stories about the potty-training process
April 29: The Man Behind the Mama – talking about husbands, boyfriends, etc.
May 6: Fighting the Green-Eyed Monster - talking about how all mamas sometimes get jealous of others
May 13: Dating my Daughter/Son – spending special time on “dates” with our kids
May 20: Last Year We Bought a Zoo (or Not) – a discussion on pets in the family - do you have any? why or why not?


Be Blessed,
Brittany
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April 1, 2015

Going to the Extreme for Alone Time

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Parenting is a kind of balancing act relying on a fulcrum that intricately weighs living between extremes. You want to love your children but you don't want them to feel entitled. You want to show them how to work hard but that life isn't all about work. You want to show them to be strong in their convictions but be open-minded to the ideas and cultures of others. 

You also want to show them what it's like to be a loving, committed parent without continuous, recurring meltdowns and unnatural mental instability. What I mean by that, is that all parents need to take time for themselves. They need to step away and "detox" even if just for a few minutes so that they have more of themselves to offer their children. Really, so that they have more of themselves to offer the world.

A relaxing bath, a long jog, time out with friends for a little vino and adult conversation, a chick flick and Ben & Jerry's all seem like simple solutions that would allow you to unwind, regroup and just generally get your life together. But finding time for yourself comes much easier when you don't have littles watching your every move, anticipating your next step and in the middle of a deep breathe, needing you more than ever.

I can't speak to mamas of older children but when it comes to a toddler your attention is their #1 priority. Even sneaking to the bathroom becomes a game of hide and seek. Your personal time dwindles to almost nothing so capitalizing on the quiet moments is imperative.

I've tried waking up early to savor three sips of coffee in complete peace and quiet. I've utilized nap time like I'm some kind of kamikaze warrior who needs to fix dinner, do household chores and catch up on decades of reality TV. I've embraced rush hour traffic to phone a friend and decompress. I've stretched shaving my legs into some type of marathon sport just for four extra minutes to myself.

I'm my experience finding "me time" is a team effort. It's important to have a strong support system both in and outside the home to give you time to be an adult and contribute to society in a way that doesn't involve your children. My husband is incredible in more ways than I'll ever be able to describe but his capability to read my mood and just know when I need an extra five minutes is one of the things I admire the most about him. For example, he takes charge of bath time to give me a moment for myself. He insists that my son go to daycare one day a week so that I can run errands, take naps, get my hair done and fulfill necessary appointments without touting my little guy with me everywhere.

By embracing these small moments and recognizing that they're needed and happening, no matter what my escape looks like - if it's five minutes or five hours - at the end of it I'm always hungry for time with my little guy.

Do you ever go to extremes for alone time? How do you find time to escape?

Grab our button, follow our hosts (myself, Christine, Ashley and Melissa) and join the conversation. We're here to cultivate a community of mamas that can learn from the experiences of one another and we'd love to hear what you have to say. 

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Here is the schedule for upcoming Mamas Tell All topics:

April 8: To Spank or Not to Spank – a discussion on discipline: when to start, how to implement, and how does it change as kids get older
April 15: Kids Say the Darndest Things – the crazy things that come out of our kids’ mouths
April 22: Saying Goodbye to Diapers – tips and tricks or just stories about the potty-training process April 29: The Man Behind the Mama – talking about husbands, boyfriends, etc.
May 6: Fighting the Green-Eyed Monster - talking about how all mamas sometimes get jealous of others
May 13: Dating my Daughter/Son – spending special time on “dates” with our kids
May 20: Last Year We Bought a Zoo (or Not) – a discussion on pets in the family - do you have any? why or why not?

March 25, 2015

It's Back - Mamas Tell All

mamastellall
I am so, so, so, excited today because I am announcing that Mamas Tell All is BACK! We had a blast last time we did this, and we are hoping it is even more fun this time!

For those of you who weren't around for the last round, Mamas Tell All is a link up series with myself, Christine, Ashley, and Melissa, as our newest co-host! The point of this series is for moms to talk about the real stuff that we deal with and our thoughts on different parenthood subjects. You can join in for all the topics, or just one, or however many you want! Just write a post and link it up via the widget at the bottom of each post. If you aren't a blogger we still want to hear from you too. Post comments and share your thoughts. Think of this as a forum for discussion.

We recommend that you follow all the co-hosts so you never miss any of the posts on the different topics! We really want these posts to start conversations and give moms an outlet to tell it like it is! 

Here is the schedule for this round of Mamas Tell All:
April 1: Hiding in the Bathroom with Food – the weird things we do to get some time alone (or eat our favorite foods)
April 8: To Spank or Not to Spank – a discussion on discipline: when to start, how to implement, and how does it change as kids get older
April 15: Kids Say the Darndest Things – the crazy things that come out of our kids’ mouths
April 22: Saying Goodbye to Diapers – tips and tricks or just stories about the potty-training process April 29: The Man Behind the Mama – talking about husbands, boyfriends, etc.
May 6: Fighting the Green-Eyed Monster - talking about how all mamas sometimes get jealous of others
May 13: Dating my Daughter/Son – spending special time on “dates” with our kids
May 20: Last Year We Bought a Zoo (or Not) – a discussion on pets in the family - do you have any? why or why not?

We really hope you'll join us over the next eight weeks...we are really excited to see what you all have to say!

Be Blessed,
Brittany
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February 19, 2015

My Heart is Full & My Belly is Growing

It's been awhile since I've visited this space and I feel like I need to explain why. Well, I lost my direction with a lot of things in life and needed to hit the refresh button. More than that I need to reevaluate my priorities and make sure I wasn’t headed in a direction I would one day regret.


I took time away from the blogosphere, a lot of time, and in that time a lot has changed. I’ve done some serious personal reflection and I've put my life and my family on a new path. A path for success, a path for renewed relationships, a path for closer bonds and hopefully a path of less stress and more happiness. I don't claim that this path will be easy but I am hopeful it will be just what my family needs. 

I've decided to step away from my full time job. I will continue to work from home on some smaller projects but I won't be in the office 40+ hours a week. I won't be commuting to and from work 10+ hours a week, my son won't be in daycare for 10+ hours a day and my family will have more of my time and I will have more of them, which I think is great considering our family is expanding. 

I'm so blessed to announce that my husband and I are going to welcome another little boy to our family in August. Another light, another beautiful face, another responsibility, another love bug, another crazy and rambunctious life that will call me, "mommy." My heart is so full of love for my unborn baby, my son. I envision the moment we meet him and knowing that moment will change our lives forever. I imagine our new baby meeting Austin, his big brother, and I can just see what an amazing role model he will be. My heart is full and my priorities have been refocused. I know in this moment I am abundantly blessed.



I want my growing family to always be my priority. I want them to get the best of me, not the leftovers after a stressful and crazy week at work. I want to provide them home-cooked meals not another night of fast food or something from the freezer section. I have big plans for field trips to the zoo, for trips to see family and friends, for time on the couch cuddling and finger paint projects gone good (and bad). I really don't know what my future holds but I know that my priorities have changed, and so have many things in my life. I want to make sure that my blog focuses on the very real struggles and the very real joys that I'll experience on this new path. 

I'm sorry for my absence but I assure you that things they are a'changing and I think for the better. I have a renewed sense of self, a fresh spirit and a willing and open heart. If you're still reading, if any of you are still out there...thank you. Thank you for those that have reached out inquiring. I heard you, even in my silence. I just needed some time for myself and my family. I hope you understand and that you'll continue to follow me on my crazy journey in a growing family full of boys. 

Always and Forever - Be Blessed,
Brittany
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November 28, 2014

Untraditional Toddler Gifts


The toys pile up. They sing, they dance, they spin in circles and flash lights and frankly at the end of a long work day they can drive me bonkers. Which is why this year I'm trying to take a nontraditional approach to some of my gift giving, at least for my toddler. My little guy has a budding imagination so it takes next-to-nothing to entertain him and most of the time he's only interested in doing things that are off limits or doing things with my husband or I. 

I thought about it and I can't be the only mother out there on the prowl for great gift ideas and with Black Friday upon us this is my gift to you. A list of some of my favorite untraditional toddler gifts.

Untraditional Toddler Gifts




Bring Nature Closer. 
It doesn't matter what season it is, the outdoors offer an amazing beauty that just isn't overlooked by a young eye. Adding a bird feeder to your outdoor space, even if it's limited, only enhances that beauty and it ensures that your toddler will look forward to spending time outside or at least they will enjoy their view from the window.

A Way to Relax. 
If you have a toddler I can almost guarantee that you could use an extra 15 minutes of quiet time or a minute to actually sit down. I can't ensure that a comfy kids chair, like this one from the Land of Nod, will give you that time but coupled with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or Cars, your odds are much better. The reason I like this particular chair over others is because it's less expensive, comes from a great brand and personalization is FREE!

Plus Land of Nod is offering 15% off and free shipping until Dec. 1st, just use promo code: SAVE15.

Discover the Inner Artist.
Toddlers learn more and more about their coordination everyday and art projects and other creative outlets allow them to hone those developing skills while also providing an outlet to improve their imagination. I really like the Step2 Flip and Doodle Desk with Stool Easel because it has plenty of space to hold art supplies and it should withstand the torment of a toddler.

Think Summer Time. 
We may be in the grip of winter but that doesn't mean you can't think ahead to sweet sweet summer time. Why not prepare your little ones with water toys and accessories like this amazing Swimline Galleon Raider Inflatable from swimoutlet.com? Not only will this impressive float be a showstopper under the tree, it's sure to be a toddler favorite AND swimoutlet.com is providing free shipping on all orders over $49. I've bought some items from swimoutlet.comhttp://www.swimoutlet.com/p/swimline-galleon-raider-inflatable-7530648/ and yogaoutlet.com in the past and I'm always blown away by their great selection and amazing customer service.

What's on your toddlers wish list this year? Do you have any other great nontraditional gift ideas?


Brittany
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