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Thursday, April 27, 2017

BFBN Day: When Summer "Break" Is Hardly a Break At All- How to Get By

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

It's Babywise Friendly Blog Network Day! All of the bloggers are blogging about the topic of "summer". See below for a ful list of links! Enjoy the posts!

As a teacher, I longed for summer. It was such a wonderful break. Except for one thing... while my schedule was freed up, my husband's schedule was ramping up. While teachers and children are off in the summer, and it is often an ideal time for summer vacations and lots of on the go fun, in our house it's time for gearing up for some difficult, long days. My husband (a golf course superintendent) can't take off for vacations during these months (our family vacations happen in the winter), and often he won't be home for dinner. The weekends are also work days, and there is no break in the schedule (7 days a week) until the weather breaks during the fall season. It's hard on him, and it's also hard on me. I end up kind of solo parenting during these months, and it can get difficult. I know our circumstance is unique, but I also know there are lots of other moms that end up with a similar scenario. Each summer, I try and manage things a little bit better. So, in my effort to tackle these difficult months, and in the hopes that other moms out there might benefit from this as well, I've decided to put together our plan on how to get by!

1. Meal Plan Specifically with Leftovers in Mind

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Feed Me, Change Me, Love Me Baby Tracking Journal Review

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

Ok, so here's the thing about tracking journals. They are super useful, but only if they are really good! I have to say, I'm pretty picky about what information I want to record, and how I want to record it. By the time I realized I needed/wanted to be tracking all of Caroline's habits (eating, sleeping, wake time, diaper changes, which side I breastfed on, etc.), I was in full on stay alive mode and too busy to search for one that would be useful. I ended up just recording information about her schedule on a blank notebook that I kept handy. I also made use of my phone. None of the apps seemed to be what I wanted, but there was one simple solution that was going to help me- setting alarms. Every time we had a schedule change, I set both feeding alarms and nap alarms on my phone. This way, I could better keep track of the time and when things were supposed to happen. With schedules changing frequently, that was THE most useful tool that I had at the time.

Fast forward 2 years, and I've since designed a printable baby tracking journal for the basics (eat, wake, sleep). It has recommended schedules, places to keep track of the times and to record any observations. It's basic, but useful. You can check it out in my Etsy shop. It will make things much more organized than simply using notebook paper like I did the first time around!

Right as I was designing this printable option, I was contacted by a fellow Babywise mama about a baby tracking journal that she has in production. I agreed to do a review on the journal, and I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised! I definitely plan on using this journal for baby #2. Let me tell you why:

1. Tracking of schedules (goals and actual) is easy to do with this journal! The schedule portion of the journal is an easy tracking system with a grid that you simply draw on. If baby was asleep for 2 hours, you just make a line from 10am-12pm in the chart to indicate a nap. Here's how I plan on altering this for my use. At the top I'm going to write "eat", "wake", and "sleep" in different colors. All on the same chart I'll record these different tasks in different colors. I'm also planning on putting our goal at the top of the chart. I've filled out the week 8 schedule with what this goal will look like for you to see. As we go through the week, I'll just record what actually happened in the spaces below to see how well we are doing with the current scheduling goals. I'll still be setting my phone alarms to help me remember the times, but this all in one recording tool is going to be fabulous!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Free Zoo Admission For Your Family & An Exciting New Partnership- Saving Animals From Extinction

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

Saving Animals From Extinction       Stonyfield Organic

I have the wonderful opportunity of getting to work as a blogger for Stonyfield (yes the company with the yummy yogurt that we all love feeding to our babies and toddlers)! Stonyfield is an amazing company to work with, as they are very focused on sustainability and conservation efforts. Their latest effort is a very exciting one to share with you all. Stonyfield is partnering with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) SAFE program (Saving Animals From Extinction). Not only are they contributing funds to a great cause, they have a distinct focus to bring families and children into our zoos, aquariums, and to research locations. Their goal is to inspire a lifelong appreciation of our planet, and a commitment to animal conservation in the next generation.

So how does this impact you? Well, you get to enjoy all of the benefits!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Putting Away 2T, Getting Out 3T and 4T

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

Yesterday's task: Putting away 2T clothes, and getting out 3T and 4T clothes. This project took our entire morning. I hate doing the clothing switches from one size to the next! First of all, every brand is different, so I try to keep like fits in the same rotation, instead of just basing it on size...and that makes things so frustrating to move around. I also just don't deal with the clothes until I have to, so there's that, too! haha 

While dealing with the clothes is a pain, we've found ways to make it less of a pain:

1. We have a "doesn't fit catch all bin". If I put something on Caroline and it is too tight, I take it off and chuck it into this bin that I keep in her closet. It's open and ready for clothes all the time. I don't bother sorting by size or permanently storing at this stage...this is just the get it out of our way and I'll put it away later bin, and it works super well!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Easter 2017

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

Everything about Easter this year was so wonderful. I don't know which part was the best- Daddy getting to come home from work at a decent hour, Caroline having so much fun finding her Easter basket, or the fun she had getting to share a train ride with Daddy. It was all just perfect.

Easter eve, Daddy got the exciting task of hiding Caroline's Easter basket. At her age, she's actually pretty good at finding things, but it totally depends on her mood. She's pretty impatient and is in a phase where she doesn't like to try on her own and immediately asks for help. Daddy chose the perfect spot for her basket with these things in mind! This year, it was tucked away in her shoe bin by the front door, with just a little bit of the handle sticking out to catch her eye.

This is the first thing we see as we walk downstairs, so I actually made sure to stand in front of it so she wouldn't see it immediately! I wanted her to have to look at least a little bit! (Horrible mom I know haha). So when we were in the family room, she set off looking. She looked under the table, under the couch, and in a few bins once I finally got her going. She then decided she was going to go look in the kitchen cabinets. As she walked in the hallway, she noticed her shoes needed to be put away. This immediately drew her attention to her shoe bin, and she found her basket!

In her basket this year:

Thursday, April 13, 2017

BFBN Day (Guest Post)- Two Choices: A Simple Discipline Method

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

Toddlerhood is a stage where children are seeking independence. They push the boundaries we have in place. They become stubborn when not allowed to do as they please. They want to do things on their own, even if they aren't yet physically able to do so (hello food all over the floor from the toddler trying to carry her plate to the sink after dinner!).

Disciplining a toddler is crucial. We have to help guide them to make good choices and to understand that poor choices have consequences. Being consistent is key, even though it's not always easy. 

Our third child is in the toddler stage right now and she's my most stubborn toddler yet. I have always required our children to reply with a command I give by saying "yes ma'am" (this allows both myself and the child to know that they heard me and understood what I was asking of them as well as the discipline action that will take place if they choose not to obey). Even just getting the "yes ma'am" response from her can be a struggle!

I've thought a lot about this stubbornness and how to best discipline to her specific needs. It's true what they say about all children being different...they are! Each of our children has responded to our parenting methods in different ways and we've had to tweak things along the way to cater to each of their unique personalities. 

I have recently come up with what I call "The Two Choices Method of Discipline". I completely invented this myself so feel free to make fun of the name ;) I keep things basic around here. And the name is exactly what the method is! 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Organizing a Small Entryway

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog
We have NO entryway. The entry to our home is a hallway. In that hallway is a door to a bathroom, the opening to the stairs, and the opening to the kitchen. So, not only do we not have much of an entryway, we have no wall space either. We have a very small coat closet (luckily), that houses our coats, grocery bags, dog leashes, and winter boots. There is no room for anything else. Typically our shoes that are in daily use spill over onto the stairs, our coats that we use daily end up on the couch, and the small table that we have in the 19 inches between the bathroom and stairs is cluttered with keys, wallets, and mail. It is not ideal to say the least.

In those 19 inches, I had a small table that I'd shoved a basket underneath to house a lot of our shoes. Our daughter's shoes and sweatshirts for going out, ended up in a bin on the landing of the stairs. I finally got fed up with our situation and took the final steps to making our entryway work MUCH better.

I wish I would have taken before pictures, of course! Although many of these changes happened over time.

Here's how we maximize our space and get the most use out of our small entryway:

1. I took the much needed step of cleaning out the coat closet. There is now much more room and we only have necessities in the closet. If I didn't know the item was in the closet, it was either donated or thrown away (depending on what it was). We also found plastic drawers that fit nicely into the closet. This takes advantage of the vertical space between the floor and the coats hanging above. We fit all of our winter boots in the bottom drawer, our grocery bags in the middle drawer, and our dog items in the top drawer.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

6 Methods of Correction- Toddlerwise

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

This post originally appeared as a guest post at The Journey of Parenthood, on February 9, 2017. 

"It will be a great error to sit back and let your toddler direct his own show. He needs direction, and yes, correction. Both are demonstrations of love." (Toddlerwise, page 103)

Parenting a toddler is hard. Toddlers are just realizing they can test boundaries. They don't fully understand the implications of their actions, and they have TONS of energy that, if not put to good use, will get put to bad use in a moments notice.

If your 2 year old is suddenly saying "no" to everything you ask, or perhaps they've started hitting, throwing tantrums, and doing things they shouldn't do (running away from you, climbing on the table, etc.), it's easy to just push it off as the "terrible twos" and move on. Yes, part of it really is their age, but it is still essential that we have high expectations of our children and hold them to it. They need correction and we need to be consistent with our methods. Ignoring the behavior and hoping it will go away is NOT a method of correction, and provides no immediate feedback from which to learn from.

Wondering what you can do? Here are 6 great suggestions from the Toddlerwise book by Gary Ezzo. I don't know about you, but I need ALL the suggestions I can get!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

2 Years Old- Descriptive Speech and Finding Explanations

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

One of the things I LOVE about having a blog, is that I get the chance to record things, no matter how big or small. I love the idea of looking back at this when Caroline is older and seeing all of the characteristics, tendencies, qualities, and just her overall personality at different ages. I'm also a first time mom, and I am fascinated by how quickly Caroline learns things, and I'm always amazed at the things she's capable of. I'm hoping my amazement doesn't go away when I'm no longer a first time mom, and I honestly don't think it will. As I go through this wonderful journey with Caroline, I can't help but record these observations!

The latest observation that I've been meaning to record for a couple of months now: 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

My Little Outdoor Helper- 2 Years Old and Helping With Family Responsibilities

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

It is officially spring time, and Caroline and I will be outdoors as much as possible once again! Even through the cold months, we bundle up and make it outside. Caroline is always eager to explore and rarely phased by the cold or wet conditions. She's usually up for anything!

With the nice weather starting, we thought we'd brighten up our entry with some new planters and beautiful flowers. Caroline really enjoys picking dandelions and other flowers that we find on our walks, so we knew she'd have a blast picking out flowers for our front steps. I usually like to keep the flowers far away from our door in the hopes that the bees will also stay far away from us LOL! This year, however, I figured I'd make an exception and give in to this, since I knew how much Caroline would love it!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Feel Free To Curse Around My Kids

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

I saw a meme recently that read something to the effect of - I gave up a lot of things when I became a mom...The F-bomb wasn't one of them. I immediately laughed and raised my hand- "guilty"! A lot about my life has changed. I am a stay at home mom, and poop makes it into my vocabulary daily- no wait, more like hourly. I rarely have adult conversations, and don't really have reasons to put nice clothes on anymore. I haven't changed, however. I'm still me. And as me- well I like to use the f-bomb when, happens.

Am I more conscious of it? Yes. But, have I stopped? No.

Has my daughter repeated the curse words? YES! And guess what!? It is hilarious to hear a 2 year old curse. Talk about getting a good laugh! 

Does she go around cursing? No- because we don't make a big deal about it and it is just a word to her.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Thank You for the Cuddles

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

Dear Caroline,

Last night you called out for me. It was not even a couple of hours after you'd gone to bed and fallen asleep. You are a bit under the weather with a runny nose and not much of a voice for the past couple of days. I know how hard it is to get comfortable sleeping when you nose is going back and forth from stuffy to runny. You always handle it so well. Tonight you were having a hard time, and my heart broke for you. You told me the usual "I need to poop" line to get out of bed and get time with Mama. I took you, and then, when I saw you didn't have to go, I asked if you wanted to go back to bed and have Mama hold you. You said yes and just melted into my arms so thankful that I'd asked.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

How To Prepare For Potty Training As Early As 5 months Old- Plus a 10 Step Potty Training Method

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog
How To Prepare For Potty Training As Early As 5 months Old- Plus a 10 Step Potty Training Method

You know those moments when your husband has a genius parenting idea, and you’re like…”OMG why didn’t I think of this!?!” You’ve spent every waking hour with your child, yet somehow the idea never crossed your mind. You tell him how genius it is, and then somewhat regret not figuring out a way to take credit for this genius idea yourself. Well, this scenario played through when our daughter was 5 months old.

She was one of those babies that had the very obvious poop face. Red faced, grunting…OBVIOUS

Husband’s genius idea: 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Books with Female Characters- Annie Aardvark, Mathematician

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

"A 2011 Florida State University study found that just 7.5 percent of nearly 6,000 picture books published between 1900 and 2000 depict female animal protagonists; male animals were the central characters in more than 23 percent each year. (For books in which characters were not assigned a gender, researchers noted, parents reading to their children tended to assign one: male.) No more than 33 percent of children’s books in any given year featured an adult woman or female animal, but adult men and male animals appeared in 100 percent of the books." See full article here.

Do these statistics surprise me? No. And, as a mother with a daughter, it has become very obvious to me that these statistics are very representative of 2017 as well. Yes there are books that feature main female characters, but they are still the exception, not the rule. And the classics that we love and still enjoy certainly haven't been rewritten with female characters! Dora the Explorer books are a phenomenal addition to our home...not only is the book starring a female character- she is problem solving! She is figuring things out, using scientific evidence, and she is NOT a princess! There is always a need for more books like this!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Behavioral Regression at 28 months

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

I am that mom that is fascinated with developmental milestones and reading the science of what's happening to our babies as they learn. The Wonder Weeks book is such a great read (see my book review here), and I was astounded by the predictability of it. Unfortunately, the Wonder Weeks book stops it's known age predictable developmental milestones at the age of 20 months. Obviously, developmental leaps still occur after this point. And, it should come as no surprise to us that, these developmental leaps cause some behavioral shifts in our children when they are happening. Toddlers are learning so much all at once, and their worlds simply keep expanding and surprising them. As they take in new knowledge and learn new skills, their behaviors and sleep can be impacted. I always like to take note of when shifts like this happen, what skills are currently being learned, and what the regression is presenting itself as (sleep or behavioral changes).

This blog allows me to kind of create my own book about our personal experiences. It is so helpful to look back on them. The regressions typically last for about 1-2 weeks (similar in length to the leaps that are listed in the Wonder Weeks book). Just about the time I start getting worried about how long this is going to go on, and I finally break down and write a blog about our "regression", the behavior stops and our little Caroline goes back to her usual self. I am secretly hoping that the act of me writing this snaps her back to normal! LOL

When: Caroline turned 28 months old yesterday. It has been about a week of this behavior.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Easter Basket Ideas For 2 Year Old

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

Easter baskets are a huge tradition in my family. This is my second year getting to fill and hide an Easter basket for our daughter, and I am so excited! Yes, you read that right...we hide the entire basket, not just some plastic eggs. My dad did this for my entire childhood, and it was so much fun.

I am starting to plan what I'm going to be putting in Caroline's basket this year, and I like to make sure that I am not just wasting money. I want to get things that she'll actually enjoy using, and that are useful. Really my goal is to buy things that I need to buy anyway, and have them turn into fun Easter basket goodies!

Here are some Easter basket ideas that I've come up with:

Hair accessories: With a little girl, it is inevitable that we need more and more hair accessories. Tiny little hair bands just get lost. I am not even one to buy bows and girl it up, and this is on our list of things to buy every few months! We are finally moving into normal hair ties (instead of the plastic ones that break), so it is coming up less and less, but still always a fun idea that we'll get use out of!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Benefits and Types of Routines - And How You Can Use Routines Without Using Schedules

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

Today is Babywise Friendly Network Day! We are all writing on the topic of routine. Please see below for a full list of links!

If you've read this blog, you know that I am a huge advocate of using schedules with babies. I have written posts on the benefits of scheduling, and talked about how to identify when it is time to adjust the schedule, and how to go about adjusting the schedule, once you realize it's time. The basic premise of these schedules is based on Babywise techniques, and the idea is that at each age, there is an optimal amount of time for babies to be awake. The average time that a baby can handle staying awake without being overtired, can be applied to all babies and can really help with a baby's temperament, ability to sleep well, and engagement when awake. Making a schedule isn't easy, however. It isn't as simple as reading the Babywise book, or looking at my sample schedules, and then applying the schedule to your life. Schedules need to be optimized for each individual. This takes a lot of time and effort, and can be overwhelming.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Why I Love Hearing My Baby Cry

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

One of the perks of being a parenting blogger, is getting to connect with other moms. I've had the honor of getting to know this amazingly strong mama, and hearing her story. This woman has strength beyond what I can even fathom. She is sharing her story with us today. She is sharing her sadness, her heartache, her strength, and her happiness. This is a story worth your time.

Kelly writes:

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Chore Ideas for 2 Year Olds- Raising Helpers

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

"Chore"- it's not really a word that I grew up with or intend on using in my household. It gets the point across in the title however, as to what I'm writing about. Today I want to talk about the expectations we've set with our daughter. The tasks that she is responsible for taking care of. I want to talk about what she's capable of handling, and how she contributes to household tasks.

I don't view these items as chores, because I want her to learn that she is expected to help out whenever possible. I don't want her growing up learning to just check off her list. Being a family is a team effort, and we all have to pitch in to get things done. We have responsibilities as a family, and we all help out the best way we can. As Daniel Tiger says, "Everyone is big enough to do something".

Caroline is now almost 2.5 years old! I can't believe it. The time is simply flying by. Here are some things that we expect her to do around the house:

Monday, March 20, 2017

8 Independent Table Activities for 2 Year Olds

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

This post originally appeared at Wiley Adventures. It was a part of the Babywise Friendly Blog Network swap day! Original post was published on 1/12/16.

Do you have a 2 year old? This post is for you! My daughter is a young 2 (25 months). This is a challenging age when it comes to independent play (for us anyways). My once amazing independent player, is now losing it when I leave the room. Needless to say, independent play (or room time) has become a challenge in our house at the moment. While we continue to work on establishing independent play again, we've decided to introduce another type of play- "table play". Table play is my chance to get some hands free time while she's awake.

Table play is still independent play. It is a confined independent play, however, which is much different from the independent play that our daughter currently does in her room. Table play is much more focused. I will provide her with choices of a focused activity that she can engage in. With room time, she had access to everything in her room and got to choose the items that she played with. At table time, she is sitting in her booster seat at the table.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Strong As A #Mom - A STEM Loving Mom

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog
The National Girls Collaborative Project invited me to share my story as a woman that pursued a career in STEM! I am so honored to be sharing!

"It was my freshman year in college. I was taking the "weed out" courses of the premed (biomedical science) major that I'd signed up for. I found myself spending countless hours at the library studying, reading, and practicing- chemistry. Chem 101 was a tough class, but I was feeling inspired by the content. I wanted to read about it. I wanted to practice the problems. I wanted to learn as much as I could. It seemed to be the perfect mix of science and math to satisfy my brain, and, simply put, I was fascinated. I knew right then and there that I'd be changing my major to chemistry. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Boy Mom? Girl Mom? Can We Please Stop Labeling?

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

The #BoyMom hashtag is used quite liberally in today's culture to describe activities and behaviors that girls enjoy and engage in all the time. So let's take a look at the #BoyMom topics that are so often talked about:

1. Being obsessed with their penis and peeing everywhere. Ok I'll give this one to all the #boymoms. I don't have to deal with my daughter pulling at a penis, peeing everywhere, etc. Feel free to use the hashtag on this topic whenever you please!

As for the rest of this list, it's just a #kidthing and a #mom experience. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Mama's Got Ink: p.s. i love you

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

Last night, we had a little family outing... the outing? To get Mama a tattoo! Yes, I'm that mom that brings her 2 year old to watch me get a tattoo! We pretty much do everything as a family, and I wasn't about to go by myself. So, we all went!

I'm turning 33 tomorrow, and this is my first tattoo. I've always liked tattoos, but never had something that I wanted to actually be permanently stuck to my body. I also had a self proclaimed rule that I had to wait until I was 30 before getting one. In my younger days, I was notorious for changing my tastes on a whim! I knew better than to tattoo something then, but now I'm feeling content, rooted, secure, and stable in my likes and dislikes, my beliefs and views. There's nothing I'm more certain of than my love for my family.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Strong As A Mom: Fundraiser for MOC and the National Girls Collaborative Project

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog
I wrote a blog post awhile back called "strong as a mother". (see below for full post) I came up with this design back when I wrote the post, and never got around to actually putting it out there. Then I saw the new Target shirt! So similar! I realized that the message is strong, and something that women want to say. As moms, we often are made to feel inferior if we choose to stay home and be "just a mom". But the reality is that we've taken on the hardest job of our lives, and we are anything but just a mom. 

I am a woman that celebrates science. I celebrate independence and having a strong career. I also celebrate being a mom and love my new job of staying home to raise my daughter. 

BFBN Week (Topic: Discipline): When Ignoring Is a Beneficial Parenting Tool

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

It's Babywise Friendly Blog Network Week! Our group will be writing on the topic of "discipline" all week long. Please see below for the full schedule.

Today, Emily, from The Journey of Parenthood, is talking about the 6 times that she finds ignoring to be a beneficial tool in her parenting toolbox! She writes:

"It's important as parents to have a parenting toolbox. A toolbox filled with a variety of parenting tools to pull from when certain situations arise. No two children are exactly like. Each child will respond differently to different discipline methods and a variety of circumstances will occur with children where just having ONE method of discipline simply won't work." 

BFBN Week (Topic: Discipline): Discipline Delay Tactics

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

It's Babywise Friendly Blog Network Week! Our group will be writing on the topic of "discipline" all week long. Please see below for the full schedule.
Today, Cole from Twinning Babywise, is writing about some common discipline tactics. I love that she labels these as "delay tactics". They are, in fact, delay tactics... but they are often thought of as useful discipline methods. The problem, is that they are merely delaying the inevitable... the discipline part. These tactics are often open ended and parents often don't follow through on the "threats". She writes:

"I'm going to count to three! One....two....three....four..."

"If you don't come here right now, you're going to get a spanking!"

"You don't want to come? Okay, I'm leaving without you... here we go....I'm walking out the door..."

These, among many others, are discipline delay tactics. On the surface, the purpose of these statements is to offer the child a second chance to obey, but in actuality the point is release the parent from the responsibility of disciplining. Discipline isn't fun for the child or the parent, so they are hoping to avoid it by giving the child more opportunities to obey.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

BFBN Week (Topic: Discipline): Discipline As Discipleship

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

It's Babywise Friendly Blog Network Week! Our group will be writing on the topic of "discipline" all week long. Please see below for the full schedule.

Today, Carrie from Wiley Adventures is talking about how they view discipline through the lens of the bible. She's put together some great thinking points!

"Rules can punish disobedience, and there is a need for that, but they cannot MAKE someone more loving, joyful, etc.. They can make people compliant but they are not what produces transformation. I don’t want to teach my kids that they can behave their way into joy.  I want to teach them to connect to the source of joy, and the joy will take care of itself."

BFBN Week (Topic: Discipline): Big feelings- Talking Through Tantrums With Your Child

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

It's Babywise Friendly Blog Network Week! Our group will be writing on the topic of "discipline" all week long. Please see below for the full schedule.

Today, Kimberly at Team Cartwright is discussing how they deal with tantrums. I have to say, I absolutely LOVE this post! We deal with tantrums in a very similar way, and I think it is so important to realize that toddlers are still learning how to deal with their emotions. I fully believe that we have to help them learn how to do so, and that ignoring a tantrum (while sometimes appropriate when all else fails) is not helping them to learn how to cope with emotions in the long run. Kimberly gives some great advice in this post on how to handle the tantrum and get to the bottom of the emotion, together. This post also ties in so well to my post on expectations yesterday and focusing on the end goal and desired behavior.

"When my son has a tantrum, I try not to punish him.  Oh, I don't want him acting out like that. Tantrums are absolutely something to avoid and unacceptable behavior. But I think tantrums in toddlers and preschoolers aren't telling us that our children need more discipline or are out of control. I think they are telling us our children are having some big feelings they don't know how to deal with." 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

BFBN Week (Topic Discipline): Knowing and Teaching the Final Desired Expectation

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

It's Babywise Friendly Blog Network Week! Our group will be writing on the topic of "discipline" all week long. Please see below for the full schedule.

Discipline. What does that word mean to you?

Webster defines discipline as "The practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience."

I'd like to alter this definition slightly- "The practice of training people desired behaviors based on expectations, using a proactive approach and consequences when necessary". 

I probably wouldn't have phrased it the way Webster did to begin with, but with some simple alterations, I think my idea comes across. To me, discipline is the big picture, not just the response. It incorporates who, what, when, why, and how. In order to discipline effectively, all of these questions need to be thought through, a plan devised, and consistency provided.

In my journey to find our "discipline" method, and what works well for our family, I find myself coming back to the root of the idea: expectations. Without expectations, there would be no disciplinary action.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

BFBN Week (Topic: Discipline): Disciplining Foster Kids

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

It's Babywise Friendly Blog Network Week! Our group will be writing on the topic of "discipline" all week long. Please see below for the full schedule.

Today we are hearing from Natasha at Let's Be Brave. Natasha is writing on her experience with discipline and foster children. She talks about the challenges that come with disciplining children that have been in foster care (from the rules to just the fact that you haven't known the child their whole life and don't know what works with them yet), and offers 8 ideas that can be effective tools to use. I LOVE the suggestion to use physical activity! She touches on some fabulous ideas that we use here in our house as well. Head on over to Let's Be Brave to read more!

Monday, March 6, 2017

BFBN Week (Topic: Discipline): How I Discipline Without Spanking

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

It's Babywise Friendly Blog Network Week! Our group will be writing on the topic of "discipline" all week long. Please see below for the full schedule.

Today Valerie from Chronicles of a Babywise Mom is discussing how she does discipline in her house without spanking. She discusses her toolbox of ideas and has a very proactive approach, which I very much appreciate. Her approach is well thought out and includes a discussion of consequences, expectations, consistency, praise, and many other great tips.

I love her honesty:

"One day when Brayden was a young toddler, he did something he shouldn't and I though I would try spanking. He immediately slapped me back. I kind of laughed and said, "Let's not hit each other again." 

My husband and I talked about spanking for the first time that evening. We decided to keep spanking out of our parenting toolbox." 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Expressing and Identifying Emotions

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

I remember the first time my daughter recognized and expressed that I was upset. She was 22 months old at the time. She looked at me and said "Mama, mad". It was heartbreaking to hear, but also so amazing. She was recognizing emotion and that was HUGE! She wasn't even 2 yet and here she was able to identify emotion and name it correctly.

It's now 5 months later, and her capacity for understanding emotion has grown immensely. For the past month, she's been able to express to me how she is feeling, and I am, yet again, blown away by her maturity and understanding of this difficult concept.

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Perfect Evening That Could Have Spelled Disaster

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

I was sitting on the couch contemplating cooking dinner. We are on a budget, and it would have been so simple to just cook. But, I was tired. I was desperately wanting to just enjoy the moment and have some laughs. I also wanted to get dressed and actually look nice. Oh...and have dessert. Apparently my husband was thinking something similar. We easily decided we'd be going out with hardly more than eye contact and some smiles!

It was a Saturday around 5, and we had a 20 minute drive to Olive Garden (where our favorite dessert is). We decided it was early enough that we should beat the crowds. When we arrived there were people already waiting outside!

I jumped out to put our names on the list, while my husband went to park. I asked how long the wait would be: 40 minutes! Um, no thanks. I ran out to talk to my husband about where we should try next. Instead, we decided to wait and give it a shot. Back in to put our names on the list!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Gymnastics- She's Come So Far

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

Caroline just finished her 8th month of gymnastics! It seems like yesterday when we were at our first day of gymnastics. This was her first experience having to follow instruction in a class setting, and she had a hard time the first week. The second class came around, however, and she rocked it! She listened so well and did her best at each of the activities. It was so amazing to see and I even teared up (silly mama)! She was the youngest in the class, and she just wasn't physically able to do some of the activities yet. But she always tried. Since then, she's simply continued to impress me every single day.

While I always knew Caroline was athletic and strong for her age (she jumped and got air when she was around 19/20 months old), this class has really brought it out in her and I'm always amazed at what she's capable of. She's still the youngest in the class, but there's nothing she can't do at this point.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

What I Want My Daughter To Notice About Our Marriage

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

Today is Babywise Friendly Network Day! We are all writing on the topic of marriage. Please see below for a full list of links!

Now that I am a parent, my perspective of my marriage has changed a bit. And really, I shouldn't say changed, so much as was put into a new focus. Caroline is going to learn from watching our marriage. She's going to learn about relationships, and without even knowing it, she'll start setting her expectations of her future relationships based on the example we set. I know, I know...she's 2. But here's the thing...she's already showing us her view of our relationship in her pretend play! And it's fascinating!

Caroline has a set of Daniel Tiger characters. It came with the full family: Dad Tiger, Mom Tiger, Daniel Tiger, and Baby Margaret. Caroline talks for each of the characters, has them hold hands, has mom and dad tiger hold baby Margaret, and even has the characters give hugs and kisses. When she had mom and dad tiger kiss each other I was SO happy! Since becoming a mom I've worried that we perhaps need to make an effort to show each other affection more often. Here she was, however, clearly showing me that she sees the times that we show each other affection, and that it doesn't go unnoticed. This observation made my heart fill with happiness.

When I think about what I want Caroline observe in our marriage, a few things come to mind:

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

8 Modern Day Parenting Challenges With Toddlers

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

Are there any toddlers out there that are not terrified of the self flushing toilets? Or the loud no touch hand dryers? If your toddler is one of the few that happens to not be terrified, I am extremely jealous!! My daughter is potty trained, yet, at the moment, she's in a phase of being terrified of using public restrooms. Why? Because one too many toilets has flushed on her preemptively, while she's still sitting on it! We've all had it happen at one point or another. As an adult we just find it gross. You can't possibly get up fast enough to prevent the toilet from splashing all over you, and you feel so dirty. I'd rather kick the flushing lever with my foot like we did in the good old days then have my rear end splashed with dirty water! My daughter doesn't think of it that way, but it scares the living daylight out of her. Once this happens, it takes me a good month to calm her down to the point where she can use a public restroom again. Anyways, it got me thinking. With all the "luxuries" of modern day life (such as self flushing toilets), there are some drawbacks as a result, when it comes to parenting toddlers.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Behaviors I "Go To The Mat" For

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

This post originally appeared as a guest post at Guest post at BabywiseMom in December 2016. is by far the best online Babywise resource you'll come across. Every topic you could ever imagine regarding Babywise is on her blog! It is such an honor to guest post on her blog, and to be a part of the Babywise Friendly Blog Network with Valerie (writer at

A few weeks ago, a mama in the Mama's Organized Chaos Discussion group on Facebook, posed a question:

"What fights aren't you willing to have with your toddler, and what ones will you go to the mat for??"

Here was my response:

"Safety (holding my hand when crossing the street, throwing things, etc)
Manners (saying please and thank you, saying sorry)
Listening to mama/daddy: if she tries to ignore anything really (I think this sets the stage for a lot so we are firm) with this said I try to only tell her to do things that's I feel are important (clean up, come to mama, etc)
Food: try everything offered once

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Mr. & Mrs.: The Lost Art

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

Today I am featuring a guest post from Cole at Twinning Babywise. She is talking about teaching our children to use Mr. and Mrs. when addressing adults. There's definitely been a shift in our society and we seem to be using formal address less and less. Great read!

I am guest posting over at The Journey of Parenthood today on methods of correction that can be used with your toddler.

Mr. & Mrs.: The Lost Art


I looked down and there stood a dirty three year old. Can I have a muffin?

I see this three year old every week. This three year old knows my name. I scanned the group of moms beside me as I struggled to find a response. Did they all just hear this? Are they really going to let this fly? I guess so. Hey you, it is.

Sure, sweetheart, here's a muffin. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

2 Year Old Imaginations

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

It's amazing to hear your child talk for the first time.
It's then amazing to hear their minds at work.
It's even more amazing to hear their creativity and imagination shine through.

Toddlers don't exactly have a normal perception of the world. I was at a play area in a mall the other day. I saw a little girl brush past my daughter. They touched....barely. My daughter turned around and yelled "She bonked me!!!". Quite the exaggeration, yes. But to my daughter it wasn't. That little girl bonked her...whether it was hardly at all, or on accident doesn't matter. There was contact and my girl was going to call her out on it.

Inside I was laughing (maybe a little outwardly as well- although I was trying to sympathize with my daughter).

Monday, February 6, 2017

26th Month Update and Schedule

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog
It is simply amazing to see my daughter learn so much in so little time. Caroline is now 26 months old, and she is so different from even her 24 month old self! Her language is off the charts (doctors and teachers that we meet say she's easy to understand and well beyond what's typical), and I am so impressed with her reasoning skills. She has risen to every expectation we've ever set for her and she is simply thriving. Don't get me wrong, she has her terrible 2 moments and can throw a good tantrum... but she learns from each moment and really seems to comprehend what we are telling her.

She went through a pretty rough "I need Mama" for everything phase, and she came out the other side with amazing understanding of what I was trying to teach her, and I came out of the phase with some new tactics to use and add to my toolbox. The biggest change I see in her over the last couple of months, is her ability to know what she should be sorry for, to know what she's thankful for, and to be able to express ideas like this on her own with little to no prompting. It is amazing to me, that a 26th month old can say things like "Thank you, Mama, for making my dinner", or "Sorry for throwing the toy, Mama". She makes us laugh every day with the things she says. I asked her the other day how her milk was. She replied with "It's not terribly bad". We just die laughing at these responses from her. It is so amazing to be a part of her world right now!


Friday, January 27, 2017

A Day in Our House- Mama and 2 Year Old

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

I always find it fun to read about how everyone utilizes their time with their toddler. I also feel like I have so many plans for the day and rarely get to all that I want to do with my daughter. There's my goal, and then there's reality- the day just goes SO fast! Our typical day also changes with the season. When it is nice out, we are outside all the time and on the go. Now that it is winter and cold, we are being a bit more lazy and lounging around the house more often. Here's a peak into our daily routines:

6:30 am: Mama has big plans to get up 45 minutes before Caroline. Instead of this actually happening, my alarm goes off and I snooze until I HAVE to get up. Big dreams and it is staying on my goals for 2017, but I'm too tired to make it a reality- yet.

7:00 am: I finally decide to get up. I let the dog outside, get his breakfast, make coffee and get Caroline some milk.

7:15 am: Caroline's clock turns yellow and it's time to go get her! I grab Caroline, her blankets, and a couple of books and we head to Mama's bed. We drink our milk and coffee, snuggle, talk a bit, sometimes read books, and sometimes we watch a TV show (either Daniel Tiger or Dinosaur Train). I loooooove this time with my daughter. I know it's not the greatest start to the day to just stay in bed and even start off with a TV show, but it's our special time and I know I won't always get this time with her, so for now I'm keeping this around. #GuiltyPleasure :) We both love it so much, and before we know it the weather will be warm and we'll be getting back to our morning walks. Until then, I'm totally soaking this up. On school days or days where we are headed somewhere we don't do this since we need to get up and get moving to make it on time.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

10 Benefits of Screen Time for Your Toddler

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

Today is Babywise Friendly Blog Network day, and all of the wonderful bloggers are writing on the topic of: "Screen Time"! We have all sorts of fabulous viewpoints on this to share with you today. Please see the bottom of this post for a full list of titles and links.

Screen time seems to be a source of guilt for parents. If you do a search on screen time, you'll find all sorts of articles and blog posts talking about how detrimental it can be to your child and how you need to severely limit screen time. If you ask other moms how much screen time they allow, they seem to turn their nose up at it and say they do as little as possible. I really struggle with this because, as a former teacher, and now as a mom, I see SO many benefits to using technology with our children. As a society we seem to be resisting the use of technology with our children, instead of embracing it as a welcome new addition to our toolbox (and yes it is an addition, not a replacement, to outdoor play and tactile learning). As a result, I'd like to focus my discussion today on the benefits that I see to allowing screen time at the young age of... toddlerhood! 

Friday, January 20, 2017

3 Time Saving Products for Feeding Baby

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

Sometimes baby/toddler products are worth buying. The only way to discern the products you'll be wasting money on versus those that are actually helpful, is to ask those that have used them. Today I wanted to make a few recommendations related to feeding our little ones. Anything to make the process of pumping, storing and feeding breast milk easier is worth it to me, and I found an amazing product that I'll be using for baby #2 again some day!  Once they graduate to solids, you'll fall in love with the food pouch for on the go feeding (if you haven't already). There's only one annoyance, the squeezability factor to make a huge mess. Problem solved! Then there's the choice of which sippy cup to use. Trying to find a good one that doesn't leak is ridiculously hard- not to mention one that's easy to clean. Well, I've found that as well, and we are never going back to normal sippy or straw cups in this house!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Little Echoes

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

My body aches. An undeniable ache that prevents me from being the fun mom I want to be. The fatigue sets in and my arms and legs feel heavy. For years, doctors told me that nothing was wrong. They did blood work and scans, and could never find anything. We kept fighting. I'm now told I have fibromyalgia and adrenal fatigue, among other potential findings. It's a relief to get a diagnosis, but still a struggle because there's not much that is helping. It's been getting worse over the years, and on top of that I now have a 2 year old. My duties as a SAHM include sitting on the floor, running around, squatting in front of the toilet seat with my daughter, etc. Long story short, I'm feeling the pain more than ever.

I try not to complain, but it's written all over my face and my body language. A stranger wouldn't know, but my husband knows me too well. My sweet husband asks me what's wrong. He knows already, but he's wanting the details of what hurts. He cares so much and desperately wants to fix the pain and help. He asks if he can do anything. Then he offers me the best gift he could and silence. "Go lay down", he says. "Go relax", he says.

It happens so often, my daughter is taking on the concerned role as well. All on her own, she'll ask, "How are you, Mama?" She'll look at me and say "Go lay down, go relax, Mama." She's learning from her daddy, how to take care of me.

I melt.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Promoting Positive Behavior by Offering Choices to Your Toddler

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

Today is a very special day! I've linked up with another blogger as a part of a new collaborative blogging group. We have both decided to write on the subject of "toddler behaviors"! Check out Carolyn's blog post today as well: - When Your Child Is An Extrovert And You’re Not

Promoting Positive Behavior by Offering Choices to Your Toddler

Choices. They fuel our world. As adults we thrive on making choices and wouldn't have it any other way. Can you imagine a world where you didn't get to make choices? You'd go out to dinner and just be handed a meal and told take it or leave it. Perhaps you don't even get to choose how much you want to eat. You might be full, but you are told you need to keep eating- you don't have a choice. You'd go to purchase a car and the "expert" would choose for you. Our lives are what they are because of the choices we've made. We got to choose what we majored in at college. We got to choose what companies we wanted to apply to and work for, and on and on. Even down to the little choices we make each day- what glass to use for our drink, what shoes to put on, how we want our hair styled, etc. These choices make us feel a sense of ownership and pride in ourselves. These choices make us who we are and make life interesting.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

5 Crucial Lessons To Teach Your Child That You Should Start Now

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

My generation was right on the cusp of this transition- the transition to feeling entitled. When I was a few years into the workforce (but still pretty new), I suddenly felt quite old. While I wasn't much older than the "college kids" joining the workforce (literally only a few years older), I was noticing a big discrepancy in our attitudes. I felt like I was worlds apart from understanding them. These newbies did only what was expected of them- if that. Never did they go above and beyond, work late, take on extra responsibility, or take a proactive approach to learning and growing in their role. I noticed that these individuals expected to be rewarded for their efforts, even though they were pitiful efforts and merely doing what they were supposed to do to earn their salary. They wanted bonuses, recognition letters, free lunch days, and more. Again, all for doing the bare minimum. In addition to this, they seemed to be needed to be told what to do at all times. If they finished something early (before being told what to do next), they either did nothing, or asked what they should do. It didn't occur to them to figure it out. To learn and problem solve. Or to do extra. Several years later, I found myself switching from my engineering role into teaching high school chemistry. What I had seen in the workforce, was multiplied times 10 at the high school level. I made it my expectation to try and teach my students some much needed "real world lessons".

Monday, January 16, 2017

Dads, Doing Things Their Awesome Way

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

This post originally appeared as a guest post at Team Cartwright. Team Cartwright is one of the amazing blogs in the Babywise Friendly Blog Network. Check her blog out when you get the chance!

Here's the thing about dads. There are those that stand mostly on the sidelines, and there are those that jump in and parent wholeheartedly. Often, they end up getting criticized no matter which path they choose. Either they don't do enough, or the things they do aren't done "correctly". When this happens, a lot of dads end up backing off and defaulting to mama as the go to parent (and not doing enough). It is a viscous cycle! The thing is, though... dads don't do things incorrectly. They just do them differently than mama. And that's ok.

My husband is pretty hands on. Our daughter is almost 1.5 years old now. He often tells me that things came more natural for me with regards to parenting. Maybe, maybe not. The real reason that I seem to "know what I am doing", however, is that I do it 24-7. It is my job and my entire life! He goes to work and catches up on the whole parenting thing in the evenings.