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Dear Caroline,

You've been going through a rather shy phase lately. You won't say hi to anyone and won't even wave. Sometimes you wave once someone has turned around and is no longer paying attention. Daddy and I want you to know that it is important to be polite and say hello to people. So, we ask you to say hi and try to wave. When you don't we certainly don't get upset or anything, but we do ask it of you every time in the hopes that you one day start to do these things.

Today, I was so proud. We were at the fountain for the fourth time in 3 days. We usually have the place to ourselves in the morning for a good 30 to 45 minutes. At that point kids start showing up to play! You seem so excited when other people show up! You watch the big kids running into the fountain, and even try it yourself (without Mama)!

Yesterday and today, you went up to several children and several adults and waved hi! All by yourself! Unfortunately, none of them waved hi or said hello back. You seemed so confused. I felt so bad for you. But, I was so impressed that you were SO brave to go over all by yourself and do something that is out of your comfort zone!

I took the time to explain to you a few of the reasons that the others may not have said hi to you. I told you that they might be shy (like you are at times), and they may not have seen you (since you didn't say anything). And we discussed how regardless of what happens, your kindness will go a long way. I told you how proud I was of you. You seemed to be growing up right before my very eyes. You were going and making friends on your own.

It made my heart smile so big. And then my stomach sank as I realized all of the hurt that comes along with socializing. This didn't happen today, but you will encounter children that aren't nice to you. You will encounter girls at school that don't want to play with you. You will have interactions with adults that aren't being nice to you. You will be excluded at some point in your life. You will feel hurt.

This flash of the future just sat there. It's this untouchable, unavoidable
thing that will happen to you at some point. I realized that, as you grow up, you will see more and more of it. I stood there watching you (just 1.5 years old). You were so grown up and being so kind. You are so innocent and have no idea and no concept of not sharing or playing with someone. You are still unaware of it all.

Part of me wishes I could keep it that way. Part of me wishes I could make everyone always be nice. But most of me is excited to watch you grow and learn. Most of me is excited to watch how you handle situations with kindness in return. And all of me, every cell in my body was delighted to watch you blossom today. To watch you try and make friends. To watch you be so brave and do something that I know made you uncomfortable. To watch you eager to interact with others.

You made me so happy. You are such an amazing person. I am honored to be your mom.

Kisses for a lifetime,

Dear Mamas everywhere,

When we get together for playdates, or run into one another at the playground, trampoline park, etc., let's all agree that kids will be kids. It is our job to correct unwanted behaviors and teach the behaviors we want to see. The only way to teach some behaviors (and correct others) is to be in a place with other children.

First of all, I want to say thank you to all of the involved parents that are right next to their children observing, teaching, correcting, and playing! This is refreshing and makes the experience enjoyable for all of us and all of our children.

I notice something happening, however, that I want to address. Moms saying "it's ok".

Here's an example scenario:
Child A is playing with a toy.
Maybe child A is refusing to share with Child B.
Child B comes up and grabs it out of Child A's hands.
Child A is now crying or trying to get it back, etc.

The mom of Child A is going to want to immediately reinforce the concept of sharing.
The mom of Child B is going to want to immediately reinforce the concept that we don't take things from other people.
Both moms have lessons to teach and both are going to go about it immediately and in different ways.

What I see happen at playdates and other social settings, is each mom talking to their own child for a moment. Then, the mom of Child A might ask her child to share with Child B and let him have a turn. The mom of Child B often says "oh, it's ok".

I've stopped saying "it's ok" in a moment like this. I decided to do this, because I realized that mom A has a lessons needing to be taught as well. She's doing exactly what I'd be doing (and have done) in that scenario. So, while it is ok (my child doesn't need Child A to share with her), I've started letting this happen without my comment. Instead of saying "it's ok", it is important to take the opportunity to join in. This mom has a lesson to teach as well!

Scenario 1: Perhaps say "Oh look, Child A wants to share now! Isn't that nice? Now you can take the toy since he's handing it to you." Then have Child B say "thank you". (Or something to that effect). Then perhaps in a few minutes (depending on age), ask Child B to share with Child A again, etc. Or, try and get them to play together!

Scenario 2: In your eyes, your child (Child B) was so bad that you don't want him to have the toy (even if Child A is sharing). You could:
A- have your child say "no thank you" when the toy is offered (both children still get to experience their lesson)
B- tell the other mom that you don't want your child to be offered the toy (this hinders the mom of Child A in teaching her lesson so it is not ideal, but they can always find another child to share with)
C- remove your child from the situation all together (this also hinders the mom of Child A, but is sometimes very necessary)

I think my point is, that we don't have to teach our children alone. We can all join in the process and help one another out! When they are young and not in school yet, these moments are often the only opportunities that we have to teach in action and in the moment. I, personally, want to take full advantage of them. We need to not only think about the lessons that we want to teach, but also what we would be doing in the other moms shoes. There will always be multiple goals and lessons that need to be achieved. We can help one another get there.

So, I am now the mom that let's you have your child give a toy back to mine, etc. I no longer say "it's ok", because it isn't ok. It isn't ok for you to not get to teach your lesson. And I am so thankful that you are taking the time to teach it! The initial lesson of telling Child B to not take a toy can happen pretty instantaneously, so it is totally fine (as long as I get that moment) for you to have your child share, etc.

And seriously, thank you to all the moms that are there for those moments! I tend to not want to be in social settings once/if I realize that the moms there aren't paying attention or being actively involved. Pretty much every minute there is something to correct, praise, or teach. So, thank you for being right there. Now let's all start working as a team! It truly does take a village. Don't forget we all have lessons to teach. Let's help each other out!
Eat Wake Sleep Cycle Month 18 Babywise

I can't believe it- our little girl is 1.5 years old! She is SO intelligent, and so much fun! She is also such a handful! haha


7 am wake and drink milk
8/8:30am breakfast
12 pm lunch
12:30/1-3 pm nap (I no longer wake her), milk when she wakes
5 pm dinner
7 pm bed

At this age, while the schedule is pretty set in stone, it is also fluid if need be. Caroline is old enough to handle changes pretty easily.

This schedule fluctuates a bit if she is sick or teething and seems to need more rest. As indicated above, I let her sleep as long as she needs to at this point as well.

If she takes an extra long nap, she needed the rest, and we simply keep her up a bit extra at bedtime (if needed). 

Caroline recently started waking up at 4 am. She just sits there and doesn't wake us. So, I am not entirely sure how long she's been doing this.

She is tired during the day as a result, sleeping in and still going to bed at the same time.

To help this, we are now waking her at 7 am consistently (instead of letting her sleep in), and we are starting her bedtime routine at 7 (instead of having her in bed by then). It seems to be helping!

Wake time

Caroline has a lot of energy, so we spend most days going out and doing something in the mornings. 

Things we like to do:

- Go outside and walk/explore

- Go to the playground (she climbs up and goes down the slide all on her own now!)

- Go to the trampoline park (we usually go once a week)

- Run errands (Caroline sits in the cart for most of it, but we do
practice staying close to mama and following instructions as well. Target around 9/10 is perfect for this!)

- We book library play rooms and meet up with friends for some social interaction

- Storytimes have actually fallen off of the list in the last 3 months (she simply can't sit still for these at the moment)

- Fountains/pool are being added back in as of this week (now that the weather is nice again). She's going to love this because she loves any activity with water involved!

- Go outside and play in the rain/splash in the puddles (one of Caroline's favorite activities, and mama too!)

- Caroline watches an alphabet video on YouTube (she absolutely loves it!)

- I quiz her on her letters using our alphabet puzzle (she can pretty much do all of the letters now when she has the patience to sit down and do it!) #babygenius LOL

- She likes to read her Dora book EVERY night (all three stories in the book)

- Caroline names her stuffed animals and likes putting them all in her crib with her to play

- She invites me (insists really) into her crib for early morning snuggles while she drinks her milk (also does this after her nap)

- She loves to run, jump and climb on everything

- She also likes to practice doing somersaults

- She loves to paint and doesn't even mind getting dirty anymore

- Caroline enjoys finding the flags on license plates

- School buses and trucks are a must see every day!

Caroline is completely poop trained. We will be doing pee training soon. I am thinking in about a month (just waiting on her to be able to tell me more clearly when she has to go). 

She has six FULL words that she says:

- Mama
- Dada
- Nana
- Elmo
- Bobby
- Lenny

She says a whole slew of other words, but only says part of the word. See the full list (minus the ones I forgot haha) in this post about Leap 10!

We had her 18 month appointment today and it sounds like she is perfectly on track with her words. They want them saying about 6 words by 18 months, and closer to 30 words by 2 years old!

A lot is going to change in the next 6 months, that's for sure! They loved that Caroline knew pretty much the entire alphabet, and that she would revert to speaking instead of whining when asked (even if we can't understand what she's saying).

Caroline has some pretty intense tantrums now- all the time. She gets mad if I say no to something, and also gets mad when she can't communicate what she wants.

It is obviously frustrating on both ends. She is going through a biting phase. She hasn't successfully bitten me, but she tries. She gets super angry and tenses her muscles, then turns towards me with her mouth open.

My mama instinct is to push her away LOL Poor girl is probably wondering why mama is pushing her! I, of course, say no biting and explain.

This is a one time offense and you are done situation. If she tries to bite me, we are done with whatever it was she was doing. No warnings.

Trying to correct this issue before she tries to do it to someone other than mama or daddy! If my child ever runs at you with her mouth open, you have my permission to push her to the side (please be gentle)! hahaha

Bath time is so much fun now. She really enjoys this with Daddy the most. She splashes water out of the tub and just has such a good time! She also has a cup of water that she fills and pours on herself. She taps her shoulder to get daddy to help and pour more water on her.

Caroline is great at doing puzzles now. She only enjoys doing her alphabet puzzle, but she can pick up a piece and find exactly where it goes, and rotate it into position perfectly!

She is pretty good with a spoon and a fork now, although she chooses not to use them most of the time. She also loves to dip her food in things now! French fries in ketchup is a favorite, and apples in peanut butter is a close second! She even dips quesadillas in salsa!

I swear she knows everything we say. Everything. She can pick out every object in every book and in real life. She answers all of our questions and laughs at our jokes. She knows exactly what we are asking of her (even if she doesn't listen). This girl is just so smart. Fascinating to see! I can't wait to hear her talk more!

Outside time is worth tantruming to get, and tantruming when we come back in. Tantruming apparently isn't a word- but it is now!

Caroline helps put away the dishes and the laundry. She loves getting on her kitchen stool and her bathroom stool.

She is simply a delight to my every minute. I know I am forgetting some things. This girl is just so unique and so lovely. I wish I could capture it all on paper to remember later! Happy 1.5 years, my beautiful, smart and strong daughter!

Today my focus is on my husband and my relationship with him. First of all, I want to say how amazing he is. He is so involved in our daughter's life. He changes diapers, and discusses everything from poop to playtime. He bathes her, takes her to work on occasion (when I have an appointment), he helps around the house, and he insists that we go grocery shopping together (instead of taking me up on my offer to do it during the day). He is as involved as he can be. It is wonderful and I love him so much for it!

There are times in a relationship, however, when things get hard. It is hard to not feel like you are the only ones that argue. In today's world, people don't talk about the hard times... they snap a family selfie and paint a picture of perfection. It is easy to do. But it is not the whole truth. My parents argued at times. They yelled at each other on occasion- and Joe and I do the same. We are both stubborn, opinionated, and have high expectations of each other and ourselves. Ironically, the fact that he is an involved parent, gives us even more to discuss and potentially argue about! I wouldn't trade his involvement for the world...I live for it! But it is not without challenges.

I want to share a story for the first time parents. The "I'm a month in and I don't know what's going on yet parents"... (not that we ever do)! LOL

Christmas Eve 2014. Caroline was two days short of being 1 month old. I had read about using feeding schedules prior to Caroline's arrival. I'd shown the information to my husband, but we never really discussed it much. We both liked the idea of it, but we really couldn't make any decisions until we had Caroline around and got a feel for things. About a week or two after Caroline was born, I found the term "Babywise". We had already been using schedules (since day 1), but I started reading up on things a bit more. The schedules didn't seem to be working, nursing was consuming my entire day, it was hard to get her to sleep, and nursing was not only hard- it was painful. We were up at night, and we were tired. I was an emotional mess (as we all are with our hormones raging post pregnancy). It was not an easy time.

We were discussing our parenting tactics- to continue with schedules or not, to use eat wake sleep cycles or not, to wake our baby to stay on schedule or not, etc. Babywise suggests waking your baby in an attempt to establish day vs night, and to get enough feedings in. It is against everything we've ever heard - "never wake a sleeping baby". I was extra defensive because I wasn't 100% sure in my decision to use schedules, or to be waking our child. After all, it didn't seem to be working yet.

My husband did what a lot of men do, and logically thought through things. I am a pretty logical person. In this moment I was not. I felt immediately attacked. Our discussion quickly turned to an argument. A big one- with lots of yelling. Looking back, it was all on me- all my fault. I was defensive because it was my decision we were discussing and analyzing. It was my lead we were following. My mistake if it was wrong. I was the one that was home and making the quick decisions. I didn't know what to do.

I think I started the discussion for some validation and reassurance. So, the logical analysis of both sides wasn't something I wanted to emotionally hear. It escalated because of me. I remember this night because it was Christmas Eve- and we were so upset. So upset, that I stormed out of the house at midnight and went for a walk. I cried. I looked at Christmas lights and realized that I wanted to enjoy looking at Christmas lights with my husband- not without him. So, I eventually found my way home.

I share this story, in the hopes that someone, somewhere takes comfort in the fact that they aren't the only ones. You are not the only couple that argues and yells. It happens to the best of us, especially in those first few months. Our relationship was strong, even in that moment.

That argument happened BECAUSE I have such an amazing husband that cares. He wanted to be involved, and I wanted him involved. I don't remember the exact discussion that happened, or when it happened- but when we were calmed down and both logical (as logical as you can get 1 month postpartum), we decided to stick with Babywise.

This is probably not the memory my husband wants to be reminded of right before Father's Day, in public on my blog (sorry, babe). It is such an important memory, however. And it is so important to share these types of real stories with other moms and other couples. This day made us stronger. This day was an important lesson.

Since then, we've continued to make parenting decisions together. It is so important to do so, and for both parents to be on the same page when it comes to the big topics. To do Babywise or not to do Babywise is a HUGE topic of discussion. We both had doubts to begin with, however, we both loved the concept, so we stuck with it. Now, 1.5 years into this parenting gig, we both SWEAR by it! Whether or not to do sleep training was also a HUGE decision and time in our lives. We only made it through on the other side because we had each other to lean on. We are now to the point that we troubleshoot together, instantly.

Just the other day, we were discussing how to adjust our daughter's schedule. She has been waking up at around 4 am and sitting quietly. She doesn't call for us, she doesn't cry, and she eventually goes back to sleep. She is tired during the day as a result. She sleeps in some days, yet still takes her nap at the usual time, and goes to bed at the same time with no issues. I mentioned that I really need to get back to waking her at 7 am instead of taking advantage of the extra time, and letting her (and I) sleep in. My husband thought it might be helpful if we keep her up about 30 extra minutes in the evenings. We are now implementing this change as a team. This "discussion" took all of 1 minute. Since we are both so involved in these decisions so often, we make them TOGETHER so easily, now and without hesitation.

We stood strong together and we are a stronger couple as a result. We are a better team as a result. This makes us better parents (than we could have been) as a result. My husband is my rock. We think in such similar ways, that when one of us causes the other to get defensive- it is typically because that person agrees on some level and doesn't yet want to admit it! LOL

I am not sure what I would do without him. He keeps me strong, he keeps me laughing, and he keeps me real. We keep each other focused, and push each other to greatness. We question, we problem solve, and we brainstorm- together.

When daddy comes home, a happiness fills the house. Moose jumps for joy, Caroline starts yelling "DADA" as loud as she can when I tell her he's home, and my heart fills with love when he enters the room. I'm now last on the list for a kiss (simply because I don't run and jump at the door to demand it LOL)...but it is SO worth waiting for. I love watching him greet our daughter. They both have such pure excitement on their faces. Seeing that moment every day is worth every rough patch along the way. The simple joys- that's what it is all about, and it is so amazing to be a part of. Family is everything to me- to us. I am so glad that I have such an amazing, kind, thoughtful and generous husband to share it with me!

Today is Pinterest Day for the Babywise Friendly Blog Network and the ladies in the group are discussing topics about DADS in honor of father's day! Be sure and check out our Pinterest Page and check out the other posts today!

5 Ways to Celebrate Dad

Emily- The Journey of Parenthood

Katrina- Mamas Organized Chaos

Kimberly- Team Cartwright
Needing Dad:A Bedtime Story

Val- Chronicles of a Babywise Mom
How To Help Your Spouse Succeed as a Father (in a non-nagging way)

Who can participate: Any and all children (0-18) Yes, even the babies can participate!!

How it works: 
- Set a goal (minimum 500 minutes of reading time)
- Create a wishlist of books online
- Have your child read (or be read to) over a period of 4 weeks
- Collect pledges from friends and family
- Log all reading time
- Send pledges in, send a screenshot of your pledge sheets and reading logs, receive books!

What you earn:
- Reach your reading goal and 100% of your pledge money goes towards free books for your child
- You/Your child gets to pick the books you earn!
- Raise $100 in pledges and earn one free book
- You can choose to donate any percentage of your pledges to St. Jude if you'd like

How to sign up: 
- Click on this link and fill out the google form by June 4th
- Information and pledge sheets will be sent to you shortly after!
- Join the Facebook event where we'll keep everyone motivated, check progress, share book ideas, and more! Click here to join:

Why you should sign them up:
- If your child is not in school yet, you are setting a good tone by reading to them and enrolling them in programs such as these
- If your child is in school, you can beat the summer slide and keep them occupied and learning
- Friends and Family are going to be eager to offer up pledges for this cause
- Free books!

I am not sure what I was thinking- no wait...I was thinking I wanted to sit for the first time all day! LOL That's what drove this decision....

We had just gotten back from dinner and it was a nice day out. We greeted Moose (our chocolate lab) and invited him out in the front yard with us. We don't do this by the way (have a dog outside not on a leash). We hate it when people do things like this. But, Chelsea is gone, and we're bending the rules a bit for Moose now. Anyways, I took a seat on the front steps and was enjoying the view. 

I think it lasted about 1 minute. Caroline came over to me and grabbed my hand. She wanted me to come. I ALWAYS come because I just love that she wants me with her. This time, however, I decided to say "Caroline it's ok, you can go play on your own". 

I have never seen this girl move SO FAST. It's like she'd been waiting all of her life to hear those words. She took off and ran down the sidewalk towards the road. I wasn't terribly concerned. One, I knew she'd just turn and stay on the sidewalk as we always do. She knows not to go in the road already as we are outside nearly every day. Two, I didn't think she'd actually go far. I thought she'd stop!

When she got close enough to the sidewalk that parallels the road, I went to get up. Hubby beat me to it, however, and ran after our daughter. We were telling her to "stop", "that's far enough", and to "come back". 

So, Daddy takes off running. Let's not forget that Moose is off leash. Moose now thinks it's play time and runs after him. I'm more concerned about Moose running in the road at this point, than Caroline. I know Caroline might keep running, but it will at least be on the sidewalk. I say close by the house and try to get Moose to come back. Hubby is shouting at all of us (me to help more, Moose to go home, and Caroline to stop). I'm sure this was quite the sight to see, haha!

So, note to self: WILL SET BOUNDARIES next time! Now, every time I go outside with Caroline, I show her the lamppost and tell her that, "If Mama says you can play on your own, you cannot go past the lamppost". We have also been working on teaching Caroline to come when called. This is a work in progress, but we are teaching her that she needs to listen when we say to come towards us. 

Just recently, she also started asking us not to come places. We'll be walking along, and all of the sudden she'll stop, turn around, and put her hands on my legs. If I stop, she continues walking. She turns her head and checks on me. If I walk and follow her, she gets extremely upset and comes running back to put her hands on my legs as if to say "stay". I have to explain to her that mama has to come along for her safety. We now are teaching her about "no pushing" as well. Most of the time, my little independent girl wants me to come along, however. She holds my hand and even tries to push me in the direction she wants me. We just get to see these little hints of independence every once in awhile. It is making me want to hold onto our together moments forever.

Who knew that my little 1.5 year old would take off like a shot when given the opportunity!?! hahaha This was such a funny sight to see. I just love that she turned around SO FAST and ran- like she knew I might change my mind if she didn't move fast enough. So cute. So scary. So my life right now. LOL I have to say, I am loving every second of it- even the surprises!

I see this comment made a lot- "I'm a boy mom". In fact, there are even t-shirts that I see being advertised on Facebook saying "Boy Mom". There's nothing wrong with the statement- if you have boys, you are in fact a "boy mom". I guess as a "girl mom" sometimes the context bothers me a bit. We are creating the very gender roles in society that many complain about later in life. We start them at such a young age by saying phrases such as "boy mom" in a certain context.

Here's an example I've seen a lot lately. As many of you know, I've been turned on to these amazing, soft leggings from LuLaRoe. Well, there is a new, very popular print out, that has roads and cars on it (pictured above). I am not a fan of these as something to wear, but many moms are. When asked why they like them, their response is "I'm a boy mom, you wouldn't understand". I am pretty sure that any toddler (boy or girl), would love the print on these leggings. Most toddlers are fascinated with big trucks, school buses, tractors, etc. It is not a "boy" thing. My little girl loves trucks and tractors. She points out every school bus, UPS truck, and semi that she sees on the road. She looks at the tractors at daddy's work. This isn't a "boy" thing, unless we make it to be. It is a toddler thing. 

I have moms ask me for recommendations on girl friendly "boy toys". Maybe pink tractors, a purple football, or a pink set of engineering blocks. WHY must our girl toys be pink? And why must boy toys not be pink? Boys aren't born disliking pink, and girls aren't born loving pink. It is all what we make it.

Anyways...rant over.

Here's my message. Please expose your kids to everything, and try not to label things as "girl" or "boy" as you teach your children. Your child doesn't like the above leggings because he is a boy. He likes them because he is a child, and they look like a fun play mat to drive cars and trucks on.

My daughter is going to be exposed to sports, playing in the dirt, tractors, cars, building things, etc. She will also be exposed to every color of the rainbow (including pink AND blue). She will be exposed to dolls and dancing. We'll continue with the things she's most interested in. Follow your child's interests and not your own, or what society deems to be "girl" or "boy".

So, in the spirit of exposing our children to all things, here are a few ideas that both girls and boys will appreciate and should be exposed to. I try to incorporate each of these categories as much as I can throughout Caroline's playtime (not every day, but over the course of a week). I've listed some ideas for each of the categories. Caroline is 1.5 years old, so my ideas are geared toward this age, but obviously can become more challenging for older children, or broken down to be even more simple for the babies!

  1. Arts/Crafts
    Ideas: painting using washable kids paint, drawing with markers/crayons/pens/pencils, sidewalk chalk, water paint books, doodle pro, sticker books
  2. Science/Nature
    Ideas: go outside for nature walks, scavenger hunts, play in the dirt, splash in the rain and in puddles, sandbox play, water tables, simple science experiments, playground, rolling down hills, lawn mower toy, pull weeds
  3. Home/Family
    Ideas: cleaning (broom & vacuum toys), cooking, play kitchen, picking up, cuddles, hugs and kisses, taking care of a stuffed animal or doll, playing together, tickles
  4. Books/Puzzles
    Ideas: independent "reading", reading together, wooden puzzles, alphabet puzzles, number activities, color activities, shapes, etc.
  5. Building/Finding
    Ideas: duplos, stacking blocks and cups, spot it books, scavenger hunts (indoor and out), straws and marshmallow tower construction
  6. Sports/Dance
    Ideas: play with soccer balls, footballs, etc., dance to music and/or music videos, climbing practice, running, jumping, skipping, somersaults, swimming, t-ball, golf set

There are so many more fun ideas and ways to incorporate all of the above categories into your child's life! It is so important that we expose our children to each of the categories. That way we can see what our child's true interests and strengths are.

For more play ideas, check out the following posts:
Play Ideas & Outings for a 1 Year Old

Sensory Activities

Incorporating Independent Play

Caroline started getting her first teeth at around 12 months of age! I swore she was teething at the early age of 3 months when she started gnawing on everything, drooling, biting etc. Those cute little baby teeth didn't poke through until her first birthday, however! I ended up being so thankful that this was the case, since I breastfed for a full year!

She is now almost 18 months old. She has 4 front teeth on top, and two on the bottom. She currently has the bottom incisors cutting through, and her top molars are rearing their ugly heads as well! Molars have been quite the process so far, and they aren't even through yet! The top right molar is finally cutting, however, and she has huge mountains on all 4 molars ready to poke through!

First dentist appointments are now being recommended at the age of 1 year. We didn't follow these guidelines since Caroline didn't have any teeth at that age to show the dentist. Now that she is 1.5 with several teeth, we decided it was time to find a dentist.

I chose our dentist based on 4 things:
- Website
- Recommendations
- Atmosphere
- Location

I looked on our local parents Facebook page for some recommendations. I then took a look at the websites. I wanted to make sure their websites were set up well. I think this says a lot about a company/doctors office in todays technology driven world. Once I found websites that were easy to navigate, had good information, and offices that were accessible online via email, I narrowed those down by my favorite locations, and those that appeared to have a kid friendly atmosphere set up. Most had great pictures of the play areas and rooms highlighting their office. At that point, I simply chose one that worked with our insurance and scheduled an appointment. I didn't feel the need to visit ahead of time. We can always switch to another office later if we have any issues.

I was very pleased with our visit today! The office was friendly and had an AMAZING kid space in the waiting room. There were tablets to play games on, toys, books, and even an infant area. I think we could have stayed there all day!

The first visit is mostly for the dentist to inform parents of good practices, and for the child to get used to going to the dentist at an early age. This way it becomes a positive association.

At our visit:
The technician looked at Caroline's teeth and counted them.
She brushed Caroline's teeth.
She put a fluoride coating on her teeth.
The dentist took a look and made sure that Caroline didn't have any cavities.
Caroline received some special goodies.

They informed me of best practices (that we are luckily already doing):
Brush twice a day (stand behind your child so you brush like you would your own teeth).
No hard candies on a regular basis.
Not to give milk all day and all night.
Not to let your child fall asleep with the aid of milk.
Start flossing once there are two teeth touching.
Start using fluoride toothpaste by the age of two. Can use now if we'd like.

I sat in the chair with Caroline on my lap. She got to wear fancy sunglasses. We brought our "Going to the Dentist" book along with us and she looked at it while she was in the chair. Everything went very well! I am glad that we came when Caroline was young enough to not be scared, but old enough to know what was going on. We had a great first experience!

View what to expect at your child's 2 year dental appointment here!

Facebook has fancy, elaborate algorithms that decide what you get to see- meaning you don't get to see everything in your news feed that you think you should! Just because you've liked a page on Facebook, doesn't mean you'll get to see posts from that page in your news feed! WHAT?!?! I know, I is frustrating both as a page manager and as a reader.

There are a few things you can do:

1. Like posts from pages that you want to see again. The more likes a post gets, the more it will not only show up in your news feed, but others' as well.

2. Comment on posts from pages you'd like to see more of. Again, the more comments a post gets, the more likely it is you will see from that page again. Facebook learns what you like by how much you participate.

3. Share posts. If you like a post, please share it. The more love (likes, comments, and shares) a post gets, the more it will show up! (Noticing a trend?)

4. Click on any links. If you click on the link mentioned in a post, Facebook knows you are interested.

5. You can now tell Facebook what pages and people you'd like to see first in your news feed! Here is a detailed outline on how to do so. It is super easy!

The bottom line is, if you want to see posts from a certain page, you have to like, comment, share, click on the link, and tell Facebook that you want to see more. Otherwise it simply doesn't know. Out of the 200 people that have liked my Facebook page, often only a few readers get to "see" my posts in their news feeds. Help me out and if you see this post, please like it on my Facebook page. Take a moment and tell Facebook that you'd like to see my posts, and like/comment/share as much as you can. As a blogger and page manager, a couple seconds of your time is invaluable to me! That simple act gets more people seeing the posts!

Thank you so much in advance! And thank you so much for reading my blog. I am always so amazed that I have such a good following. I never dreamed this blog would have any readers outside of my family. I am forever grateful for the messages and comments that are sent my way. I am so glad to be helping so many mamas!

Follow me on Facebook here!
Caroline can't actually say "thank you" yet. She does, however, have her own version of the words. When asked to say thank you, she says "yaya". We praise her for trying, since she is attempting to say thank you! "Yaya" is starting to transition into having more sounds in it. I know she recognizes that she isn't saying it correctly. I can tell she is starting to adjust her sounds to fix it. We are letting her do her thing with regards to the sounds she is making. Caroline is just starting to really experiment with different letter sounds, and she's showing some great progress.

Sometimes it feels silly that we ask. I mean, after all she can't even say the right words yet, but she gets it- we can tell. If we are asking her to say thank you to someone other than Mama or Daddy, she typically stays quiet. We still ask that she tries, however. She is going through a bit of a shy phase around other people and doesn't even like to say hi or wave. Again, we still ask her to try every single time, but we aren't making a big deal if she doesn't follow through, yet. Caroline always tries to say hi, thank you, more please, bye, etc when prompted towards Mama and Daddy, however. So, we make sure to take every opportunity we can get, to have her practice!

Yesterday, Daddy handed her something and she immediately said "yaya", or "thank you"! We didn't even have to ask her to do so! We were so impressed. Caroline is obviously understanding our expectations and did it all on her own, without us asking!

This was so validating to hear her pick up on this. It isn't perfect yet, but by the time she can actually say the words "thank you" correctly, she will be saying it out of habit and know what is expected. I am beyond thrilled with these results. This makes me feel so happy and encouraged that we started setting these expectations early. Caroline is so intelligent, and is picking up on things so well.

For more information on how we are teaching kindness to our daughter, please check out this post. It also links to other posts on teaching virtues by the wonderful ladies in the Babywise Friendly Network Blogging community! Enjoy!

Dear Leap 10,

Thank you for coming, and thank you for leaving! During your presence my daughter experienced real tantrums. Screaming, flailing, biting, fists tight and arms shaking tantrums. And they are lengthy, too! For "no" reason. Obviously not to her.... her world was ending in the moment. These tantrums were due to two things:

- Communication issues
- Mama said "no"

I thought we'd seen tantrums prior to this leap, but those were mini previews of the full blown tantrums to come. These tantrums have settled down slightly since leap 10 has finished.

The developmental leaps during leap 10 were simply amazing, however. My daughter woke up one morning and knew how to put puzzles together. Just in the last week she is really starting to experiment with her sounds and feel comfortable enough to say things out loud. She woke up this morning and said "Bobby"- the name of one of her favorite stuffed animals.

With fairly minimal work, she's been able to learn and identify 15 uppercase letters! She has made great strides with potty training, and I now consider her to be poop trained. We will be doing pee training soon! She has become a pro at communicating through body language. She turns her hand to signal "on" and "off". She motions to come. She's learning to "come" when called. She now goes down the stairs correctly (on her belly) when asked. She is close to being able to climb out of her crib and, if she was 1 inch taller, she'd be opening doors. Thank goodness she isn't actually doing either yet! She is also super close to getting air under those feet when she "jumps", and has done two full somersaults on her own!

"Words" she uses:

Meeeeh for "moose" (our dog)
Duh Duh for down
Ma for more
Ni Ni for "night night"
Ha for "hot"
Nana for "banana"
Guh for "gone"
Ga Ga for "got it"
Uck for "duck" and "stuck"
Xxx for "excuse me"
Moo for "moo"
She also barks, says neigh, hisses for a sneak, and tries to quack for
Bpuh for "up" I swear she makes a b and p sound all together haha
whispers "backpack"
Ma for "map"
Memo for "elmo"

Obviously, these aren't all official words. I'm also sure I'm forgetting some things she says that I'll need to go back and add to the ever growing list. She is sticking with saying the first parts of words for now. Just this morning she said Bobby in full, however! She had never even tried to say Bobby before! She is starting to feel more comfortable, so I have a feeling the endings are coming soon!

Signs she uses
All done (specifically taught to her)
Come (followed mamas hand signals)- puts arm out and pulls it in towards her
On and off (made up her own) - twists her hand/wrist in an on/off
Thirsty/hungry (made up her own) - puts her hand to/in her mouth
She understands the concept of "ow". She gets hurt, and we can say "ow!", "where does it hurt?", or "where's your owie?". She'll point to the part of her body that hurts. She even points to her mouth to tell me if her teeth/gums hurt. I also swear she understands that if she's hurting, she should take Tylenol! I ask her if she wants Tylenol and she says yes when I know she's having bad teething pain. She also says no and refuses it on occasion, though- so I know she's not just excited for a treat! haha

Caroline is really becoming such an awesome person. This leap brought many changes. While there are "no more registered leaps" according to the Wonder Weeks app, she obviously has many more developmental leaps to come. I can't believe she's finished all 10 already, however. I remember when she was in her first leaps, I thought the day would never come that we got all the way through this chart! I am excited to see the developments that are still to come. Caroline is such an intelligent young girl, and is already so thoughtful and sweet. I know her intelligence and kindness will only blossom
from here.

Today is Babywise Friendly Blog Network Day! Our guest post is from Valerie over at She is a mother of 4, and writing today on teaching your child to come. Caroline is 1.5 years old now, and we are teaching her this concept. I asked her to write on this topic because I sometimes feel like we are failing to teach this concept well! LOL! I was happy to read the seasoned advice from a mother of four, and also felt reassured when I realized we are doing all of the below mentioned things! Hope you all enjoy the read!

I am guest posting today over at Team Cartwright. My post is about letting dads do things their awesome way! As mamas, we all occasionally mention to our hubby's how to do something. This post is all about trying to let dad parent in his own way. It doesn't have to be our way or the highway!

Teaching Your Child to Come to You When Called


by Valerie Plowman
"When do they stop running the other way when you tell them to come?" my frazzled friend asked me one day. She had just told her three year old to come to her and the three year old literally ran in the opposite direction. 
The day does not come that your child will just start coming to you when called unless you take some measures to ensure your child will come when called. Here is what you need to know to get your child to come when called.
1-Have expectations and consequences in all areas of life.
If you frequently give instructions, get ignored, and do nothing to follow through and be sure your child obeys, then you can't realistically expect your child to listen when you tell her to come to you. So your first step is to make sure you require obedience in general.
2-Teach your child what you expect.
Children often need to be taught what obedience looks like. We often forget that as adults. Children are new to the world and don't know everything we know. The often need things spelled out for them so they know that when you say X, you expect YZ from them. So teach your child, at a time of non-conflict (so not right after you have called for her to come), "When I call to you and tell you to come to Mommy, I want you to come to me right away."
3-Expect your child to obey.
Once you have taught your child what is expected, expect that your child will obey. If your child does not obey, have consequences in place. Do not say, "Oh well. She is only two so she is going to do what she wants." She can obey. She won't be perfect, but she can be pretty good. Children live up to expectations. If you expect obedience, your child will be more likely to be obedient. 
4-Say the child's name before you give instruction.
Parents often call out instructions without being sure thy have attention first. Say the child's name and wait for a response. When the child has acknowledged you, give the instruction. Bonus points for eye contact if in the same room.
5-Speak calmly and kindly, but not with a question.
Say, "Brinley....[yes mommy!]...come here please." Not "Brinley....[yes mommy!]...Time to come here, okay?" or "Brinley....[yes mommy!]...will you please come here?" Do not ask a question unless you are okay with a "No thanks!" response. 
6-Thank your child for coming. 
When your child comes when called, respond with a "Thank you for listening to mommy!"
7-Have a consequence when your child doesn't listen.
You want to have a consequence when your child doesn't listen. It could be a timeout. It could be the loss of TV time that day. It might be the loss of the toy that is distracting her. It might mean she doesn't get to walk herself and has to be carried. For some children, a stern look might be enough. Be consistent and be sure your child's behavior changes in the future. If you don't see a change in the negative behavior, your consequence isn't working.
8-Know you will be tested.
Children are little scientists. They are the best kind of scientists. They aren't looking to sway the results in any direction; they only want truth. They just want to know what makes the world tick, and you are a huge part of that world. "What will mom do if I tell her no? What will mom do if I ignore her?" Your child will test you. Be prepared for it and be prepared to respond. 
Valerie is the mother of four and blogs at
MALE READER WARNING: Just a heads up to my husband, father, father in-law, and all the guys that read this blog... you may want to stop reading now. The following post is all about that time of the month. While it is a natural thing that occurs to every single woman at some point in her life... I know most of you don't like hearing about it, much less reading a full post on it. So feel free to stop reading now, unless you want to purchase some awesome underwear for a woman in your life that might really appreciate it...then read on!

PERIOD UNDERWEAR? You read that correctly!
All of the sudden in my Facebook feed, I was seeing ads for period underwear. I was curious how they worked for sure, and the possibility of these underwear and all they claim to be. I would much rather have underwear that I wash and reuse as opposed to continuing to buy and use tampons every month. After all, I did cloth diaper my daughter- so why not try out cloth for periods!? I had read about the diva cup and couldn't quite handle the idea and the mess. Cloth on the other hand, I was up for trying! My full review is below.

Disclaimer: Thinx agreed to send me free underwear to try in exchange for an honest review of their product. All ideas and opinions are my own.


The underwear came in the mail, and I opened them with excitement. They really were as normal as they claimed to be. They are not bulky, and they are honestly pretty cute! When I tried them on, they were as normal as could be! They fit great, and didn't look any different under my clothing than any other underwear would. They were comfortable and very nice!

My plan was to really test these out so I would know what their limits were. I only had the one pair, so I chose to use them on my heaviest day.

I was trying the hiphugger "heavy days" underwear. They claim to hold up to 2 tampons worth of fluid. The recommended use is to replace the need for a panty liner, and to be used in conjunction with tampons. They prevent leaks, stains, odor, etc. For the full info please visit this link.

Since I was testing the limits on these, I not only used them on my heaviest day, I used them without any other protection. I didn't use a single tampon all day. I brought extra underwear and tampons with me, but even braved going out of the house in just these hiphuggers under my normal clothes! Talk about nerve wracking!
I kept checking. All day. I felt dry. There was no odor. There were no leaks through the underwear to my pants, etc. I could see that everything was being absorbed just fine. I did all of the normal things I would typically do. I went for a walk, drove my car, played on the floor with my toddler and ran around as usual.

All was fine! I never needed a tampon on my heaviest of heavy days! On a day like this I am usually changing my tampon every 1-3 hours to avoid leaking. The underwear held everything

I have to say, I was incredibly impressed. 

Washing was also a breeze. I rinsed them by hand. Then washed and dried as usual (even though that is not their recommended method). Again, I wanted to put these to the test. It worked, and I have used them again since without issue!

Thinx Fabric & Care

My conclusion: I will definitely be wearing these, and I will definitely recommend to others! 

Personally, even though I was able to not wear a single tampon all day, I don't like the feeling of not having a tampon in. I like for my period to never see the light of day (which is why I wear tampons instead of pads). 

I plan to use these on their own, during those light days... the beginning and end of my cycle. Those days that you wear a panty liner but it's too light to feel the need to put a tampon in. 

I also plan to use them during the heavy days that I wear tampons- just in addition to (not on their own). These are great for those moments that time escapes you, or your body surprises you and you have leaks. These will prevent any issues!

These underwear are going to save me so much money! I will never again feel the need to buy and wear panty liners. I will also get away with buying and using less tampons that I did previously! So glad to have found this product! Click here to try these risk free, get $10 off, and free shipping!!!

Dear Caroline,

Today I really want to tell you more about your daddy. I've never been one to call someone my "best friend"... until I met your daddy. He truly is my best friend. I feel so honored to have him in my life, and seeing him in his role as a dad has been truly amazing.

Yesterday was Mother's day, and (while he made it special), I realized that he makes every day feel like Mother's day. I may not get a card every day, but he spoils me every day for sure! Yesterday daddy had to work. When he came home, he called you over to the stairs and handed you a card to bring over to me. He had made a card for Mother's day! It was so thoughtful. We spent the rest of the day just doing what we do on a typical day. He wanted to make sure I got some new shoes that I've been needing, so we headed out to take care of that. (He's always thinking of me).

We ended up walking around outside at Rio center, went to brunch, and completed the task of finding some good shoes for me to wear. It was a normal day, and it was fabulous. There is nothing more in this entire world that I would have rather been doing. Spending time with the two of you, outside on a nice sunny day is my idea of pretty much perfect.

I've been in pain lately (worthy of a separate post)... I tell you this, however, because your daddy takes care of me. Your daddy tries to make sure that I get the rest that I need, and he'll even insist on me going to lay down while he takes care of you if need be. Everything he does is for us and to make us happy. No matter how tired he is, he comes home and helps us.

Your daddy and I are both stubborn. You will see us argue, and you will see us upset with one another. We don't hide it from you. It is normal and it happens to all healthy couples. We hold each other and ourselves to high standards. You will also see us talk through things, figure everything out, and apologize. We definitely aren't perfect. I am glad that you will see this, though and not have a fairy tale relationship in your head. Relationships are not perfect. They are hard work and the good ones, the ones with your best friend... are worth "fighting for"... so we argue on occasion.

You will see us laugh. Your daddy is pretty good at making me laugh (you too) until I can't breath and tears are running down my face! You will see us sitting quietly just enjoying one another's company. You will see him hug me, kiss me, and hold me. He takes care of me. He takes care of us.

I hope you notice all of the simple things he does for me. I hope you notice how much he cares. I hope you find someone one day that has all of these qualities. I hope you notice that he holds my hand, and that he puts everyone else first. He is thoughtful, selfless, and simply the most kindhearted person I've ever met. I hope you notice.

I hope you notice the love that pours out of his heart every day for us. He is the best husband I could have ever asked for. He is the best daddy in the world. You definitely bring a light to his eyes that is noticeable and bright!

Love you so much,