Why Won’t My Baby Sleep?

The following is a guest post by Katie Pitts, M.S. CCC-SLP, CSSC, a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant. I met Katie when I was at the Baby & Beyond conference a couple weeks ago and she had some great tips for getting Lucas to sleep easily so I invited her to share here on the blog. If you would like help or have questions please see the end of this post for how to contact her to receive a free 15 minute consultation.

Why won’t my baby sleep?

This is a question I often asked my first son when he was an infant. I asked it in a sweet voice, I asked it in a pleading voice, I asked it in an angry voice, but no matter how many times I asked, he never gave me the answer.

I can remember the night— and some of you will know exactly what I’m talking about— when I felt like I could not take it anymore. My son just would not stay asleep and I had hit rock bottom, exhausted from waking up multiple times every night and having to soothe him back to sleep. My husband found me at 3:00 in the morning sobbing away in our living room.

When our babies don’t sleep well, we tend to look for an explanation. We think it might be teething or gas. We worry that she’s too small and she needs to eat in the night, or he’s too big and he needs to eat more or he won’t feel full. The list goes on and on.

Are any of these explanations the real truth? Sometimes. But barring those times when your child has a burning fever or a new tooth coming in, the real reason most babies won’t sleep or stay asleep is that they just haven’t learned how.

We all have strategies that help us make the journey into sleep each night. We have bedtime routines that we tend to do without really thinking about it, and we do these things because they help us transition from the busyness of our day to a restful sleep.

Most of us have a favorite position on the bed that we turn to when we feel sleep about to come. Some of us need a glass of water beside the bed, some need white noise or music, others can’t sleep without the window open. Some need a cup of herbal tea, and some have to read for ten minutes…Whatever the differences might be, these are all sleep strategies, and without them we’d have trouble drifting off.

The same goes for babies. Many parents who haven’t developed a sleeping strategy for their babies will complain that their child can only fall asleep with the bottle, or while breastfeeding, or while being rocked or patted.

While this might be true, the trouble is, by offering these props, parents are creating a situation where their babies are dependent on something external to help them sleep. And that’s why they don’t sleep well.

Night waking is very common in babies who have not learned to sleep properly and are relying on a prop. When they wake up and the prop isn’t there to put them back to sleep, they have to wake up fully and cry in order to be soothed back to sleep. It’s not personal, Mom and Dad… they haven’t made it their personal mission to wake you up ten times a night. They just have no idea how to go to sleep without your help.

Luckily there is hope. There are lots of ways to give your child the tools she needs to be able to sleep independently, even from a very young age. Babies are capable of sleeping through the night, and learning those skills young will help make bedtimes and nighttimes relatively hassle-free.

A well-rested child is a happier, healthier child. And a well-rested parent is healthier and happier too!

Click here for 7 tips to try TONIGHT to help your baby sleep.

A few words about Katie:

Katie Pitts is a certified pediatric sleep consultant and the founder of Sleep Wise Consulting. Katie has dual master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology and Educational Administration. After 3 months of sleepless nights, Katie found a quick gentle solution to solve her son’s sleep problems. Shortly after this, she became certified as a baby and toddler sleep consultant and opened Sleep Wise Consulting. For over a year, Katie has given families the tools they need to teach their children to sleep at night. Interested in a FREE 15 minute evaluation to see how she can help your family? Start here: http://sleepwiseconsulting.com/free-15-minute-consultation/

A Parent’s Guide to Eyecare for Kids from Infancy to School Age

Those eyes you’re using now have gone through one heck of a journey. From the moment you’re born, infancy is a crucial time for eye development. WebMD reports kids begin to see things clearly far away only at about 12 to 16 weeks of life. For the next year, a child’s eyesight continues to improve.

Discerning parents probably watch their kids for squinting when reading or playing video games, but is that enough to detect sight problems? No, because many eye conditions that affect children are more subtle. Instead, parents need to take a comprehensive approach to eye care and learn to recognize the clues at various stages of development.

From Birth to 24 Months

Sight isn’t innate — babies must learn to see. During the infant stage of development, parents can easily assume normal eyesight is not normal at all because the baby is still learning how to focus and translate what their eyes see into something tangible. At three months of age, an infant is still only able to identify objects about 10 inches from the face. That is why mom gets a giggle when she leans down close.

At about five to eight months, you will notice your child is developing depth perception and can recognize you enough to reach out even at a distance. This is also the age when color becomes a vital part of a baby’s life.

It is very unusual to have significant eye problems at this early stage unless they are congenital. Some signs to be aware of include:

  • Excessive tearing
  • Red eyes that might indicate infection
  • Extreme light sensitivity
  • White pupils, which point to possible retinal tumors

Around six to 12 months is a good time to consider getting the baby’s first real eye exam. Your pediatrician can recommend a doctor of optometry who deals with children.

Heading to School

Once your child starts school, clues indicating nearsightedness or farsightedness become easier to spot. Low grades, for example, might be an indicator a child can’t see or read well. Teachers may report kids squinting to understand what is on the board, or improvement in class participation when a child sits close to the front.

Parents can watch for kids who tilt their head when they read, or show signs of eye-coordination problems, such as letting a ball drop repeatedly. Crying when playing catch or coloring may mean the child is struggling with these tasks.

How to Know When a Child Needs a Vision Exam

Children should get an eye exam once every two years. Some schools will automatically test students’ eyes each year and offer parents feedback. This test only checks for distance acuity. A parent might consider taking children for a professional exam, anyway, if they are falling behind in school or slow at doing homework.

How about Glasses and Contacts?

It is normal for kids to feel uncomfortable if they wear glasses. It makes them different at a time when they really just want to fit in with the crowd. It is important for parents to reassure a child who must wear glasses they look good and are special. Let them know lots of kids have to wear glasses, and make caring for them responsibly fun.

Contact lenses are a practical and cost-saving way to solve the glasses issue for kids who qualify. Disposable lenses start at around $30, according to Coastal.com, as compared to replacing glasses every time an active kid breaks them.

Pediatric ophthalmologist David Granet explains kids mature enough to handle the responsibility of contacts at around 10 years old, though it’s up to the parents to judge when they are ready.

About the Author: Walter is a single dad who loves raising his two boys and writing about sports on the side.

4 Steps You Can Take Today To Live A Happier Life

Happiness isn’t a state of being, says former Johnson & Johnson executive Lynda Wallace; happiness is something happy people do.

“Some may say that mimicking people is not good enough – that simply wearing Michael Jordan’s jersey doesn’t make you Michael Jordan – and they’re right. But if you behave more like Jordan in his playing years, including practicing, competing, and working out, then you’ll be that much better as a basketball player, and more like Mike,” says Wallace, a certified positive psychology coach and the author of “A Short Course in Happiness: Practical Steps to a Happier Life,”, which topped Amazon’s Self-Help Best Seller list.

Wallace describes four steps we can all take to live happier lives:

  • Focus on the Positive: If you have only five minutes a day to dedicate to becoming a happier person, here’s a great way to spend it. Each night, before going to bed, write down five things for which you feel grateful. As you write your list, take a moment to reflect on each item. Call up a picture in your mind and experience your gratitude in a heartfelt way. This is a great way to jump start gratitude, optimism, and kindness, all of which have enormously positive effects on our happiness.
  • Cope Effectively with the Negative: Wallace quotes Thich Nhat Hanh, who said, “Don’t wait until you have no more suffering before allowing yourself to be happy.” Negative experiences are a part of every life. We do best when we are able to acknowledge and accept the difficult emotions that come with the experiences, see what they have to teach us, and then use coping skills such as reaching out to others, gaining perspective on our troubles, and actively engaging in the things we do that give our lives meaning.
  • Develop Strong Relationships: No matter how much we may enjoy and need our time alone, the fact remains that we are an intensely social species, and that meaningful connections with other people are essential to happiness. In fact, research makes it clear that the single most important characteristic of very happy people is that they have trusting relationships at the center of their lives. Wallace says that those relationships may be with romantic partners, family members, or friends; it doesn’t much matter. “What matters is that we take the time and trouble to nurture and appreciate our most important relationships, and that we don’t allow other priorities to crowd out our focus on them.”
  • Pursue Meaningful Goals: “When I first began studying the positive psychology research,” says Wallace, “one of the biggest surprises for me was just how important goal pursuit is to happiness.” Goals focus and motivate us. They increase our resilience by giving us reasons to keep going following setbacks. And they give us a highly gratifying sense of purpose, forward motion, and meaning. “One of the most important things to understand about goals is that making progress toward them actually contributes even more to our happiness than achieving them does. So it’s important that we choose our goals well. Pursuing them doesn’t have to be easy or entirely pleasant. In fact, we gain the most happiness from working toward goals that demand a lot from us. But they do need to fit well with who we are and what we value.”

About the Author

After 20 years as a highly successful executive with Johnson & Johnson, where she was responsible for a $1 billion portfolio of businesses including Band-Aid, Neosporin and Purell, Lynda Wallace changed careers to pursue her passion. She now helps individuals and groups apply proven insights and techniques to achieve greater happiness and success in their lives, families, careers, and businesses. She meets with local clients in her office in Montclair, NJ, and with clients from around the world by phone or at in-person engagements. Lynda holds an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and is a certified positive psychology coach. She is also a sought-after speaker and the author of the No.1 Amazon Self-Help Best Seller “A Short Course in Happiness: Practical Steps to a Happier Life.” More information is available at her website: lyndawallace.com.

(Disclosure: This is a guest post.)

10 Back to School Resolutions for Parents

Each new school year is a chance for children to start fresh and establish new routines. The same is true for parents, who play a huge role in a child’s education. As you send your children back to school this year, consider making a few resolutions of your own to make this a successful academic year. Most importantly, share the list with your child to help set expectations for both of you.

Education expert Renee Thompson, Kiddie Academy, offers the following thought starters for resolutions parents may wish to make, along with the reason why each is important.

Parents’ Back to School Resolutions:

1. I will give you a break after school if you need it before asking you to start homework.

Why: Some children can jump right into homework and others are more focused after having some time to unwind. See what works best for your child.

2. I will stay in touch with your teachers throughout the year.

Why: Communication is the key to early detection of potential problems. If your child is struggling, an open line of communication with the teacher will help in resolving the issue.

3. I will ask for positive feedback from your teachers.

Why: We’re all busy, including teachers, meaning that sometimes parents only hear when there is a problem. That’s not really fair to your kids or to you – if you’re going to endure the bad stuff, you both deserve to hear the good stuff, too.

4. I will offer guidance and assistance, but not a full solution, when you encounter a challenge.

Why: Children need to develop problem-solving skills. If their parents are constantly “fixing” things, the child will never learn to negotiate the inevitable bumps in the road.

5. I will enforce a consistent bed time, even if you fight me on it.

Why: Getting a good night’s sleep will allow your child to start the school day refreshed and ready to learn.

6. I will provide a healthy, nutritious breakfast.

Why: Just like sleep, your body and your brain need fuel to function at their highest level.

7. I will stock up on school supplies so you’ll have what you need.

Why: Nobody wants to run out of paper or glue when finishing a project. Stock up in the fall, when prices are low, and keep the supplies in an easy-to-access location. Consider making a Homework Bin – you can find directions here.

8. I will listen to your opinions on Back To School fashion choices, and do my best to accommodate your requests — within reason.

Why: It’s important to show your child that you respect and value their opinions, even if you don’t agree with them. You can still have the final say; however, listening is key.

9. I will document your FIRST day of school with a photo every year. I will be discreet and take the photo at home. I will not follow you to school or ride the bus to get candid shots.

Why: One day, your child will want to look back and remember how they looked as they grew up. You can save the memories for them until they’re old enough to appreciate them.

10. I will take a picture of you on your LAST day of school each year.

Why: It’s amazing how much kids grow over the course of a school year. Take a photo and compare it to the first day of school picture. Sharing the photos with your child is the perfect opportunity to review the year’s accomplishments.

 

6 Great Ways to Ensure You Save for Your Kids

With an uncertain economic future ahead, it is smart to budget and save for your children. The cost of their living expenses and education will continue to rise, so make sure you plan ahead by following a few tips.

Start Saving Early

You can start saving even when your child is a newborn. Set up a savings account in his or her name, and start contributing what you are able to. Even if it’s just a few dollars per month, over the years of your child’s life, this money will accrue interest. Some online savings accounts offer higher interest rates than traditional banks.  When your child is young, put any monetary gifts that he or she receives into the savings account.

College Savings Plans

Description: college

Image via Flickr by CollegeDegrees360

Many parents hope to pay for college expenses for their children, so you may want to look into a 529 savings plan. Many investors encourage parents to utilize this type of plan, since it accrues interest without taxes, and you won’t have to pay taxes on it as long as your child does use it to pay for tuition. There are a lot of options for flexibility, so this is a great option for those who plan to help with education.

Reduce Interest Rates

If you have a high interest rate on your mortgage, you can also save money by refinancing for a lower rate. Currently, rates are at all-time lows, so check out the different options available through AmeriSave on SlideShare and talk to an expert who will help you decide what is best. They pride themselves on high levels of customer service and ease of use.

Spend Less on the Next Child

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Image via Flickr by docentjoyce

As your family continues to grow, save gently used items from the previous children. On average, a family might spend about $12,370 on a second child, but you can drastically reduce that amount by reusing clothing, bottles, high chairs, and other expensive essentials. You can also try to find and buy used items instead of buying brand new.

DIY and Cheaper Options

When your children are young, look at ways you can save money on the basics for them. Baby food costs around $1 per jar, but you can make your own with fresh foods and a food processor. You can store baby food in the freezer, which can save you hundreds of dollars over the first year. You might be tempted to spend less at a time on diapers by buying smaller packages, but do your research and determine a price per diaper. Then you can stock up when you find them on sale and save a lot of money.

Watch Your Family Budget

The last way to save for your children is to set up a reasonable budget and stick to it. Make sure all family members are on board, and utilize online tools to track spending and cut costs. If you find one area of spending that is difficult to cut back on, try to cut back in another area.

These tools will help you and your family prepare for the future, and rest easy knowing that you are doing the best you can to provide for your children.

(Guest post by Amanda.)

6 Ways to Keep Your Hardwood Floors Looking New

When you have nice hardwood floors, it’s worth putting in a little work to keep them looking like new. Follow these 6 tips so your hardwood floors will always have the beauty that you enjoy today.

Doormats Are a Deterrent

Knowing how to clean your floor properly will keep it in great shape. It’s even better to keep dirt and water off your floor by using two doormats. Keep one outside and one inside so people can wipe their feet well before stepping on the floor. It also helps to get a walk-off mat for the inside. These mats are usually four to six feet long. The longer it is, the cleaner your shoes will be when they hit your hardwood floor.

Vacuum Your Floor

Even if you make everyone take off their shoes before coming inside, your floors might still get dirty. If the dirt accumulates, it can turn into grit that will scratch the wood’s surface. Vacuum your floor at least once a week to prevent dirt buildup.

Avoid Water and Liquid Cleaners

Never expose your floor to water or liquid cleaners. They can soak into the wood, causing damage that’s difficult to repair. You’ll end up spending a lot of money hiring one of the Tucson flooring companies to fix a problem that you could have easily prevented.

Instead of using liquid cleaners, opt for a no-wax wood cleaner. You can pick it up at any home supply store. Keep it in a handy place, so you can clean up spills and dirt immediately.

Area Rugs Prevent Damage

Image via Flickr by Wonderlane

High-traffic zones are most likely to get damaged by daily wear and tear. Putting down an area rug will protect your hardwood floor. Common high-traffic zones include hallways, doorways, and stairs.

It’s best to use an area rug that doesn’t have a rubber backing. The rubber can trap humidity against the floor, which causes the same problems as cleaning with liquids would.

Clean Your Furniture With Care

If you have wooden furniture, then you want to take special care when you polish it. The polish might make your wood furniture glow, but it can leave a cloudy residue on your floor. Try spraying the polish on a cloth instead of directly on the furniture. That will give you more control.

Know How to Care for Your Floor’s Finish

Your hardwood floor might have a finish made of polyurethane or shellac. If it does, you should never wax the floor. It will create an extremely slippery surface and can damage the original finish.

If you don’t know whether you should use a wax, polyurethane, or other type of polish on your floor, spot test a small area and check for damage. Give the area a couple of days before you polish the rest of the floor. It takes time for damage to present itself.

Do you know other ways to keep hardwood floors looking like new? Or perhaps you’ve tried some restorative methods that did more harm than good. Tell your story in the comments below.

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Guest post by Amanda.

3 Things Parents Must Teach Their Kids About Managing Money

(The following is a guest post. I’m sharing because I think they are great tips!)

As a father of five teenagers, it feels like all I do every day is teach my kids lessons. These lessons span a wide range of topics – from “how to treat others,” to “being a team player,” to “exude confidence not cockiness.” It has taken me years to determine the most important lessons pertaining to personal money management, which is one of the most important skills they need to learn.

With all the issues facing teenagers today, why do I say this? Three reasons:

1. Schools teach them absolutely nothing about personal money management.
2. The example set by our society is to spend more than they make (in other words, debt is good).
3. It is one of the most important skills they need to take into adulthood.

It is imperative to set the right example for your children when it comes to money management. In my book, “Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School? 99 Personal Money Management Principles to Live By” (www.whydidnttheyteachmethisinschool.com), I discuss these lessons in a simple, memorable manner.

Here are what I consider every parent’s three “must teach” principles:

• Always live below your means. If you want to manage your money successfully, this is one of the most important principles to follow. And, this is where most Americans have gone, and will continue to go, wrong. People want to have everything … now. They just can’t wait until they can afford it. But you must wait until you can afford something before you buy it. If you make a habit of purchasing things you can’t afford, you will quickly begin a downward spiral that will continue until you go bankrupt. Plus, you’ll enjoy your purchase all the more.

If you always live below your means, you will always have extra money to save and invest. Over the years, your money will grow and you will find yourself with significant financial security. Keep in mind that living below your means doesn’t mean living badly. It means you prioritize your spending and focus on what is most important to you. It means “living smartly.”

• Develop a written budget and evaluate it every single month. People think this is painful but it’s actually quite simple. And it must be done. You can’t manage something you’re not tracking. And the concept is clear – more money must come in every month than goes out! I have a simple budgeting process that takes a half-hour every month and allows for the three most important parts to be completed: developing, tracking and analyzing. The analysis part is so important. Where did you spend too much? Where didn’t you spend as much? What else do you need to include next month? What is in your emergency fund? What are your financial goals for the next 12 months? And remember, you will always have tradeoffs!

• Save and invest 50 percent of every salary increase. This is an easy principle that requires a little discipline. Think about it; you were living on your old salary before you got a raise. You can have the best of both worlds. You’re still going to live better, but why not invest some for your future? Most people don’t do this because they get behind in the first place. They start by spending more money than they make in the first place. You just can’t do that. If you employ this principle, you will be shocked at how well you do financially over time.

Ninety-five percent of adults don’t follow these principles because they’ve been told that debt is OK and they’re trying to keep up with the Joneses (who, by the way, are bankrupt)! I’ve told my teenagers (and my nephews who are in their 20’s), if they always follow these three basic principles, they will become extremely adept at personal money management.

Take the time to talk with your children about all the issues that confront them. Especially, take the time to discuss the issue of personal money management. From experience, we all know that it is an issue that has caused much pain to our generation.

    About the author:

Cary Siegel is a retired business executive. After earning his MBA from the University of Chicago, he began his career in brand management with Kraft and went on to lead several companies in marketing and sales. He wrote “Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School? 99 Personal Money Management Principles to Live By,” whydidnttheyteachmethisinschool.com for his five teenage children. Following his personal money management principles allowed him to retire at the age of 45. Siegel is a popular speaker on both marketing and personal money management. 

How To Read With Your Child, Not To Them

Reading a book to your child is a great way to help your child learn. Sometimes, though, simply reading the words on the page may not be stimulating enough. Some of the time your child might be perfectly content to sit and listen; on other days, he may not be able to keep one foot still! Do not fret. Your child can get his learning and keep his energy at a high level, too! The trick is to read with your child.

Start with the old standby–reading. Once the story has begun to unfold, ask your child some questions before moving onto the next page. Use questions that will encourage interaction.

For example:

* Point to some of the pictures on the page and see if your child can describe what the illustrations show. Is the main character revealed on the first page? Can you tell where the story takes place? Is it daytime or nighttime as the story begins? Do you think it will be the same at the end of the story? (And no peeking ahead is allowed!)

* Have your child try to reason how a picture on the page relates to the story. For example, you could ask, “Why does the candle droop?” Could it be that it is because it has been burning for a long time?

* Identify specific words used in the story as a teachable moment. Are some words written in a different way from the rest of the words? Are some bigger? Smaller? In a different color? Ask your child to guess why. Have your child say the special words in the story in the way he thinks the author intended for them to be read. Talk about how the words could be said differently to express a different emotion.

Are you getting a sense for how easy reading interactively can be? By reading in this way, your child is part of the reading time, too! Enjoy watching your child’s excitement as he/she figures out the answers to your questions and comes up with unique ways to add to or change the story. Encourage your child to ask questions of you too. Prompt your child to come up with the questions for you by announcing, “on the next page, it is Daddy’s turn to answer YOUR questions.” The possibilities are endless for ways that you can read interactively with your child.

If it isn’t naptime or bedtime, have your child act out part of the story, or make up a song or dance to retell the story to you after you have finished.

If your child has a lot of stuffed animals and they are the same type as in the story, let the teddy bear dance around or climb up the pillows and let the dog bark, etc.

Try to come up with new ways every time you read a book.

Happy reading!

About the Author:

Thomas Weck is the author/creator of the *Lima Bear Stories. Originally made-up bedtime stories he told his four children, the Lima Bear tales resurfaced when Weck’s son Peter had children. Peter remembered the stories and wanted to have his father write them down so that he could share them with his children. Father and son took it one step further and created Lima Bear Press (www.LimaBearPress.com) to produce the stories as books that children everywhere can enjoy. The first three titles were released in 2011: The Megasaurus, How Back-Back Got His Name, and The Cave Monster. The books are not only fun and funny with great illustrations, they also have an underlying message such as such as tolerance, honesty, courage, etc. Learn more at http://www.limabearpress.com.

(Disclosure: This is not a compensated post. All thoughts are those of the author.)

Baby Budgeting For The Nursery Essentials

The following is a guest post by: Ashley White. Ashley is a blogger and self-described HGTV addict. She scours antique and resale shops for goodies to fill her family’s eclectic home in upstate New York.

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Babies need a lot of stuff — or so they say. While I was pregnant with Patrick, people —including my friends, family, coworkers and those who met me on the street — would tell me I had to have a Bugaboo stroller or that a travel crib was essential. It was a bit overwhelming, and sometimes tempting, but I learned after the crib, dresser and rocking chair, the real nursery necessities are below.

A Night Light

It was an adjustment getting Patrick on a sleep schedule that didn’t involve him staying up all night and sleeping all day. Once we invested in some roller/solar shades he started associating darkness with sleep and light with being awake. With curtains or shades that block out light (great for nap time) you’ll need a night light. Find one that emits enough light for you to navigate the room but not so much that it keeps your baby awake.

Not necessary: Stubbing your toe in the dark while you are trying to calm your child. Or worse, waking him up because you flipped on a too-bright light just to check on him.

Garbage Pail

Find a sturdy, 4 gallon garbage pail with a lid for your baby’s nursery. Walmart.com has a great selection of trash bins under $15, but check your local dollar store as well. In the beginning, we changed Patrick in whatever room we were in. But when I found a week old dirty diaper in the spare bedroom in the basement, that changed. Learn from our experience: Designate one garbage pail for dirty diapers. Control the smell by regularly sprinkling a little baking soda in the bag and make sure it always gets taken out.

Not necessary: A Diaper Genie. If you change that dirty of a diaper, just run it out.

Sleepy Swing

Every child is different, and when deciding on nursery items it really depends on your child’s personality and your parenting style. But, I have to say, a comfortable little swing for Patrick to fall asleep in saved my life. We love to rock and snuggle, but when I need a nap, to cook dinner or finish some freelance work, the swing is Patrick’s new best friend. We found a gently-used Graco swing on Craig’s List for $25.

Not necessary: Toys. Your child won’t be interested in them until later, and infants shouldn’t sleep with stuffed animals for safety reasons, anyway.

A Handy Hamper

Your baby will need his or her own hamper. We keep Patrick’s on the floor in the corner of his closet. It is out of the way, but still very accessible. Since we only change dirty diapers in his room (see above: garbage pail) this hamper comes in handy when we are getting ready for a bath or when changing a disaster of a diaper.

Not necessary: Carrying those onesies around after a diaper explosion.

Baby Monitor

Those first few nights my husband and I would lay awake listening to Patrick breath so we didn’t need a monitor. But when we got used to him being a part of our family — and when we succumbed to a much needed deep sleep — the monitor came in handy. It is also great for nap times when I’m downstairs cleaning or working. My suggestion? Ask around to see if someone has an extra. My sister lent me hers so we got ours for free.

Not necessary: A video monitor. Just go check on him or her.

 

Don’t Turn Away

Below is a guest post from Kristi Stephens about the upcoming series on her blog.

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I have an odd defense mechanism with things that make me uncomfortable – I go to sleep!

When on long car trips through the mountains with no exits in sight, or stuck in a traffic jam in a tunnel, and we start to run low on gas, I lean my seat back and sleep (when NP is driving, of course!) I figure that if we are going to run out of gas, it will happen whether I am awake and anxious or asleep and blissfully unaware – most likely we’ll be fine, so I might as well avoid the stress and sleep!

There are a lot of horrifying and evil things in this world that I would rather not think about. I find myself metaphorically sleeping in my seat to avoid anxiety.

Human trafficking is one of those issues I would rather not think about.

Chew on these stats – read them out loud if it will help them sink in.

  • 100,000 girls, ages 9-19, are trafficked in commercial sexual exploitation in the U.S.
  • 3,000 children are forced into commercial sexual exploitation at any given time, just in San Francisco.

  • 1.2 million children are trafficked internationally each year
  • As many as 4 million women and girls are bought and sold worldwide every year.

Horrifying.

I’m guessing most of us are like me – we’d rather close our eyes, stay blissfully unaware. We figure it’s going to happen whether we know about it or not, so we might as well ignore it.

It’s time to wake up, friends. There are things we can do.

The more I learn about human trafficking, the more it vividly illustrates for me my state as a former slave, redeemed from the bondage of sin. Christ paid the price with His own blood to redeem my life from the pit – the least I can do in return is to tell others about the freedom available through my Savior. And as a former slave, redeemed by a God who loves justice and mercy, I feel compelled to do all I can to secure freedom for the millions of physical slaves in this sin-marred world.

I humbly ask you to join me on this journey. For the next two weeks- the weeks before we commemorate the blood-price paid for our freedom – it is my honor to host Gillian Ferdwerda from Women at Risk, International here on KristiStephens.com. Gillian will be sharing amazing stories, horrifying statistics… and hope. Women at Risk, also known as WAR, is on the front lines – helping to find, rescue, love women and children who have been sold, abused, betrayed, forgotten. There are so many ways we can help.

So please be sure to read this amazing series. Visit Women at Risk, International’s website. Learn all you can about trafficking. Tell your friends. Post links on facebook, twitter, or your blog. Please help spread the word – wake us from our slumber.

If you are a blogger and would like to help, please grab this button for your blog – the more who hear, the better.

BWS tips button

Code: <a href=”http://www.krististephens.com/redeemed”><img src=”http://www.krististephens.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/WAR-page.jpg” alt=”BWS tips button” width=”150″ height=”125″></a>

Let’s proclaim freedom for the captives in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.