Spend Thanksgiving With Your Family

I have never been a fan of Black Friday. It’s just too much for me.

A few years ago I figured I would give it a try. I had been planning on going for about a week and I was kind of excited! I wanted to get some killer deals!!  By 10′ o clock Thanksgiving night I had almost talked myself out of going. I started asking myself was it worth it? Could the deals be that good? It can’t be that bad. After some serious contemplating I decided to go. After all, I had already stayed up late so I might as well go see what deals I could find.

I left my house at 11:45p.m. Again, this was a few years ago when stores still waited until midnight to open. I had my list ready, coffee in hand, and I was ready to load up the sleigh. I pulled into Tiger Town and I was dumbfounded. I couldn’t believe that so many cars could fit into those parking lots. There were so many people! The line for Target was unreal. It was at least a mile long. I had never seen anything like it!! It was freezing and people were bundled up just waiting. After seeing all that I knew I wasn’t even going to attempt to get into Target, so I headed down to Kohls.

The doors had just opened. I saw everyone pour into the store like they were being suctioned in. It wasn’t anything like the Target crowd, but there were still a lot of people there. I walked in and went straight to the boys section. I picked out tons of clothes, a few pair of socks and big boys (underwear), and headed to the register. I passed people who were already in line to check out and the store had just opened! They had convenient signs down the aisles that stated “If you are here your wait time to check out is 15 min, 30 min, 1 hour, 1 1/2 hour, etc… What?!? I passed the 1 1/2 hour sign and I laughed. I placed all of my items in a return cart and walked out.

There is no way I am going to stand in line for an hour and a half just for some clothes. Who would do that? Obviously a lot people! That night I learned those people had strategies. They had it all figured out. The trick is finding all of your items and getting to the register as quickly as possible. Some took friends to hold their place in line while they frantically tried to find their deals. People were running around the store yelling to their partners in the check out line. It was insane!!!

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This is what our Thanksgiving has become. Deals!!!! The stores are opening earlier and earlier every year and I feel bad for those employees that have to work. I am a nurse and I have to work holidays too, but it’s under different circumstances. Those people do not choose to be sick and be in the hospital. Well, some actually come to the hospital just so they don’t have to be alone, but that’s another post. You fellow nurses know what I’m talking about. The shoppers can choose to stay at home with their families and enjoy their time.

I didn’t think about things like this a few years ago. I like to believe I’m a little wiser now, so I am writing this hoping that it will change your mind about shopping Today on Thanksgiving.

Stay at home with your family. Create memories, not excuses to go shopping. Some people might decide to quit their job because they aren’t willing to work on a holiday. Others have no choice. Your cashier could be celebrating her baby’s first Thanksgiving at home, but instead she’s working. Your cashier could have a spouse in the military that has been deployed for a year and they made it home safely for Thanksgiving. He or she could be spending time with their loved one, but they are working.

Today I will cook our Thanksgiving meal. We will cook a ham and fry a turkey. I’ll make dressing, homemade macaroni and cheese, potato salad, and a green bean casserole. I will watch my boys play and listen to them argue. We will laugh and enjoy ourselves. We will listen to Lewis and Ian recite their Thanksgiving play and try not to cry. I can tell you I won’t make it through the whole play without crying. I’m such a sap! I hope you will enjoy your family!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Ashley

 

Guest Post: Breast is Best! (Except when it’s not…)

With my first child, I really didn’t know what to expect.  But I had a plan. I had a birth plan, a maternity leave plan, and a breastfeeding plan.  And let’s just say I would have gotten fired if my job was to come up with plans.

Breastfeeding was always part of my plan.  But I had NO clue what to expect.  I will never forget that lactation nurse squeezing my boob like a cow’s udder and talking about “meat.”  What the heck was going on?!  I was so doped up on morphine (birth plan failed and had to have a C-section after laboring all day) that I am not sure I even cared about some random lady molesting me. And let’s be honest—I wanted to feed my baby!  I thought we were doing great in the hospital.  But then, right before we went home, they told me I’d need some formula because he wasn’t gaining weight and I must not be giving him enough milk. But I was determined.

To let you in on my magnificent plan, you should know that I didn’t even have a breast pump—or even know what one looked like. (Sigh…)  I was in so much pain every time the baby latched on.  But, I thought that was normal because after all, “breastfeeding can be painful.”  That’s what everyone always said.  So I continued. Then my nipples became flat and a purple line formed across the tips. But I didn’t know that wasn’t normal. So I kept on. Then, one night, my sweet husband stood in the doorway of the baby’s room and watched as my whole body cinched up with pain.  He knew something wasn’t right and went out and bought me a breast pump.  I think we’d googled it or something.  He came home with a handheld, single manual pump. (Oh if I only would have really done my research…)  So, I used it.  It hurt too, but not as bad as that baby!  Interestingly enough, my milk was pink. Hmm…that’s weird. Wait. Gross.  Yeah—so… bloody milk is pink. That was when I knew my breastfeeding plan failed. For the record, I continued to pump for about 4 more weeks and had to go back to work at 6 weeks and never even thought about pumping at work.  (Another Sigh…)

All Tied Up

By the time he was 2 months old, my baby was making a big mess every time he drank from the bottle.  We went through 3 or 4 different kinds of bottles and finally just had to wrap a burp cloth around the bottle to catch all the stuff that leaked out around his mouth.  Ironically, I went to visit a friend who had just had a baby right around that time.  I was holding him in my lap when he gave me a giant, open-mouthed yawn.  I watched as his little tongue curled up and around in his mouth and something hit me.  My baby’s tongue didn’t do that.  (So either this kid was weird or mine was!)  I spent the next few days rooting around in my baby’s mouth and discovered that the tip of his tongue was not going out past his teeth.  His frenulum (the little connector thing under his tongue) was attached just under the tip of his tongue and even started to pull a line in the tip of his tongue like a snake.  Yikes! What was going on?

Googling things can sometimes just scare you to death. But I learned A LOT from the internet that week.  My baby was “tongue-tied” and back in the old days, a midwife would “keep a long fingernail to snip the frenulum to aid in breastfeeding.”  I don’t remember the source for that, but I’m thinking it was from the American Breastfeeding Association.  Everything started to make sense at this point. (Flat nipples, purple line, bloody milk….there was a reason!)

The next few weeks were tough. Apparently, pediatricians do not deal with this type of thing—the tongue is not their “domain.”  And finding a dentist who could help us out was a nightmare.  I went to one guy who told me to wait until he was 4 and then we’d put him under and split it down the middle and stitch it back up. WHAT?!  So, a professional was telling me to  a) wait until he develops a speech impediment because he can’t move his tongue around in his mouth, and then b) give him general anesthesia for a tongue procedure that midwives used to do with a fingernail?  Something just didn’t add up.  I did more research and learned that at 3 months, a simple cauterization would suffice—no sedation needed.  I called this dentist back and actually talked to him on the phone about it.

Me: “I read online that you can just cauterize it or just snip it with scissors and then immediately give him a pacifier. I’d rather do that than wait until he’s 4 and put him through a surgery.”

Him: (laughing) “You believe everything you read on the internet? Sure, (laughing more) we can do it that way, but you’d have to dress him in old clothes because he would have blood pouring out everywhere. And we’d have to strap him down to the table so he wouldn’t move. (There was a lot more rambling about how terrible this idea was…) I mean, yeah, we could do that if you wanted but I’d never do that to my own child.”

I am sure you are thinking that no doctor would ever say that.  I couldn’t believe it either.  I was infuriated.  And furthermore, not only was this extremely unprofessional, but it was belittling and just a flat out lie. And I knew I’d never take my child back to that jack-wagon. So I called all kinds of people.  I finally talked to a pediatric dental place (Alabama Pediatric Dental Associates) where one of the dentists did a “frenectomy” during his rounds in dental school. (The clouds opened up and the angels were singing!)  I took him in the very next day and sweet Dr. Lackey checked him out and performed the procedure right then.  It was about 5 minutes and as soon as it was over, I gave him a pacifier and he stopped crying and fell asleep!  If I had only known about ANY of this sooner—things would have been so much easier for us.

Here we go again…

With baby #2, I had a better plan. It still failed, but at least it was better. (One more sigh…)  After coming home and realizing that this baby had the same tongue problem, I was able to get him in to the same dentist when he was only 5 days old.  But my problem was that I still didn’t know enough about breastfeeding.  I had been bottle feeding because this 9 pound, 5 ounce boy was always STARVING and I really just didn’t know what else to do.  So, after his little easy procedure (with only scissors this time because he was still small enough that nothing even needed cauterization), I was determined to breastfeed!  But then I also had a one year old at my ankles, another C-section incision, and this always-starving-never-satisfied baby.  So naturally, I tried to get him to latch at the worst possible time—when it was already time for his bottle….and when my 1 year old needed a nap.  It wasn’t happening. And I gave up.  I’m still sad that I didn’t try again.  But quite frankly, I was just so rundown and couldn’t see anything positive about putting myself through it all again.

3rd Time’s a Charm, Right?

With the 3rd one, I was determined. This was it. Come hell or high water, I was breastfeeding!  I reunited with a sweet friend from high school who was a La Leche League person, made her dentist appointment before she was even born, and even bought a fancy pump.  Game on.  BUT THEN—once again, my plan blew up in my face.  Sweet Dr. Lackey wasn’t in that day and we saw another guy who told me, “Honey, I don’t think the problem is her tongue.”  WHY did I not argue with him?  (I mean, I know it was because I was volatile from all those crazy post-birth hormones and fighting back tears because I just heard him say, “Honey YOU are the problem.”) I just shrunk.  Tears ran down my face as we walked out and I was defeated.  I bought nipple shields and that worked sometimes. I pumped like a mad-woman so she’d at least get my milk for as long as possible.

Then one day, when she was 7 weeks old, I gave it one last shot.  She was getting ready to take a nap and it was in between feedings so she wasn’t starving.  Well, guess what! It worked.  Miracles do happen! THIS is what everyone was talking about.  It didn’t hurt—my toes weren’t curling from pain.  It was beautiful. I have since determined that her tongue was, in fact, slightly tongue tied and that as she grew, so did her frenulum. (I had read about that happening on the internet…) I was able to nurse her after work and on the weekends and pumped at work until she was 5 months old.  Then I had to go on a business trip and it was hard for me to pump enough to keep up with her by then anyway. I had about a month’s worth stored up in the freezer, so I’m calling baby #3 a breastfeeding success!

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What I Learned

  1. We have to talk about this stuff, ladies.  It helps to know what others have been through so that we can come together and help each other out.  Our society whispers about breastfeeding like it’s the plague, but yet, it’s the very thing God designed us to do.  Other cultures learn about it as young girls and continue to watch their family members and friends nurse their children so that they are familiar with it and know what to do when it’s their turn.  Talk to your friends about boobs! You’ll be glad you did.
  2. Don’t settle if you have a bad feeling about a doctor.  Keep pressing on until you get the answer you know in your heart is right. Momma’s instinct is for real, people!
  3. Have a plan. But don’t let your ship sink if that plan fails. Don’t beat yourself up about failed plans. That’s just a waste of time. Create a new plan. And… just keep on keeping on.  You’re doing great, Momma!

     

    Jamie Miller lives in Huntsville, AL with her husband, Garrett, and their three wild and crazy kiddos. She works full time and struggles with keeping the house clean, the clothes washed, the kids healthy, and keeping the mommy guilt in check. But she wouldn’t trade it for the world!

    If you would like to submit a guest post, shoot me an email at millercashley@gmail.com.

    Ashley

 

The Homeschooling Mom

My first Mommy Views interview.

I have often wondered how homeschooling Mommies do it?! I am not patient enough (check out her response to number 10 😉 ). I also think I would have a hard time keeping everyone focused. With four boys there is always a lot of stuff going on here. I know there are several good things that come with homeschooling, but I don’t think it’s a good fit for us.

This is a Mommy of three, will be a Mommy of four next year. Here is her story.

1. Were you homeschooled?
Nope. I went to public school for 12 yrs, and then 1 year of private Christian school in 8th grade.

2. Why did you choose homeschooling?
We chose homeschooling for many, many reasons and I’ll only touch on a few here. My husband and I both were public schooled and we both felt that public education is lacking in many ways. We don’t like the herd mentality, teaching to the test, the way many things are taught (including Common Core), the way that Christian values are not taught. We are creationists, so we do not like the fact that evolution is presented as fact. But the most important reason is because we believe that as Christians the Bible instructs parents to teach and raise up their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. This would be difficult if our children were away from us for 6-8+ hours a day. We also want to teach according to our children’s learning styles. Homeschooling usually has shorter days compared to schools. My oldest is only in Kindergarten, so obviously I don’t have a whole lot of experience yet, but it takes under an hour to do math, reading, handwriting, and read a few picture books. She has the rest of the day to play (or act kindly) with her siblings or we can go to the park or other outings. We don’t have to stay stuck to a school schedule, we can vacation whenever we want to, and take days off whenever we feel like it. It’s been nice since I’m pregnant with our 4th and very sick with morning sickness, I don’t have to wake up early in the morning to rush her off to school and they are learning how to help mommy when she is sick. We also don’t like how in school siblings are separated for much of their day. Their siblings are the people they are going to have around for life. I’d much rather their relationships be strong as opposed to school friends who may or may not be there year after year. Friends change, but our family is here to stay. I also want to instill a true love of learning in my children without pressure or the need to compete with classmates or to see how high they can score on a test, because tests do not measure true intelligence or knowledge, anyway. I felt like I didn’t truly start learning about the world until after I graduated college and it was only because I could then study what I wanted to!

3. Do you feel like your children are missing out on socialization skills?
Not at all. We disagree that young children should be around other young children all day to learn how to socialize. Proper socialization comes from learning from and being around adults that care for you and exhibit the positive social skills you wish for your child to have. My oldest, who is 6, is very social. She is shy when she first meets someone (like me :)) but that is not a homeschooler trait, many children, and adults, are like this. She has lots of friends. Neighbors, children from church, her siblings, our homeschool co-op. Eventually we plan on putting her in a soccer or dance class. But most importantly I want her around godly adults that she can look up to and learn godly behavior from. We disagree with the peer oriented socialization that occurs in schools.

4. Have they noticed they don’t go to school? Have they mentioned anything about wanting to go to school?
Oh yes, she knows. Our neighbor is in 1st grade and goes to the local public school so she knows that she’s away at school during the day. She also learned about it from references on TV shows and whatnot. A few of her little friends from church go to school. She wanted to go to school at first. I enrolled her in a 1 day a week program at a local Christian school specifically for homeschoolers. That only lasted about 3 weeks because she did NOT like it. She said they sat too much and she missed us. She started crying when I’d talk about it, so I nixed that. Ever since that, she’s had no desire to go to school. She says she likes being at home with mommy.
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5. What is a typical school day like for your children? 
Well, like I said, I am only homeschooling Kindergarten right now but I have an idea of how our school days will go even in the future. We get up, eat breakfast, and then they go off and play for about an hour. Sometimes we’ll go outside and they’ll ride bikes or whatever. Then we’ll come inside and do school. Like I said before, it lasts under and hour but I try to have it done before lunch time. She takes about 10 minutes to do her handwriting (it’s her favorite, I think). I have a small dry erase board that I use to show her how to write the letters. After that we do a little bit of math. We use Rod & Staff Math 1 and it’s technically for 1st graders so we are going a bit slow on it to stretch it out to 2 yrs. Right now we are just doing simple math and learning numbers up to 100. I have Unifix cubes and an abacus that I use for this. Sometimes I’ll find a math or numbers game online for her to play. This all takes about 20-30 mins, depending on how much she drags her feet, lol. After that she’s getting antsy so I’ll let her go play. After lunch and after I put B down for a nap (he’s a big distraction right now at 2! lol), we’ll work on her reading. Sometimes I’ll go through the Phonics Pathways book, other times I’ll have her read 2 Bob books to me. Takes about 15 minutes. But I try to always point out words for her throughout the day to read. She is not a fan of reading yet, but we are working on it. I have a feeling she might be a late bloomer and this area, and that’s ok because she can take her time and not have to worry about keeping up with other kids. 🙂

6. What is the biggest advantage to homeschooling?
The biggest advantage to us is that we can teach our children about the Lord day in and day out and we can shield them from negative influences, bullying, and beliefs that are contrary to ours. And the next biggest advantage is that I can be with them, watch them grow up, have those deep, personal moments with them. Children spend 13,000+ hours in school between K-12th grade. That’s a lot of time that we would never get back. Personally, I also love not having to wake up super early in the morning to run 4 kids (eventually) off to school!

7. What is the biggest disadvantage?
I wouldn’t necessarily call it a disadvantage but it can be hard sometimes to not have that “break” that parents that use school have. I’m sure as they get older it will be easier, but it can be difficult right now since they are so young and needy.

8. What is the biggest misconception about homeschooling?
Probably the biggest misconception I’ve heard is that homeschoolers are weird, unsocialized kids, which has been not been my perception of them at all. Most of the kids in the churches we have been to have been homeschooled and they are just normal people and in most cases are very mature for their ages and can actually hold a conversation with an adult or person of any age, really. Another misconception I’ve seen from people with older kids that bring their kids home from public school is that they feel they need to recreate “school at home,” when it doesn’t have to be that way. Homeschooling is a lot more efficient and doesn’t take 8 hrs a day, even for most homeschooled high schoolers.

9. If they ask to go to Public school later for middle school or high school, is that an option?
Nope.

10. How do you deal with negative comments?

I honestly haven’t gotten any negative comments. People have been pretty supportive, including our family, so that has been very helpful. Homeschooling is becoming very popular lately so people are beginning to get used to it, I guess. I have had several people tell me they just don’t have the patience for it and I think to myself, well, neither do I! But I know that God is going to pull me and strengthen me and grow me in patience over the years if I trust Him in this. I would never become a patient person if I didn’t have ample opportunity to practice.

If you would like to submit a response let me know.

If you have an idea for a Mommy Views interview, send it my way! I want Mommy Views to be a learning experience. I want it to be an opportunity to get to know other Mommies. If you would like to volunteer for an interview contact me via email millercashley@gmail.com.

Ashley

Ada Kids Giveaway

Just in time for Christmas!

Ada Kids

These Bailey and Beau Pullovers are precious! Click here for your chance to win one!

XXS-XL are the sizes that are available and it comes in the color choices Navy/Blue, Navy/Pink, Navy/Red, Navy/Green. You will also be able to have it monogrammed!!

Follow these 2 simple steps–

1. Like both pages Ada Kids and Mommy Of All Boys to be eligible.

2. Like, Share, & Comment on contest photo.

Contest will end on Monday, Nov 24th. I will notify winner via facebook. If you would like to message me your email address when you enter, that would be fine. Notifications do not always show up, so it’s just an extra step to make sure I can get in touch with you!

Thanks for reading and good luck!

Ashley

Bedtime Thoughts From An Exhausted Mommy

I am exhausted by the end of the day. The last thing I want to hear is Miles crying one hour after we put him to bed. Here are my thoughts when I hear him cry…

Crying Baby

  1. Is he hungry?
  2. Is he hurting?
  3. Is it too cold in there?
  4. Babies want to be rocked.
  5. Should I just go rock him?
  6. He is only going to be little once.
  7. I am done for the day!
  8. He is going to have to learn how to self-soothe.
  9. The other boys were sleeping through the night by this age.
  10. Weren’t they?
  11. Should I have turned the fan off?
  12. WHY IS HE CRYING??
  13. He’s going to stop in a second.
  14. Did I leave his lovey in the crib?
  15. Can he see it?
  16. What if he had a bad dream?
  17. He is almost one year old.
  18. Why can’t he get himself to sleep?
  19. Is that a “whiney cry” or “I need something” cry?
  20. Did he poop today?
  21. Did he poop right now?
  22. Did he fart a lot today?
  23. Maybe he has gas?
  24. Did I eat anything new and it is giving him a belly ache?
  25. I am so tired!
  26. WHY IS HE CRYING??
  27. Did he burp before we put him down?
  28. Did he burp after we put him down and now he’s laying in spit up?
  29. Does he need teething tablets?
  30. Is he stuck between the crib rails?
  31. Should I nurse him…again?!
  32. Did he eat enough this evening?
  33. Is it too hot in there?
  34. I am so tired!
  35. This is bullshit.
  36. He’ll stop in a minute.
  37. WHY IS HE CRYING??
  38. He looks so sweet while I’m rocking him.
  39. I love his little face.
  40. I could squeeze him to pieces.
  41. Please let me be able to lay him down without him waking up.
  42. Whew…thank goodness!
  43. He better be asleep for the night!

Let me know if I left out any good ones!
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Ashley