More Questions Answered

Summer 2016

I’m sharing more questions y’all asked last week when I pitched it to y’all to ask me anything.  If you don’t know by now, you’re going to find out that I love to talk.  It’s one of the reasons I don’t do these posts that often because I end up typing a novel when I answer questions!  So if you want to skip today’s post and wait for more style posts, feel free!

I know you’re from Charleston, what’s the best family restaurant near Mount Pleasant?

I’m actually from Charlotte.  Although Lanier always says I’m not allowed to say that because I was born in Atlanta, but only lived there a short time, so not sure that really counts.  I recently moved to Charleston four years ago.  Feels like it’s been so much longer than that!  As for family restaurants in Mount Pleasant, we love Coastal Crust.  It’s a great place for the kids to eat and play too.  We also like Two Blokes Brewery.  I know that doesn’t sound very family-friendly, but they have a play area inside and the food trucks that come in are always great.  Another family favorite is Kickin’ Chicken, mostly because their kids’ menus are only $2.99 all day, everyday.  And that includes a drink too!

What’s your go-to hair styling tool?  Is it a wand, a curling iron…?  Your waves are 100%! || What hair products do you use? || No Q, but your hair looks great! Thanks, Hillary!

For the past three years, I’ve used this waver.  I won’t use anything else, I love it THAT much!  It’s super easy to use too!  For my hair story, head over to this post.  I also share what products I use and love on that post, as well.

How did you manage bedtime when your kids were little?

So I rarely repeat a post but I love updating old ones when I find them in my archives.  The last time I posted about bedtimes and the importance of sleep was almost five years ago…and before that I’d written one even earlier from 6 years ago.

So the first time I wrote this post was back in February 2013.  I’ll keep that in regular font for you.  The second post where I edited parts of my original post is from July 2014, in italics.  For today’s post, my edits/additions to the other posts will be in bold.  To help it make more sense, the first post is when my children were 4 months, 17 months, 3 years old and 4 years old.  Today, they’re 6, 7, 9 & 10.  Clearly, a lot has changed since my first post.

Sleep is the necessity of life.  Sleep helps your metabolism and gives you energy everyday.  Even if you’re not exercising, eating right, etc. sleep is the easiest thing we can do for ourselves, that will benefit our bodies in the long run.  It recharges us, eases are minds, lets us start another day, after a bad one, perhaps?  One goal for yourself, if possible, is trying to go to sleep even thirty minutes earlier than normal, and see if that makes a difference.  While I’m not one to go bed at the same time every night, I try to at least aim for six-eight hours of straight, non-interrupted sleep each night.  To the new parents out there, I realize that’s not going to happen anytime soon, but you’ll hopefully get to catch back up sooner than later.  While sleep is vital to us, as mothers/fathers/human beings, it’s imperative that children get their zzz’s, too. As a parent of four, that’s easier said than done sometimes.

Helping your baby sleep.  When I had my first child, I just assumed they’d cry to eat and/or if they had a dirty diaper.  Little did I know that if they cried because they were tired, they wouldn’t just fall asleep.  That was way too easy!  If they’re not tired enough, they might cry.  If they were overtired, they might cry.  Talk about crazy times?! I tried to read so many books about how to help your baby sleep better…and longer (sleep training, Ferberizing, etc.), but I would end up getting too overwhelmed and stop the book.  Well, in my opinion, there are just way too many books and theories out there, and I found that doing what was natural to me, was the best for my babies.

While I loved rocking my babies, I would put them down in their beds to sleep, before they nodded off to sleep (thanks to the recommendation of my pediatrician). This way they would be okay with going to sleep on their own, and not needing me to rock them to complete sleep every night. Also, this would prevent them from waking up in their beds, wondering where their mother’s/father’s arms were, that they fell asleep in, earlier in the evening.  If you’re wondering whether or not they cried when I put them in their beds, well, sometimes they did but eventually that would subside, over time.  Just like any routine, once they got used to it they wouldn’t cry anymore.  Like any of you, I hate hearing a baby’s helpless cries, but if you want your sleep (remember, it’s important for us too, not just the baby), then know that a little crying is okay.  I have a ten-minute rule that worked with all four of mine. If I put my child to bed, and they cried for longer than ten minutes, I would go in and check on them (diaper dirty? needed to burp? still hungry?), if all that was handled, then they were okay, back to bed.  From my pediatrician: New formula-feeding mamas, one thing to keep in mind, if your baby seems hungry and only eats 2oz, and then dozes off, he/she probably isn’t all that hungry. Most babies will drink 2oz, whether they’re hungry or not.

Cherishing the napping hour. Even now, I never try to keep my children awake during the day, so they will sleep longer at night.  Sometimes, I feel like the longer they sleep during the day (even infants), the better they sleep at night.  As far as naps go, I don’t have an exact hour everyday they go to down for naps, but it’s always early afternoon (from maybe 1-3pm).  I put them all in their beds at the same time (all in different rooms, so if one gets up early, they don’t wake the other one).  Remember, I’ve mentioned before that I have a small house, 1500 sqft to be exact.

Yes, this is so true.  We lived in that 1500sqft house for 8 years!  Still can’t believe it, but I swear my children are closer because of it.  We bought at the height of the market back in 2006, only thinking we’d have a dog and move out before we had children.  Well, a dog and four kids later…haha.  After the housing market crashed, I just couldn’t put the house on the market with having babies and all the pregnancies so close together.  We eventually did put it on the market when I had three littles and one on the way for SEVEN months and only got a few lowball offers.  That was a trying time, to say the least.  And then of course, when we moved to Charleston, we put it on the market and it sold in ONE DAY.  I always look back and think how nice that would’ve been had we been able to sell it years ago in one day.  But I always believe that everything happens for a reason, and we were meant to stay in that house.  And who knows, we may never have moved to Charleston.  Crazy how life goes sometimes.

Alright, back to sleeping and when all of mine used to nap…While Logan sleeps in a crib at night, during nap time, Wheeler sleeps on the bed in Logan’s room (and Logan sleeps in a pack n’ play for nap time).  I make it work!  Remember, it’s ‘how I do it’, right?  I do this so Wheeler and Effie (who share a bedroom at night) can have their own space for nap time.  While Effie goes straight to sleep at nap time, Wheeler loves to play for a little bit, and then naps.  So naturally, they get up at different times, and Effie would never nap, if her sister were in the room, playing before her nap.  They obviously don’t nap anymore and the boys have twin beds in their room and the girls have twin beds in theirs.

As far as napping all at the same time, it’s just like any other routine, once it’s started, they eventually understand that once they’re put in their beds, they’re to go to sleep.  Now I’ll be honest, Wheeler has started staying awake during nap time (I mean she just turned six after all), but at least she’s having some quiet time in her room, which is healthy for not only herself, but for my health/sanity, as well.  A time during the day for peace and quiet. So grateful for that.  Definitely my saving grace right now.  In the Fall, she’ll start Kindergarten and will go to school from 9:15-4:15 (such a long day!) so she’ll truly be in for a rude awakening, but I guess every child has to grow up! I know it’s going to be an adjustment, but we’ll deal with that when that time comes.  All four children now go to the same school.  They did last year and will again next year.  I’m cherishing these days while they’re all at the same school.  I already know it’s going to rock my world when I have to keep track of the children at different schools with different start/end times.  As for now, I drop them off by 7:20 and pick them up at 2:15pm.

Developing a good bedtime routine.  Most children function best with structure.  At night, even if it’s brushing their teeth, a book and prayers before tucking them into bed, my children know that when I say it’s time to brush their teeth, it’s time for bed.  One thing I’ve learned is while a routine at bedtime is necessary, don’t make it too specific that if you have a sitter, your child gets upset that “they’re not doing it right!”  Been there, done that!  And in case you’re wondering, no, I do not bathe my children every.single.night.  That is not, nor will it ever be, a nightly bedtime routine. Talk about time consuming…but I do love a good bath time…every other night.  Mine all shower now and it still makes me a little sad that they don’t need my help anymore.  But I guess that’s part of growing up!  I hope no matter how old they get they’ll let me sing them lullabies at bedtime and say prayers with them.

I don’t have a particular time that my children go to bed. While the boys generally are in bed by 6 (update: they now go to bed around 7), and the girls in bed by 7 (update: they now go to bed around 8), it really just depends on the day.  If they’ve been extra tired/whiney that day, they may go to bed earlier, because they clearly need the sleep. But if they’re in good spirits, they may go to bed later…it just depends.  But in either case, the bedtime routine always stays the same.  And yes, I do have times when the girls try and get back up, after I’ve turned the lights out (“I want water.” “I need to go to the bathroom again.” “I need a tissue.” You get the picture.), but we’ve solved that problem by offering them a reward in the morning, but only if they stay in their beds, after the lights go out. I know the working parents out there like to keep their children up a little longer at night, since they haven’t seen them as much during the day and I totally get that.  I’d be the same way.  Like I always say, everything, including routines, work in our own lives because we know what works best for us.  It’s what’s natural to us.  And in this case, this is ‘how I do it’ with creating good sleep habits for my four kiddos.  Just remember, when creating your own routine (with or without children) to incorporate more sleep.  It works wonders!

Update on TWO updates haha: This is too funny that I’m reading this now and realizing that now when they’re even older, their bedtimes are all 6:30/7.  I guess I feel like with a longer school day, they need more rest.  And I don’t care if they go to bed early or as late as 11am, every single one of their internal clocks wakes them up at 6am.  It still boggles my mind that not even one of them begs to sleep in.  Lanier’s always been a late sleeper and I’m the early bird so I guess they get it from me.  If I really knew that it wasn’t possible for them to go to bed that early, I wouldn’t make them.  After all, it IS super early.  But every one of them is able to fall asleep when the lights go out within 10 minutes, so I’m not changing anything for now.  I realize Wheeler will start having projects for school, more time to study for tests, etc. but for now, she’s doing well in school and honestly, she’s always been the one that has needed the most rest.

If you’re interested, a few months ago, I also shared my most recent daily routine here.

What did you do before blogging/kids for work?  || What did you do before kids (career-wise)?

I was an elementary school teacher.

Which pregnancy was the “easiest” for you?

Honestly, I loved being pregnant with all of mine.  I was very blessed to never have had morning sickness or trouble with any of my pregnancies.  My mom had six girls and I don’t think she had much trouble either.  I think she had some food aversions, but that was really it.  It’s crazy though, because one of my sisters who is only 16 months younger than myself had challenging pregnancies with lots of morning sickness.  My girls were both 9 pounds and the boys were 8.9 and 8.7.  I was 9.9, so I always assumed I’d have big babies.  I was induced with each of them, so I never went into labor which was super nice and easy.

For each of their birth stories, night shifts and giving up control, head back to this post from three years ago.

How do you balance all of your events and kids?  Do you have a babysitter/nanny?

I’ve never had a nanny and rarely have a daytime babysitter.  Even when the children were very little, I did it all.  Trust me, I’m not bragging here.  I know there were probably days when I needed help, a parent, a nanny, anyone, just to get out of the house, but I can honestly say I cherished those days.  I know it seems crazy for me to say this, but I really loved being a homebody, spending most days just playing with the children around the house.  For as social as I am now, I knew I’d have more time to do it later when they were all past the baby stage.  But when they’re so little I just know they grow up so fast during that time, that I didn’t want to miss any of it.  I was genuinely so content with that lifestyle.

I’m trying to remember the last time I had a babysitter come during the day, maybe on an adult boat day last year sometime?  And most nights when Lanier and I go out, I’ll usually put the kids to bed even before the sitter arrives.  It’s just easier that way.  When I have to attend events during the day on the weekend, Lanier will watch them.  And if we go to something together for the day, like the festival a few weekends ago, we’ll have my parents or my inlaws come in town and they’re more than happy to watch the kids.

What is your skincare regimen?

Head here for my most recent skincare routine and products post.

I’m late to the party, how old are your children?  Love seeing them with you!  #3 on the way for me!

They’re 10, 9, 7 & 6.

Anymore kids?!  You’re a beautiful mama!

Not for us.  And you’re sweet.  Thank you!

Are you hoping your kids become future Tarheels?

We have loyalties everywhere it seems, Heels, Bulldogs, Tigers, etc.  I’ll honestly be happy with wherever they decide to go.  College!  Makes me sad thinking about it…

Your kiddos seem to really get along and are well-behaved.  True?  

I’m kind of biased here, but I’d like to think so.  They honestly do play really well together.  I’m a strict mama, so they know their misbehavior has consequences, so most of the time they behave accordingly.

Do you ever get overwhelmed?  You make 4 look easy!

You’re sweet!  I’m thankful that my children are very sweet, loving and obedient, so that helps a million times over!  I’m trying to think of a time when I felt overwhelmed.  I guess the one time I did was when we first moved to Charleston and Lanier was still traveling most of the time.  I had all four at home with me and only Wheeler was in kindergarten.  I decided against sending the other three to preschool for the remainder of the school year when we moved since it was mid-February, so I had all three others all day everyday until September.  No day-time sitters, we just found fun things to do around town, the lowcountry museum, the aquarium, trips to the pool, etc.  Thankfully, they still napped so I had at least from about 1pm-2pm to rest.  I hated it, but I always had to wake them up to get Wheeler from school too.  I’m a big advocate of never wake a sleeping baby, so this was so challenging for me.  Needless to say, I was glad when summer rolled around and school was out!  It was unfortunate, but when you move to a new town it takes time to meet people, so I just did what worked then.  I think about four years later and how many moms would’ve been happy to help bring Wheeler home from school for me.  I have such a wonderful Charleston family now.  So very blessed!

Alright, y’all, I think that’s enough questions answered for today!  I’ll knock out more soon!

Happy Tuesday!