{Foster Parenting} Bedtime Routine.

Creating a bedtime routine is important for both the child and the parent. When little momma first moved to our house, we found that over the course of her moves her bedtime routine had changed dramatically. As a result, she occasionally fights sleep and has struggled to stay asleep during the night. We have found that by creating a strong bedtime routine, we are able to minimize her nighttime anxiety and help her feel more rested.

Here’s our routine:

8:00 PM– Shower/Bath. She’s at the age where showering is appropriate for hair washing days, but she still enjoys bath time.

8:20 PM– Teeth/Hair/Fish. After bathtime she brushes her teeth, hair, and feeds her fish independently.

8:30 PM– Points. We review the day and give points for positive behaviors.

8:35 PM– Quiet time/Catch up. There are days when we are distracted or life gets in the way and need a few extra minutes to get back on track. We use this time as a buffer. If the day goes smoothly, we use this time for reading or coloring in bed. This helps calm the mind and encourages a SLOW down!

8:50 PM– Devotion/Prayer. I do a quick devotion with little mama every night. On days I forget, she usually tells my mom on me. She prays after devotion.

9:00 PM– Lights Out. Bedtime.

Bedtime is hard for us for a variety of reasons. Little momma responds to cues, but often has a lot of bottled up energy and doesn’t like going to bed. She also struggles with staying asleep and feeling grumpy in the morning. We’ve found the below tips to be extremely helpful in creating a better bedtime routine.

– No screens an hour before we begin the bedtime routine. Screens overstimulate children and it’s hard for them to shut down after screen time.

– No chocolate milk or juice with dinner. This has been the hardest for us to cut out. At first we thought, “hey, milk is milk,” but then quickly realized the sugars ramped her up and made it harder to sleep.

– Reminding her that a 9 PM bedtime is appropriate for her age and her growing body. Again, at first, she wanted to stay up and watch a show with us because we were awake. We had to tell her that her body required more sleep and that most of her friends went to sleep at the same time. This helps her remember that she’s going to bed for her best interest.

Tell me: Does your child struggle with bedtime? What methods have you found helpful?

{Love Letters} Baby Boy

Yesterday, I stumbled across a journal entry from March 11, 2014 and was instantly reminded of the work God did in my life and heart over the past year. Today, being nearly six months pregnant with a baby boy, I find it fitting to share my love letter.

Dear Baby,

I read this week about Samuel and how Hannah wanted him so badly that she committed him to God before he was born. This is how badly I want you. I want you not just as an accessory and not just because everyone else has a kiddo, but because I believe the life you will lead will bring glory and honor to our God. I believe you will love God and love people at a very young age. I believe you will influence our friends and family by your infectious laughter and your heart for others. As your mama, I want nothing more than you to live your life sold out for Jesus. It requires you to focus less on yourself and more on others. It calls you to draw strength when others just see weakness. Your faith will be your most important quality and it will guide you when I fail and when you are at a complete loss. I can’t wait to show you the love of Jesus and I can’t wait to see how he reveals himself to me through you.

I love you,

Mama

As I continue to care for this little guy, I know my prayer for his life will continue to be the same. There is NO greater joy than knowing your children love Jesus. 

{Good Reads} Choosing Him All Over Again

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Last month, I read Choosing Him All Over Again, as a part of a blog tour. I cannot recommend this book enough as it truly depicts the hardship of marriage and satan’s plan to steal, kill, and destroy the union created by God.

When I started reading the book, I had no idea that I would be making parallels between Juana and Terry and my own marriage. {Spoiler alert!} Juana leaves Terry briefly because of the lies of this world and then stands in faith believing that her marriage will be restored. While J and I have not ever talked of divorce, I can assure you that most marriages are hanging on by a thread, just like the Mikels.

In our lives, we get consumed with busyness/other stuff and put our marriages on the back burner. Juana reminded me through scripture that our first priority (after God) should be to our spouse. My husband deserves more than my leftovers. My marriage deserves more. I was so convicted by this loving reminder that I’ve been making a more conscious effort to encourage my spouse, show him grace, and most importantly pray for him. Plus, Juana gives some excellent tips on how to pray for your man. This has helped reset my train of thought and helped me to reject the world’s idea of what a marriage should look like.

I would recommend this book to anyone married or single, because I think the Biblical truths shared throughout the Mikels compelling story is worth hearing. For those single or looking to be married soon, the read will help you set your marriage on a solid foundation. As a society, we spend a lot of time planning for our wedding and little time planning to be married. Guess what? I did it too, and the first years of marriage were HARDER because of it. For those of us that are married, this book serves as a wake-up call to each of us. It encouraged me to stop accepting the status quo and start fighting for my marriage to be the way God intended.

If you are interested in reading the book, you can buy it here. If you’d like to read the book and go a little deeper ( I highly recommend), you can download a study guide here.  If you would like to learn more about Juana Mikels, check out her blog here.

Disclaimer: I received this book as a free promotional item, but the thoughts and ideas of this post are my own.

February Update- John Robert Veillard

Below is a monthly update about my dear friend, John Robert. If you would like to learn more about him, you can visit our Fundly page. Also, for more details about him on the blog, check this out.

 

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(He’s the cutie in the red striped shirt).

Friends,

I hope this update finds you warm despite the bitter cold. I keep telling myself Spring is just around the corner… It’s been a while since I’ve updated you on John Robert and there’s a lot to share.
He’s doing exceptionally well at school and is taking a heavy load this semester (18 credit hours). When he’s not in the classroom, he has been working out (trying to keep off the freshman 15) and training with his soccer team. He will turn 21 on February 25th and we are looking forward to celebrating the big day with him!
In regards to fundraising for John Robert’s education, we continue to be blessed beyond measure. The generosity of family, friends, and complete strangers blows me away on a regular basis. I love seeing God move through each of you to bless John Robert. We are still $1,152 short for fully funding his first year in the United States. Additionally, we will start fundraising for year 2 in a few short months. To be honest, this gives us a bit of anxiety, but we are trusting in God’s timing and faithfulness in this endeavor.
To try and offset some of the expenses for year two, John Robert has been applying for small scholarships online and applied to two different colleges for the 2015-2016 school year. The first being Transylvania University. They’ve accepted him for admission and offered him a generous scholarship. However, if you know much about Transy, you know they provide superior education at a premium price. This scholarship, while incredible is $8,000 more per year than Kentucky Christian University. We are still prayerfully trying to work through these logistics to see if Transy would even be an option financially. He has also applied to Berea College (for the third time) as their educational offerings and financial package is optimal for young people in John Robert’s situation. We have yet to hear their response, but are praying fervently for this to be an option for next year. Both Transylvania and Berea would grant John Robert an opportunity to work and this would also be a positive step for offsetting expenses (KCU does not allow their internationals to work at this time).
In the Spring, we hope to have a few small fundraisers to help kick-off year two.  A couple of gals from work are planning a yard sale to raise money for JR, and I hope to host another fundraiser as well. More details on this will be made available soon.
In the meantime, will you continue to pray for God’s guidance and for John Robert to continue to be a dream chaser? It is my sincere prayer that we never grow weary of chasing after the dreams He has set before us…
Thank you for standing beside us on this journey! You are a blessing!
In Him,
Heather