Category Archives: parenting


November 9, 2017

Sleep, basically my favorite thing. And since we’ve survived daylight savings time and the dreaded three month sleep regression, I basically can save the world right now ;) #jk But really, those are two big feats in my Mommy world!

I’m feeling like we’re in a pretty good place right now with THREE KIDS. Summer flew by and Faye was basically dragged around everywhere, because babies sleep and are easy (at least mine were). But since about three months, I could tell she was falling into a schedule and wanting to actually take a nap in somewhere other than her car seat for 17 minutes.

I was suuuuuper (ok maybe almost a little crazy) scheduled with Ivy and Leo. ESPECIALLY Ivy (bc #firstkid). Naps and bedtimes didn’t wager far from +/- an hour and they hardly ever skipped a nap. They’ve both been great sleepers and in my heads it’s because I was a routine Mom. With Faye, she fell into the same schedule and this past month, as much as I would love to just go with the flow and have her sleep wherever and whenever, it is nice getting into a schedule with her, especially since school started for Ivy and Leo.

Here’s what has worked for us. It’s by no means the right way, but I’ve done the same with all three kids and we’ve thankfully had good sleepers. We all need our sleep!!!

She started sleeping through the night, 12 hours straight, at 3 months. It was amazing. 630pm-630am. Then at about 13 months, she switched to one nap, and then at about 2 years, she decided she didn’t really want to nap at all. I’ve basically forced her to nap for the last two years. I either had to lay with her (which wasn’t so bad, I don’t turn that down!) or yell at her through the monitor, which was super annoying of me and made me so mad at her! I needed to just give it up, but I so desperately wanted her to nap for my sanity. Now for about the last 6 months, she naps about every other day, at 1:00, then takes quiet time in her room the days she doesn’t nap. She has books and usually lays in bed with a barbie or two and ALWAYS has her blankie where she has to have her “favorite sides” and her “favorite corners” to rub between her fingers. If she naps, bedtime is 8pm, if she doesn’t nap, bedtime is 7pm. She dresses herself in her pjs, brushes her teeth, then two books (GOD FORBID MISSING THE BOOKS) and to bed. Nightlight on.

And the BEST INVENTION EVER is the Ok to Wake clock. We set it for 7:30am, and at that time, it lights up green (and stays green for 30 min), and that means it’s “ok to wake.” It’s pretty funny. Almost every morning, her door opens at EXACTLY 7:30am and she always says, “My clock is green!” Every. Single. Morning. It’s great that she stays in her room and wakes up a bit before coming out. Plus, I’m so not ready for her spunky-little-firecracker-self until 7:30am.

He started sleeping through the night (12 hours straight) at 7 months. Otherwise would just get up once to nurse. He’s always been the best sleeper. Leo is still in his crib and pretty sure will always be ;) He loves it, and so do I. Ha. His nap and bedtime routine is same as Ivy’s. Gets his blankie (same as Ivy’s but blue, so weird, I know, but I had such good luck with it, I got it for Leo too! And Faye, haha), usually sleeps with a car or two lined up perfectly (he’s totally OCD) along his pillow, reads two books, and to bed. Leo is the best. Just lay him in there, sucks his two fingers, usually his hand down his pants also (ugh), and to sleep. Super easy. Not clean. But easy.

Leo hardly even makes noise when he wakes too. He likes to wake up slowly and just cuddle with his blankie. It’s so nice. I don’t have to rush in to get him. His nap is at 1:00, anywhere from 2-3 hours, then bedtime at 7:30. Then wakes up for the morning around 7:30am. His problem is that he sometimes gets pee all over himself because his comfort is to have his hands down his pants! UGH! Like his blankie and his two fingers wasn’t enough! Goodness kid! Other than that, which I pray that he outgrows sooner than later, he’s a perfect sleeper.

Our little baaaaaby. She’s so sweet. She’s gotten into the same schedule that Ivy and Leo were on. Nap at 9am, 1pm, then bedtime at 630pm, nurses/wakes at 4:00amish, then back to bed till 7am. Her naps are about 2 hours, sometimes her 1:00 nap can be longer, 3 hrs if I’m lucky, but otherwise usually has good naps. She always gets her full morning nap on at least Monday and Wednesday, when both kids are in school from 9-11:30. Other days are hit and miss for a full morning nap, but all three kids nap at 1, so we’re always home at that time. Sometimes we get all 4 of us in Ivy’s twin bed to read books together! :) We all laugh at that. It’s fun!

I’ve always tried to put the kids to bed when they’re drowsy and not yet sleeping. Of course sometimes when they’re nursing they fall asleep, but I try to nurse before they are EXHAUSTED and get them to teach themselves to fall asleep on their own. Faye is also a finger sucker, like Leo! All about the self-soothing. I just lay her in her crib, insert fingers, and she goes to sleep on her own.

Faye is in a sleep sac right now (like this, this, or this), just something to keep her cozy and safe without a blanket in her bed. She’s has been a really good baby and sleeper so far. Minus her growls at 4am, they sound so weird! It’s not even a cry, it’s just a strange noise out of such a cute baby! :) Love that lil girl.

That is what has worked for us. Find a routine and schedule and try to stick to it. We haven’t had a monitor in Ivy or Leo’s room for the last year and a half, it broke, and I figured they were old enough I didn’t need to watch them like a psycho anymore. Not having one in their rooms has been one of the best things for us. Just gave us a little more freedom and relief than having to watch and see what they’re up to in there or race in there the second they were awake.

All this sounds so perfect, but it’s not always. We’re in a good routine, and of course there’s some nights where Leo is kicking all the way up the stairs for bedtime, or Ivy is singing for an hour in her bedroom not napping, or Faye woke up 3 times instead of just once in the night. But for the most part, days are good and we all get sleep!

Now ask me again in a week or two when I actually muster up the courage to get Faye into Ivy’s room! They’ll be sharing and I can’t take the plunge yet! We’re all sleeping so well lately, I don’t dare mess it up! But it’s gotta happen soon, so there goes this whole post! And my sleep! I’ll be staring in the monitor at all hours of the night again and racing in there when Faye wakes so she doesn’t wake Ivy. Ugh. Not looking forward to that transition. Tips, anyone??

Now, sweet dreams. Past my bedtime.


Ivy the Helper

August 3, 2017

Three kids basically means you have your hands full at all times. There’s always someone that needs something at all times of the day. Since having Faye, it’s been tough to keep up with things around the house, being a stay-at-home Mom has never been harder! Recently though, I’ve been noticing that Ivy is asking to help more and more, her intuition that Mom needs help has definitely kicked in (thankfully!).

I’ve been having her put her laundry away and make her bed for about 6 months now, but that’s really the only chore I have made her do, besides the obvious ones such as picking up toys and dressing herself. I feel like I’ve totally deprived her of helping out and being independent! Not that any child really likes chores, but Ivy totally does! I plan on taking full advantage of that until she’s a teenager and hating it!  I think it’s the feeling of being involved and doing what Mom does.

Ivy has recently asked to help dust and empty the dishwasher, she’s all of a sudden such a big girl and such a big help! I feel bad that I haven’t had her help with those things for months! It took her to ask to help instead of me encouraging her to be a big girl and help out around the house. #momfail. I love that she’s independent and I know that having chores around the house will make her feel involved. Time to encourage all of that!

I looked up some other chores on this site and this site that are age appropriate and I couldn’t believe all the ones that I could be making her do! We’ve been doing the no-brainers, like pick up toys, get yourself dressed, put clothes away, etc., but the ones I never would have thought about are helping set the table (WHY didn’t I think of this! DUH!), scrape your own plate into the garbage, water the plants, clean the windows, put away groceries (obvi she knows where the snacks go! Haha), etc. I am excited to get her to try out some other chores around the house! Here’s another site that has great ideas too! I’m considering doing a chore chart. Looks like a fabulous way to stay organized and to encourage them doing their chores on their own.

The thing I have to get over, is that I know it probably won’t be done exactly how I would do it (I tend to be particular about some things!), and it will take longer than if I do it myself, but what a great opportunity to teach!!! And for her to learn! And hello, 4 hands are better than 2! It will take patience on both of our parts for sure, but she is to the age where I want her to feel her worth around the house and take pride in learning and helping out. And she is antsy to help! Time to take advantage of that before it’s gone! :)

What are some chores you have your toddlers do?


July 28, 2017

Well, we’ve officially joined the “crazy club.” 1. Crazy to have three kids 2. Crazy: as in chaos crazy. Nevertheless, with all the craziness going on, I could definitely add a third crazy 3. Crazy in love! Not to quote Beyonce or anything, but this third kid suuuurely has my heart. Maybe it’s being the baby of the family, there sure is something ultra sweet about Faye that has completely filled up my heart.

Enough gushing. Really. Okay what you really want to know… How IS IT with three?

Someone asks me this almost every day with the same look on their face expecting me to say how hard it is and how tired I am and how much work it is, everything you’d expect if you had three kids, and all most of those things are true, but they’re missing one key thing about all of the 3 kid business – that BABIES SLEEP. Praise the Lord! This is the only way I’m surviving right now!

Faye has been such a good sleeper! She made it 7 straight hours at night for two nights in a row this week! WHOOP! Otherwise, she’s usually around 6. Then she just wakes up to eat quick, chug-a-lug, then right back to bed for another 3-4. So again, THANK GOD for sleepy babies! Plus during the day, she hangs out and has Ivy in her face every second for an hour, then back to sleep. Hallelujah. During her naps is where we get things done!

This has given me enough energy to make it through the day to keep up with these rascals. I’m NOT good at staying home, I get antsy, the kids get antsy, we just have to either get outside, or go somewhere. Faye’s mellow personality has allowed us to keep doing the things we love to do – pool or park day all day errry day! Or the zoo to run these kids wild from animal to animal. Basically anything to maximize our time away from the house and get these kids to use up their energy.

Oh. And popsicles. YAAAAAS. They’ve saved me keeping Ivy and Leo entertained! I need 15 minutes to nurse… POPSICLES. I need 15 minutes to shower… POPSICLES. I need 10 minutes to change because I got breastmilk or spit up everywhere… POPSICLES. I need 30 minutes to cook dinner… TWO POPSICLES. Haha, okay maybe not that extreme! But popsicles have saved me this summer! (I could also replace ‘popsicles’ with ‘ipad’ to be honest! Judge the way you want!)

Mostly, three kids has been about a new routine.

New routines, like, I might just have to throw a kid in their bed without a book because I’m trying to get three kids to bed at the same time. I might just have to clean that mess up later because I have to go nurse. I might just have to get fast food on the way home because it’s easier. I might just have to neglect a kid a little because another kid is screaming. All the things that give you SERIOUS Mom guilt. Your attention is divided amongst another child and it’s tough on everyone. It’s really hard to put Faye down because I just want to hooooooold her and snuggle my baaaaaby, but I try to use her naps to the fullest and take that time to be present with Ivy and Leo. Then her hour awake time before she falls aleep again is when Ivy and I get to play with her, because Leo has NO interest whatsoever #boys

Thankfully kids are resilient and change as we change, after those first few temper tantrums, of course, but eventually they get it.

So, how is it with three? Two to three is definitely harder. I swear, Leo’s had more meltdowns this last month than his whole life. Everything takes so much longer, especially with nursing before we go anywhere. Ivy is curious and asks a million questions in my space and Faye’s all day. Routines get all messed up as we start new ones. I have serious Mom guilt on and off all day as one of the kids is always getting neglected. BUT we’re getting the hang of it. And choosing to be positive and trying to be easy going really does generate a good mood amongst everybody! We’re just going with the flow here and trying to survive.

My goal with three is just to embrace all of it. The minute I realized we need new routines and everything won’t be perfect, was the minute I knew I would be okay, WE would be okay. Nothing is right, nothing is perfect, it’s basically a shit show, but I’m going to embrace the shit (pun intended… baby poop diapers, MY GOD) and try be as stress-free as possible and just love on these little kids and enjoy this chaos as much as I can! Our last little baby, gotta hold her as much as possible! And frankly, it doesn’t last forever! These kids grow up too fast!


A Trip to the Stensland Farm

May 31, 2017

Today we took a trip to the Stensland Farm and the kids had a blast! The farm just opened up an ice cream shop in Sioux Falls, which is BEYOND delicious, so we have been anxious to go see the whole process and take a tour of the farm. Stensland Family Farms was established in 1915, and is a family owned and operated, multi-generational farm located near Larchwood, Iowa. They have almost 200+ cows and they also farm 1500 acres of organic cropland. All of the forage the cows eat, comes from the non-GMO crops they grow! Read more about the farm here and see more on their facebook page here.

Today was so nice to take my mind off of things with this baby coming! I’ve just been keeping busy keeping these kids busy… just waiting for baby! So this was a perfect opportunity to get outside and walk around hoping to induce some labor! :) Due on Sunday, June 4th! EEEK!

Leo could be a total farm boy after seeing him out there today! He loved to see all the cows, tractors, and there were tons rocks to throw around to keep him busy. He had so much fun! The kids got to pet and feed the baby cows a bottle of milk, so cute!

The tour also took us to see the cows getting milked, all by machines, which was crazy! The cows just go in there on their own when they want to be milked (I hear ya on relieving that pressure!!). The machine puts a collar on the cow and it begins sending information straight to the farm’s computer.  The collar identifies each cow and relays weight, temperature, activity, and rumination. So high tech! Then it cleans the utters and uses lasers to find the utters to milk them! So neat! Each cow produces about 9 gallons of milk each time! Wow!

Then we got to also see the cheese making factory. Cheese production wasn’t taking place at the time, but neat to watch the video, and I LOVE CHEESE! The curds are amazing!

Lastly, they brought us through to see where all the mama cows hang out. They lay on water beds and are very well taken care of with a self-grooming station in there too! The kids loved to try to feed them and get close!

At the end we got to go have samples of their milk, cheese curds, and ice cream! Their chocolate milk was amazing! And I don’t even like chocolate OR milk really!! Leo had three cups, haha. It was the perfect way to end the tour.

I think Leo would have preferred if I would have left him there! :) He LOVED it! Thank you for the great day Stensland!

Here’s a video to see more of the farm



Shop Spotlight || Bloom Box

March 18, 2017

If you are from Sioux Falls (or really anywhere for that matter) and haven’t heard of Bloom Boxes yet, you need to! When Andrea from The Speech Mom reached out to us to try one of her Bloom Boxes, we were so excited! I’ve seen them all over social media lately and have been wanting to try one!

A little about Andrea (Instagram @thespeechmom) – she is a mother of two adorable boys, Hank and Gus, and she’s also a speech language pathologist who has a passion for speech, language, feeding, and kids! I swear, Andrea is like a wonder woman, she does everything and is soooo knowledgeable! We’ve worked together on a social eating post with our four kids (see that post here) and it was a blast – so much to learn from her!

Andrea has recently launched her new venture – the Bloom Box, a monthly rental program enhancing child development through play. Choose one of the various boxes (over 20 options! And growing!), and it will be delivered to your doorstep with an activity guide to help target your child’s development!  Enjoy a month of play while your child develops language, cognitive, social, fine motor, and sensory skills! Then at the end of the month, you just ship it back with the prepaid shipping label and if you purchased the subscription, then comes another to your door! AMAAAAZING!

Ivy chose the cupcake bloom box to play with and it was above and beyond my expectations! All of the items in the box were in terrific condition and were great brands like Melissa and Doug, Learning Resources, and Hape. All of the supplies were very high quality, very well taken care of, and the box was very well put together! I was blown away! You can tell Andrea put a lot of thought into choosing items that would fit her vision!

Plus, there were SO MANY things to play with! I was expecting maybe just a couple of items to play with for the month, but no, the box was FULL with several different hands on items and about 8 different structured activity lessons to go through with your child. And that doesn’t even count the free-play that Ivy and Leo loved! I just let them explore with everything in the box at first, and they sat and played for an hour straight before I had to pull them away for lunch!

The description on the activities and on the box says for children ages 3-7, but I’m telling ya, Leo almost loved it more than Ivy and he’s only 22 months!! He was all about making cupcakes, using the mixer, and attempting to master the tongs! Which was hilarious :)

Ivy, on the other hand, really got into the activities and lessons and loved making the cupcakes and playing the “Cupcake Shop” activity. She would make her cupcakes for her store (there were pictures of cupcakes you could make for a price amount to give the kids ideas, but Ivy was all about being creative and coming up with her own creations!), then I would be the customer and come choose and pay for a cupcake with the fake money that was included in the box. I’ll admit, even I was having fun with her!

There were pink, brown, and white fluff balls to represent the flavors of the cupcakes (I’m a white vanilla fan!!! She was obsessed with pink, of course!), then there were little fluff balls to top the cupcakes off with candy or cherries or whatever you wanted it to be. So many options to get creative with your cupcake making!

There were also two other sets of cupcakes to venture into – these Learning Resources cupcakes that separate and you could match the shapes to the shapes in the pan, then also happy birthday cupcakes with candles that you could attach. Ivy sang “Happy Birthday” to all of us each with a different cupcake, so cute!

Plus, she had never used tongs before and she had so much fun trying to figure it out before she finally mastered it. A great skill to learn, I think I’ll start using her in the kitchen more! ;)

Overall, you’ve got to give the Bloom Box a try – you can purchase month-to-month, or do the six or twelve month subscription.  It’s so nice to know you have it for the month. I’d pull it out every other day or so and it was like a brand new toy for them each time! Plus if your kids are like mine, it’s nice just ‘renting’ these toys because mine get sick of theirs so fast before they’re on to the next thing. Great opportunity to give toys a try then ditch em when you’re done. Love that idea! Tired of so many toys around the house anyways! Love that you can have fun toys for a month, then move on to the next thing. Totally fits kids’ 2 second attention span ;) Haha.

Good news! Andrea is offering blog readers a discount – use promo code appleofmyivy for $15 off your box! Head to now and pick your box to get started!