Monday, August 14, 2017

5 Tips for Transitioning Your Child to a Toddler Bed

As a mom of three children, I am often asked by various moms what I did in certain parenting situations or how I dealt with certain issues.  I surely don't have all of the answers, but I do know without a doubt that the threes are more horrible than the twos, that potty training really sucks, and I also know that it goes by way too fast!

Today, I really wanted to share how I transitioned my kiddos from their crib to their big kid beds.  It is a big change for them, but with these tips, I hope and pray it might be a much easier transition for both of you.


If there is the only tip I can give you about this transition, this is it.  Start training your child early to ask permission to get out of their crib.  I started training mine when they were able to give non-verbal clues to ask to get out of the crib.  I would go to the side of the crib and say the phrase, "Up, please."  I would wait for them to acknowledge with a nod or pointing their hands up or even with a swoosh across the chest for a sign language please.  As they got older and verbal, I would have them say the word, "Up" or "Up, please" when they wanted to get out of the bed.  I would not get them out until they asked, and I had given them permission.  This established a pattern and a routine that they always had to ask permission to get out of the bed.


It is easy to wish away parenting and be ready as a parent to move through a phase at lightening speed just to go on to the next one as quickly as possible, but if your child is content in their crib, why not leave them there for a little while?  I can guarantee they will not be in there forever, and they are at least safe in there.  I transitioned my girls between the ages of 2 and 3.  My son, unfortunately for me, tried to climb out of his crib constantly around 11 to 12 months, and I had to transition him to a toddler bed for his safety sooner than I ever would have liked.  I wouldn't recommend doing that!  I would also recommend not doing it at the same time as any other major transitions in your life.  If you are potty training, moving, or expecting another baby, do it a month or two before or after any of these big life transitions.  Is your child asking for a toddler bed or excited for one?  Do they want to be a big kid?  Are they impulsive or calm and obedient?  These are all questions to ask when trying to decide when the right time to make this transition should be.


My main anxiety about transitioning my children to a big bed is the fact that they might get up in the middle of the night and roam around the house, unlock the front door and walk around the neighborhood, or get up on the counter in the kitchen and get the kitchen knives.  Could happen, right?  Calm your concerns by making sure their room is baby-proofed.  All of the furniture should be secured to the walls so it won't fall on your child, make sure the plugs have safety plugs, and cords on the blinds are up and out of the way.  At this age, I would always put up our wooden baby gate on the outside of the door jam to their room.  I would put them in the bed with their bed guard rail in place, close the door to their room, and put the baby gate up on the outside part of the door jam.  That way, even if they got up and opened their room door, they would be confined to the room by the baby gate.  It helped this mommy to sleep easier.  Also, you still should have the baby monitor set up to hear if they get up in the night anyway.  


Oh, those security items!  You know what security items I am talking about, don't you?  The stinky blanket which has grown to be the extra appendage of your child's anatomy.  The one-eyed bear who got into a skirmish with your new puppy, but your child thinks it is the most beautiful bear they have ever seen.  When transitioning to a big kid bed, sometimes the bedding will be different, the pillows, and the smells might be different too.  The more "normal" you can make the transition the better so the child will not be afraid of the change.  Try to put the bed in the same place as the crib.  Make sure all of their favorite pillows, blankets, or stuffed animals are all there waiting for them.  Keep the bed time routine the same.  Anything that you could think of that would make your tot more secure would be a great thing.


This is where training your child to ask permission to get out of bed comes into play.  Whether they are in a crib or in a big kid bed, it doesn't change the fact that they need to ask permission to get out of bed.  When you tuck them in for the first time in their big kid bed, tell them they can't get out of the bed without Mommy or Daddy's permission.  In the morning when you hear them stirring on the baby monitor, go into their room and use the same pattern and language that you used when your tot was in the crib.  "Do you want to get up?"  When your child say, "Yes, Mom" or "Up, please" you can swoosh them right out of the bed.  It worked really, really well for me.  All of my kids tested this new boundary only a few times each (some more than others), but being consistent was the key.  If they did get out of the bed without permission, I would correct the behavior and put them right back in.  Later on, when the child is more mature, you can drop them having to ask permission to get out of bed, but it a great technique for keeping those little tots safe.

Every family has their own way of doing things, but I hope this tip might help some mom who is out there going through this transitional time in their toddler's life.  Mommying is not easy, but it is the best job I have every had.  God bless you on your journey! 

Blessings, Andrea
Copyright 2017

"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." 
Hebrews 12:11, NIV

Monday, August 7, 2017

Monte Cristo

This recipe is simple enough for a quick weeknight meal but fancy enough for a Sunday lunch with friends.  This is truly a family favorite of ours, and I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Monte Cristo
12 slices of Texas toast (This makes 6 sandwiches.)
1 lb thinly sliced deli honey ham
3/4 cup salted butter, softened
1 1/2 TBSP Dijon mustard
6 slices Swiss cheese
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk
Confectioners' sugar, garnish
Raspberry or strawberry preserves, optional (I use raspberry.)

In a small bowl, combine the butter and Dijon mustard together.  Lay out 12 toast slices.  Spread butter mixture onto only one side of each slice of bread.  Divide ham slices onto 6 pieces of bread.  Place Swiss cheese on top of ham.  Cover each with the remaining bread slice making sure to put the buttered side on the inside of the sandwich, not the outside.  

In a shallow dish, beat the eggs and the milk together.  Dunk each sandwich into the egg mixture like you would French toast.  I dip it about 3 seconds on each side of the sandwich.  Too little dipping makes a dry sandwich.  Too much dipping make for a soggy sandwich.  

Cook on a hot greased griddle or skillet for 4-5 minutes per side.  You will know the sandwiches are done when they are golden brown and the cheese is melted.  Cut sandwiches into triangles and sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.  Dip sandwiches in raspberry preserves for an extra sweet treat.  

Enjoy, Andrea

Copyright 2017

Monday, July 31, 2017

It Takes a Mommy Village

They say things are bigger and better in Texas.  Bigger highways, bigger houses, bigger hair, and even bigger chimichangas.  Every place I have ever lived has had something that it is known for or a reason it is popular with the people that live there.  

Texas might be known for the juiciness of a great big Black Angus steak.  In Montana, it might be the call of the great outdoors.  In California, it might be the salty spray of the surf.  I just depends on what you like.

I spent today making the rounds through Texas to visit my old stomping grounds and seeing a few old friends.  I went to two of our old houses which Carl and I had while we lived in Texas and took pictures of the houses from the street much like a creepy stalker.

Our last house we had in Texas.  I LOVED this house!

As I drove the big distances between friends (it is Texas after all), I realized how much this place has shaped who I am and who my kids are as well.  I realized how so many people influenced my children and how I parented them.  Such sweet friends.  Such sweet memories.

Each woman I knew shared great knowledge with me about how to parent.  Sometimes, a friend and I went through a parenting season together trying to figure out how we were going to deal with the same issue at the same time with our kids.  We would bounce ideas off of each other while sharing what had worked and what had not worked.  Other times, I was privileged enough to get advice from a seasoned mom who had raised several children and had gone through the same issue many years before.

The great thing about advice from several moms is that there was always a method or way which would fit in with how we were parenting.  There were also some times the pieces did not fit, and that was ok too.  For example, I had some friends who used Pull-Ups only for potty training.  There were some who went right to underwear and took the child every hour to the bathroom.  There was another who let their child run naked in the backyard or around the house in order to really make the physical and visual connection when they started to go pee, for example.

This house is where I raise Madison & Nathan when they were little.  Be still my heart!

When I began to think of all of those women who I have done life with, I was a little overwhelmed. What a gift it was and what a gift it still is now!  I know that sometimes unsolicited advice can be a little off-putting or insulting, but I have gotten so much good advice.  There have been a few pieces which have stung a little when they were delivered, but for the most part, I am thankful for the advice I have gotten.

The Bible is obviously the #1 book on parenting in that it lays out standards for behavior, how to discipline, etc.  However, there are parenting issues which are not outlined in the Bible that I believe we have Christian liberties with such as potty training, transitioning a toddler to a big kid bed, or keeping a kid entertained in a store while you shop, for example.

Proverbs 19:20 (ESV) says, "Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future."  Be thankful for the women and mothers that are in your circle.  Surround yourself with Godly women who you can trust.  One of my friends might be laid back while the other one might be really strict, but in my opinion, something can be learned from each one.  Maybe I could learn to let go in an area of my parenting which I have had a white knuckle grip on and use more grace from my laid back friend, and maybe I might be convicted to be more strict in some other area of my parenting by the more strict parenting friend. 

Make sure you choosing your friends wisely.  Proverbs 13:20 (ESV) says, "Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm."  We don't want to be getting advice from fools, for sure.  My kids were raised by Carl and I, but how much I used the wonderful advice of lots and lots of mommies along the way.  I am very thankful for the mommy village which helped me to raise my kids!

"Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.  For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow.  But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!" Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, ESV

Monday, July 24, 2017

Death On The Road

It was a dark Montana night as Carl and I headed down the straight highway in the pitch dark.  I have never lived somewhere where it gets so dark at night, and the farthest you can see in front of you is a little farther than your headlights.  
Carl had just passed a car, and as it is sometimes when there is not a lot of traffic, he stayed in the left lane for a little while without getting over in the right lane again.  I can't remember if he decided to get back into the right lane on his own or if I had encouraged him to do so, but he proceeded to get into the right lane. 

We sailed down the road in the right hand lane at a normal highway speed.  It was in less than 1/2 mile after Carl switched lanes when we saw an old metal desk smack dab in the middle of the left lane.  You know the ones which were made out of metal in the 50's or 60's.  We swooshed past it so fast, but we saw it.  We saw it right in the middle of that lane.

Two things rushed through both of our minds.  If he had not changed lanes when he had, we would have probably all been killed or very seriously injured.  Second, everyone else on the road behind us was in danger.

We tried to brainstorm what to do.  I wanted to go back and get the desk out of the road.  Carl said no since it was so dark.  No one would ever see us, and I knew he was right.  Carl also said that someone could swerve to avoid the desk, and we could get hit if we were out in the middle of the interstate.  They could swerve into our car and kill the kids.  It was just too risky.  We decided to call the highway patrol.

I called, but after I hung up, I couldn't help but feel fearful about who was behind us and what had happened to them.  I was sick about it.  I was worried, fearful and praying for their safety.

Recently, God brought this situation back to my remembrance.  I remembered how scared I was for the person who might come upon that desk in the dark.  It literally could have ended in a fatality.  I began to think about the potential for death on the road that night.

Then, that still small voice made its appearance. Are you as concerned about people who are heading down a road of destruction?  Are you as concerned about people who are heading down a road of spiritual unbelief or are spiritually misguided?  

I have to confess unless God has put a specific person on my heart, I am not for the most part panicked, sick to my stomach nor am I desperate to save them.  I am concerned, saddened or hopeful that someday their heart might change, but I am not desperate.

Proverbs 24:12 (NIV) says, "There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death."  There are people in my life and in your life who are in the left lane.  The way seems right to them.  There is death on the road, and they don't know it.  They don't believe they are in the wrong lane.  The question is am I going to have the faith and the courage to speak up?  Am I going to deal with their souls with the same desperation I did that night with that desk in the road?  They deserve that.  God deserves that.

It has been convicting to me, and I hope maybe it is for you as well.  I have heard friends say, "Well, I don't have the gift of evangelism."  Well, I don't either, but we are called to go and tell the whole world about Christ (Mark 16:15).  The reason most of us don't is not because we don't have the gift of evangelism, but because we are afraid.  We are afraid of rejection, afraid of loss of relationships, or embarrassed by our own biblical ignorance.  We don't have to have all of the answers, but we should know that there is death on the road.  There is death on the road, and we need to care enough as Christians to intervene, say something, serve, counsel, speak truth in love, and lead people to Christ.  

Pray today for God to reveal to you someone in your life He wants you to minister to, speak to, or tell about Jesus.  The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few (Matthew 9:37).

Blessings, Andrea

Copyright 2017