Subscribe to Life of a Happy Mom Subscribe to Life of a Happy Mom's comments

Archive for the ‘My Kids’ category

Today was day two for Gislaine’s trip into first grade. Of course, we are spending time reviewing things she learned in Kindergarten. I would skip the review, since she only finished Kindergarten last Friday, but she enjoys writing and needs the practice writing letters.

And with spelling, apparently, as you will see in a moment.

After we finished the lesson for the day, I went to take a nap before I had to start lunch. While I napped, she drew a picture and wrote a story to go with it. Keep in mind that she has only learned one sound per letter so far, and only short vowel sounds. She also knows the word “the” by sight, but has never had to learn to write it yet.


Because spelling errors are more numerous than correctly spelled words, I found it necessary for her to translate it for me. She forgot what some of the words were herself and I suspect made up some of them as she went along. Here’s the translation:

The cat is tired. The kid is having fun. The hours went here. The sun is hot. The Glad (name of cloud) happy. Sun is happy. Done.

I did casually point out her numerous and creative spellings for the word “the”, and just as casually mentioned the correct spelling. But other than that, I didn’t criticize the work at all. I think she was very creative to write backwards when the words were going from right to left, and I loved the arrows telling the reader which word to read next.

I wouldn’t be surprised if she begins writing more. I expect her spelling will improve. She can write 2 and 3 letter words that I dictate if they have a short vowel in them, most without any prompting at all. She is bright and creative. I want to foster that.

This is going to be a great school year!


Today the kids found a yellow caterpillar that has the body of a woolly bear (you know, those red and black banded fuzzy caterpillars). Ever since we studied the letter B for Butterfly and watched caterpillars metamorphose into butterflies (they came with Gislaine’s kindergarten kit), we have wanted to use the butterfly house again. But we were not able to identify any caterpillars until today, and I felt identification was important so that we would know what to feed it.

A quick search informed us that the caterpillar is called a Yellow Bear and will turn into a white moth. It eats all kinds of greens, including grass and clover, which is quite abundant around here, so it was a good choice.

Now we have it in a glass jar with a sprouting lid on top. Gislaine has promised to give it fresh greens daily, so we’ll see what happens.

Can you see him hiding there in the jar under the leaves? He’s gone to sleep for the night.

Last December, right before Christmas, my husband and I discovered the curriculum My Father’s World, and within a couple of days decided that not only would we use that curriculum over the hundreds thousands of curricula out there. I used mostly A Beka when I was growing up, but I decided I didn’t really want to do that, especially when I saw how much cheaper MFW was. Add to that the fact that everything was on an end-of-the-year sale with free shipping, and we decided to give it a try. We bought the Kindergarten Deluxe pack and the 3-5 year Preschool pack.

This isn’t a review of MFW, but I will say we are really enjoying it, and I plan on using it for as long as I can.

What I really wanted to do, though, was show some pictures of some of the projects we’ve been doing. This is only a handful, really. There have been tons more.

First, during the first 7 days of school, she made this mural, colored it and everything. If you look closely, the 7th one (which was blank) has a church that Gislaine designed herself.

At the same time, she made a Creation book. She did all the artwork herself:

Recently, Gislaine was supposed to finger paint with pudding, but I don’t buy pudding. So I looked in the fridge to see what I had, and came up with some almost-too-old-to-eat-but-not-yet-smelly gravy. Divide into cups, add food coloring, and voila! Finger paint! I know the first picture has a bad backdrop, but she is just too precious!

And the completed artwork:

A couple of weeks ago, we studied D for Dinosaur, and Gislaine and I made models of clay dinosaurs. The one in the middle was her first one. The two on the left are mine, and the two on the right are her attempts to copy mine. I think she did a really good job!

And then this week we were studying O for Octopus (no, we are not studying the alphabet in order). The instructions were to cut a hot dog into an Octopus by cutting down about half of it into 8 legs, leaving the top “head” uncut, and then boil it to make the legs curl up. Ours didn’t curl (Tofu Pups–they don’t have gluten in them, and are non-GMO, which is why I buy them), but they did get soft. We had them in sandwiches later. Yummy!

Now I’m just curious, but can anyone tell me why so many children’s books spell the plural of “octopus” as “octopuses”? I mean, it is octopi, right? That’s almost as bad as “sheeps” and “mooses”…

So that’s some of what we’ve been doing in the past two months.

What have your kids been doing?


This post is linked with the Modest Monday and Works for Me Wednesday blog carnivals.

I know I haven’t been blogging much, but hey, I’ve been busy. I’ll tell you about that later.

But when Gislaine tied a dolly scarf onto Ralfie’s head, I just couldn’t resist taking a picture and sharing it with you. Of course, I had to let Manny in on the picture taking.

Wouldn’t Ralfie have made a cute little girl? *smile*


I finally got some pictures downloaded from the new camera we were loaned by a friend after ours was stolen. Here are some random photos, and some that go with previous posts.

Recently, we had raw mock salmon, raw crackers, and a tossed salad for Sabbath lunch. It was more filling than it looks (we ate a lot more crackers and salmon than it shows on the plate). It was delicious.

Gluten-free bread is usually tasteless. Well, not the Gluten-free Goddess’s Delicious Gluten-free Bread. Not only is it delicious, but it turned out well even though I used chia seeds instead of eggs. Here is the result:

Recently we bought a new dresser and matching nightstands. Here they are:

And the leather couch mentioned in the same post:

Some pictures of Gislaine and Emmanuel from our recent visit to a campground with our church:

Isn’t this one precious?

Here are more photos of the kids from other days:

Gislaine by the tomatoes in the garden

Manny in the crib set up for the baby

And what post full of pictures would be complete without pictures of little Rafael? Here are a bunch:

I love these new cloth diapers I bought on Zulily. They are a one-size fits all pocket diaper, though right now I’m using them as wrap covers for prefolds, which I have a lot of. Zulily has great deals on new stuff–I got these diapers 50% off. If you sign up with my link, I’ll get $20 if you ever decide to order something from them.

Give me a hug!

I like to hold Mommy's finger.

No more pictures! Just get me dressed already!

That’s all for now. I’ll try to post more later.

Have you ever heard of infant potty training (also known as elimination communication)? I heard of it when my daughter was almost 12 months old, which was a bit late to start. She was a bit unusual, though, and basically initiated potty training on her own and was in panties by 19 months old. Basically, though, the idea of IPT is that you learn your baby’s signals and take them potty from a very young age. It is commonly practiced in places like India and many primitive cultures where diapers just aren’t used. There are various levels of IPT, also–everything from trying to catch every pee and poo, even getting tiny underpants that are the equivalent of size 2 diapers, to a very relaxed “I’ll get what I can and forget the rest” attitude. One cannot really consider their child truly potty trained until somewhere around 18 months to 2 years, but it can simplify the process considerably for those who keep it up.

With my first son, I tried to be more diligent, and we did pretty well for a while, but then his eczema just got too out of control, and I gave up trying. He finally learned to do #1 in the potty less than 3 months ago, and we’re still working on #2…

With little Rafael, I decided it was worth it to try. After all, every poo I catch is one less poopy diaper to clean out, and it’s pretty easy to catch pee, too. The truth is, babies really don’t want to go in their diapers–hence the likelihood that they will pee as soon as their diaper comes off, especially when really little. That tends to go away after a few months as they learn to go in the diaper and get used to it.

Anyhow, I guess you could say I’m on the more relaxed end the continuum. However, I have noticed that if I take my baby right after a feeding (instead of relaxing for 10 minutes and cuddling), he will almost always pee, and often will poo too. Sometimes I take him before a feeding, or any time I notice him grunting. Even if it’s just gas, the way I hold him seems to help.

So how do I hold him? I hold his thighs with my hands, his back to my tummy. Often my thumbs stick up and he will grab them with his hands. I hold him over the sink in the bathroom (it’s a lot easier on my back than bending over the toilet, and at this stage he’s too little to sit on the potty). In this position, I can bring his knees closer to his chest if I desire, especially alternately, and this can help get things going, too. I watch his face to see if he is relaxed or if he is concentrating; there is a look that I have learned already in less than 2 weeks that usually tells me whether he has more to do or whether he is all done.

Even Daddy is picking up on the signals. He noticed this morning that Ralfie was grunting, and thought, I wonder if he has to go poo. Sure enough, a couple minutes later, he filled up his diaper.

Sometimes I don’t always avoid keeping the diaper clean. This afternoon he pooped a little bit before I got him to the bathroom. However, he did a whole bunch in the sink–the kind that leaks around the legs and soils baby clothes. In fact, as long as I am diligent to take him after every meal, I almost never have to worry about washing out baby clothes, because diapers never leak! Of course, cloth diapers leak less than disposables, but still, they can leak. It also stretches out how long the cloth diapers last, because fewer of them are getting soiled and even wet. He’s been known to stay dry through a nap and go when he woke up.

So how long will I keep this up? As long as practical. Right now it’s a trade-off: a few minutes a day holding him over the sink verses washing and folding the diapers that would have been soiled if I hadn’t. Cleaning his bottom is a breeze–I just grab a bit of toilet paper and wipe, instead of using a bunch of wipies to clean everything from the middle of his back to his knees. So maybe it doesn’t save time, but it doesn’t really take extra time, either, and does save money (fewer diapers to wash, so fewer loads of laundry).

And hopefully he will be fully potty trained before the age of 2. That would be the biggest blessing!

As a side benefit, it seems that his big brother is taking a clue from the baby. He started telling us when he had gone in his pants, instead of waiting for us to notice the smell. Hopefully he will start telling us before he goes, but for now it’s a step in the right direction!

Have you ever heard of Infant Potty Training? Ever tried it? What was your experience? Would you consider trying it again, or for the first time if you never have tried it? I’d love to hear your feedback!

So life has been interesting lately and I thought I’d share a little.

Our schedule has been working pretty well. We still have a lot of tweaking to do, especially where the kids are concerned. And especially with their bedtime. Not the bedtime routine; that is going very well. Just the bedtime. Late nights (brought on by parental neglect) and late sundowns have combined to make the kids very untired in the evening. But I so need that quiet time before my bedtime to interact with my husband and do other things like browse Facebook or read or just do something I want to do. Last night was the best night so far; Gislaine didn’t come out half a dozen times to tell me how not tired she was!

She did come out to tell us her brother was keeping her awake. You see, lately we’ve been playing musical beds in this house. I sleep in a recliner. My daughter was sleeping in our bed. Manny was sleeping in her bed. And Daddy was sleeping in Manny’s bed–to keep away from the baby noises. Both he and I have had sleep issues, and he’s trying to catch up and didn’t want his sleep interrupted when the baby was fussy.

Well, last night Gislaine decided she wanted to sleep in the tent she had made in her room with a blanket and some chairs. I said, why not? Her brother wanted to sleep in her bed as usual. So they were in the same room. They used to sleep in the same room, over a year ago, back when we only had two rooms upstairs. I don’t know what he was doing; I was nursing so Daddy took care of it.

Well, this morning, I went in to wake them up and found them both in the same bed! Bless their hearts! I wish I could have taken a picture (drat the thief who stole our camera!).

Ralfie did much better on the 2.5 hour schedule than on the 3 hour one. He also slept about 5 hours straight last night! What a blessing for me! However, he is already off schedule this morning. Not sure if I should try to get him back on or just live with being off all day. The schedule as it is written is so perfect; I got so much done yesterday. I guess I’ll just play it by ear.

Speaking of getting things done, I am seeing the beauty of having one. I have blocks of time when the baby is sleeping that I can dedicate to working on something (cleaning, organizing, meals), and I found myself working more efficiently. I know having more energy helps!

But here is one real benefit. I’ve been wanting to give Manny a haircut for the last month or more, but I just couldn’t figure out when to do it. I wanted to do it before a bath, but baths weren’t scheduled, and usually ended up being at the last minute or else I just didn’t have time before the bath to do the haircut. So I looked at my schedule yesterday and said, I could take the half hour before their scheduled bath time out of their play time to cut his hair. We can listen to an audio story or something during that time also. And then he goes straight from the haircut to the tub. It is also during the baby’s scheduled sleep time, too.

In a nutshell, it worked perfectly. I did have to switch things up a tad, because he had pooped his pants (why won’t he tell me when he needs to go, or at least right after he’s gone before it gets all dried and smeared?), so I had his sister bathe first so that I wouldn’t need to fill the tub twice. It worked out perfectly.

Of course, I know it won’t always be that perfect. But just having it be that way sometimes instead of chaos all the time is so nice!

But now it’s 7 minutes till breakfast, and I know my husband won’t have it on the table in time. And if breakfast is late, the whole day gets off (or I lose cleaning time and can’t get done what needs to be done).

I also need to figure out when I will do the exercises the physical therapist gave me. I waited until the kids went to bed, then the baby got off schedule and nursed for an hour, and I was so sleepy when he finally finished (about 9:15) that I almost didn’t do them. I did miss some reps… So I want to do them this afternoon. Before supper. I’ll look into that.

Oh, 4 minutes to breakfast! Gotta run!

One of the first lessons a baby learns is trust. He has to trust that when he is hungry, he will he fed; when his diaper gets dirty, it will be changed, etc.

He learns that when something is scary, his mommy or daddy will keep him safe. If he can trust them, he will be able to learn this lesson more quickly.

For instance, my husband had noticed that our baby Ralfie startled at sudden, loud noises. He told me to be careful not to make such noises so as not to scare the baby. Of course, this is easier said than done.

Yesterday I was out shopping with my baby. I had to use the restroom, and when I got there, the seat was up. So I put it down. But it slipped and landed down with a bang. I immediately looked down at my baby and said, “It’s okay, don’t worry. Mama’s here.” Then I watched his face. For a moment it started to crumple up, but as he looked into my eyes, he chose instead to trust me, and feeling safe in my arms, he relaxed quickly and never even whimpered.

Thus little Rafael is learning the lesson of trust. He will have more chances to learn it in many and various contexts. My job is to be faithful in my duties as a mother, that he may learn more quickly to trust his parents and not be afraid.

As I think of God being like a parent, I can imagine Him looking down on me when something happens that I don’t understand and saying, “It’s okay; just trust Me.” Will I choose to trust Him? Will you?

That title is a little ambiguous, isn’t it? I left it that way on purpose. Because sleeping with a newborn in the house can be a challenge all by itself. And then there is sleeping with said infant, also known as co-sleeping. This is about that too.

Earlier this year I had a guest post on the pros and cons of co-sleeping. Now my third child is here, and I haven’t changed my ideas on co-sleeping one bit. However, I am having some new challenges.

In my first pregnancy, I spent 6 weeks sleeping in a recliner, but within a week I was sleeping in bed again. With my second, I never left the bed. With my third, well, I started sleeping in a recliner in the last week of March, and I haven’t moved back yet. The only position that doesn’t hurt is on my tummy, and that has never been comfortable for very long. Besides which, I can’t very well nurse on my tummy. This time around, whether due to the time I slipped on the bathroom floor reaching for my towel and pulled a ligament or something in my groin, or whether it was just a different pregnancy (maybe a bit of both), I still cannot lay on my sides, especially the right side. And if I manage to get into position on my side, rolling over is almost too painful to be possible.

I’m not complaining. I have a precious new baby, and I know I will heal and be back to normal in a while. But for now I’m still in the recliner. And co-sleeping in a recliner has it’s own unique challenges.

For instance, I can’t very well lay the baby beside me. He has to be on top of me. That is nice and cozy, but on a warm night it can be a sweat-inducing experience for both of us. Thank goodness I’m in the northwest, which has been unseasonably cool this year (while the rest of the country swelters–*ducks and runs*). Also, I have to sit up, which disturbs my sleep more than simply rolling over would (though less than rolling over would at the moment, considering how painful it still is). Nonetheless, I have had my baby with me most nights.

A few nights ago, he slept about 5 hours straight. I thought, Great! Maybe I can just put him in the baby swing that we are using for a cradle and enjoy some positions that are not practical when I am holding a baby. But the next Day, he rode with me to the chiropractor and a couple of other quick stops. The ride lulled him to sleep faster than laying around with the family drooling over him would have, so he got more sleep and less milk during that time. And for some reason he also slept a good bit in the afternoon. So come night he was more hungry and less sleepy. Between 10 and 4 he woke pretty much every hour wanting to nurse. I would nurse him and put him back in the cradle, hoping this time he would sleep for a few hours. Finally at 4 I had had it. I asked Daddy to bring him to me (since I just couldn’t face lowering the foot rest yet again and then trying to get comfortable again with a baby in my arms) and kept him. He nursed briefly, and then slept until about 6:30. And so did I!

So the next night I did start him out in the cradle, but he had been awake for a good hour and a half or more before, and nursed thoroughly right before bedtime. He slept for about half an hour, and when he woke up hungry. I fed him, then had to pee, so I put him back in the cradle. He slept 3 or so hours, then woke to eat again. I got him and kept him with me the rest of the night.

And l slept much better!

So what is your take on co-sleeping? Do you like it? Do you fear rolling over on the baby and prefer to keep him nearby in a cradle? Or does his every peep keep you so alert that you find it better to put him in a nearby room? Tell me about it!

I know I haven’t been blogging much lately. I’ve used the excuse if not having a convenient computer to edit and upload pictures with, or that I didn’t always have a picture, or the time to hunt for one, and then our camera was stolen… But I decided that it was better to write a post sans photos than to not write. And some of my Facebook posts have been like short or medium blog posts…

But Facebook is only accessible to those who are my friends or who have liked my Life of a Happy Mom page. Not everyone has Facebook. And although the timeline will make it easier to go back and remember, it still isn’t the same as a blog. And a lot of what I have posted lately would have made such good content. So here goes the first post in a while.

Yes, Rafael Joshua Reynoso was born July 9 at 4:30 in the afternoon. He weighed 6 lb 15 oz–13 ounces less than my first two. He was also 9 days early. We weren’t expecting him to come so early!

I’ll write out his birth story (and probably his siblings’s stories too) later, but for now, I just have to brag about how convenient he was.

For starters, labor didn’t wake me up at an unreasonable hour of the day. I woke up at 5:30 or so in the morning after around 6 hours of sleep (less than ideal, but enough). And since he was born mid-afternoon, I was able to get to sleep at a decent time (unlike with my son, who was born less than half an hour before midnight). He came on my husband’s day off. And labor progressed slowly enough in the morning that I was able to eat a good breakfast, fix a bunch of pancakes for my son, make a batch of baby wipes, and even pick lettuce from the garden for lunch! All before the contractions got too strong to do other things during them. By the time I called the midwife to come, she had already finished all the home visits and such that she had scheduled for the day! And she was able to leave before dinner time. Really, the only inconvenient thing was that he didn’t come a week later, when my daughter would have been here!

Just a note for those who know our family: Little Rafael isn’t technically a junior, because my husband doesn’t have a middle name. Also, we end up calling him Rafaelito and Ralfy for short.

Rally is as petite as can he. I didn’t catch what his length is, but he is definitely smaller boned than his big brother, who is quite a chunk now! He has hair, which neither of his siblings had at birth, and it is showing signs of looking like my hair (that is, more straight than curly). He has my mom’s feet–super-narrow heel and skinny toes. He also has hyper-flexible ankles: he can touch his shin with his toes! The skin is still too tight to stretch his toes out pointed, but I expect it will stretch over time. He likes to pull his knees up to cuddle, and that makes him look very tiny indeed! He also has hair on his ears and shoulders, but the midwife said that was just because he was a little early (39 weeks gestation instead of 40), and it will fall out soon.

He is now 9 days old and filling out his tiny little frame! He wants to nurse a lot, but he also has good periods of wake time during the day.

His siblings love him! I let Gislaine carry him sometimes for short distances, usually from my bedroom to the kid-sized rocking chair in the living room, where she will sit and hold him for a while while I work on stuff. Or we will lay him on a foam pad on the table or a counter in the kitchen where he can hear and see us and we can work and talk to him. He will lay there and kick his feet and wave his arms around and generally be sociable for an hour or so about 3 times a day.

He also coos a little bit here and there. This is a bit unusual; babies usually don’t make any sounds except for crying until they are about a month old. But from like day 3 he has occasionally made a little happy sound like “oooh” or “aaaah”, and it is so cute!

I’m resting as well as can be expected. My husband has taken paternity leave, so he has taken over most of my responsibilities, though as I have the energy, I am doing some things. Like ironing, sorting the laundry, baking something, etc. I am feeling my energy coming back, and I’m enjoying not having to do so much so that I can really take time to bond with my baby.

Who is now deep asleep, and I’m hungry. Daddy said the food is ready, so I’m going to put him down in the swing a coworker gave us and go eat! Maybe I’ll even help with the dishes after lunch… Either that, or fold sheets that got washed yesterday. Or take a walk. I want to get back into walking now that I’m not pregnant and my hip is healing. And then a nap! I need a nap!