On the Loss of a Parent

We have had such a horrible week here at The House of M. My husband’s father, a very special person in our lives, unexpectedly passed away Sunday evening from a ruptured aortic aneurysm that we didn’t know existed. To say we have been devastated feels like an understatement.

When life deals you such a mighty blow, it’s amazing how quickly your entire world gets laser-focused on what matters the most. I have spent a lot of time this past week crying and grieving, a lot of time just being with my family (thank goodness for Skype so I could see their faces and feel that much closer to them). And I’ve also spent a lot of time just holding my babies.

I’m so thankful for this blog and for being my own boss, because I had the luxury and the freedom to step away and take the time I needed. I will continue to take time as I need it over the coming weeks and months, so if a handful of days go by without a post, just know that I’m taking time to be with my family and to celebrate and enjoy life the way my father-in-law taught me to. This guy was truly the life of every party. Always a smile on his face. Always an adventure right around the corner, waiting to be discovered. I’m going to follow his example more closely than ever before and savor the joy that can be found if you just take a second to look for it.

dad having fun

We love you so much, Dad. You are so very, very missed. And we are so grateful for the time and all the fun we had together. We promise to keep your legacy of prioritizing fun with family alive. Cheers to the next adventure!

disney daisy dad

February Beauty Box 5: I Love the Improvements!

Complimentary box provided for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own, as always. 

Hello sweet friends! I hope you are having a lovely weekend. It is absolutely dreary here in Chattanooga, which makes it the perfect day to stay inside and play with my makeup a bit. :-)

Today I’m showcasing the contents of the February 2015 Beauty Box 5 subscription box. This is a box that I highly recommend because of it’s budget-friendly price tag (as low as $8.75/month!) and for its really nice selection of offerings at several price points. Basically, this box contains products that I would actually buy as well as a few surprises from brands that are totally new to me.

Previous Reviews

If you want to see other reviews I have done to get a sense for what the boxes are like, check ‘em out!

July’s Beauty Box 5

November’s Beauty Box 5

December’s Beauty Box 5

January’s Beauty Box 5

February’s Beauty Box

february 2015 beauty box 5 review

Here’s a sneak peek at what’s inside (notice that SWEET $20 gift card!!!!). For a detailed look, click play and I’ll tell you everything, darling!

Potty Training Tips: How Essential Oils Can Help with Night Time Potty Training

Disclaimer:  I am sharing my own personal experience, but I am not offering medical advice of any sort. Essential oils are very potent so PLEASE take great care when administering them to young children, be liberal with your dilution, and carefully research the brand you choose, as the vast majority of essential oils on the market contain synthetic fillers. Please consult your physician should you have any questions or concerns. Essential oils have not been tested by the FDA. Affiliate links included. I love promoting what rocks my world! 

essential oils and potty training

As I announced yesterday, we are officially all done with diapers in my home. People, this is such a beautiful moment in my life! And while my youngest isn’t even yet 3, her potty training journey was a year long, and so we have been working on this for a long time.

Why have we been working on this for so long? Well, her older sister was 100% trained by the time she was 20 months old, so we assumed that our second child would do the same. And she DID show signs of interest in the potty early on. But she never was really willing to fully commit to it, and we’d go back and forth between thinking we were almost done altogether, to being right back in diapers full-time. Long story short, we made a lot of mistakes and didn’t follow the child the way we probably should have.

Night Time Potty Training

BUT…now that is all behind us, and little Layah decided that she was ready to be in underwear full-time, so here we are! After we overcame the issue of pooping in the potty, tackling the overnight potty training was the toughest piece for us. Since I love essential oils and love to incorporate them into our lives, I started to do some research on potty training tips that integrate essential oils and I found some GREAT ideas that I want to share with you all! If you are new to the site and/or new to essential oils, I hope you will take a moment to read more on why my family has chosen Young Living Essential Oils.

Potty Training Tips

Did You Know DR. MOM

First and foremost, give diffusing the Young Living blend Peace & Calming a try. I use this blend with my kiddos, anyway, just to help them unwind and relax. This will be an especially helpful blend for any child who experiences anxiety about going to bed at night due to bedwetting. I find that 2 drops is plenty in the diffuser for getting the little ones off to sleep!

The second thing I’d recommend is making a glass roller ball with a dilution of Young Living Cypress Oil and a carrier oil of your choice (we love grapeseed oil). While the bottle states the dilution is not required, I always dilute oils for use on children. For me, the roller ball has 1 drop of cypress for every 3 drops of carrier oil. That is what I am comfortable with, but you should do what you are comfortable with! If my child was older, I would probably drop down to 1:2 or even 1:1, just depending on age. Apply this mixture right over the lower abdomen just before getting into bed. Cypress does wonders for helping little ones make it through the night! If you don’t see results immediately, give it time (at least a week and up to 2 weeks) because everyone is different and some people just take a bit more time to adjust to it.  You can also increase the ratio of essential oil to carrier oil if you aren’t seeing results after a few weeks.

Third, I would suggest incorporating the Young Living oil blend called Valor and the Young Living oil blend Melrose. I personally would rmake a second glass roller ball with this concoction, and for every drop of essential oil I would have 3 drops of carrier oil. I would take the roller ball and  rub it on the bottom of your child’s feet, paying careful attention to cover the bottom of the big toe (this is a Vita Flex connector point to the brain).

As you experiment with essential oils to help your little one stay dry all night long, you might even want to consider starting with just one oil or oil blend and see how it helps. If you aren’t seeing the results you were hoping for within 2 weeks, you could add something else to the mix. I would suggest starting first with Cypress simply due to the high success rates I have read about from others.

I hope this was helpful to you! If you are just getting started with Young Living essential oils and are in need of a sponsor (as Young Living is a membership organization…much like places like Costco), I would love to be on this journey with you so that I can help you troubleshoot and discover great new ways to enhance your family’s health and wellness. Feel free to email me anytime at stuffparentsneed (at) gmail.com with your questions, or if you are ready now to take the leap, here’s how you can get started with Young Living. And if you’d like to just try an oil or two out to start, I’m always happy to extend my wholesale member discount to you and let you go in on my monthly order. Just reach out to get details on when the next order processes!

One Simple Change Made the Difference: How We Potty Trained with Pull-Ups®

Tracking Pixel
After going back and forth with Layah for over a year on a “laid back” potty training approach, I threw my hands in the air and decided to try something new: we just stopped using diapers cold turkey. I made peace with having a bit of a mess to clean up during this transition, and I also purchased some Pull-Ups® Training Pants for night-time, when I know it is harder for toddlers to go accident-free, at least in the beginning of the effort. Pull-Ups® had recently reached out to partner together for a post since they knew we were still in the midst of potty training, and I decided that now was as good a time as any to try a different approach since Layah wasn’t fully committing to being out of diapers. Want to hear about what happened when we simply removed diapers from the equation?

pull ups no more diapers

Short Answer: It Worked!

I kept my explanation of the changes we were making easy breezy with my daughter, and I had lots of very cool new things to show her, too. I laid out her super cool character underwear for day time and I also chose the Pull-Ups® Learning Designs Training Pants so that she would be drawn to the designs on them, as well. Doc McStuffins and Ariel are some great new characters you’ll find on the designs for the girls, and the boys have Jake and the Neverland Pirates and Lightning McQueen. I explained that we would wear character underwear until we had an accident, and then if we had an accident, we would take a break and switch to underwear that didn’t have a design on it.

pull ups potty training success

The main thing Layah was struggling with up to this point was pooping in the potty. This is a major sticking point for a lot of kids. She would ask for a diaper and we would often cave and give her one because let’s be real: who wants to clean poop out of underwear? It’s not high on my list of things I’m interested in doing.

So this time I explained to her that mommy and daddy and big sister were here to help her all day long and to get her to the potty any time she wanted to try, and that it was totally fine to try and not get the poop out on the first try. We could try again and again, no problem! BUT...if she pooped in her character underwear, unfortunately they would get so dirty that we would have to throw them away. I was VERY careful with my explanation of this because I did not want to make Layah feel any sort of shame. I was simply experimenting with a different consequence, as the previous consequence for pooping in her underwear, which was to help us clean it up, didn’t seem to be having much of an impact. And to be honest, I wasn’t so sure that she would care at all whether or not her character underwear got tossed in the garbage.

But guess what? She NEVER pooped in her pants again. She even took herself to the potty several times that first day until she was successful. And OH MY GOSH did we throw an impromptu party for that kid once she pooped in the potty. You would have thought that we had won the lottery by the level of celebration happening!

To further boost Layah’s confidence once she conquered her big hurdle of pooping in the potty, we made use of Pull-Ups® Training Pants at bedtime. We simply called them night time underwear and showed her that you put them on and take them off the same way. We talked about how it would be fine to take trips to the potty during the night and how she could call for us if she needed help. For the first few nights, we were getting up to do a few potty sessions with her and she did wake up a few times having gone potty in her sleep. But she very quickly started to shift to waking herself up and going potty all by herself.

And now? More nights than not, she makes it through the entire night completely dry, and she is good about taking herself potty first thing in the morning. Our youngest is now potty trained.

pull ups potty training

photo credit: BLUE SKY2 via photopin (license)

It took forever and a day, but once we changed the tactic around and simply removed the crutch (diapers), the process wrapped up very quickly. If you are just getting started with potty training instead of being in the thick of it, you might want to think about starting with Pull-Ups® full-time while your child adjusts to learning how to start using the potty. Then you can gradually start introducing underwear during the day time until your child is in underwear 100% of the day, and after that, tackling night time potty training will likely not take very long, either. Pull-Ups® are a great addition to the potty training experience because they get kids started right away with training on how to be independent by taking their underwear off and putting it back on (thanks to those nice, stretchy sides) while also offering a level of protection against those accidents that are frequent in the beginning.

Special Coupon Offer

Pull-Ups Coupon Image 1

If you are ready to ditch diapers and give this approach to potty training a try, be sure to get the awesome coupon for Pull-Ups® Training Pants (size Jumbo or higher) currently being offered. You can take $2 off, which is great, and if you share the coupon via social media, you get an upgrade to a $3 off coupon! .

The Pull-Ups® Big Kid Academy

If you want a customized road map for your potty training journey, be sure to enroll in the Big Kid Academy at Pull-Ups.com. It’s totally free, and totally helpful, as you’ll find activities and advice perfect for wherever you may find yourself on the road to potty training. Parents can find expert advice there, too! And don’t miss out on the Pull Ups® Time to Potty App! Your toddler probably already wants to play with your phone, so you might as well bring in some helpful potty training resources during phone time!

 photo TTPLogo.jpg

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Pull-Ups®.

How to Introduce Dog to Baby

Friends please enjoy this helpful guest post about how to introduce your dog to your baby from children’s book author Wendy Dubrow. It’s full of great tips for moms and dads of fur babies who are expecting a not-so-furry baby! 

how to introduce dog to baby

Many pet parents expecting their first child have concerns surrounding how their first baby, their dog, will adjust to the new family member. We were those people. We read every book and talked to as many people as possible about their experiences welcoming baby. My husband and I each read Cesar Milan’s, A Member of the Family, to help us prepare. Aside from showing your dog as much love as possible, even after baby’s arrival, I highly recommend sending something home for your dog to smell with baby’s scent on it before introducing baby in the flesh. While still at the hospital we had friends bring home a baby hat with our newborn’s scent so our dog, Hudson, could smell it for his initial introduction.

Obviously, there could be a number of factors, but from our experience Hudson and our daughter Kaya had a seamless meeting. From the get go, we treated them both like our children, gave Hudson ample opportunity to smell and kiss Kaya, without smothering of course, and made sure Hudson still slept in our bed, just as he always had despite the new addition of Kaya in the mix. Of course there were nights filled with crying when Hudson opted to sleep elsewhere for peace and quiet. I didn’t blame him. I secretly wished I could sneak out too. Furthermore, Kaya was never off limits to Hudson and we made sure that the love for each of them never waned. In fact, our daughter, now 21 months, loves Hudson so much for two primary reasons. First, he has always showered her with love and second because she witnessed our love, or call it obsession, for him. In case it isn’t obvious I am a dog-loving mama who has made sure both my babies, our dog and our daughter, feel treasured.

I have so much energy swarming around these two that the arrival of our daughter actually led to the inception of my recently published children’s book: Hudson’s Tales, The Adventures of Puppy Brother, Meet Hudson! It is the story of an adored family dog (Hudson). Hudson leads a very charmed life and is the center of attention in his family. Like many families, they grow over time and everyone needs to adjust to new dynamics. This book shares the arrival of a baby, which brings Hudson to his new role in life…puppy brother! It is love at first sniff and Hudson fills with excitement at the thought of sharing future escapades with his new baby sister! This book is a must have for any expecting pet parents or dog lovers with young kids.

From my experience there are two camps of expecting pet parents; those who treat having a dog like a test run for parenting and those who treat having a dog like their first baby. The latter of the two perpetuates the cycle of dog lovers. Our children learn from the examples we set as we care for our dogs as appreciated members of the family. It is no coincidence that Kaya’s first and most frequent word is “Hudson”! In addition to being siblings, they truly are best friends. Of course every dog is different but I am a firm believer that parents set the tone for how pets fit into the family dynamic. Hudson has been the best puppy brother to Kaya. Kaya’s life and personality is all the richer for having him.

hudson's tales front cover

Wendy Dubrow has a Masters Degree in Childhood Education and Special Education from New York University. She currently teaches social skills for students on the spectrum part-time while enjoying her children and mamahood! Please visit hudsonstales.com to learn more about the book, Hudson and Wendy! Hudson’s Tales, The Adventures of Puppy Brother is available on Amazon.