Screen Time | Our Management System

I’m going to open a can of worms in the mommy world: screen time.  As much as I have fought and fought to be a no screen-time mama, I have finally given in and realized that balance and moderation is OK. However, with Timothy being so young and too much screen time having a negative effect on the boys, I want to really limit the amount of time they sit in front of a screen.  We have come up with a ticket system.  Every Sunday, each child gets one ticket for every year they are old (Timothy is two and Samuel is five).  Each ticket can be redeemed for 10 minutes of screen time. They can be used for games on my iPhone (mostly this app) or to watch a video. They can save them up or use them right away (I limit to no more than four tickets in a day, but try to stick closer to three and under).

Currently their favorite things to watch are remote control vehicles on YouTube or Mighty Machines (you can watch on Netflix).  I really like Mighty Machines as they learn a lot about the jobs different trucks do.  It’s been fun to hear them explain how something is done.  I’ll ask them, “Where did you learn that?” “Mighty Machines” is very often the reply. 🙂

From time-to-time we will also watch other little clips or things that are specifically related to homeschool. Aside from Singing Time and Baby Signing Time, I usually watch these with Samuel when Timothy is napping.

And of course, we mustn’t forget sick days. You know, those ones where you’re lying in bed feeling miserable, and don’t really care what happens as long as everyone is alive at the end of the day? They are rare, but they do happen.  Typically I will let the boys raid the toy closet and make a huge mess, but there is still usually some time that they need to be with mama.  On those days I turn to Planet Earth or Marty Stouffer to help me out a little bit. I am usually right with them watching, especially as Samuel likes to skip over the really suspenseful parts, but all-in-all, the boys really like learning about the animals and our planet.

So, there you have it.  Our family’s screen time management.  What about you? How do you manage screen time in your home? What are some of your favorite things to watch or do with modern technology? I’d love to hear more from you guys!


Ramblings of a Stay at Home Mom with Two Young Children

“I can’t do it.” The thought keeps ringing in my ears. “I am simply not cut out for this motherhood thing.”

Timothy had his first round of shots yesterday and he doesn’t feel well. Samuel is his typical, precocious two-and-a-half year old self in need of a constant playmate. I have to pump to feed Timothy. I am exhausted – too tired to stay on my feet long enough to wear Timothy in the front pack. I am hurting. I have overdone and am in pain from my prolapsed uterus. I don’t start treatment for another week and a half. Did I mention I’m exhausted? I have help. Even so I feel like things are falling apart. If that’s so, how on earth will I do this by myself? I can’t do this.

My husband is amazing – helping with the house, cooking, cleaning, diaper changes, baths, night wakings, etc. Who am I kidding? It’s more like I help him with these things. I feel like a sorry excuse for a homemaker.

I am burnt out. I need sleep. I need a break. Oh, if only motherhood was like teaching – eight hours a day with the kids, 100% engaged, then the rest of the day to do everything else, to rejuvenate, to do what I need to make those eight hours amazing.

But I really don’t want that. I want to be with my kids as they discover all the little mysteries of every day life. But I’m not doing that now. I’m trying to juggle pumping, a crying baby, a little boy desperate for attention and the lunch still on the table.

How do they do it? How did they do it? Women have done this for hundreds of years with way more responsibility and far less help than I have or could dream of. How did they do it? Am I really that much of a wuss?

I love my boys (including my husband) to death! That’s part of the problem. I want to give them so much more! They deserve so much more. They need more. I just don’t have it to give. I love being a mom, but this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

Pick the Fruit

I was talking to Samuel about the garden. He didn’t want me to pick the peppers because he wants the plant to keep growing. I explained to him that picking the peppers makes more grow. If we don’t pick them, the plant will stop producing, then die.

We talked about how the same is true in our spiritual lives. If we don’t share blessing, gifts and spiritual joy with others, our joy will eventually die; but the more we share, the more those things will grow.

This is hard for me as a mama of a toddler and a newborn. I am so overwhelmed, how do I share? Where do I find the time? The energy? The answer is simple – start at home. Share smiles, laughter and joy with my kids. Tell them and my husband what God is teaching me and the prayers He is answering.

Of course, if God gives me other opportunities to share, I should take them, but just like our little family garden was planted primarily to produce food for our little family; so, at this time in my life, my spiritual fruit may mostly provide spiritual nourishment for our family. And that is just what the Gardener intended for now.

How do you share your spiritual fruit at home?

Breastfeeding Chronicles: Night Pumping and Support Group

Nighttime pumping is continuing to go well. Timothy is certainly nursing more during the day (about every 2-3 hours instead of 3-4). However, he is also stretching out a lot at night. Last night he nursed at 5:00, then slept through his typical 7:00ish feeding and didn’t wake to eat until just before 1:00am wow! He then slept until about 4:30 am and finally woke up at about 7:30 am. That means he only needed two bottles.

We have a good system worked out. Arlen feeds Timothy while I
pump. If Timothy is not already back asleep when I’m done pumping and have everything all washed up, I rock him skin-to-skin. It’s so nice.

Today I went to a breastfeeding support group, hoping to get more help with Timothy’s latch. The lactation consultant said his latch looked good, but when Timothy was done nursing my nipple was in bad shape. She is stumped and doesn’t know why that would happen. That was the problem I had with Samuel, no one knew what was wrong. She did have one suggestion to help with the pain though.

At night, when Timothy is not nursing, I will use some antibiotic ointment on my nipples. That way if there is any kind of infection or dermatitis, it can have an opportunity to heal up. I feel like it is certainly worth a try!

On another note, we have a sick little boy in the house too. This morning Samuel slept late and Arlen woke him up. We didn’t think much of it. This afternoon I finally woke him from his nap at 4:00. He complained of being cold and his stomach hurting. Sure enough he has a fever. He just wants to be cozy on the couch with lots of blankets. Or cry and be held. Poor little guy!

I Just Want to be a Good Mom

Pressure, pressure, pressure. Being a mom comes with a lot of pressure. Your circle of moms, family members and even geographic location can affect the specifics, but we are all familiar with those important decisions that make us a good mom or a bad mom.

Here are some hot topics around my neck of the woods:

Vaccinations, circumcision, breastfeeding, cosleeping, diet, and the list goes on.

It’s so easy to nit pick and decide that someone is a good or bad mom based on their decisions regarding one or all of these topics. However, I have learned that there isn’t a right answer.

That’s right, there’s no right answer. You see, every child, family and situation is so different, there is never one right answer. The truth is that no one knows your kids or family better than you do. Will you make some “wrong” calls? Sure, we all do, but the key to being a good mom is to prayerfully consider your options and do what you know is right. The right thing isn’t always the same from family to family or even child to child.

Let me give you an example: Breastfeeding, and specifically nursing is really important to me. I was able to nurse my first until he self-weaned at 20 months. I was thrilled to do the same with my second, but we have problems. Nursing HURTS! I have had blisters for all seven weeks of our nursing relationship. The pain affects my sleep, energy and activity level. Just this week we were finally able to have Timothy’s severe lip tie corrected, and I’m hoping this will correct our nursing relationship.

STOP. Already I’ve had people express to me that I must be crazy and that I would be a better mom if I just gave it up. On the flip side it’s been said that if I stop nursing (even if I pump) I’m giving up too easily and am depriving my baby of what he needs. Some have even told me I’m an amazing mom for sticking it out for so long.

See. It’s impossible to make everyone happy. The truth is, no matter what happens, I am a good mom. Why? Because I am doing everything in my power to give all three (yes, my husband is important too) of my boys the best outcomes I see possible given all factors and circumstances. No one else has the data I do. No one else has poured over this decision in prayer like I have. No matter how this situation ends up, or what others think, I’m a good mom.

So stop focusing on the pressure all around you. Turn to the only One who has all the answers, the one who can give you the strength to do what is right.

Oh, and one more thing; take a minute to encourage another mom even if her parenting style and decisions are different from yours. I truly believe that encouragement, not judgement, brings out the best in one another.

What about you? I would love to hear what makes you feel like a good mom.


Breastfeeding Chronicles: The Pumping Plunge


Breastfeeding this time around has been so hard. Timothy had a severe upper lip tie that made it nearly impossible for him to get a proper latch. That means for the past seven weeks I have been severely blistered. I have been in so much pain that is hurts to hold my baby on my chest, I can’t hug my husband, and I cringe when my toddler just wants to snuggle.

On Wednesday we made the five hour trip (normally three hours, but you try with a newborn who hates his car seat, no a/c and an overtired toddler) to Vanderbilt to have Timothy’s lip tie revised (clipped). The procedure went well, but, while he is healing, his latch certainly is far from pain-free.

I finally reached the point where the pain is too much to bare. Last night I started pumping and bottle feeding during the night. This is when Timothy’s latch is the worst and the most damage is done. It also gives me 12+ hours to heal. I plan to do this just until we are both fully healed.

Oh my goodness!! I felt so much better this morning! No where near fully healed, but a HUGE improvement! I have to admit though, I really miss all of the nursing cuddles. This morning Arlen was joking that I was more eager to nurse Timothy than he was to eat.

I was very sad to give Timothy his first bottle tonight. I really wanted to spend that time nursing him. I almost did too, but I was reminded that the reason for doing this is so that I can heal so we can nurse more of the time long-term. I don’t like it, but it’s true.

I’m interested to see how things go, but I’m more determined than ever to do everything in my power to make this work!

Back in the Game


I’m not sure what it is about having babies, but between the pregnancies, deliveries and recoveries, boy I really get whipped. Here soon though, I should be back in the game. With all the time I’ve had to rest and think, I might actually have a thing or two to share.

For now, I will simply introduce you to our newest family member. Timothy William Laurence Byrd was born at 8:01 pm on April 29, 2013 weighing in at 8lb 4oz. He is such a laid back, smiley little boy and we live having him in our family. 🙂