I read in your book that you had kids 14 months apart. I think it was you and not your mom… anyway I have kids 13 months apart. The youngest is 4 months and FINALLY starting to sleep at night which helps, but I must ask: How did you survive? Does it get easier? harder? They both have such urgent needs all the time. Did you have them share a room? We have a small place because I’d rather be home with them then be able to afford a bigger place. If they did share a room how did you handle that? Did they constantly wake each other up?

YES!  That was me and I wrote a bunch more about it back here and a little bit here.  

They woke each other up and it stressed me out to no end.  We had a two-bedroom apartment and wanted to train our kids to sleep without us close-by from the beginning.  This was the room I got all set up for my two “babies:”

…before I realized that was NOT going to work.  They woke each other up all night long.  So Elle’s bedroom became the laundry room so we could all sleep.  It was just a little closet of a room, but oh man how sweet our slumber was.

Oh man, I have to say that it was rough to have kids that close, and yours are even closer!  Everyone told me after the first year things would start calming down, but I’ll be honest and let you know it took two years.   

At least.

But oh were those two years of sheer trouble ever worth it!  Just look at the result:

I adore their relationship and love that they are so close SO much that I actually tried to have two more kids close together.

Dave unfortunately was involved in that decision.  So that was the end of that.:)

My husband and I are expecting our first child. Here are some of my questions I have as I prepare for this new role:

1. What would you consider to be essential items to have as a new mom with a new baby? What things are just nice to have and what are not necessary?

I don’t even know the answer to this anymore because now there are all these new-fangled things that maybe I would have to have if I knew about them πŸ™‚  But really, my must-haves were pacifiers, tight-swaddling blankets, a whole slew of diapers and wipes (oh how I love the new smell of a box of Pampers…I know, weird) and time to soak in that newborn awe-inspiring new-ness.  Make it a huge priority.  They are the best.  My friend Sarah probably has many more ideas on this since she’s about to have baby number six any day!

Oh how I.W.A.N. all the time.

2. Did your children sleep in the same bed as you? In a bassinet/crib in the same room? In another separate room?

We had a bassinet/crib in our room at first but I found that I couldn’t sleep very well that way.  I worried about every little noise and jumped up to be sure they were breathing right all night long.  So we got a monitor and moved our newborns into their own room right away (in Elle’s case, the laundry room).  Yeah, I know you can hear a monitor and worry too, but somehow it made it different.

3. What were your or your children’s favorite picture books?

A few books I have read to my kids hundreds upon hundreds of times are Goodnight Moon
The Going-To-Bed Book
, Love You Forever and 
Guess How Much I Love You.  This makes me way too nostalgic so I’ll leave it there.

I have a toddler and a baby and motherhood has really been an adjustment for me. I’ve really been searching for some good ideas to help me handle this stage better (of parenting two young babies).  Do you have any great ideas from when your kids were younger, or thoughts on “making/seeing progress with babies,” “mothering toddlers,” etc etc?  Does anyone in your family fit this same stage and have an equally awesome blog?? 

I wrote a blog post all about what life was like for us parenting toddlers back here.  I hope it helps!  Some of my sibling’s blogs with babies (who keep them up) are here and here and here.  Oh man, and my sister in laws with babies are here (be sure to check out her amazing DIYs, but they’re not about kids) and here.  I think Power of Moms probably has some great stuff too.

I have 3 kids (#4 on the way) and it seems that whenever I want to spend some quality time with one child, the other one (the 3rd is still pretty young) will whine and complain that it’s not fair. It kind of sucks the joy out of it for me, and I feel like I’m constantly pulled in all directions and no one is ever happy. My kids seem to have this hugely emotional reaction to how unfair the world is, and I don’t know how to teach them to have a positive attitude and know their time will come. Any suggestions?? 

I think if you make individual time a regular occurrence kids don’t get quite as worried about it being fair because they know their turn will come…because it always really does.  I wrote some ideas about individual time with kids that I have gathered through the years back here.

I noticed CrossFit is one of Grace’s goals {here} and in your recent “family visits” post {here} you mentioned having them do workouts with you, and I’m wondering…

Do you have a CrossfIt DVD that you all enjoy? Did you make up your own workout? I’m looking for fun ways to get more exercise with my munchkins, and I’d love to know more about your CrossFit routine.

Dave wrote down some workouts from his crossfit training for the kids.  It’s been great over the summer and Grace, for one, has the main one memorized.

I was wondering about the crime rate there {in India}, I don’t know why but when you showed a picture of Ghandi’s memorial {in this post} I thought people here in America would probably vandalize that somehow…it just made me think.
and another one on this same topic:
Were you guys ever scared being there (violence, etc), especially having your kids there?

I do not know what the crime rate is in India, but we were never scared and felt totally safe…except when trying to maneuver through traffic on foot.  That was scary.

I keep thinking about what y’all did to prevent/treat for lice because you said it was everywhere {back in this post}. I’d love to know what y’all did. 

Oh man, I’ve had a whole bunch of questions about this since I mentioned it back in that first post, and I’m sorry to worry everyone! πŸ™‚  We were careful and kept our hair up the whole time, and we used tea tree shampoo which is supposed to repel lice.  We did a few checks after we left and were relieved to be lice-free.  Some of the long-term volunteers there weren’t so lucky, but they used lice treatments and all is well :).  

I would love to know how Max and Elle speak about the trip, what they thought, hear a little from them about their experiences! πŸ™‚ 

I will see if they will let me post some of their journal entries soon.  They melted my heart.  I’m trying so hard to have them do anything they can to cement that trip into their memories.  Max is making a slide show for his Eagle Scout wrap-up that I’ll put on here when he’s done too.  I feel like their lives were changed and that they see the world a little differently now.

But maybe that’s jus wishful thinking πŸ™‚

A question…how did you handle telling your other kids they weren’t going on the trip to India? We want to take a trip back east with my two oldest, but my 3rd is going to flip out when we tell him. Any advice is much appreciated! 

Claire and Grace know that their turn is coming when they get older.  Dave and I just really felt like Max and Elle are at an optimal age right now to really be able to grasp the reality of it all.  Grace and Claire are anxiously awaiting when we figure out their trip at some point in the future.  We’re thinking Africa.  

What is your walk-about lens while traveling? And do you use a timer to get pictures of everyone or do you get some random stranger? And like someone else asked, what would be some tips for vacation pictures?

I pretty much leave my 24-70 2.8 lens on all the time.  It just makes it so easy and I love it.  Our tour guide Nitin was our photographer πŸ™‚  He was awesome.

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  1. Dear Shawni, I discovered your blog about 6-ish months ago and I must say that I am addicted. I love to learn about all of your cute and clever traditions and how well you can express your feelings on things. I have implemented a few of your cute mothering ideas on my family, with such happy results. I too am a mother of 5 (ages 8, 7, 5, and 19 month old twins). One of my twins has been a mystery as she is severely underweight, not walking yet, not talking yet, and we have run the gauntlet of different doctors, specialists and therapists who can't find anything wrong, a smidgeon of relief when we can cross scary possibilities off the list, but worried sick when they are unable to tell me why she is delayed. I know you have been in this boat before, so I felt the need to tell you I have drawn so much strength and inspiration from you that I had to say "thank you". I'm so thankful for the age of communication we live in today and that we can reach out to each other in more ways than ever, and I'm thankful for your amazing example. Thank you for allowing me (and so many others, no doubt) to have a peek into your life.
    ~Dianne Owens

  2. I love your questions and answers! What does it feel like to be such a mothering guru? πŸ™‚

    Okay I have a question (and maybe you have covered this in the past, but I can't find it). How did you keep your house clean and laundry caught up when your kids were smaller and couldn't really help in a substantial way? I know you've covered how they help now, but I'm wondering about in the past. I have a 5, 3, and 1 year old and I feel like I'm drowning. I am a former neat/clean freak and find it pretty much impossible to have any sense of order around here. Please give me some advice! πŸ™‚

  3. Oh Shawni, you reminded me of those days when Christian and Annie were 18 months apart and I thought I might cave. It makes life with our new number seven seem easier to remember those days πŸ™‚

  4. shawni, my friends parents are missionaries in Africa ( actually they got hme a few days ago), they were serving in the PEF area. Jess my friend went over to visit them in Nigeria, and it was a visit she will never forget, i think it changed all our lives hearing about it.. so i think it would be a great place for the other kiddo's πŸ™‚

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