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How to Help Your Kids Deal With Emotions Using a Calm Down Box

May 2, 2017 at 7:28 PM • Posted in Coping, Creative FunComments Off on How to Help Your Kids Deal With Emotions Using a Calm Down Box

Hello, Kansas City! Emotions can be tough to navigate, and even harder for kiddos. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Leah, shares some tidbits of a rough patch in her and her son’s life, and what they did to cope. They opted for simplicity with a Calm Down box. Take a look!

 How to Help Your Kids Deal With Emotions Using a Calm Down Box

How to Help Your Kids Deal With Emotions Using a
Calm Down Box

Several months ago I was looking back through some old photos and was brought back to the photo below.

How to Help Your Kids Deal With Emotions Using a Calm Down Box

The photo served as a bitter sweet memory….. it reminded me of when my son and I became just the two of us and no longer the three of us. This was a very hard time for the all of us… he lost his comfort, his familiarity of having both parents under the same roof, his routine, his home, and feeling of being a family unit. His whole world was torn apart without his say so.
For the first time ever he had to deal with adult emotions within himself, yet was still only a child.
I attempted to create a place for him to feel comfortable talking, expressing emotions, and being able to be heard. He attended weekly check-ins with the school counselor, went to a divorce support group, had very supportive grandparents and aunts and uncles, and his father was amazing with communicating with him. Yet, he was still struggling with a web of confusing emotions.

Who could blame him?

I wanted to let him know he was not alone. None of us wanted this, and we would still be a family — just a different family then what he was used to. I spent hours thinking of what I could do to create a safe place for him to express himself. We lived in a very small apartment, so I knew space was an issue. However, I knew this was a necessity for his emotional well-being.

While I was attempting to find a solution I remember my favorite childhood hiding place was my closet.
The moment I thought of that it was as if a light bulb went off….. so just like that we created his Calm Down /Chill out closet. I put a little art table in there and then took him on a “Calm Down Mission”.

We spent the day finding things here and there that made him feel calm, safe, understood, and loved. We had so much fun together. I wanted him to know that emotions are normal… it is okay to be pissed off, to cry, to be angry, and not understand why things are happening.

He went into store after store, finding things to put in his “calm place.” We returned home with smiles on our faces and a memory that would last us forever. We both agreed that all of the items we bought would be strictly for his calm down space. They could only be used when he felt frustrated, angry, sad, etc. They were not meant for everyday use. He did a great job at sticking to this.

How to Help Your Kids Deal With Emotions Using a Calm Down Box
We also agreed that he could access his calm down place on his own at any time (no explanation needed).
After all, this was his place to escape not mine. He absolutely loved this idea. He used this “safety zone” for over a year. We added things here and there… but for the most part his comfort items remained the same.
I am so glad that we created something that allowed him to feel but more importantly allowed him to heal.

If you are thinking of creating a “Calm Down Space” or “Calm Down Box” for your child I highly encourage you to make it with them. Remind yourself this is for their comfort, emotional health, and for THEM to come to terms with things. This is not for you to pick a part. Let them be in control. Trust me, that in itself will help them heal.

Here is what my son put in his calm down box…

How to Help Your Kids Deal With Emotions Using a Calm Down Box

• Bubbles
• Puzzles
• “I Spy Book”
• Scratch and Sniff stickers
• Stress balls
• Blank journal
• Colored pencils
• Special writing pen
• Silly putty
• A pin wheel
• Doodle books
• Activity books
• Framed Family picture
• Family photo album ( mostly of pictures of us laughing and having fun)
• Blank index cards

I am looking forward to hearing what you and your children come up with! Here’s to building happy and healthy hearts through one family at a time! Connect with me on Facebook for inspirational posts over at Living Life With Leah.
From iFamily to Yours,






How to Embrace Yourself Even When You’re a Hot Mess!

March 30, 2017 at 6:48 PM • Posted in CopingComments Off on How to Embrace Yourself Even When You’re a Hot Mess!

Hello, Kansas City! We’re bringing you a personal (and fun) post for you from our Mom Squad Ambassador, Connie, today. Parenthood and life is just hard sometimes, and many of us feel like we’re being pulled in a million different directions. Connie reminds us all that it’s okay to be a hot mess — we’re all in this together. Take a look…

How to Embrace Yourself Even When You're a Hot Mess!

How to Embrace Yourself Even When You’re a Hot Mess!

In a society full of people who make parenting and life and working all look so easy, I am that girl. The girl who is always late. The girl who’s clothes are comfortable first, and cute..maybe. The girl who drinks sometimes and sings terrible karaoke. The girl who needs to carry post it notes to write down what she is leaving the room for so she won’t forget by the time she gets to her destination. The girl who says exactly what she is thinking, when she is thinking it, instead of thinking about whether or not it should be said. The girl loves passionately and gets excited about everything. I am that girl. And I am proud of it.
Embracing your inner hot mess can sometimes be a struggle. We all have that one friend who makes it all look so easy. Her hair is done, her clothes match, her kids look adorable and her house is clean. Ha. I am so not that girl. You can choose one or the other. Either I look put together or the house does. I have two signature looks: homeless and Sporty Spice (minus all the scary makeup and platforms). My fancy outfits usually involve leggings and Chucks. I sometimes feel like I have so much going on in my head that I will never get it all done, so I sit on the couch for an hour just pondering the complete craziness of it all and realize that I’ve just made myself late for whatever the days obligation happens to be.
I love my children fiercely and unconditionally and I try so hard to always be patient and present and the best possible mother I can be. But I also sometimes feed them microwave pancakes for dinner and yell at them for something minor because I’m stressing about something else that has nothing to do with them. I like to think that by being the imperfect mess that I am, I am teaching them to just be who they are.

Apologize for their mistakes and move on with it. Life is too short and parenting is way too hard to stress over every misstep and bad day.
I am emotional and excited about everything. Yay tshirts have armholes! Hooray, my favorite song is on the radio! QT white peach tea makes my day. I am basically a 3 year old. I am the girl who dances at the bowling alley after she throws the ball, or at the gym between sets, or in the grocery store aisle. And let’s not get started on the dance parties in the car. My car stereo is often on max volume, especially if the sunroof is open, and my kids and I are car dancing all our cares away. Now, my dance moves are not especially dignified, and I am okay with that. I’m having fun and that is all that matters. Being emotional and easily excitable means that I am often undignified and wound up. But it also means that I am genuinely enthusiastic about life and the people who are in mine.
I can’t keep track of where I am supposed to be and when. Ever. I am constantly late, not because I am inconsiderate or think that I am above being on time, its because I genuinely cannot get it together sometimes. I couldn’t figure out which shirt to wear with what leggings, and then I didn’t realize that my daughter hadn’t brushed her hair yet, and she isn’t currently wearing shoes, nor can she find shoes because her room is a disaster. And my son is dressed, but his shirt is too small and has some of his breakfast stuck to it and he’s got blueberry pancakes on his face. Then I step outside and realize I have no shoes on. Once I get the shoes, I realize I left the gift for the party or the water bottle for practice or the check for dance, and I have to run back inside and get it.
I am that girl, and I am okay with it. I have to be, because try as I may, I can’t change who I am. I will always be the girl who trusts first and gets burned later, and who shows up late to your party, but with a very thoughtful gift, and who’s kids are sweet and thoughtful and sometimes dirty or rocking some bed head. I am that girl who is doing the best I can and loving every minute of this crazy life I lead. My kids are happy and loved and just like me as far as the hot mess factor goes. I am not the girl people come to for fashion advice or tips on how to have it all together. I am not the girl who feeds her kids well balanced meals all the time. I am not the girl who never yells or cusses or drinks. I am not the girl who has mastered the art of motherhood, or adulthood even for that matter. I am however, the girl who knows how to embrace this crazy life and just enjoy it. I am the girl who can laugh at myself, apologize when I need to and defend my friends whenever they need it. Life is hard.

Parenting?!?!? Crazy hard. Having it all together, all the time? Impossible. So just embrace the mess. Own it. Know that not everyday is going to be perfect, but sometimes it’s the imperfect days that we cherish the most. And know that I see you, rocking your oversized sweats and t-shirt with baby food all down the front at Walmart, just trying to get through the day. You are my people.

From iFamily to Yours,







Why We All Need a Mentor and How to Find One

January 28, 2017 at 8:02 PM • Posted in Coping, Mom FunComments Off on Why We All Need a Mentor and How to Find One

Happy Weekend, Kansas City! Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Sarah, has some great advice on the necessity of having a mentor. I think a lot of us can agree that life really does take a village, and Sarah has some great ideas on not only why we need a mentor, but how to find one. Check it out…

Why We All Need a Mentor and How to Find One.


Why We All Need a Mentor and How to Find One


Do you ever wonder how someone else would handle this situation? What other parents would do to combat the crying child in Target? Maybe you just want to bounce ideas off another person at work; someone who won’t judge or criticize you for badmouthing the guy who keeps stealing your lunch! I think about these things all the time. With my best friend 3 hours away and my Mom, Aunt, cousins and other wonderful women a phone call away, it is really hard to get that much needed face time with them; unless you actually use Facetime, which we all know can sometimes freeze if we go into bad reception!

The human resource department in my office is always about us getting this person that we can talk with; the biz calls these people mentors. As I was listening to another presentation about how we all need one of these I started thinking about all the “mentors” in my life and the fact that I have needed several and at different stages.

To begin, let’s define what a mentor is so we are all on the same page. According to the dictionary a mentor is 1. Experienced advisor and supporter, usually older and more experienced who advises and guides a younger person. A counselor, guide, or teacher. 2. A trainer, a senior or experienced person in a company or organization who gives guidance and training to a junior colleague. So why is it that we need mentors…?

…At age 20?


What an age! Think about it you are going through so much. It could be college and then getting a job, finding love and having babies. And that isn’t even the order most of us go in! Those 10 years of your 20’s are so dynamic. And you can argue with me till you are blue in the face but everyone is going to change during this time. What a perfect time to have a person that maybe has been there before, or someone going through the same things that you are.

…At age 30?


Thirties stink! And I would have never said that in my 20’s. I was positive that when I got to the big 3-0 that everything would change. My colleagues at work would start to treat me as an adult instead of a crazy, drinking-all-night, coming into work hung-over 29 year old. I would be married by 30, have kids at 31 and 33 and we would be a perfect family. Ha! I am not too concerned with the timing of everything; it is how all of those things changed me yet again. Living with someone who saw me pluck my eyebrows and bleach my upper lip was a huge thing to get used to. Pretty sure I wore makeup to bed the first few months of our marriage. I won’t go into how kids changed me (we will save that for another article!). Work was still the same, only now I had this pressure of what I was going to do in 5 years and I had no way of knowing. This is when I was blessed with a wonderful boss who actually realized before me that I was floundering and talked to me about it. I hated crying in her office; but it was a breakthrough. She became my mentor that I still talk to today about everything. And she still has the best advice and “open door” policy. Does it matter that she is in an entirely different point in her life? No! She has been through what I am going through, she has had the arguments and heard the comments from the corner office, she has been at the point of force-feeding her kids (not really, but close!) and I get all the benefit from it! I get it, you still know it all in your 20’s so you don’t need someone to help you through; but take this advice—get a mentor in your 30’s!

…At age 40?


Made it through! A few more wrinkles, maybe a little extra weight that creeps in, a strange ache in your head after just one glass of wine—welcome to “over the hill”! If you have kids they are probably doing things on their own now or at least spending he majority of their time in their rooms! In any case you have a little more time on your hands. Maybe work takes up a little more of that time; and now that you have the time to devote are the options still there? This mentor (and maybe it is a totally different person than at age 30) will come in handy to have those conversations with about a possible reentering of the workforce. In your 40’s you are starting to get to that place in your life where you are taking care of two generations and possibly under the same roof! You still may have kids in the house but as parents get older they are going to need a caretaker as well. This is going to require some counseling and support from someone who has been through it before.

…at age 50?


Welcome to an empty nest! Oh yeah and for women that amazing time of body changing called puberty in your 50’s aka Menopause. And for men, these changes that are coming with this full 180 are going to change him as well! Kids are probably out of, or close to being out of, the house and now it’s just you and your spouse. You have been dreaming about this for years and what you would do! But on day one you are sitting on the couch just staring at each other! Most will run and hide, some may find a hobby, those still in the workforce start burying themselves in work. All these activities may seem to help for a while but it isn’t going to last long term and in actuality most people don’t want it to. Start having coffee once a week with your mentor and talk these things out. It gets you out of the house and gives some direction to the changes going on in your life.

So here are some of the things that I am sure you are thinking.


“I don’t need a ‘mentor’ I just need to talk to my best friend.”


Ever heard the term “It takes a village?” We need mentors (counselors, guides, teachers—whatever you want to call them) at every point in our lives. Best friends are great and are needed just as much, but they know what happened in the village before it became a village. In other words, they are too close to the situation in some cases. A true mentoring partnership typically is someone older who has been there and can be that unbiased opinion.

“No one is calling to mentor me!”


“I checked my email, made sure my cell was on and still no one is calling me to ask to mentor me!” Yeah because it is up to you to make your village! No one is going to probably knock down the walls to try and get in and vice versa. You are going to have to ask to let people in. Trust me, this gives me more anxiety than anything, but a great place to find these people? At school drop-offs, playdates, at work cafeterias or PTA meetings, you have a room of men and women who are there just like you with shut doors so they can’t get away! I would have to guess that most will be more than happy to talk with you. I probably would advise not starting too in depth but eventually getting up to that point. In the long run this relationship and friendship will be worthwhile.


From iFamily to Yours,






25 Tips For Managing Holiday Stress

December 24, 2016 at 11:56 AM • Posted in Coping, Holiday, Mom Resources, Organizing Family ChaosComments Off on 25 Tips For Managing Holiday Stress

Christmas Eve is upon us here in the metro area and, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably frantically getting in those last minute errands that you’ve been putting off forgotten about, baking holiday treats, and cleaning the house in anticipation of loved ones later this evening (or in my case, first thing tomorrow morning). It’s okay, we can all be superheroes from time to time, right?! Don’t stress out, it’s all going to be fine…right? RIGHT? Thankfully, our very own iFamilyKC Mom Squad team member Leah shares her 25 tips for managing holiday stress with us right here on the blog. Take a look…

25 Ways to manage holiday stress

25 Tips For Managing Holiday Stress

If you are anything like me you are guilty of trying to do a thousand things at once. I find myself being  pulled between trying to locate the “perfect gift”, attempting to stay on budget, pull money out of thin air, working more hours to afford “the perfect gift”, ordering things online, and trying to create time to wrap gifts all while trying to balance my daily tasks. Needless to say this momma is wore out.

The holidays tend to add so much stress and chaos to our already over packed lives. Yet, their intention is to the opposite. This year I am determined to approach things differently. I don’t want my son to judge holidays based around how well I may or may not handle stress. We all know that kids see everything even when we think otherwise. I want to make sure he sees me handle things with grace. After all I cannot expect him to if I don’t.

It really is my goal to learn how to master stress so it does not master me. I know that I will not be able to completely avoid stress. However, that doesn’t mean that I cannot try to handle it better when it arrives. I have found some pretty simple ways to help make your holidays a little less hectic. I hope that you can find one or two them useful.

#1 Take an Epson Salt bath – for an added stress relief add essential  oils

#2 Create a daily gratitude journal- use this to remind yourself what you are grateful for in yourself and others

#3 Go outside for a walk or run- being around the sunlight can improve your mood

#4 Instead of stressing out over dinner give yourself permission to order out

#5 Turn on some good music

#6 Have a glass of wine

#7 Have a cup of tea- there are so many teas out there to help you relax

#8 Give your partner a massage then have them return the favor ( or just book an appointment at a salon)

#9 Go get your hair done… I always feel better after a good hair cut

#10 Set a budget and stick with it

#11 Schedule a lunch date with a friend  and share a good laugh

#12 Turn off your phone so you can get stuff done without being distracted

#13 Try to give out “group gifts” when you have to buy for a family. This will help you stay on budget. You can buy them a movie, popcorn, snacks, etc. Plus this encourages them to do something as a family.

#14 Pace yourself- you do not have to do everything in one day. I find it useful to break my to do list down to a daily list instead. This also helps me feel less overwhelmed.

#15 Take a break and go do something fun as family

#16 Go see some Christmas lights and get yourself back into the Christmas spirit

#17 Light some candles around the house

#18 Meditate – this is an amazing stress reliever

#19 Go to the gym

#20 Call a friend or a family member that puts you in a good mood

#21 Get some sleep

#22 Don’t be afraid to ask for help

#23 Don’t sweat the small stuff

#24 Remind yourself that if something does not get done there is always tomorrow

#25 Listen to yourself- only you know your limits

To follow Leah further please go to her page at  www.facebook.com/solaceforthesoul

From iFamily to yours,


leah_ifamilykc_momsquad25 tips for managing holiday stress


How Safe Hearts Makes Hard Conversations Easier

November 8, 2016 at 8:05 AM • Posted in Coping, Educational Fun for Kids, Family Health & Wellness, Mom ResourcesComments Off on How Safe Hearts Makes Hard Conversations Easier

Good Morning, Kansas City!

Take a moment to think about the five most important women in your life. Now think about this: Statistically speaking, one of those women will be a victim of sexual abuse at some point in her life. It could be your mother, your sister, your best friend, or your child. It could have been you. Among the many roles and responsibilities that we have, as parents, keeping our children safe is among the top. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start when it comes to having tough conversations with your child. That’s where the new Safe Hearts program from Damsel in Defense comes in.

Safe Hearts

Safe Hearts is a proactive program that helps parents talk through tough conversations with your kids about creating boundaries – and it’s a lot easier than you think. Damsel In Defense, in conjunction with a team of mental health experts and abuse survivors, have come up with a series of colorfully illustrated books to help you introduce these topics to your child. I recently had the opportunity to share the first two stories with my five year old daughter, Charlotte, and found the books to be a really effective way to communicate with her about such an important topic.

As a mom, I always try to balance the line between encouraging Charlotte to view the world from her naturally pure perspective while also helping her to understand that there are tricky people who might not have her best interest at heart. As someone who has been in tricky situations myself, I get the importance of teaching her how to prevent someone from taking advantage of a situation. I found the Safe Hearts books to be really helpful in my mission to help my daughter protect herself. I can rest easier with the confidence that my child can identify tricky situations and that she will know what to do if she encounters one.

The first book, “My Friend’s New Toy” follows the story of Olivia, a little girl who meets a new friend in her neighborhood. While over for a play date, Olivia finds herself in an uncomfortable situation when her new friend tries to encourage her to take off her clothes while playing dolls. The request leaves Olivia feeling unsettled and unsure of how to handle the situation and that’s where the Heart Defenders come in. This team of kids (the Heart Defenders), spanning all ages, help kids to identify when something isn’t right and remove themselves from the situation. The material presents tough topics to children of all ages in a way that isn’t overwhelming for young readers. Charlotte resonated with the Heart Defenders and felt encouraged to defend her own heart after reading the story.

The second book, “Madison’s Big Brother” follows a similar journey for older readers. Isabella, the main character, finds herself in a situation where an older boy that she cares about and trusts tries to force her to kiss him. The Heart Defenders step in to help guide Isabella toward making a safe and sound decision that she can walk away from while feeling proud. I read this book to Charlotte and she understood the storyline, but I definitely think that this book skews towards older readers. All in all, though, both books can be read by children of all ages with their parents. The question prompts at the end of each story help parents and caregivers to reiterate the messaging throughout the books.

Safe Hearts Heart Defenders

The Heart Defender series currently has these two books available with more stories rolling out over the next year or so. I strongly encourage each of you to look into getting these books for your family and sharing them with friends and relatives with children. They also have a parent guide to help you understand each book, suggestions about how to effectively communicate with your children, and the overall goals that you should have going into your conversation.

For more information on the Safe Hearts program or Damsel In Defense, call Mary Hiesberger at (816) 309-3348 or email prepare2prevent1@gmail.com.

From iFamily to yours,




Celebration of Motherhood: Cherish the Little Moments

September 11, 2016 at 10:00 AM • Posted in Coping, Mom ResourcesComments Off on Celebration of Motherhood: Cherish the Little Moments

What a great week this has been. We’ve spent it by celebrating the moms in our lives, giving advice, and supporting those mom’s getting ready to embark on the journey of parenthood. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Stephanie, wraps up this series with a great post about one key idea: Cherish the little moments. Enjoy!


Celebration of Motherhood: Cherish the Little Moments


Celebration of Motherhood: Cherish the Little Moments


If you’ve ever been pregnant, you know the overwhelming emotions of seeing those two little lines on the pregnancy test. For me, I think I went through every emotion possible within seconds of finding out.


I was 20 years old, living with my fiancé (now husband) in a little apartment in Independence. We both had decent enough jobs but knew we were going to have to make some serious changes before we brought a baby into this world.


When I first took the pregnancy test at home I didn’t believe it. My now husband knew instantly – at least that was his way of explaining my moodiness (haha!) I remember calling the doctor and setting up appointments for blood work and repeat tests to make sure the at home test was right.


After confirming, I remember the whirlwind of telling our family and friends and seeing their excitement. I wish I could tell you I remember all the doctor appointments and when I felt him move for the first time and all those fun things… but I don’t.


My oldest, Zack, will be 7 next month and I can hardly believe it. It seems like he should still be my baby and I should still be on maternity leave with him. Instead of crawling around on the floor with him, we are practicing sight words and doing math problems. No more showing up to work in spit up covered clothes… instead we’re rushing out the door to get to Tae Kwon Do, soccer or school.


These last few years have gone by so fast and it blows my mind how quickly they keep going. While it is easier said than done… we need to slow down and cherish the little moments in life.


From iFamily to Yours,




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Celebration of Motherhood: How to Establish a Sleep Schedule

September 10, 2016 at 10:00 AM • Posted in Coping, Mom ResourcesComments Off on Celebration of Motherhood: How to Establish a Sleep Schedule

Sleep, glorious sleep. It’s the wonderful thing that often evades when we first become parents, and the 18 years that follow. Luckily, our Mom Squad Ambassador, Becky, has some fantastic steps on how to get your little one on a great sleep schedule. Take a look!

Celebration of Motherhood: How to Establish a Sleep Schedule

Celebration of Motherhood: How to Establish a
Sleep Schedule


If you don’t have a newborn, this post is going to be a real snoozer for you because today I’m giving out advice on how to train your baby to love sleep as much as you do.


When I was asked to write a blog post about advice for new parents, I really had to think for a bit. Our oldest just turned 6, our middle guy is 4 and our “baby” turned 3 this summer, so I should be full of advice. But here’s the deal, I barely remember those newborn days. You hear that new parents? It’s going to seem like an eternity (lack of sleep does that to you), but in the grand scheme of things it’s a very short period in your life and theirs, and I PROMISE you will make it to the other side.


One thing my husband and I became quick pros at was how to get our babies to sleep. Outside of eating, sleeping is my favorite activity, so the faster I could get my kids to sleep during the night, the happier I was going to be. This advice won’t work on all babies, but it worked like magic on our babies, who were all sleeping soundly throughout the night around 8 weeks. Hope it helps some of you.


Five tips that MIGHT help your baby be a great sleeper.


Set a schedule

Put your baby to bed immediately following his last feeding at about the same time every night. We’d do this pretty late, after 11PM in hopes to buying ourselves some quality sleep in the prime sleeping hours. Our babies usually got pretty drowsy after eating but if yours needs some extra help going to bed, try giving him or her a bath. Babies are usually pretty alert during baths which can wear them out. And who doesn’t love to rest once they’re all clean, warm and snuggly?


Swaddle that baby

The swaddle is easily in my top five products for newborns. I can’t say enough about this product. If you don’t have one, buy one (actually 3 because you know, $H*t happens) and wrap your baby up like a Chipotle burrito. Sure, you can go the old fashioned route and just use a regular blanket but babies tend to turn into Houdini in the middle of the night and one loose arm will wake them (and you) up.


Change first, feed second

When your baby wakes up in the middle of the night, always change her first. When she’s feeding there’s a good chance she’ll fall asleep while feeding or at least be nearly asleep. Changing her after you feed her will cause her to wake up and want to party.


Keep the lights off

Start training your newborn from day 1 what’s day and what’s night. If she wakes up in the middle of the night, keep it all business. Keep the lights off, keep it very quiet, change the diaper, feed her, swaddle her, turn on the sound machine, put her back in bed and tip toe out of there.


Teach your baby how to fall asleep by herself

It’s tempting to always want to hold your baby and let her fall asleep in your arms first, before placing her in her crib, but it’s important they learn how to fall asleep on their own without all the help, too. Don’t be afraid to put an awake baby down to sleep. Turn on a mobile and sound machine and she’ll start to pick up clues that she needs to go to sleep

Like I said, it’s been too long since I was dazed and confused and spit on and peed on and had no sleep and woke up at every little movement on the baby monitor and wondered if I’d ever get a good night’s sleep again … so I’m sure I’m forgetting some great tips, so please share yours. What worked or is working for you and your newborn?

Celebration of Motherhood: How to Establish a Sleep Schedule


Becky Ervin is a creative director, mother of three and blogs at PartyBoxKC.com/blog.


From iFamily to Yours,



Become a member of our inner circle! Receive exclusive access to events, freebies, COUPONS, enter2Wins AND tons of Family FUN!

A Celebration of Motherhood: Overcoming the Challenges

September 8, 2016 at 10:00 AM • Posted in Coping, Mom ResourcesComments Off on A Celebration of Motherhood: Overcoming the Challenges

Hello, Kansas City! Any parent knows that life as well as parenting comes with it’s fair share of trials. To continue celebrating mom’s and motherhood this week, our Mom Squad Ambassador, Erin, reflects on her family’s challenges and how they managed to overcome. So, if you’re in a tough spot, or have been in the past, this post is for you. Check it out!

A Celebration of Motherhood: Overcoming the Challenges


A Celebration of Motherhood: Overcoming the Challenges


Motherhood. The biggest challenge you will ever face and the most rewarding experience, indeed. My own journey is a bit unique compared to some. I became a mother when my husband (then boyfriend) received custody of his son, who was 9 at the time. We had been dating each other for 3 years and I was 22. I had no idea about being a mother. I just knew in my heart we had to get him out of the horrendous home life he was in at the time. I won’t sugar coat it. It wasn’t easy. But we got through it. If there’s anything I’ve learned from being a mom, it is that at times things are going to be extremely challenging, but you get through it.


A Celebration of Motherhood: Overcoming the Challenges


Fast forward to 2009, we were blessed with a baby girl. As you can tell from her picture, she was a wild and crazy baby. And now she is a wild and crazy 6 year old. Life with two in the house was a chaotic, beautiful mess. From a screaming baby to a moody teenager, I’m not sure how we made it through it, but we got through it.


We found out in 2011 we were going to be parents again. Or so we thought. We suffered a terrible loss and again in 2013. But here we are. We got through it.


A Celebration of Motherhood: Overcoming the Challenges


In 2015, our beautiful rainbow baby boy was born. And also, in the same year, we were given the title of “grandparents.” We were blessed with a grandbaby girl 4 months after our youngest son was born. We are living a crazy, strange life and we are getting through it.


A Celebration of Motherhood: Overcoming the Challenges


My point of all of this is that we are not alone in our journey as moms. New moms take note: some days are going to be extremely hard and that is ok. Give yourself a break. Take your sweet bundle of joy that won’t stop screaming for hours on end to grandma’s house for a few hours. Have a date night with your significant other. Do something for yourself. You are doing a wonderful job! And I’m here to tell you, you will get through this.

A Celebration of Motherhood: Overcoming the Challenges



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Celebration of Motherhood: Advice for New Moms

September 7, 2016 at 10:00 AM • Posted in Coping, Mom Fun, Mom ResourcesComments Off on Celebration of Motherhood: Advice for New Moms

We’re continuing with our great Celebration of Motherhood series. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Emily gives new mom’s a little advice (along with some of her own experience) to help with the transition into motherhood. Let’s continue to celebrate the ladies in our lives that literally make our lives what they are.

Celebration of Motherhood: Advice for New Moms

Celebration of Motherhood: Advice for New Moms

One of my favorite things I look forward to each day is looking at the “On this day” feature on Facebook. I get a glimpse of how my daughter has changed over the years and see what things she accomplished on this day in the past. Recently, I’ve ran into a lot of posts about my pregnancy coming to an end 5 years ago. This is especially fun for me because I’m 27 weeks pregnant now and I get a glimpse at all the emotions from having my first baby. It’s nice to compare this pregnancy to my first. I wish I had the experience I’m having now five years ago. But all the pain and discomfort was worth my little girl.

When I first found out I was pregnant, I was overcome with emotion. I was young and scared, but I’ve always wanted to be a mom. That’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted out of my life. Perhaps the strangest part of my pregnancy was that it came six weeks after my mom found out she was pregnant with my little sister. My mom and I were pregnant at the same time. When I called her to tell her, she went from crying with joy to not knowing how to feel and back. My pregnancy started out normal. I’m the lucky one who doesn’t get morning sickness. I can count on one hand how many times I got sick with my first baby and it was only because of the fish oil in my prenatals. I started showing very early. It wasn’t until I was around thirteen weeks that I found out I was pregnant with twins. I went to the emergency room for bleeding and found out that there were two babies, but one wasn’t developing. From there on, my pregnancy became difficult. I found it hard to handle the weight from my growing stomach. I had severe muscle pains, especially in my back, that prevented me from even sleeping right. On top of that, my kidneys retained water and I had that pain as well. I became enormous and uncomfortable. I was impatiently waiting for my sweet girl to arrive. Especially after my sister was born. I couldn’t wait to hold a baby of my own. I got in some good practice, but I wanted MY baby. Maci was born two weeks after her estimated due date. However, she came the day of her original due date that the doctor changed. My advice to any pregnant mama is to look at a due date as an estimation. Don’t rely on that date because the baby will be here in their own time.

Like my pregnancy, labor wouldn’t come easy for me either. Her heartbeat kept dropping the entire time I was in the bed. I tested positive for Strep B and had to be put on antibiotics. I wasn’t allowed to walk around. I was admitted early in the morning following a doctor’s appointment. Labor progressed slowly. The doctor had to break my water. I was still going incredibly slow, so I started pitocin. My original intentions for labor were to deliver drug free. Honestly, the contractions were not terrible. I could handle them and wasn’t in severe pain. However, I was young and impressionable, so I was talked into an epidural. This stalled my labor and in my opinion, made things worse. I couldn’t lay on my back to push, so I was constantly flipping. I pushed for three straight hours and the whole time Maci was unstable. She finally arrived at 3 in the morning, but she wasn’t breathing and didn’t have a heartbeat. She was immediately rushed into the NICU and I hadn’t even seen my daughter. I was in and out of awareness and had lost a lot of blood. What seems like an hour later, a nurse came in with pictures of my beautiful little girl. She was stable, but needed to be monitored. I was able to sleep for a few hours. Then I was able to shower and meet my little girl.

The moment I laid eyes on my perfect 7 lb, 20 inch daughter I fell in love. She had just closed her eyes for a nap. I whispered hi to her and her eyes popped open immediately. That memory is one I will never forget. It was an instant connection just by her hearing my voice. I got to hold her and try to nurse her. Then it was time to go. I had all the fun hospital paperwork to fill out and had to be checked on myself. Around 8:00, my now husband wheeled our daughter into our room. She was finally able to meet her family. I’ll never forget watching my parents and siblings meet her. There was so much love in the room. My favorite was watching her bond with her daddy. He would hold her and I’ve never seen a love so pure. It might have been a picture perfect moment, until she decided to use a certain finger towards him. I like to say she was born with a silly personality. We struggled a bit with breastfeeding, but it can be hard as a first time mom. I would recommend any new mother to utilize the lactation consultant at the hospital. It can save your breastfeeding relationship with your newborn.

When we brought her home, I feel like I was blessed with an easy baby. She hardly ever cried and was usually pretty happy. She was a tiny little thing. I could state at her for hours and loved to keep her close. I chose to cosleep with her, so it made nights easy. Of course it wasn’t all smooth sailing. I was still trying to figure out how to be a new mom. I was exhausted. There were nights that my mom came and took her so I could get some extra sleep. But she was loved and she made my life a whole lot brighter. She grew up with her aunt and found determination to succeed at everything. She was meeting her milestones quickly and began walking at 9 months. She became fiercely independent and developed a strong personality. She gave my life purpose and she’s been the center of my whole world from the time I saw those two pink lines.

I have a few words of advice for any new mom:

*Always make sure you are comfortable with your OBGYN. I believe my pregnancy would have been a lot easier if I had higher quality of care and someone I could trust as my doctor.

*Excercise during pregnancy. Of course, this should always been done under the recommendation of a doctor. However, this pregnancy is significantly easier than my first now that I’m working full time and exercising.

*Sleep when the baby sleeps. Seriously. I know this is common advice, but I know it’s harder to follow. It’s a life saver, though. You can’t function without sleep. Make sure you nap when the baby naps.


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A Celebration of Motherhood: The Habit of Parenting

September 6, 2016 at 10:00 AM • Posted in Coping, Mom Fun, Mom ResourcesComments Off on A Celebration of Motherhood: The Habit of Parenting

Good morning, Kansas City! We continue our celebration of the great moms in and around the Kansas City metro today with our Mom Squad Ambassador, Darcy. She gives us the low down on what her experience was when she first became a mom and the habit of parenting. For any new parents out there, wondering when the heck it will get easier, this post is for you. Take a look!

A Celebration of Motherhood: The Habit of Parenting

A Celebration of Motherhood: The Habit of Parenting

I was the first of my friends to have a child. We had moved for my husband’s job, I didn’t have a job and we didn’t need another income so I decided, “Heck! Let’s just start parenting now.” But as my pregnancy wore on, I began to worry. I didn’t know what to do with a baby. I hadn’t even babysat in 15 years. All our friends and family lived more than 400 miles away. My husband and I were on our own.


When my daughter arrived, I was overwhelmed. I had trouble nursing, so she never really slept. She wanted to eat non-stop. I was exhausted, dirty and felt like a failure. I called my mother in tears. “I just don’t get it! It’s not coming to me.” I truly believed that some sort of motherly knowledge would just suddenly bloom within me and I’d let out a calming sigh, grow six more arms and suddenly do everything perfectly. It didn’t work like that for me.


“It’s only been a week,” my mother said. “Give it two more. It’s always crazy the first three weeks.” It sounded like BS to me, but I looked at my calendar and told myself I just had to get through two more weeks.


During the second week, I showered maybe twice. I still felt like a human food bag, but for two moments I felt clean. My husband encouraged me to sleep whenever he was home and I wasn’t nursing, and I kind of did. The third week, we began supplementing, and I no longer felt terrible for letting the baby cry for two minutes. (I’m still not a mom who can let them cry it out- I am totally weak when it comes to tears!) And I began showering close to regularly.


The end of the third week slipped by without my noticing. My little family had reached a routine and things were much happier. Since that time, I have heard that it takes 22 days to break a habit or to make a new habit. With your new baby, your entire life is nothings but new habits. The way you eat, sleep, relax, talk, everything.


When I go to showers and people ask me for advice, I always give the same. Give yourself, your spouse and your baby three weeks. It’s a new time for all of you. You all have to adapt and it feels overwhelming at times for everyone. Give it three weeks and then hopefully, it will all seem a little easier.


A Celebration of Motherhood: The Habit of Parenting



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