My Weekly Parenting Ups & Downs



It’s been a while since I’ve written one of these posts. Trying to make it more of a regular kind of thing. I really like them. I also really like hearing from all of you as we share stories in the comments section. Nice to know we’re all going through this crazy motherhood journey together!

1. I really feel like we are in a good groove lately. It’s a nice feeling. Of course, there are crazy moments (see “downs” below), but really, I know in the scheme of things they aren’t all that terrible. Everyone is at a super fun age (when they are in good moods, of course) and they make the best little buddies. They entertain each other like crazy and it makes my heart explode every time I hear them laughing together from another room. Siblings are seriously the best thing ever! I know some parents choose to only have one child and I totally think that’s great but I could not imagine our family with out these two. I can’t help but think about how differently Finley gets to grow up because she has Rowan around. I guess there is good and bad to that but the first person she calls for in the morning when she wakes up is “RORO”. Finley is fiercely loyal to her. Whenever Rowan leaves the room, within seconds Finley is searching for her saying “where RoRo go?”. Finley is also in a pretty intense Daddy stage. I don’t mind — there is nothing better than seeing your children madly in love with their Daddy.

2. Homeschooling is going so great. Of course, we are still working it all out and getting into the swing of it but each week is getting better and better. Rowan loves learning and it warms my heart to hear her tell people about the things she learned that week. Now, whenever she comes across something she doesn’t really know much about, she asks if we can learn about it in school. Umm? So Cute! She asked me the other day if we could learn french. We have a little learning area set up downstairs so that when we are working on school work, Finley can be down there with us playing in the play room. I am really, really loving it so far. We’re going to be taking it a year at a time but I am excited about the possibilities for our family to grow, learn, and hopefully travel together more often if we continue to homeschool.

3. Finley has been soooo into books lately. I LOVE it so much. As soon as you mention nap time or bed time she goes running to her room. She’ll grab her blanket, giraffe and then pull out piles of books. She laughs at every page, no matter what the book even says. She’s just over the moon sitting together and reading books. When we picked her up from the nursery the other day after church, one of the volunteers even said she just wanted to be read to the whole time she was in there. I hope we can continue to foster her love for reading as she gets older.

1. Finley. hahaha. This girl is seriously the craziest little child I have ever seen. She is hilarious and so in love with her family but… If she doesn’t know you, hasn’t had a nap, or is in a mood. Oh boy. Watch out. I use to think Rowan was active but whew! I was wrong. Rowan is totally a first born (ever read one of those birth order books?). She loves to follow rules, gets very upset when she realizes she has done something wrong and has to take care of everyone. Finley on the other hand LOVES to cause trouble. And she does it with this mischievous little smile on her face that you can’t help but laugh under your breath at. She keeps me on my toes thats for sure. I’m not wishing away this age but I am looking forward to her being able to communicate just a little bit more so it’s not so frustrating for her. Almost 2 is a tough one.

2. The morning time. I am not a morning person. I’ve tried to be one for years, but I’m finally accepting that I am just not cut out for it. I’m a night owl through and through. Why don’t children sleep in? I’m not even talking super late. I would kill for like a 7:45am wake up time. I hear Moms saying they have to wake their kids up because it gets too late… Ahhh teach my your ways!!! No matter what time my kids go to bed, they wake up at the same exact minute every morning. If we get them to bed early that’s fine. They’re mostly rested and ready for the day (it’s still too early…) but, chances are we’re not getting them into bed at 7pm though. There is always stuff going on, or it’s just hard to rush through the evening when they don’t get to see Kev till like 6:00. They want to play with him and he wants to play with them. Rowan is finally at an age where I think she would sleep a little later but Finley is up at the crack of dawn screaming and crying for her. She always wakes Rowan up. They both have fans in their rooms for white noise and both the doors are closed but their rooms are right next to each other. Then Rowan is upset because Finley woke her up but won’t go back to sleep and Finley is tired and cranky because she still needs another hour as well. BUT NO ONE WILL GO BACK TO SLEEP. Why?!?!? Please tell me what time your kids go to bed and what time they get up. I am dying to know what everyone does.

Rowan: I am only good at one hiya ninja move
Me: What is a hiya ninja move?
Rowan: HIIIIIIIYAA! (as she jump and kicks her leg out).




^^playing hide and seek in the maze garden at the park





  1. Kasey O'Brien •

    Love this! Great memories for you all! plus all moms like to relate to other mommas out there. The goodness your sharing about the homeschooling makes me remember that warmth you get from actually taking designated time to teach your child and learn about them… so precious- hold on to that- its good stuff. I haven’t been working with my boys this year because I had told myself i still have the prek year next year and I have tried focusing on this blog idea??? Anyway Im ready to jump back into it. It’s very fulfilling for a mother and child i think. Also, love the shades and family photos suuupppaaa cute! have a good day girl!

  2. Whitney •

    6:30. Every morning. Without fail.
    Also, my third boy is 19 months and I feel ya. He’s more everything than the other two were. Completely exhausting, but completely heart melting.

  3. Laura Roberts •

    Our two little go to be together at 7.30pm (we have a nearly 5 year old and a 13 month old). The 13 month old usually wakes up at between 10pm-12am and come into bed with us for the rest of the night, he’s still breast feeding. The 5 yr old, she sleeps until about 8 at the weekends when we don’t get he up, but we do have to drag her out of bed at around 7am to get ready for school in the week! xx

  4. Love this post…makes me feel like you’re talking about my little ones! Siblings are indeed the best…love to see other moms enjoying the ups and the downs!

  5. Such a great post! My almost 3 year old does not go to sleep until 10-10:30! We put him in bed at 8:30, it just takes him forever to wind down. No matter how tired he is, the moment his head hit the pillow he is wide awake and whats to talk. But he does sleep until 7:45 – so that helps a little.

  6. Oh I feel ya on the whole morning thing. I’ve had to force myself in to being a morning person because I need “me-time” before the kiddos are up. Mine are 7 and 3 and will almost always wake up at 7. Sometimes the 3 year old will sleep until 8, but it’s usually 7 regardless of when they get to bed.

    We are currently in our third year of homeschooling. It has had its challenges but we also take it one year, even one day, at a time. I love having the freedom to pursue the topics that interest children.

    Also, thanks for sharing your ups and downs of parenting. It’s great to be able to cheer with you as well as know I’m not alone with raising a unique second child 🙂

  7. Jessica Thiessen •

    Ah sleep. The bane of every mothers existence. I too am not a morning person. You’d think that after a year and a half of never “sleeping in” (I had to laugh. 7:45 would be a sleep in over here too) I’d have the mornings figured out. Our 1.5 year old wakes up between 6 and 7 without fail. You are not alone.

  8. Ahhh I can’t imagine waking up at 7:45am that is so early! Thankfully my 3 year old sleeps until around 9 usually or I would go crazy! She also doesn’t nap, though, so that could be why. These photos are so beautiful!!!

  9. My daughter, almost 2.5, generally is in bed with her light out by 7:15, and she’s usually asleep by 7:30. She generally wakes up at 7, but sometimes (usually on weekends of course) she’s up at 6:45, sometimes she sleeps in until 7:45. During the week she needs to be up by 7 at the latest, and my personal feeling is that if I have to wake her up, she’s not going to sleep early enough. I will say that when she was Finley’s age, she was more consistently up between 6-6:30. This sleeping in later only happened this summer (hubs and I are teachers) after her second birthday, and it’s awesome, so maybe your girls will change a bit in a few months. She generally naps between 1.5-2 hours each afternoon, although some days she doesn’t sleep and just lays in her bed and plays with her animals.

    Luckily, my husband and I both have schedules where we are generally home by 2pm at the latest, but I still feel some days like trying to be actually sitting down for dinner by 6pm is hard, and we do need to be eating by 6 in order to get through the bedtime routine by 7:15. I am due with #2 in a month, and I am sooo worried about my daughter waking baby, and baby waking my daughter. The sleep stuff can be so stressful, because it can really make or break your day!

  10. I hear ya on the sleeping in… my wish is that I can lie in bed until 6:30am… argh!! My oldest (3.5) goes to bed at 8pm and most mornings I have to wake her up at 7:15am to go to preschool but on the weekends she sometimes sleeps until 7:45am… she is my good sleeper. My youngest (13 months) goes to bed at 7pm and is up anywhere from 5-630am… Its sad that I pray for a 6:30am wake up… but realistically it is normally around 6am… SOOOOO EARLY!!! I told my husband he is in charge of anything before 6am because I just can’t do it!

  11. i just love this, jen!! your girls are so precious and it’s so evident how much you love and adore them! you’re doing such an amazing job being their mama!!

  12. Just an idea… its what we do with my youngest (mind you she is only 13 months so it may not work when she is older). In the mornings when Finley wakes up early before Rowan, set aside a ‘special’ time for just her and you and/or Kev. It could be anything… mine loves books so its the only time of the day when we can lie in bed with just her and read her whatever books she wants to listen to. Since my youngest never gets one on one time she loves this with us. That way she isn’t waking Rowan up and gets some awesome one on one time with you guys. Just an idea… it may or may not work. As much as I hate getting up early I enjoy my mornings cuddled with my youngest in bed reading books while my oldest is still sleeping.

  13. you guys are so cute! i’ve just surrendered to the fact that i’m going to be exhausted until my kids are teenagers and actually like to sleep. it’s challenging! we put ours down around 8 – 8:30 and they are awake at 6:30 every morning, right on the dot! (ugh!) we recently put an alarm clock in their room and are trying to teach them that they have to play quietly with the door shut until the clock says 8:00 on saturday mornings. some days it works, some days it doesn’t but that’s the best we’ve been able to come up with in order to sneak in a little more rest! Xx

  14. I just love this post. I am a former sahm, and a huge part of me wishing I could stay at home with my children again. As a former teacher, and current principal, homeschooling is something I’ve always wanted to do. It would be nice if you shared a post related to homeschooling. I’m very curious (or maybe just nosey, ha).
    Thanks for sharing!

  15. Thank you for bringing this series back! I love reading about the trials and tribulations of parenthood and it makes me feel much more normal. I hear you loud and clear, no matter what time we put our 17 month old to bed, he wakes up between 6.30-7am every morning (only if he is sick will he sleep past 7am)! For this exact reason bedtime is usually sometime between 7.30-8pm. Like all kids, if he doesn’t get enough sleep he is a complete mess the next day.

  16. Jessica •

    I don’t know how this worked out for us, but our 18 month old sleeps 8:45/9:00-10:00 solid. He takes one nap 1.5-2 hours every day, sometimes longer of he’s teething of sick. The only thing we did was started sleep training him loosely using the Baby Wise method, just so he’d learn how to soothe himself. Once he had longer wake times and only took two naps a day, he slept longer in the morning. Evenings are brutal as a lot of the time I would like to put him down earlier, but it never goes well. Praying for you guys!

  17. Love these series. My kids usually don’t go to bed until 9. It’s never worked to get them in bed earlier with me working full time. I used to feel so bad that my kids weren’t in bed at 7, but you do what you can with your schedule and life 🙂 My son, at 4, sometimes takes forever to fall asleep. I’ll hear him in there until 10:30 or later every so often. Then he’s up anywhere from 7-8. My daughter, (who only started sleeping through the night at 16 mths), she’s 2 now, she would usually be asleep by 9:30 and sleep until 8:30-9. But several weeks ago, we decided to do shared rooms!!! Ahh!! It’s the sweetest thing, it really is, but I hear them whispering to each other until 10:30 or so EVERY night. My son gets up normal time still with out waking his sister (it’s a miracle cause he’s the noisiest kid ever). My daughter will get up between 8-8:30 now that big bro is in preK. You’re doing a great job and are always an inspiration. Thanks for being so honest, it’s a rare thing when you get to read about people’s parenting downs (even though we all have them). Thanks!

  18. My kids are early risers too. I am a morning person but still 5:30 or earlier is just too much. I have to actually be at work at 7 so I am up at 5:30 but whenever they wake up before me I hate it. Just recently they have been sleeping a little later to about 6-6:30 on weekends. I think it is just the age? My daughter is almost three. I don’t know but I feel your pain!

  19. Hey Jen! My daughter (20 months) goes to bed at 7 and wakes at 5/5:30. It’s totally tough. We’ve tried adjusting her bed time so much to find a good balance with her needs and our own, but in the end the wake up time never changes and she’s way too cranky if she doesn’t get down before 7:30 at the latest. It’s so hard, because it means we mostly sacrifice time spent with her and/or staying home when we otherwise might not have so she can get to bed early. I keep hoping she will start to sleep in more, but nothing we do in the morning seems to help either – giving her milk, bringing her in our room, seeing if she’ll fall back asleep if we don’t go get her right away, super dark room, etc. She’s been at this schedule for about 7 months. We have baby #3 due in January, so things will surely get interesting!

  20. Lindsey Taber •

    I’m on the same morning page as you. Even if I were to put my kids to bed at midnight they would be up by 7am no later. Usually they are in bed by 7:30-8 and they wake up between 6 and 6:45. I don’t know why but it could be 6:59 and it still feels like a sin to be up before 7am. Just that one minute makes all the difference to me

  21. Patricia •

    My 3 year old wakes up at 6am, no matter what i do. Can’t get him to sleep in. My 9 month okd is up no ‘ll ater than 630am.

  22. Thank you for pining for kids who sleep in. Mine sleep later, but eat horribly. What i wouldn’t do if my birds ate like yours! On our bad days, when i think “why can’t I just have good adventurous eaters?! Why can’t my girls be more obedient?!” I try to remember, every mom has their “if only”s.

  23. my 12 month old twins never sleep. Lol. They’re sleeping at 7:45 usually, are up several times a night, and get up for the day between 5 and 6. Usually closer to 5.

  24. Love this! Birth order is so funny…Everly is only 5 months but I can already tell she will be a different kid than Adelaide because I am a different mom now. Each girl has changed me in profound ways and so why wouldn’t they be totally different too?

    As far as bedtime goes we are a 7:30/8pm family. That gives me an hour to clean/tidy/prep for the next day and 30 min to an hour to do something to feed my soul like shower/paint/sew/read. But Adelaide (our oldest) has started waking up at 6:15 every morning demanding breakfast–ugh! She used to be a 7/7:30 riser and that extra hour is BRUTAL. But since Everly is still asleep it gives us good one on one time.

  25. NatalieW •

    My kids and your kids are like exactly the same ages. My daughter, almost 2, will sleep forever. She takes a great nap every day and sleeps 12 hours at night. My son, almost 4, is not a great sleeper. He has started not napping. I still put him in bed for naps, but he’s awake for 2 hours. Then, he goes to bed at 7 or 7:30 and keeps himself awake until 10. Then, he wakes up at 6:30! I think it all depends on the kid. We didn’t do much different with my daughter and she’s a great sleeper. Bedtime at 7 and she sometimes sleeps until 9 am. Maybe instead of fans for white noise, get an actual white noise machine. My kids have those in their rooms and that seems to keep my daughter asleep when my son is up and being loud.

  26. Emily M •

    I’ve got the opposite problem when it comes to the hours my kids sleep. They are 8 months and 2-1/2. The baby is usually down around 9 but my toddler is usually more like 10 and many nights has a hard time falling asleep even then. Sometimes (like last night) it’s after 11 until he passes out! This means they both sleep until at least 8 if not 9 and on some miraculous occasions 10. But it means I get no time for myself or with my husband. By the time I get my toddler down, I’m basically ready for sleep myself and I get up at 6:30 every morning and go to work before any of them even wake up. But getting them to bed earlier means I would get very little time with them at all until the weekend so I’m dealing with it for now and making time for me & the hubs when I can.

  27. I love these pics! I am seriously inspired to break out the tripod and take our own family pics after our last session 🙂 Especially love the pic of F in the air with Kev. So sweet!

  28. you guys each have a mini-me! too cute!!

  29. Love reading this post, Jen! Its been so amazing to see your family grow over these past few years! You and Kev have the sweetest little girls! xo

  30. My little one is just 7 months but he usually goes to bed at 7 and gets up between 7 and 8, he’s done that since he was a newborn. I think its temperament. I have a nephew that is 2 and goes to bed at 6 pm because he wakes up at 5:30 each morning. Eek! All the kids in that family are early risers and I cannot.even.imagine. While I have nieces that get up around 9 and go to bed around 10. Every kid is different. Even in the same family! It sort of stinks to have an early bedtime when I get home at 6 pm as its play for half an hour and then bedtime routine, but he is SO much happier when he goes to bed earlier and he wakes up so much to nurse that I feel like I get special time with him in the middle of the night.

  31. Oh my goodness…kids not sleeping in has to be the ONE most unflinching, unmerciful area of parenting. I don’t get it either. No matter what time they go to bed, it’s like they have a personal alarm clock built into their brain that tells them exactly when 7am is. We have two boys, 3 and a half and 16 months, and they are both go to bed at 7:30pm (which we JUST got established, previously it was more like 8-9pm), and then up at 7am. I had room darkening curtains in their room and falsely thought they helped for months before finally realizing that NOTHING is making those kids sleep any longer than they would without them! LOL. A couple of weeks ago, when I realized that “Fall Back” is coming, I had about two seconds of excitement at the prospect of gaining an hour before quickly realizing that it no longer matters, thanks to the little ones, hahaha! But anyway, before we know it they’ll be all grown up and we’ll barely remember what it was like to NOT be able to sleep in 🙂 Thanks for the great post, as always!

  32. I have a three year old and a four month old. We start the day anywhere between 6am and 7:30am. We’ve had the odd day where it hasn’t been until after 8, but those are very, very rare. Gosh I wish they would sleep in. Bedtime is around 6:30 for the baby and 7 for the three year old. I’m on maternity leave and my husband works from home, so right now there is no needing to stay up to see a parent. The early bedtime still means we need an early dinner and outings can’t go too late (we have broken our routine the odd time though), but I love that I get some downtime with my husband after.

  33. Misha French •

    Cutest family ever and I love these posts!
    I have a 22 month old and a just turned 6year old and BOY!!! So fun yet so crazy sometimes. (Both girls) we get the little down at 7pm and she’s up at 6:30am but I put 8 books in her crib the night before so she’s happy to read til 7:15 when i deem it appropriate to crawl out of bed :/ the older one goes to bed at 8pm and we wake her up at 6:45 to get ready for school. However on the weekends no wake up is necessary. Of course…

  34. We have three kids but we’re still working out the sleep thing for our 5-month old, so I won’t talk about her. =) Our other girls are almost-5 and almost-3. Our older is our “non-sleeper” and our middle is a better sleeper, still takes a nap most days but can go without if needed. Our 4-year old goes to bed at 7 most nights and sleeps until 6:30/7ish. In the last 6-8 months it has finally sunk in to not get out of bed until the first number on the clock is a “7”. She doesn’t always do it, but more often than not she will at least stay in her room until 7:00, so little sister follows suit. Our middle daughter goes to bed around 8/8:30 and sleeps until the same time. And in many hours of traveling (we live overseas) what we’ve found is that you CAN change a kid’s sleeping schedule…it just takes a few weeks of being intentional and having grumpy kids. So if you want them to go to bed later in order to sleep later, put them to bed at the same time consistently and deal with the grumpiness for a couple of weeks and eventually they’ll sleep in an hour (or whatever the difference is) later. Just make sure that (for example) if they wake up when the sun comes up that you have good black-out curtains so they can sleep after the sunrise. It just takes time and commitment, but it can be done. Good luck!

  35. You have the cutest family ever. I follow you almost 3 years now, and you are definitely inspiration to all of us 🙂
    Thanks for all of your life, family stories. In the process I learned a lot from you. Thanks. Mel

  36. Krystal •

    Oh Jen!!!
    I’ve been there!!!! My biggest boys woke up SUPER early for a couple years:(:( I am not a morning person either:( honestly no matter what time they went to bed they still woke up early. All I could do was get them to bed early. I STILL have to do this, even though they sleep a bit later now at 5 and 7. I honestly think some kids are morning kids! My 3 1/2 yr old isn’t… She loves to sleep and often sleeps in. (If no one wakes her!)
    I have no advice just wanted you to know you certainly aren’t alone!!!!!
    COFFEE UP!;)

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Hi, I'm Jen!

Welcome to my personal lifestyle blog. It features topics such as motherhood, family life, fashion, cooking, and all sorts of adventures. I hope you enjoy what you find!

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