Wednesday, September 29, 2010

1st Bilberry and Roach Camping trip 2010

Last weekend we had our first ever Bilberry camping trip.  We were able to meet up at Lake Catherine near the Hot Springs area in Arkansas with the Roach Family.  It was such a relaxing trip.  Our time was spent watching the kids dig in the dirt, throw rocks in the lake, play on the playground, going for  nice leisurely stroll, eating good campout food, and having good late night conversations.  Keenan and Jeff  also took the older kids for a game of disc golf Saturday afternoon.

I had this all organized into a movie set to music, but blogger decided to change uploading format once again and I couldn't get it to upload.  Just when you figure out the old format it switches to a new one.  Grrrr!  Therefore, it is a little picture heavy.  Somehow, Sara managed to escape our camera.  Next time you have to pose for us Sara!

My favorite part had to be at night when the kids were all nestled in the tents, watching the moonlight reflecting on the lake, and sharing good conversation and laughter as adults.  Good times!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

New Approach

I know I've been speaking a lot about daycare, but it has been all consuming lately.  It feels good to hop on this blog and talk my way through my problems. As I've mentioned before, little gal has been a bit of a bully.  She hasn't hit or pushed lately so that's good.  But she CONSTANTLY stealing toys from others.  I have tried and tried to get her stop, but this language barrier is TOUGH!  On days she is not here, Bren is so pleasant.  On days she is here, Bren whines practically the whole day because she is always having her toys stolen right out of her hands.  Very trying on this Mama's patience.  I have started walking at night after bedtime just to rid my body of the stress that comes with trying to break up toddler fights 8 hours a day. 

It has become so stressful that the new baby I started watching is no longer with us.  He was a demanding little fellow and it was too difficult to tend to his needs and work with the toddler issues at the same time.  His mother was not sure she could keep him in full time care anyways because she was probably going to move, so perhaps it was for the best.  Out of all the kids I have watched these past 4 years, I have never dealt with a baby that demanding.  He wasn't the best fit for the daycare at this time.  So.....I keep looking for the right child and trust God will provide him/her.  Perhaps the timing on it just wasn't quite right.   Ideally I'd like to find another preschooler so little man has a buddy when Kadyn goes to school.  We shall see.  Finding children that age range has proven very difficult. make a long story much shorter as I tend to ramble, I have decided to take a new approach.  Brennan still struggles with speech, but her language acquisition is sooooo much more advanced than little gal's language development.  I decided that perhaps the best solution to my toy stealing problem was to teach Brennan the best skills to defend herself.  Brennan literally just lets little gal walk up to her and take toys out of her hands.  Now, I'm not suggesting she do anything inappropriate like hitting or pushing.  I do not think, however, that it was out of line to teach her to hang on to her toys and say "no" to the toy thief.  Perhaps if stealing toys wasn't so easy, little gal will stop.  We shall see. After all, it's very rare for little gal to take a toy from the big kids.  Bren is just too easy of a victim and she has come all to accustomed to depending on me to run to her rescue.

The big kids and I did a little role playing for Brennan to watch how to hang onto her toys.  Then we had her practice it while we tried to steal them from her.  She was understanding the concept I could tell.  We still need to work on her grip though.  This morning little gal has been stealing in full force.  Much whining has taken place.  I keep reminding her to hang onto her toys.  If she doesn't I just tell her she will have to find a different toy; I'm hoping that eventually she will start to understand I can't always run to her rescue.  Bren is not to happy about my new approach, but what is a Mom to do?   I hate that I can't stop little gal from stealing toys.  Ultimately I'd much rather teach her to stop than be forced to teach my daughter to just hang onto toys for dear life.  However, I also can't stay sane when I'm having to walk away from the kitchen 20 times in the middle of cooking to try to figure out what little gal stole, so Brennan will stop whining. Brennan's whining really is just her way of being a tattle tale.  She can't say the words, but I know exactly what she would say if she could say it, "She took my toy...waaaaa!"

So here's to a new approach.  Wish me luck.  One thing is for sure.  By the time I'm done having babies, raising toddlers and preschoolers, and doing daycare, I will have developed a patience that defies all logic.  I ought to be awesome as a Grandma.  World's most patient Grandma!  Funny how the one thing I've always felt is my biggest weakness my entire life is the one thing that God has forced me to deal with in a BIG way as a parent.  I feel like I need a medal or something.  This is tough!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Met my match

This week I started a new little one.  He is two months old and he is DEMANDING!  He's the kind of baby that always drifts off when you feed him.   Then when you lay him down he wakes up and starts crying.  You pick him up and his eyes roll in the back of his head.  You lay him down and "Waaaa!"  So not really colicky per say, but demanding for sure.  I've finally figure out that instead of feeding him in my arms, if I put him in his crib and feed him I don't have to move him a,nd he stays asleep......most of the time.  It's not uncommon to think you've got him down and then he wake up and discovers you are not holding him and.....well you get my drift.

The kids have spent a lot of this week holding their ears.  They're not quite used to having a little screaming baby around, but they do adore him none the less.   Let's face it, there are 4 other children that have to be fed and two of them have to be changed.  Then there is preschool time, craft time, toddler time, and story time.  The toddlers are very hands on at the moment as they are always getting into squabbles and are learning very slowly that good friends don't steal toys from one another, hit, or push..  I can't hold a baby the entire day.  Some screaming has to take place so I can take care of everyone's needs.   I thought about using a carrier, but it is just so hot and humid that I think we would both die; I am moving around so much during the day that I am typically burning up most of the day without carrying a baby, especially when I cook and clean.  Thank the sweet Lord Kadyn LOVES babies.  She has helped me out a lot with this little guy singing to him, dancing for him, even holding his bottle so I can fix lunch and snacks.

It's been a very stressful week to say the least.   And to top it all off, all three of the kiddos I watch are in broken families.  That has added quite a bit of drama to my week.  It affects their kids and it in turn affects me.  Many of the behaviors I battle are brought into my home because they are learned from other homes.  I can't help but think God must be bringing me these families for a reason.  I feel we have become a safe place for these children.  I prayed when we moved to our home that God would use our family and our home to bless others.  I guess he is answering that prayer.  I adore these mothers and admire them for their courage and strength.  I pray for them and their families and my heart aches for what they have to go through.  It makes me realize that even though this is stressful, I am glad to serve them.

Let's just say that I end my week completely spent. Jeff has to work all night tonight and all day both Saturday and Sunday, so I won't get much of a break, but I must say watching the girls is a breeze compared to what I do on most days.   I am so thankful I have the kids I do.  They are soooooo easy compared to most kids I see.  I am really, REALLY blessed.  Most days I am so appreciative of the opportunity to do what I do because it allows me to stay at home with my children and it gives them exposure to other children which I feel is really important for their social development.  For the longest time we have found a good rhythm that has worked really well for everyone.  The addition of this new demanding fellow has been tough.  I'm doubtful it will be for long though as the mother may be moving soon to a new town so I will be looking for another shortly.

So you may be wondering.  Why the addition of another child when it adds so much stress to my day?  Let's just say, I have goals and in order to achieve them, we need a little more income.  I am convinced that in time we will find a new rhythm that works well for us.  And with a little patience and guidance, children outgrow their difficult phases.  Exhausting....absolutely, but if it helps me get to my goal, it will be worth it and every stressful day molds me into a better mother, wife, and overall person.  I feel like I have had to learn more patience now than I have my ENTIRE life.  As I have said in another post, God is sustaining me.  I can feel his presence everyday helping me.  Without that, I think I would go insane on some days.  I'm not entirely sure we will reach my goal, and this could all be in vain, but I will never know if I don't try.

So feels good to talk about it.  When you spend the entire day with five little buggers pulling you in a thousand different directions and no adult to talk too you have to find a different way to release.  This post just helped me do just that.  Thanks for reading.  I feel much better.  Now if I can just make it until 8:00.  I have a date with a Grey's Anatomy rerun and half a tub of Ben and Jerrys double fudge brownie icecream.  Ahhhhhh!  Sweet release!

P.S.  I am SO over my sugar hiatus

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Can you guess?

Kadyn drew these recently.  Can you guess what they are?  Not bad for 4.5 eh?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Snips of the last couple weeks

Here's a little taste of the last couple weeks.  First up a trip to the park on a daycare day.  My littlest daycare gal was gone this week, so I loaded the three kids I had and we went on a field trip to the park which also included a neat creek to wade around in with lots of minnows and snails to play with.  It was fun!
Preschool time inlcuded a rather large unit on nutrition.  We made a ton of crafts which included a food group mobile,
and other various paper crafts.
 The kids also got to get a little messy on bread group day.  We made a teddy bear out of bread dough.
There were also some silly times.

These last few weeks have also brought out some interesting critters.  First time we've ever seen a live armadillo.
and a baby snake which we are praying isn't a copperhead, but sure looked like one to us.  He's dead in this picture and his body is twisted, so it's really hard to see his true coloring.   
There was all the precious artwork that Kadyn just decides to whip up randomly. Here's two of my favorites.  As you'll notice her name is backwards. I can't seem to break her of drawing letters backwards.  She says she wants to be an artist when she grows up.
Lastly, there were messy faces.  I wonder when they actually outgrow getting this messy.
Goodbye dear summer of 2010.  We will miss you and think fondly of you!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

That was easier than I thought

As I mentioned earlier I have been tapping into parenting resources to try to improve my skills.  That book Parenting with Love and Logic was top of my list of books to read.  I'm only half way done but decided to give it a test run tonight.  I have read it before and have always used some of the suggestions to an extent, but after reading it again and freshening my mind, I felt top of my game tonight.

Getting Kadyn to bed has often times been a big head ache to me.  She dawdles doing all the things it takes to get ready for bed.  It's not uncommon for her to take 45 minutes to do something that should take10 or less. Picking up her toys can take FOREVER because she always finds an excuse to get distracted.  I find myself constantly reminding her to stay on task and physically and mentally exhausted.  I feel like a nag, and I hate that feeling.

So tonight went down a little differently.  It went something like this:

Me:  Hey Kadyn!  I just wanted to let you know that I'm feeling really tired tonight, and I'm not sure I will have much energy left to put you down tonight if you take a long time.  Really it only ought to take you 10 minutes to get ready for bed.  I can't control how fast you go, so I just wanted to let you know if it takes more than that, I probably won't be able to put you down tonight (the kid loves having us tuck her in at night).  You'll have to do it yourself.

Kadyn:  Well what gives you more energy?  What can I do to give you more energy?
Me:  Well, when I don't have to ask you to stay on task that helps.  That always wears me out.
Kadyn:  I'm going to get ready SUPER fast!
Me:  That sounds like a good decision.

(5 minutes later)

Kadyn:  I'm done!
Me:  Wow!  That's amazing.  It only took you 5 minutes. Your fastest time ever.  I'm so proud of you!  You're really growing up.  You even have 5 minutes left.  Hey, I have an idea.  Do you think you could pick up your toys?
Kadyn:  Um.....well...uh...maybe.  I'm not sure I can pick up Bren's room in 5 minutes.
Me:  That's OK, I'll get Brennan's room.  Can you at least get the living room done?  That will make me feel better knowing I don't have to spend more energy picking it up tonight.
Kadyn: O.K. (2 minutes later)  Mom, I get more energy when I sleep and I'm not sure I have enough energy to finish the living room.
Me:  I understand.  That's no problem.  You don't have to finish it tonight.  You'll have sooooo much energy when you wake up and you can just get it done before breakfast.
(slight pause)
Kadyn:  Nah, I'll get it done.
Me:  That's a great idea.  Then you can just get up tomorrow and watch your show and eat some breakfast.  Man you're really growing up.

She was just beaming from ear to ear as I showered her with compliments.  It really does work.  Now....if I can just keep coming up with clever comments on the fly for other things.  Better get studying.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

He sustains me

These last couple weeks have been really trying in the parenting and daycare department.  Brennan and my little gal have been going through some difficult toddler behaviors.  They are behaviors that are not uncommon to the age, so that has given me some comfort that it's not something I'm doing wrong.  Anyhoo.. last week my little gal had about a three day span where she just decided that she wanted to be held all day and if I didn't oblige she was going to scream at the top of her lungs.  It didn't matter if I sat down next to her and offered to play one on one with her, she protested unless she was plopped in the middle of my lap or being carried around.  This was quite exhausting, especially considering there were 3 other children that desired my attention.  What it finally took to break her of it was just ignoring her screams and going about my play with the other children as if nothing was wrong.  Occasionally I'd try to engage her in what I was doing and eventually she quit her tantrums and turned back into a sweet little girl, or at least for the rest of what was left of that week.

Flash forward to this week.  I try to spend quite a bit of quality time with the little gals every morning and then try to devote my one on one time to the big guys during nap time and devote a good chunk of time to reading stories to everyone in the afternoon.  We do have two stretches of time where they are expected to self play without my help.  Once in the morning and once in the afternoon.  I swear within 5 minutes of walking away to prepare lunch or a snack, someone is screaming. 95% of the time the one offended was Bren and the offender was the little gal.  She has picked up some very bad habits at her home because she has two older siblings who can be very aggressive and fight when they don't get their way.  It amazes me how a 13 month old can come at my 21 month old with pure anger written all over her face and just attack her.  Usually it's because Brennan has something the little gal wants.  Most of the time Brennan has done nothing to provoke it.  My girls have never been like this.  They've had a few spiffs here and there, but nothing that compares to this.

Brennan being such an emotional child gets her feelings hurt very easily by this aggressive behavior.  Today I tried to get the little gal to say she was sorry in sign language and give Brennan a hug.  Bren was scared to death to let her hug her.  I felt so sorry for my sweetie. What's bizarre to me is that all this aggression is coming from such a tiny and young person.

I have been at a complete loss on how to teach this little gal that being aggressive towards others is wrong.  She doesn't understand much of anything yet and certainly isn't talking.  I've tried some sharing games to encourage her and teach her about taking turns and sharing.  Her attention span is very short.  I'm talking she can only sit through 2 pages in a book short.  I have tried my usual tactics to help enhance her language acquisition which include pointing to things to label, label, label.  Asking questions to get her interested in something so we can further explore things with language. I try reading to her everyday.  I sing to her and try to do nursery rhymes with her. She just can't sit still for longer than a minute and so this part of her learning has been very difficult.   Too me, it seems that cognitively she won't grasp that being aggressive hurts until she has a better mastery of language.  Yes, appropriate discipline at this age mostly consists of redirection, but does that prevent it from happening again?  Certainly not.  At some point the little gal has got to learn that those behaviors are unacceptable.

So anyhow, between dealing with this and Bren's constant whining (which I attest to the fact that her language skills are just emerging and she can't always communicate how she feels or what she wants) my patience has been tested more than it has in a long time.  BUT....somehow through it all I've felt sustained.  This is not to say that I have been able to completely suppress feelings of frustration over it, but it has given me a drive to figure out an appropriate way to deal with it so that I can stop the behaviors and return that peace that the house once had before little gal turned into a toddler.  I am driven to be a better mother and a better care taker to these children which means guiding these little lives into learning right from wrong .  I have checked out parent help books from the library and ordered my own copy of Parenting with Love and Logic.  I read it years ago, but it is now time to refresh.  I am arming myself with an arsenol of ideas to help me overcome.

Through it all though, I haven't forgot to consult God in prayer.  It may be as simple as taking a moment and saying, "What do I do God?  Can you help me here?"  I even pray in front of the children before our meals for everyone to get along, share, and be nice to each other; I find it no coincidence that my time with the children is often better after those prayers.  I admit that I am not perfect and am in need of guidance.  He's is teaching me. I am listening. I am learning.  I have to say the only reason I feel as though I haven't lost my cool is because I feel him sustaining me.  The old postpardum version of me would've flown off the handle and lost my cool countless times by now.  It amazes me how differently one's perspective becomes when you remember to consult the greatest parent of all.  He can't help you if you don't first invite him to help.  As my mom always says, God is a gentleman.  He would never impose.  He's just waiting for you to ask.

Thank you Jesus.  This is a tough job, but you have held me up through the challenge;)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Some day

I know I talk about this a lot, but I guess a lot of thoughts have been stirred up today after reading through this book I checked out at the library yesterday called, The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone.  Honestly I didn't have a clue that Alicia Silverstone was even vegan until I happened to see her on Oprah and heard her mention she wrote a book.  I was obviously intrigued.  The transition to vegetarian was so much easier than I expected, but I told myself there's no way I could ever be vegan.  Give up cheese, eggs, milk and other dairy products!  No way! 

On the show she kept saying that her recipes are so delicious you don't feel like your giving up anything.  She also said that you'll feel better, look better, etc. etc.  I was curious.  At the beginning of the book she makes the most compelling case against consuming any animal products.  Most of it is all health related and she is sure to site many studies.  You get a good picture of  what animal products do to your body and how your body will react when you switch to this diet.  At times it almost seems a little cheesy as she talks about how she just "loves" more as a result of this new diet.  And of course, no case could be as compelling without a few miracle stories of people who had cancer or other illnesses that magically disappeared on this diet.

Then she moves on to teach you how to shop for healthy whole foods, which one to buy, and lastly a bunch of recipes for these.  It really is very thorough and takes careful time to address typical questions about going vegan.

I would love, love, love to try this.  If it really is as good to your body as it claims to be, prevents you from ever getting sick, makes you feel better than you ever felt  makes you look better than you ever looked, and it really is as tasty as she claims, why wouldn't I?  Here's the but husband is tolerant of my recent switch to becoming a vegetarian.  If I were to take cheese and dairy out of our diet...he may disown me.  Also, let's face it, to eat this way I would have to go to a health food store to buy a lot of products for our meals.  Those products aren't exactly friendly to the shoestring budget we live in.  It would take a lot of time and preparation to make a switch this drastic.Being a mom and daycare worker doesn't leave me with a lot of time to prepare stuff like this.  Half (if not most) of the products listed in these recipes look like a foreign language to me.  I suspect that I could spend hours in a whole foods store just reading the boxes and labels and figuring out how to cook the stuff.   And I can't even imagine getting the kids to eat these foods. 

I already get crazy looks from many people and even judgmental snickers from others about going vegetarian.  I just chalk it up to a lack of education.  People just ASSUME that being vegetarian means food will taste bad.  When you know the truth, you almost feel sorry for those people.   

So.....someday.....someday I am going to try this.  I may hate it, I may love it. It may have to wait until my kids are grown and gone and we are no longer supporting them so I can afford to buy these new and healthy foods.  But...I am putting this on my bucket list of things to try before I die.  Even if it's for a month, I want to try it.  Who knows, maybe it will help me kick that sugar addiction I so long to kick.  Alicia says it will LOL. 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Things I've learned

These past 5 years have been huge learning years for me when it comes to parenting and children in general.  So many highs and lows.  I really feel like a yoyo sometimes.  But after raising two girls and watching up to 6 children in the past  several years that are not my own, I have come up with the top lessons I've learned and wanted to share when it comes to raising young children.  This is long, but if you need a refresher on some of the top parenting tips (many which I'm sure you already know or have heard) this post is for you.

1.  Parenting requires the most patience you have ever had to give in your ENTIRE life. 
2.  Children are like gas tanks.  If you they don't have their fill of you, you can bet your pretty pennies that they will challenge you.  Children with full gas tanks always behave better.  They need time and attention from you to be filled.
3. Schedules (in my opinion) are a must.  Children who know what to expect are less likely to act out.
4.  Snacks ALMOST always will save you when you are out in public.
5.  Children need adequate sleep and if they don't get it you better bet they are going to act up.
6.  It is OK to expect children to entertain themselves, for their own good, and for your sanity.  It really is an important developmental skill. 
7.  Reading to your child is one of the most beneficial and important things you will ever do for them.  Children who grow up with a passion for reading fostered by their parents usually have a passion for learning.
8.  Never expect a child to act a certain way unless you yourself model that behavior.  Monkey see monkey do.
9.  Always try to remain calm when disciplining your child.  They need to be focused on their behevior not yours.
10.  Make play time learning time.  Young children, especially, learn through play.  For example, instead of asking them to make you a meal in their play kitchen, ask them to make a plate with three different foods on it (counting), or make a plate with red food (colors).  You get my point.
11.  Always foster creativity.  Crafts, coloring, painting are wonderful ways to do this and they do wonders for fostering a love of learning because they are awesome teaching tools.
12.  Always offer choices (only ones you can live with).  Use a little "Parenting with Love and Logic."  It's good stuff.
13.  Put yourself in their shoes (this has been especially helpful to me when I am working with other people's children).
14.  Remember the age you are dealing with and don't expect them to act years beyond their current age.
15.  Never beat yourself up if you fail, remember tomorrow is a new day and another chance to get it right.
16.  Potty training will NEVER be the same experience for all children.  Each one in his or her own way and time.
17.  Be on the same page with your spouse on parenting. 
18.  Physical activity is so important for children, give them opportunities to move often.
19.  Children need to be around other children.   It is so important for their development.
20.  Children need to be around other adults other than you.
21.  As draining as it may be, stay on top of children to use their manners, show respect, always tell the truth, and to show others love (especially to their siblings).  I willing to bet, in the end you'll be glad you did.
22.  Don't forget to discuss God's word and use that as a tool when disciplining children.  Let them know his expecations of them.
23.  When you feel like you are about to loose it, confess that to him, ask for his help, calm down, and listen.  9 times out of 10 you'll know what to do.
24.  Don't forget to feed yourself and who you are.  You can't loose your identity in your children.  They need to see that you are a real person with other passions and hobbies, not just their Mom or Dad.
25.  Don't forget to feed your marriage.  When all the kids are grown and gone, you will have each other.  Keep that connection alive or you may be looking at each other and wonder who you are as a couple.
26.  Let your children fail.  Failure is sometimes a better teacher than anything you could ever do or tell them.
27.  Let go of the control.  (this one is tough for me sometimes).  For example, the only way they're ever going to learn to use a spoon is if you quit spooning it in their mouth.  The only way they'll learn to drink from a real cup is to take away the sippies.  Sure, it's going to be more, messy work for awhile, but in the end it will make your life A LOT easier.
28.  Let your children see your emotions good and bad.  It teaches them how to deal with them in a healthy way. 
29.  It's OK to admit that you screwed up to your children and apologize to them.  It teaches them that no one is perfect and that sometimes the right thing to do is admit that and say you're sorry.
30.  Be on your knees in prayer for your children.  They need this now and forever.  We fight a very strong enemy out there and he would like nothing more than to get his mitts on your precious little people.
31.  Be on your knees in prayer for yourself.  That same enemy may try to use your children to make you wallow in self pity, doubt, fear, and anger.  Also, don't forget to pray for him to guide you in how to be the best parent you can be.  He loves teaching you how to do this, if you let him. 
32.  Don't isolate yourself from other couples and families, especially if you have no family in town.  Young parents NEED a support system and need to show support to others too.  Making new friends at this stage in life is tough, the only way to do it is to just get out there and make it happen.
33.  Having fun and making memories with your children doesn't have to cost money.
34.  With each year of age start giving your children more responsibility, but not more than they are capable of bearing for their age.  Children should all learn how to be contributing members to their family.  Mom and Dad are not their slaves.
25.  Teach children a love of giving and helping others.  It models Christ in their lives.
26.  As hard as it is, don't nag your children.  Instead get clever.  Their are so many parenting resources out there that can give you different ideas of how get children to do or stop doing certain things.  Go out there and find them.   The only way you are going to know if they work is to try them.
27.  If a certain method isn't working, find something that does.  Don't beat a dead horse.
28.  All children will be picky eaters at some point.  Feed them at the appropriate times a well balanced healthy meal.  If they don't eat it, so be it.  Hunger is a better teacher than you shoving it down their throat.  Let them have the control of choosing to eat it or not.  If they don't, it was their choice to starve, not your bad parenting. And negotiating (don't think of it bribery) is a useful tool here too.  "You eat 5 bites of broccoli and you can have a little bit of dessert."  The idea is to get the taste in their mouth so they start to acquire it.  Most children don't want to try something they don't recognize.  The more they put it in their mouth, the more familiar the look and taste will be, and you'll be surprised how often they start to actually like it after using this technique.  Before long, negotiations may be a thing of the past.  And a little side note here, resist to the urge to say I told you so if they don't eat it and complain about being hungry later.  Just say something like, "Good thing I'm going to cook you a nice healthy meal or snack at "such and such" time. 
29.  While we are on the issue of food, I am a firm believer that a healthy diet is crucial.  It prevents behavior issues, fosters a healthy body and brain, and teaches them how to take care of themselves and make good decisions on what to put in our bodies.
30.  Last but not least, remember that your children are not your own.  They are God's children, given to you to borrow for a short time.  Make the most of your time with them because you don't want to look back one day and realize it is too late.  No regrets.  Send them off to start their lives knowing you did everything you could to make them be happy, successful, and full of God's love.
By the way, I in no way think of myself as an expert. Many of the things in this list I have come up with by trial and error.  Sometimes it just feels good to write it all down.  It's a lot to take in and it will serve as a good reminder of what works, if I ever forget.  Hope you can get something out of it too.