Dear Mom Who Actually Enjoys Her Children

I see post after post lately comforting women that they are not alone in their depressing state of mind about raising children. As a mom who, yes, does struggle from all of the same things mentioned in these articles (I mean I have 2 boys fourteen months apart so of course it can get hard), I don’t find that any of these posts encourage me, but rather depress me that so many people are so frustrated in their life of raising children. I know there are some moms who truly do enjoy their children and so I write this for them and for all others who want to be encouraged to see the beauty in the little things.

Dear Mom Who Actually Enjoys Her Children,

Thank you for sharing your true beauty of joy with the rest of the world. Children are meant to be a blessing even on our toughest days. You display joy.

Thank you for remaining calm in the grocery store even when your baby is screaming at the top of his or her lungs. You display patience.

Thank you for telling your children you love them.. especially in front of a crowd. You display love.

Thank you for dancing with your toddler who went in the potty after 10 accidents that day. You display encouragement.

Thank you for getting up in the middle of the night to feed your baby while being grateful you have a baby to get up to. You display selflessness.

Thank you for saying you’re grateful to have your children (The last thing women who can’t have children need to hear is a complaint about the gift they wish they had). You display sincerity.

Thank you for getting your children out of the house to explore the world with them. You display a healthy love of learning.

Thank you for noticing and joining in the excitement of your 2 year old witnessing the fire truck driving down the street. You display childlike fun.

Thank you for expressing an attitude of gratitude when you find out about the surprise baby you are pregnant with when you already have your hands full. You display gratefulness. 

Thank you for swaddling your daughter’s “baby” for the twenty-sixth time today. You display patience.

Thank you for getting up to serve breakfast to your kids while you have the flu. You display sacrificial love.

In everything you do in your day, I thank you for having a joyful attitude. 

In everything we all do, let’s choose love and not complaining.

On my path to motherhood, there were a lot of hurdles I had to overcome (I will share this story in the near future) though not nearly as much as other women. Moms, let’s keep this in perspective when the temptation to complain overcomes us.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” ~James 1:2-3

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Happy Friday!

Gabe’s Birth Story

As many of my good friends know, Michael and I took a Bradley Method class while I was pregnant with Cale. This is a 12 week program in which you go for about 2.5 hours every week for training. It’s a natural approach to childbirth (and when I say natural, I mean without an epidural, etc. as this is the only true natural childbirth). I’ve been considering sharing Gabe’s birth story for awhile and, with his first birthday coming up this summer, I decided it was time…

I had been praying for a specific date of July 23rd (his due date was the 24th) and I went into labor with 15 minutes left on the 23rd and he was born on his due date! What an answered prayer! My water broke first at 11:45 pm, which I wasn’t happy about at the time, thinking it would be a more painful labor, but there was a pop and then a small trickle so it didn’t all break at once. Contractions started about 30 minutes later at 12:15 am and were 7-8 minutes apart. In between, I was cleaning the house and packing up a few last minute things. My mom was coming to take care of Cale while we were at the hospital so I wanted a clean house and I may or may not have put it off a little too long 😉

They continued moving to 6 minutes apart and then 4-5 minutes apart in the next few hours. I was leaning over the exercise ball with music playing and was sleeping in between contractions. We used labor massage oil and candles and it was a very calming experience compared to my last labor with Cale. During this time, my lovely husband took a nap 😉 … though I don’t blame him one bit as I was in control of the contractions at this point and he was fully expecting the 37 hour labor that it was with Cale.

At about 5, the contractions had been 3 minutes apart for a little while, and I got into the shower and that was an amazing pain reliever. It was amazing how much less painful the contractions felt! My natural epidural people!

Shortly after getting in the shower, the contractions jumped to 2-2.5 minutes apart, lasting a minute to a minute and a half. At 6am, I had less than a minute in between one and decided it was time to call our friend Jenny over to watch Cale until my mom got there. He had been sleeping through all this, which was perfect as I wanted to spend as much time at home as possible.

We headed for the hospital and, when I got there, a nurse that was leaving (it was shift change) came running asking if I wanted a wheelchair. I always have bad back labor so I yelled “No way!”

They sent me straight to a room and didn’t even bother with triage because they said “we can tell you’re not going home”. I was in transition throughout the walk in and was shaking uncontrollably and felt the need to throw up (tmi I know 🙂 I got there around 7 and was 7cm and, after some monitoring, my doctor came in and checked 30 minutes later and I was already 8cm. She let me get in the shower for awhile and then I walked around the room in between monitoring, which was only a couple times total. At about 9:30, I felt the urge to push, and they checked and I was only 9.5 cm because of some swelling. They had me lay on my side and that was the most painful experience of the entire labor! It felt like my contractions were on top of each other. My body started pushing on its own and I couldn’t stop it. After I began pushing, they checked and I was 10. I pushed for 23 minutes and our little Gabriel John Tyson arrived with a head full of dark hair!

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The nurses guessed that he was a low 7lb baby and he was 8 lbs 4 oz and 21 inches long! Overall, it was a great experience and my doctor was amazing and very naturally inclined and  so were the nurses. My doctor commented at my 6 week checkup that it was a great experience for all! I finally got my completely natural experience and I have several friends, my Bradley class from Cale (my instructor Laura), and Cheryl (who gave me my massages and was a pregnancy coach for me) to thank for it!

Memorial Day and Mama Bear

First of all, I want to take a moment to thank our military for the TREMENDOUS sacrifices they have made to serve our country. Words can never express how incredibly grateful I am and my family is. We know and recognize we could not live as we do today without this incredible sacrifice; however, I know I often forget it on a daily basis…

It really is sad how much we take our military for granted and how, even on the days that are supposed to honor them, we often neglect remembering while we get fat on hot dogs and hamburgers.

As I have had my own children and witnessed friends who had babies without their husbands there because they were serving, I understand even deeper the often forgotten sacrifice that both those who serve and their families give to us.

Yesterday, a beautiful video was shown at church to illustrate the extreme sacrifice and we had those who had served stand up. It was a blessing to be able to honor them; however, we just don’t do it enough… But with that, I will say… We love you and are deeply grateful for you!

Today, I took the boys to the pool while Michael worked (landscaping doesn’t stop for Memorial Day). We had a great time and it seems that Cale picked up right where he left off last summer. He jumped into the pool and started swimming to me and back to the steps over and over again. Gabe probably drank enough chlorine to last him a month with the way he was desperately trying to swim out of his float. I realized; however, that having two 14 months apart in the pool was not nearly as tough as I’d expected… But I admit, I expected it to be near impossible, especially since we do not like to do floats on Cale as we don’t want those to be a crutch and he’s so close to swimming anyway.

Either way, we had a great time and I was proud of both boys.

Mama Bear; however, did have to come out for probably the first time ever…

Cale was playing with his very much beloved squirt gun that is fairly new, but those who know him know he loves this thing. While I was nearby getting a fussy Gabe a snack, he accidentally dropped the squirt gun into the water from the steps he was sitting on.

This probably 8 or 9 year old boy saw this and swiped it right up and carried it to the other side of the shallow end…

… all under the watchful eye of his FATHER who did NOTHING!

Not a big deal, happens all the time. Parents don’t really pay much attention right?

Ok. This is true.

By this time, Cale was very upset that this very much older than him boy had taken his squirt gun for his own.

His dad even said “Hey buddy, look what you got!”

Oh no, he didn’t.

I walked right over to the pool and said “Excuse me, I need you to give that squirt gun back to me.”

And what did he say?

“Why?”

WHAT?!?!

And his poor excuse for a father didn’t say a word while he had watched the whole thing.

Then the disrespectful kid said “But I am having a squirt gun fight”

“It doesn’t matter what you’re doing with it, it’s not yours.”

Why do I have to be the voice of morality to a 9 year old whose parents should have clearly taught him these skills by now? How are so many children so disrespectful to adults?

Had that been Cale, I would have dragged him right out of that pool and made him sit out for the rest of the time while his siblings enjoyed their time.

Parents, please teach your children to respect EVERY adult and, obviously, be more respectful to children too. These are life lessons they need to learn in order to thrive in a grown up world.

We wonder why we have so many unsuccessful kids who mooch off of others for support.

They have never learned the meaning of respect. Respect for adults, respect for their peers, and respect for themselves.

 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

~Proverbs 22:6

Ok, now I’m coming off of my soapbox!

Here’s some fun pics from our day!

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Stay tuned for Wednesday’s post!

Top 10 Products Needed for a Newborn to 1 Year Old (from my perspective ;)

Alright moms…

… Here’s the post I’ve been working on for a little while.

I plan to review each of these individually over the next few weeks to give you a better idea of why each item has been so important to me, but here’s the list.

1. Aden and Anais blanket

2. Moby Wrap

3. Baby Bjorn Bib

4. Pack n Play

5. Magic Bullet for Making Baby Food

6. Exersaucer or jumperoo

7. Jogging stroller with swivel wheel (especially if you walk outside frequently)

8. Sleep sack/swaddler

9. Robeez or ministar shoes

10. Portable high chair/booster

These have had a vital part of my babies’ first year of life and I am grateful for the invention of them… I only wish I was smart enough to invent some of these things 😉

Stay tuned for the reviews of each product! And there may or may not be a giveaway of one of these products 😉

Happy Wednesday!

Birthday Party Pictures and Cheap and Easy Dinner and Dessert!

 

Well… Saturday was Cale’s 2nd birthday party and I’d say that we all had a blast! It had been raining a lot that day, but it let up just enough to have the party and cool it down a little! We had it at a local park and just spread blankets over a field and let the kids run around and enjoy the playground. I made an attempt at a planned activity, but the kids were having so much fun running around, only a few did it. We made bird feeders with pine cones, peanut butter, and bird seed. The same ones I remember doing as a kid!

It was good to hang out with both new and old friends and just enjoy each other’s company. Here’s some highlights from the afternoon:

ImageThis is when everyone sang the birthday song to him. He got super embarrassed 😉ImageThis was him enjoying the work of opening a present.ImageTurning away while they were singing to him. Too funny!ImageCale and his little posse! They had a ton of fun seeing how many kids they could fit into this wagon!ImagePose it!ImageWith one of his buddies Hannah!ImageUsing their “diggers” in the dirt! This activity went on forever!Image

Our little set-up. We did trail mix, dirt n worms, crackers and cheese, fruit, veggies, pizza bites, the cake, and lemonade and sweet tea.ImageHis cake and my attempt at decorating it for an outdoors party 😉ImageProbably my favorite thing about getting ready for his party. I borrowed this idea from several friends who have done it and was VERY happy with the ease of it and how cute it looked! I just took a plain piece of wood, chalkboard spray, and chalk! I followed the directions on the spray and, within a few hours, it was dry and ready to write on! Very fun!

 

Now, let’s talk about the cheap and easy dinner I am making tonight. It has quickly become a family favorite. See the recipe here: http://crockingirls.com/recipes/white-chicken-spaghetti/

I know… surprise surprise it’s a crockpot recipe 😉 But it is so creamy and full of flavor and all 4 of us like it! Plus I think I only spent about $7 total on it and I added mushrooms to it.

My cheap and easy dessert recipe I made last night when we had some friends over for coffee and dessert is pineapple dump cake. I learned this from my amazing mother-in-law and it is the dessert I always keep on hand for last minute get-togethers. This is all you do:

Take a can of undrained pineapples along with another fruit or pie filling if desired (I did pineapples and apricots last night) and spread it on the bottom of a greased 13X9 pan.

Then, sprinkle a box of cake mix (white or yellow) all over the top of it. 

Melt a stick of butter (1/2 cup) and pour it on top.

Then pop it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until golden brown. 

It’s delicious, easy, and perfect to keep on hand!

Hope you’re having a great Monday! Let me know if you have any ideas you’d like me to talk about on the blog!

May 16th~ Our Day in Pictures!

 

 

 

 

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We had a blast for Cale’s birthday yesterday! Began the day celebrating and didn’t stop until bed…

After surprising him with balloons, juice, and animal crackers, we visited his favorite person (daddy) at work and brought him a Chick-fil-a breakfast. After that, we went to the park with his friends and played on the playground, ate lunch, and went to see the ducks. His friends brought some surprises, including his new favorite toy…

His FIRE TRUCK!

After that, we had naps, and then ate dinner and went to Family Story Time at the library followed by ice cream at Chick-fil-a of which Cale didn’t eat any, but I enjoyed it! 😉

Overall, I’d say it was a fun 2nd birthday and we look forward to partying it up tomorrow!

Another Attempt at Saving Money for our Family of 4

Although we’re only a family of 4 and not 21 like the Duggars 😉

… We still go through quite a bit of laundry as I’m sure everyone understands, especially with a newly potty trained almost 2 year old! As of tomorrow!!!!

So I am attempting to save some money in this area of my life. I am making the Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap as seen on the Duggars’ website here: http://www.duggarfamily.com/content/duggar_recipes/30455/Homemade%2520Liquid%2520Laundry%2520Soap-%2520Front%2520or%2520top%2520load%2520machine-%2520best%2520value

I started making it yesterday and I’m finishing it today and will try it out later and keep you updated.

Here is a list of the cost for the laundry detergent, although I am making 10 gallons total:

  • 1 bar soap = $3.49
  • 1 box Washing Soda (55oz) $3.19 – Cost Per Cup = .46 cents
  • 1 box Borax (76oz) $4.49 – Cost Per Cup = .47 cents
  • Optional Essential Oil: Tea Tree Oil (1oz) $8.99 – Cost for 40 Drops = .72 cents

Total Cost for 5 Gallons or 80+ loads of Laundry Detergent = $5.17
Total Cost Per Load: Approximately .06 cents

I’m curious to see how this works and how much money it will save us in the end.

Here’s the soap “shavings”: Image

Yummy! Looks delicious 😉

Here’s what I have in the 5 gallon bucket so far:

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Stay tuned and have a great Thursday!

What’s in a second birthday?

My mind can’t even fathom the fact that 3 years ago on this day, I was a few weeks away from going in for my uterine surgery on a septum that was a result of a birth defect and gave me a 90% chance of miscarriage every time I’d get pregnant. And now, 3 years later, I have this sweet little toddler who we love to tell that his sibling before him gave of his or her life so he could be here today, even if he doesn’t quite get it yet. I love this little boy more than words can say, and I have the scars and the past to make me even more appreciative of the present.

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To celebrate, I’ll walk into this little boy’s room in the early morning and put balloons all over his floor for him to wake up to. I’ll then surprise him with a few of his favorites (a juice box, fruit, and the chance to watch Choo Choos~Thomas the tank engine~ or Money~ Curious George~). We’ll go out and blow bubbles then go pick up chick fil a and take it to his daddy at work for breakfast. After that, we plan to go to the park before naps. On Saturday, we’ll have his little get-together at the park and I’ll update you on that afterward 🙂

I want to take every moment to celebrate his life, not just on his birthday, because I am so grateful that he was entrusted to me and that I have this beautiful opportunity to teach him about the beauty in this world! How fun is that when you really think about it? You never see the world the same way as you see it through a child’s eyes.

Kingdom Living

As many of you know, my husband is a pastor, and even more unique than that, he’s a church planter. What this means is that we moved to Raleigh to start a church. This has been a roller coaster ride, but that’s a story for another day 😉

Anyways, our church has really begun to focus on kingdom living. And, while this is something that the body of Christ as a whole should focus on, I think that even those that don’t have a relationship with Jesus can benefit from this post.

We had Life Group the other night (this is a small group that meets in a home) and I learned a lot of new ideas, but it also spurred on a deeper thought process about this topic.

My personal definition of kingdom living is: my sole desire in life is to see more and more people come into the kingdom of God and for this to affect my life in every area, especially in the way I view others and care for others. In the end, it comes down to unselfish living.

Let me give some examples of the way this has either played out or should be played out in my own life:

  • Despite how many times someone ridicules me, I still see them as someone made in the image of God
  • Despite how much I want to walk away from a friend or family member that is no longer acting like that, I can’t because I want so badly for them to have a true relationship with the Lord.
  • Despite how much I wanted our first baby that I lost, I prayed that, if they would never come to know the Lord in this lifetime, that he take them to heaven now.
  • Despite how nervous I am to talk to an intimidating person about the way the Lord changed my life, I do.
  • Despite how tired or busy or frustrated I am, I do not use that as an excuse.

A famous comedian and well-known Atheist, Penn from Penn and Teller once said: “How much do you have to hate someone to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?”

Here is his story about this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mf5f_8kdI0

I mean if he, a devout atheist, believes this, how do you and I often…

… NOT GET IT.

We just neglect it in our daily lives. In the end, are our lives about how successful we are, what schools are kids go to, how much money we make, what homes we live in, or what clothes we wear and cars we drive…. SO many Christians get caught up in these things the same way as the rest of the world…

Or is it about teaching our children, our friends, our enemies, the stranger on the street that the Creator of the universe loves them, working to save the lives of people caught in the human trafficking trade, serving the poor without ulterior motives, and, ultimately, saving people from..

.. Eternal

.. Death.

Do you weep over a friend or even an enemy who won’t accept the gift of salvation and you know they won’t spend eternity with you?

So, let me rephrase Penn’s question by asking “How much do you have to love someone to share the only way out of eternal death?”

To All the Weary Women

To the woman who is weary because she is a single mom who can’t pay her bills…

… May you be blessed with peace.

To the woman who is weary because she can’t have a child..

… May you be blessed with comfort and love.

To the woman who is weary because her husband is deployed…

.. May you be blessed with strength.

To the woman who is weary because she can’t find someone to love her in return..

.. May you be blessed with joy in who you are.

To the woman who is weary because she is tired of fighting cancer..

.. May you be blessed with courage to fight another day.

To the woman who is weary because she is addicted..

.. May you be blessed with freedom.

To the woman who can’t find a best friend…

… May you be blessed with genuine friendship.

To the woman who is weary because her children have moved out and she doesn’t know who she is..

.. May you be blessed with joy to see the beauty of who you are.

Today, we celebrate weary women everywhere because, at some point or another, we’ve all been weary! Have a blessed weekend!