Living guilt free…

I couldn’t leave my last post just hanging out there, plus this is my 50th post on my blog so I decided it should be well-thought out.

Struggling with guilt is not easy, and I know I cannot be the only one who deals with it.  I decided to put a few thoughts together on how I am actually living out my new guilt free life.   They say it takes 30 days to shake a habit?  So why would it be any different when changing the habit of feeling guilty?  I am getting better…much better, but I know I need more practice at just “letting go”!

1) Blogging: As I write this blog, I am happy to be writing, but I will not feel guilty about NOT blogging for awhile.  Yeah, it’s true, I actually have felt guilty for the past 4 months that I haven’t written a single post.  This blog is more than just updating extended family on the kids, and showing off some pictures…I enjoy writing, but I just can’t find the time.  However, is it worth feeling guilty over and causing more anxiousness? Nope.  So I won’t be feeling guilty if you don’t see another post from me for 6 months.

2) Taking pictures with an actual camera…and then editing them:  I love my camera, and I love taking pictures.  It is just too big to carry along on excursions when I have so many other gadgets that need to be brought along to help with keeping three kiddos happy.  Plus, I have my phone, and it has a camera.  I have photos of my kids doing things…they may not be the best pictures, but Instagram sure makes them look good.  I have pictures nonetheless and I can quickly share to FB, text or email to grandparents.  I will not feel guilty that my children do not have pictures of everything they do as long as I am fully present with them no matter what we are doing.


3) My Phone:
I WILL NOT FEEL GUILTY FOR BEING ON MY PHONE.  –yes, I just said that! My kids and husband see me on my phone, a lot, but guess what,  my phone helps me do my job.  I’m not old fashioned anymore.  I do like the convenience of having everything in one place.  My phone is how my life and family are organized…it’s my recipe box, grocery list, Target list, reminders, family/kids calendar and activities, and not to mention my way of staying connected with my close relationships.  If I am out in public and looking at my phone, I am looking at lists or texting my husband while he is at work to see if he needs anything.  I will not worry that other people are judging me because I am on my phone while I am with my children.  My children know exactly what these phones can do…they know why I use it and what for…and yes, I randomly peruse Facebook but not at the expense of my children’s attention.

4) Facebook: Oh speaking of FB–I have a love-hate relationship with this social networking site.  I love it because I can see photos of friends and family far away and I can even upload a picture of the kiddos doing something fun.  I enjoy staying connected with so many in this way.  Then there are all those “good-read articles” that you see as you scroll down your newsfeed.  I read them, a lot of them actually, because I love hearing so many heart warming stories of people doing good and loving on others.  Then I read the occasional “i’m going to stop yelling at my kids” type of articles and I get a bit frustrated.  First off, I grew up in a home where there was no yelling…really, I have no recollection of really being yelled at.  I bet that was because I was so well behaved. HA! I used to actually cry when my husband would yell at our dog for something as I hated yelling that much.  Then I had kids…I learned to yell.  I don’t like it and I have been trying to yell less in my house, especially when it’s just not necessary, BUT…I will not feel guilty when I do yell.  Let’s face it, I have three kids, and they are going to fight, sometimes it is the yelling that only gets through to them.  I’m going to slip up and yell at a child who won’t put their shoes or coat on when I’ve asked them 3 times.  I won’t feel guilty, but I will say I’m sorry, ask for their forgiveness and move on.  If we feel guilty for everytime we slip up as a parent, especially in the yelling department, we are going to feel terrible about ourselves…at least I will anyway, so I’m just not going to do it.  I will end this part of my rant on a positive note…my kids know that I do want to yell less, plus they don’t like to be yelled at in the first place.  So I give them warnings, which are sort of my warnings too…I remind them nicely a couple times and before I flip my lid I let them know I’ve asked in my “nice voice” already and it might not be so nice next time.  It usually works, but if it doesn’t well, then, I might just yell.

5)  Healthy eating: Another area in which I am choosing to not feel guilty over is how and what I feed my family.  Oy-vey…this has been a big one for me over the last year.  I am overwhelmed with what I should and what I shouldn’t be feeding my kids.  I’m not saying that I’m just feeding them junk.  Far from it, actually.  I try my best to feed my kids a good variety of healthy fruits, vegetables, grains, etc. but some meals just aren’t balanced and that’s okay.  I read a lot of foodie blogs, and some that are specified for healthy eating for children…the goal in reading this kind of information is taking what you can apply for your house and your kids. While I continue to learn, and try new things in my kitchen, I won’t feel guilty for not being the best cook.

6) TV:  My husband and I gave up TV for Lent last year.  What a blessing that was for us…we spent more time together, in the Word and more importantly doing those things around the house and with our kids that we didn’t do before because we were watching TV.  I started to read more, which was something I could never find the time to do.  Other than a couple favorite shows that are only on once a week, I have continued to live without watching TV.  That is unless I’m doing my guilt free activities of laying around with my husband watching the Chiefs or KU or a 20-minute episode of Bubble Guppies with my kids.  The guilt of all my shows on the DVR was lifted…I didn’t care anymore if I had missed 10 episodes of my 15 year addiction to The Young and The Restless, or hadn’t watched my daily ritual of Good Morning America.  The truth behind it all was that I would watch them when I didn’t have the time, then I would complain that I didn’t have enough time, and then I’d complain that I wasn’t getting to do what I wanted to do like read, write/blog, or edit pictures I’d taken for fun.  So, I gave up TV, and haven’t really looked back.  I still watch my two favorite one hour shows every now and then, but now I read, write and do things for me. So, my  TV and DVR won’t leave me feeling guilty.

7) Scrapbooking:  oh scrapbooking…Lana, if you are reading this, you better have forgiven me for saying this even before picking up the phone.  I love scrapbooking, it is my one true hobby, but I haven’t done it in over a year.  My best friend and I have had some annual weekend trips where all we did was scrapbook for 48-72 hours with a bit of sleep in between.  It was so much fun!  I have two full books for my oldest son, a partial one for my middle daughter, and not a single photo scrapped of my 18 month old son.  And then there’s the baby books, but I won’t even discuss those…it’s the same as my scrapbooks.  I always said I wanted everything equal between all my children, but there is one and only one thing that they are all going to get from me that is equal and that’s my love.  Maybe one day they will all have a few scrapbooks that they can cherish, but instead I’d rather live fully with them than with feeling guilty about not having all the baby books, and scrapbooks done that I want to have, so I won’t…I won’t feel guilty.

8) Getting babysitters and leaving our kids with grandparents for trips with my husband: I see it on FB, and I hear it from friends…I hate leaving my kids.  It’s totally normal and I dislike it too…it’s hard to leave the kids overnight, let alone 5-7 nights, but it is so important.  If I can just say to those that are reading this…one important thing you can do for your marriage, is to escape without the kids and make time to connect just the two of you.  It helps make your marriage stronger and gives you the energy you need to parent as a team.  Do not feel guilty for getting a babysitter, do not feel guilty for going on date nights and do not feel guilty going on a vacation with your spouse. Your love is what created this life and in order to enjoy this walk of life, you need to be continually work on your marriage.  My parents are about to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary, yippee for them, but what an example for me.  Having kids in your home is really only a short 18 years of the many years of your marriage…as your kids grow, you grow and so does your marriage…grow together, change together and love deeper.  Get a babysitter and don’t feel guilty!!

I am beginning to think that my Skinny Pop moment was way more life changing than I’d originally discovered.  I am at a place in my life where I have finally realized my time on earth is precious.  Letting go just feels really good.  Stuff, things, and guilt cannot run my life.  I am blessed beyond measures with a man who loves, children who need me, and a God who gives me Grace to live each day fully and honoring to Him.

Go. Live. Guilt Free.
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Life lesson I learned from Skinny Pop popcorn!

Have you ever had one those moments when something so insignificant actually creates a profound thought or discovery?  Well, that’s exactly what happened to me just a couple of weeks ago while eating my daily dose of Skinny Pop popcorn.  If you don’t know what it is, you should definitely try it.  Skinny Pop is one of my favorite guilt free snacks.  Why?  Because it says so right on the package (lower right corner).  See for yourself:
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Let me preface this moment by saying that I’ve now officially been a stay at home mom for 3 years and although I feel extremely blessed to have this wonderful life God has provided for me, I still continue to feel guilty…a lot!  I’m not quite sure how it really started or even when, but there are things that don’t mean a lot in this lifetime, and I still feel guilty about them. And the worst part was that this guilt was due to me wanting to spend time with my husband, kids or do something for myself.  What a joke, right?

I often find myself thinking about what else I should be doing other than sitting and reading a good book while my kids nap, just sitting and watching a show with the kids because that’s all they wanted at that very moment or even while lounging on the couch watching a football game with my husband.  I shouldn’t feel this way nor should I act on those feelings.  It is important to have time for myself to recharge and it’s even way more important for me to enjoy some simple minded television watching while cuddling with my spouse.  Yet those little things that bring so much joy, are usually just a thought in the back of my mind because there are dishes to be done, or other household meaningless tasks.

Now it wasn’t until I had my oldest son home from school for Christmas break when that little phrase “Indulge Guilt Free” from Skinny Pop actually triggered something for me. The first official day of Christmas break I spent time with all three of my children together…building forts, playing games, coloring and eating snacks all day.  It was pure JOY!  The next day was Christmas Eve and I had SO much to do.  I felt guilty having “wasted” the whole day before getting nothing prepared for our Christmas.  Why in the world should I feel guilty about that?  Not sure, but it happened.

A few days after Christmas, my oldest and I were laying on the living room floor with a bucket of Lego’s enjoying what he calls “Mommy time”.  We had our snack of popcorn and possibly some dark chocolate, and we were building away.  This was relaxing, good quality time with my boy who was now in school more than with me.  I sat there feeling a bit fidgety as I always do anticipating what I would “get done” next as soon as we were done building.  Then as I took another bite of my popcorn, it slapped me in the face, the big Skinny Pop phrase “Indulge, guilt free”.  Why am I not FULLY enjoying this simple pleasure of quality time with my son?  It was then that I was set “guilt free”.  We moved on from Lego’s, to reading books, and downloading a new game on the iPad that has become a competition between the two of us as to who can get a higher score.  Since then I sit down often with no qualms, and enjoy these precious moments with my family.
It was a simple thought then but things really have changed for me over the last couple of weeks.  Guilt just isn’t healthy…it isn’t good for me to live with and it’s not good for me to always be somewhere else and not fully present with my family.  Adios to you my guilt…please do not resurface again when things change as they always do.

Camp Week = Life Lessons

It’s been over a week since we experienced our first week of camp, and I’m finally feeling like I can come up for some air.  Wow, who knew that having two kids in different camp sessions, and one in nursery all while I was volunteering would take so much out of me.  Thankfully, we gained so much more from our experiences than the energy we lost with being on the go.

To set up the scene for the week:
Parker was in Spotlight Youth Theater Camp which is an organization that focuses on  “Reflecting Christ Through the Performing Arts” from 9am-3pm.
Ryann was in Preschool Arts Camp which focused on God’s creations through the arts from 9-11:30am which is also where I was volunteering.
Garrett was lovingly cared for in the nursery at the church.

Mom’s life lessons learned:

Lesson 1: Planning and organization are ESSENTIAL in pulling off a week like this with 3 kids.  I would start my day by working backwards in time from when I needed to be in the van with all the kids buckled knowing that there would be traffic getting downtown.  I know the commute there and back is 20-30 minutes each which means if Garrett & Ryann do not eat lunch before we head back home they will fall asleep in the van; therefore, lunches need to be made and ready to eat at the church following camp. Packed lunches take some time to prepare.  The night before I lay everything out from clothes to lunch boxes and have the water bottles filled.  (I save the lunch prep til morning though.)  I wake up an hour before the kids to get myself ready, make lunches and have breakfast ready when they get up.  We eat, potty/change diaper, change clothes, brush teeth and are out the door!  No traffic, we are early…Day one=Success!

Day 2 does NOT follow suit.  I sleep 15 minutes later because day one went smoothly.  Garrett wakes up early needing tended to before lunches are made.  Ryann hollers from her bed before the toddler clock is green and needs to go pee.  I’m not ready.  We eat breakfast while I’m still trying to make lunches.  Garrett has a poopy diaper.  I’m rushing and break a glass dish…shards of glass fill my kitchen floor.  Everyone HALT!  I clean everything up…we are now late…Garrett poops again.  No one brushes their teeth and we get in the van…today, there is traffic.  We were 15 minutes late, but no one noticed…except for the kids, as they got the brunt of the unplanned, unorganized and frazzled Mommy!

Now I imagine there are going to be LOTS of mornings like this in the fall as I begin to figure out what life will be like getting 3 kids out of the house to walk one to school 5 days a week.  yikes!  Hopefully I can continue to plan and organize to make sure we have more successful mornings than not.

Lesson 2: Crying is NORMAL. Now you would think since Parker went off to camp for a full day away from Mommy that he would be the one crying right?  Nope, it was me!  This was the first eye-opener for me that the social aspect of parenting was going to be hard.  Since the younger two and I were having lunch after our camp ended, we would see Parker at his lunch time.  On Day One, he grabbed his lunch (super excited b/c it was the first time in his new superman lunchbox), sat down, opened it up and started eating.  Sounds good right?  Well, this is when I started to worry…here sat Parker, all by himself.  My gut sank, my heart thumped and my palms were sweaty.  He couldn’t see me, he didn’t know I was watching, and there he sat, totally content eating his lunch by himself while others ate in groups.  I continued to ignore the scenario and fed Ry & Garrett.  Our family pastor came over to talk to me and said “how’s he doing”…and I lost it…the tears were flowing.  He comforted me saying “You know this is normal, right?”…to which I replied “which part…me crying or him being alone” and he said “both”.  You see, anyone could attend this camp, and the majority of them were from other church campuses so Parker didn’t know anyone in his camp.  As the week went on, I observed this every day…Parker would grab his lunch, sit down, open it up and eat happily, but still alone.  He would ask his teacher to open his yogurt or show her his treat for the day, but never really mingled with other kids.  On day four, something was different, he sat down with his lunch, opened it up and grabbed something out and just sat there…he looked around, put everything back in his lunch box and moved over to a group of kids to sit with them during lunch.  This was the “normal” part our family pastor was telling me about…Parker learned about courage.  He took it upon himself to move into a group of kids and joined in on the lunch conversations…this is when I cried again.  It wasn’t much, just a few tears as I was really proud of my boy!

I’m just grateful I was able to observe this and hopefully it’ll be less of a shock to me in three weeks when Kindergarten begins.

Lesson 3: Identifying strengths vs. weaknesses in our kids.  This was the biggest lesson I learned this week.  Now, this doesn’t mean that I’m always pointing out weaknesses in my children.  But what it does mean is that I think I have tried to connect my weaknesses to my children when that just might not be the case.  So, the example above with Parker at lunch time, was something we talked with him about every day…he didn’t seem bothered, camp was fun, and he was excited to go back every single day.  I was in the backyard playing with the kids one day after camp, and our neighbor was visiting with me about the camp. I was telling him about Parker and the situation, and how I was sad for him…and he said “why?”, my reaction was “because I don’t want him to be alone. I am afraid it may take him a while to make friends in school.” He response made so much sense to me, “but he is confident on his own, isn’t that a good thing?  You have instilled confidence in him that he isn’t afraid to be independent.” That point from an outsider looking in, made my week.  It helped me see Parker’s independence as a strength…one that will probably continue to build his confidence in all areas of life.  I can definitely say my self-confidence wasn’t as strong as Parker’s at 5 years old.

Parker’s life lessons learned:

Lesson 1: Lunch time is too short.  “Mom, they never let me finish my lunch.” and “Fruit roll-ups take too much time to open and eat them.”.  Looks like I need to limit his lunch time at home so he gets some practice eating without playing and talking too much.

Lesson 2: Scheduled potty breaks are important to take. For the first two days, I would pick up Parker at 3pm and he wouldn’t have used the restroom since 8:30am when I had him go before camp started.  He has always had some holding power, but he was dancing by the time I picked him up.  He now knows the importance of using the scheduled potty breaks.

Lesson 3: Money for snacks = junk food.  In the parent notes of the camp instructions, it said we could send $0.50 for snacks.  My assumption was that they weren’t allowed to take the time and get into there lunch boxes middle of the morning or afternoon.  By day two Parker was complaining of a stomachache.  As I asked what he had throughout the day, I found out that his morning snack was a 6 pack of Oreo’s day one and a bag of Doritos on day two.  I definitely give my kids plenty of junk food but nothing on a regular basis let alone in the morning.  Parker realized on his own that a granola bar was a much better choice…to avoid the stomachache.

Lesson 4: “True friends are the ones who don’t tell on me.” This one was a self-learned lesson.  Parker had said the word “butthead”, yep, my kid uses naughty words every now and then, especially when he doesn’t think mom or dad will hear.  Parker told me he said the word while he looked at another kid, but he wasn’t calling him names.  This young boy wanted to tell on Parker, but the little girl sitting with him said, “we shouldn’t tell on our friends, he said he was sorry, and I don’t want him to get in trouble.”  Thankfully Parker had a good friend sitting next to him, hopefully he will remember this scenario and return the favor sometime.

Lesson 5: I might be a little shy.  Parker participated in a showcase on the last day of camp.  While all the other kids were jumping, waving to their Mom and Dad’s, he just sat there and wouldn’t even smile at Chris or I.  The production went on, he danced and sang, but with not too much reaction to anything else going on.  Each group would go up to the microphones for their skit and as Parker’s group stepped up, he was still sitting.  I knew his line as we had practiced it that week and I knew it was coming up…I felt helpless as he was still sitting there.  20 seconds went by which felt like forever and his little friends start yelling “Parker, it’s your turn…Parker, get up here”…he slowly walks up there and with an angry look stands at the microphone like he’s not going to say anything and then quickly says his line “wait, you heard that”…below is a quick video of it.  Parker said afterwards that he had fun but maybe it’s just that he’s shy sometimes.  I’m sure it had a lot to do with first time stage jitters!

We all had a blast at camp and learned so much.  I love that I’d ask Parker every day what he was doing and he’d tell me they played games and sang songs.  Not once did he mention that he was dancing and then at the showcase on the last day he dances the choreography to 3 songs. I’m sure there will be a lot from school he won’t be telling me too…I’ll have to get used to not knowing everything and being okay with it! We all learned a lot during camp week…mostly what to expect when Kindergarten starts in just 3 weeks.

My daughter, my middle child, My Girl!

About a week ago I started to feel like I was missing out on my little girl growing up…she is changing SO fast.  Okay so maybe I’m not really missing out since I am with her every day, however I’ve started taking those moments to really look at her sweetness, listen to ALL she has to say, and realize that her heart is EXACTLY where I want it to be.  This moment below happened last week and it’s what really opened my eyes to the beautiful little girl we are raising…

I’m in the kitchen doing dishes and Ry walks into the room with her backpack on and looks at me and smiles…

Ryann: Hi teacher!

Me: Oh hello student, are you ready for school?

Ryann: Yeah!

Me: Great, what do you want to learn about today?

Ryann: Um, Jesus!

Melt my heart!! We do our best to raise our kids in a Christian home and to show them all the ways that Jesus loves them.  Other than signing “Jesus Loves Me” every chance she can get, Ryann just hasn’t talked about Jesus or asked many questions, which at 2 1/2 years old, I don’t think we should expect much more.  The fact that she asked to learn more gave me the perfect opportunity to talk more about Jesus with her.  Then it wasn’t but a couple of days later and Garrett was in the living room and crying (probably hungry b/c that’s about the only time he isn’t happy), and Ryann says “It’s okay, Garrett, God is with you!”  Moments like these two are signs that we are on the right path for now!

Now, onto what it is that makes My Girl the sweet, spunky little princess-tomboy that she is…

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She LOVES the outdoors, just like Mommy!

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Mommy’s scarves and heels are the best accent to any dress!

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See the band aids? That’s almost weekly, however, it doesn’t stop her one bit!

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This is usually what happens when I ask the 3 kids to “pose for a picture”…she has to do a dance, or make a funny face!

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She LOVES ice cream, just like Daddy…this is a special treat for these two (and Parker)!

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See the band aids? Dressed up like a superhero!

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Pure beauty!

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She still holds my hand…

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And smiles!

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Yep, ice cream again!

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This is sweetness…watching a show in my bed!

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Spiderfireman…you know them right?

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She loves to play hairdresser and do my makeup! We love to paint nails too!!

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AND, this is how she eats a donut! Why not?!

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Adoration!! She adores her big brother more than I can put into words!

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A true sense of style!

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Joining in on dressing as Mr./Mrs. Opposite for Parker’s preschool.

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Ready for the zoo…look closely, we managed some cute pigtails!

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PRECIOUS…she says “Garrett, don’t you love the fish?”

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Her favorite animal at the zoo, the giraffe!

Do you have someone in your house that randomly says “I love you so much!”?  This happens so often from her and I’m totally milking it…I’ll be honest and say that I’m not naive, I know what the teenage years mean for her (and me)…I was a teenage girl at one point too. <<Cringe>> I should just start tallying how often she says it now and remember it on those challenging days later in her teens.

One of my favorite things Ryann will say is “Smile, Daddy!” and it’s usually at the dinner table.  She knows how to get to his heart…it’s not that he’s unhappy, it’s just that she wants to see him smile At Her!  It’s too cute!

I’m grateful to have a daughter, this daughter!  As a mother of 3, I sometimes feel like it’s not easy to make those special moments with each child individually, but really all it takes is slowing down and looking at the small moments in life that God gives us each and every day!

“Enjoy every moment, they don’t stay little forever!”

I remember the day like it was yesterday when we brought home our 5lb baby boy.  I had just entered motherhood for the first time and this little boy was so tiny yet so precious.  For the first few days of his life we had to use a SNS (Supplemental Nursing System) so he could quickly get back to his birth weight and to avoid the ever so sneaky jaundice.  It didn’t take this boy long to jump ahead and gain those adorable little thigh rolls, arm rolls, and chubby cheeks.  The day I packed away his preemie and newborn clothes was the first time I could appreciate the statement of “enjoy every moment, they don’t stay little forever”!

Just a few months later, my 9 month old bouncing bean was pulling up, signing his first words, and running around in 18 month old clothing.  This was the size he wore until he was 2 years old.  As he started to walk, run and be more active the weight just dispersed and he became a little taller (not much for this shorty) but enough that for his second birthday we told everyone to go ahead and get 2T…what was this?  Toddler clothing?  Did I really have a toddler on my hands?  Well, yes, I had a toddler for a few months prior but why did the clothing size now matter?  I’m not sure, other than it was another one of those moments when I stopped to think “enjoy every moment, they don’t stay little forever”.

Somewhere between the ages of 3 and 4, my first born discovered the sizes on the tags in his clothes.  This became a major deal breaker for him if he were to wear something that had a different size on it than his age.  For example: my active boy has always been a size or two behind so when he was 4, 3T jeans fit just fine (length and all), but in my son’s eyes…he was no longer 3, those had to go, and he would only wear 4T!!  I took on the role of helping meet this need and did some washing to shrink some of his new 4T favorite pjs and shirts so he could feel the older, wiser 4 year old that only wore 4T!

Fast forward to this year and we are moving from 5T to the boys section…the transition in between has been difficult both for Mom and Son!  He turns 5 in just a few days and although 5T is what he could be wearing, he now knows the T stands for Toddler…another issue for him.  “Mom, I’m no longer a toddler, I shouldn’t be wearing 5T.”  So I oblige and here we are, shopping in the “boys section”…a whole new world of colors and styles.  This for me was another eye opener as it was a glimpse into the future, the boys section, where we will be for the next few years as he grows into a young child and enters elementary school… “enjoy every moment, they don’t stay little forever”.

Lastly, during a disciplining moment this week I said “You are 5 years old, you should know better than that.”  Once that bout was over with, my sweet little boy says “Mom, why did you say I was 5 years old…I’m not 5 yet, I’m still 4!”  Wow, he was so right…a little lesson brought to me from my 4 year old…DO NOT HURRY THE DAYS AWAY, “enjoy every moment, they don’t stay little forever.”

To my Parker–my sweet little first born, as you turn another year older in just a few days, I want you to know that I am doing my best to enjoy your every moment as I know you are no longer little in your own eyes.  As you enter the boys section, I hope you stay innocent through your eyes, confident in your heart, and strong in your abilities to be who God wants you to be.  I love you~Mommy

So I’m THAT kind of Mom…

You know the sayings “I’m not sure whether I’m coming or going.” or “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.” or “I can barely keep my head above water.”?  These are usually stated because we are over-scheduled, overtired or unorganized…and then there are days when it seems it’s all of the above.  For the past few months my goal has been to S-I-M-P-L-I-F-Y!!  This goes for everything that I do for my family so that we can all be more relaxed, less rushed and all around joyful.  However, not all days run that smoothly and I am still learning how to not be living in those idiom moments.  I’m learning that “I am still THAT kind of Mom.”

I’m THAT kind of Mom who just wants a peaceful shower…that’s it…you see this shower curtain?  It’s like the Great Wall of China–no intruders, please!!  Yet I still hear “Mom, Mom, Mom” from the older two or crying from the baby in the johnny jumper bouncing in the bathroom doorway.  However, I’m also THAT kind of Mom that answers to “Mom, watch this” so I can see my child’s latest dance moves even if it means standing with my shower curtain partially open freezing my tushy off.  The reaction my kids receive from me depends on the day…

I’m THAT kind of Mom that if I’ve had that blissful shower and actually got myself ready (hair and makeup included) and then I show up to preschool pick-up I hear “Oh, where are you off to today?”  As if I needed somewhere special to be going?!  Ha!  Truth is, they are right…if I’m going to be “seen in public” (eg: Drs. appt, museum/zoo visit, lunch playdate) then I attempt to fix myself up, otherwise I am THAT kind of Mom that walks around day or night in her infamous Black Yoga Pants and all natural, aka no makeup!

I’m THAT kind of Mom who will…run through McDonald’s and get my kids the unhealthy quick lunch but not buy it for myself.  Also still getting them Chicken McNuggets when I have seen what they are made of and, I’m also THAT kind of Mom that says “Dang it, yesterday we had McDonald’s and today really needed to be a drive-thru McDonald’s day, ugh!”

I’m THAT kind of Mom that will sing at the top of my lungs in the van with my kids.  I’m also THAT kind of Mom that will yell at them and beg for 10 minutes of peace and quiet while we are driving because they are making me go bonkers.  It depends on the day (and traffic too, if you live in the city-yikes)!

I’m THAT kind of Mom that will drop all my “to-do’s” no matter the time of day because the snow is falling and it’s the perfect time to build a snowman or because the sun is beaming and we need to go on a walk or run off some steam at the playground.  I’ll drop everything and go.  Yet again, I’m THAT kind of Mom that will turn on the TV and ask that you sit there for 20-30 minutes through one show…just one, please?! so that I can have some peace in the kitchen and actually get a meal made without you asking me four times if you can have a snack, if lunch is ready or are you done yet?!  Yes, TV is used in my house as a babysitter…I’m THAT kind of Mom!

I’m THAT kind of Mom that wants to blog all the time, like the other million Mom bloggers, and share my stories, the successes and failures, in hopes that it can impact someone.  But, I’m THAT kind of Mom that knows my limits and the truth is, time doesn’t allow for me to sit down uninterrupted at a computer long enough to unload my brain.  So I blog what I can about our life to share with our family and friends, along with whomever’s eyes this reaches, and hope that as my children get older, I’ve memo-ed the big stuff and left them a mini paper trail of memories.

There are days when I feel “Okay, I got this Mom of 3 thing down!”…and then there are days when I feel like I’ve lost all control of my life…the house and kids are running me instead of the other way around.  But every night, I lay in bed next to my beloved and pray–we pray!  We thank God for our many blessings and for guiding us through the struggles we face in our daily routines which in return He gives us the opportunity to teach our children valuable lessons.

Then every morning I wake, I thank God for His Grace and the privilege to try again to be THAT kind of Mom HE wants me to be!

Ziplist–helps get dinner on the table.

One thing I struggle with as a wife and mother is getting dinner on the table. It sounds simple…just make dinner. But this is one huge process that I continually battle.  There is so much to think about in order to just get one meal prepared (from planning to shopping then preparing). But thanks to Ziplist, I’ve kept this New Year’s Resolution of ‘cooking more’ alive…past the first month of January anyway! Here’s how it helps…

1) Menu planning–I hardly use a cookbook unless it’s our “family cookbook” with our favorite go-tos.  Some of my dinner ideas come from a folder I’ve gathered of torn out recipes from magazines such as Real Simple, Martha Stewart Living, etc.  However, the majority are found online from a quick Google search on “crockpot” or “easy chicken dinner” or “healthy kid meals”. Over time I have gathered recipes on mom blogs and by following food bloggers, and I just email myself the recipe. Well, I now have 168 emails in my cooking folder and 48 in my favorites folder. What a waste of time it is for me to dig through those emails to decide what’s for dinner.  Ziplist solves this problem, here’s how:  add a “Ziplist Recipe Clipper” bar to your toolbar (found on their website) then when you find a recipe you like (from anywhere online) it adds it to your online account. No more torn out pages for me…everyone is digital now so I find the magazine recipe on their site and add it to my Ziplist. All my recipes are organized in ONE spot!

2) Grocery list/shopping–This has been a hard transition for me because I like a pen and paper list, however, saving time is becoming more of an appeal to me. Once I have added the recipe to my account, I can open it and click “add to list” which then pops up a screen with two parts: “Items We Think You May Need” and “Items We Think You May Have”…all you have to do is uncheck or check the items and BAM! they are all on your grocery list. You can have a template shopping list of your “staple” items, ie: milk, eggs, fruit, which you can also add with one quick click.

3) Ziplist also has an app for the smart phone! Although I know it’s not a must to have a smart phone, I will say it’s been an added bonus for me as my menu and grocery list go wherever I go! When I am sitting in the van waiting for a child to wake up from a nap or picking one up from school, I can quickly search a new recipe or add some items to my grocery list.

Keeping things planned, and organized yet simple, are essential for me in order to be successful in cooking dinner for my family. Otherwise it results in unhealthy options of ordering out or the boring staples for the kids of mac & cheese or hot dog. (Don’t get me wrong…my kids LOVE those options, but if I don’t offer new and exciting things for them, they will continue to be picky eaters.)

Some of you may ask, “but isn’t this a lot like Pinterest?”. In terms of searching for recipes the answer is YES.  For me, it does avoid the option of getting on there for a quick recipe and an hour later realizing I’ve found 5 new projects that I’d love to do in my free time, 10 new sweet treats I’ve pinned for after the diet’s over and the new solution to curing my winter dry hands (lots of those on there too) and then darn it, I have to go change a diaper or break the kids up from fighting and I am still asking myself…”What’s for dinner?!”

So just try it…check out Ziplist, add the recipe clipper to your toolbar, download the app, start adding your favorite recipes, plan the 5 meals you are willing to make this week, add it to your grocery list, and take your phone and go make some healthy meals and make your life a tab bit easier!