Sunday, November 3, 2013

What's my excuse?

Over the past couple of weeks, the internet has been a-buzz with the picture of the fit, buff mom with her three little ones and the caption "What's Your Excuse?" Some moms were offended by the insinuation that if you didn't look like this woman, perfect, that you needed an excuse or were making excuses. Some were offended because they knew that getting their bodies to look that good when having children would involve spending a lot less time with their children. I was not offended. In fact, I thought of all the excuses that I make. I sit around when I could be exercising, and I don't have to go to the gym to do it. One of my favorite Facebooking mommies, Crazy Mommy Keeping it Sane, was inspired to ask her readers to post their "excuse" pictures. So many of these moms looked really good for having children, but they looked no where near as fit as the mommy in the original picture. They knew they weren't perfect, but they exercised (and some didn't except for chasing their children!) to maintain or to lose weight and get healthier. This was even more inspiration for me.

THROWBACK! Me and my family - I think this was taken about 12 years ago, well before kids. I'm the one in the middle in the grey sweater and glasses.

I am pregnant right now and I have problems with my feet, so it's hard for me to get a lot of exercise. I still try to play with my children, go for walks when it's nice out, etc. I know that I need to get more in shape for myself and my children. I was thinking...what is an excuse anyway? I always think of excuses as lies. Like saying your dog ate your homework because you didn't get it done or calling in sick to work when you were really just out partying too hard the night before. Maybe that's why moms were offended when they were being told that they were making their children an excuse.
So, I consulted and looked up the meaning of the word "excuse".

an explanation offered as a reason for being excused; a plea offered in extenuation of a fault or for release from an obligation, promise, etc.

In this definition, our children would be excuses for our flabby bellies. I can see that...

The one I always think about is:

a pretext or subterfuge

What's a subterfuge? According to it is an artifice or expedient used to evade a rule, escape a consequence, hide something, etc.

Do you see why some might be offended, being told they are lying or trying to evade something and using their children to do so?

So instead of being offended, I came up with reasons why I should get in shape!

Let's replace our "excuses" whether they are legitimate or lies, with reasons that we should be in shape! I may never look like that woman in the photo, but I don't expect to (besides, she was probably air brushed anyway!)

Pregnant with baby boy #1 who is about to turn 1 year old next week. At my heaviest, about 225 lbs.

I am going to turn my excuses into reasons!

Excuse 1 - I have problems with my feet! I have bone spurs and they are very uncomfortable.
Why is this a reason? The more weight I lose, the better they feel. I am not afraid to talk about the numbers on the scale so I will say that I weighed 225 lbs when I gave birth to my son. I am only 5'3", so that is a lot of stress and pressure on my feet. By the time he was 4 months old, I had lost 40 pounds and my feet barely hurt at all. I have gained some of that back since I am pregnant again, but the knowledge of how much the weight loss helps is a reason for me to work on my weight loss after my next child is born.

Excuse 2 - I am so busy with my Master's degree work.
Why is this a reason? I recently read an article in Prevention magazine where Dr. Travis Stork said that one of his mentors once told him that he should never ask a patient to do something that he wouldn't do himself. I know that exercising makes me feel better, happier, less lethargic. When I am counseling, I know that I should not tell my clients to exercise so that they will feel better if I'm not doing it myself!

Excuse 3 - I have two kids (and a third on the way).
Why is this a reason? Simply put, I am going to have a 2 year old and a 10 month old at the same time down the line. First, I'm going to have a newborn and a 14 month old at the same time. I need to be able to keep up with them! I want to be able to play with them and have enough energy to get through the day. Also, I need to make sure to eat healthy and take care of myself while I am pregnant and breastfeeding.

In Feb. 2013, after I had lost 40 lbs and before I got pregnant with baby boy #2. I weighed about 185 here. Excuse the dirty mirror!

So, instead of being offended by this picture, let's all take the opportunity to think of our excuses and how they can also be reasons for us to get in shape. It's not just about how we look, it's about how we feel!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Discovering my purpose

Over the several months that I have been writing this blog, I have been asked a few times why I decided to pursue the counseling profession. I thought it was time to share my story with my readers.

I didn't start here. I had always wanted to be a teacher. I had teachers that inspired me as a child, and I thought that was my purpose as well. What I've discovered is that you should use others as an example, but you shouldn't try to be others. You are yourself and only yourself. While I was in college, I discovered that I really enjoyed my Psychology courses. I had to take a lot of them because at the time I was majoring in Special Education. The thought crossed my mind a couple of times that maybe instead of pursuing teaching, I should pursue counseling. I dismissed it. I enjoyed working with children, so I should be a teacher, right? I finished college with my degree in Elementary Education and started looking for a teaching job.

It wasn't easy. I interviewed at job fairs and heard nothing. I applied in every school district and heard nothing. Finally, I applied for a job with Early Head Start. I got the job working in a classroom with infants. Though this wasn't elementary school teaching, I enjoyed it. The people that I worked with were great people for the most part. (There is always a bad apple or two.) I was working there for about six months when I got pregnant with my daughter. I had been working there for almost a year by the time I had to go on maternity leave.

When I came back, things were a little bit different. The teacher that had worked with me before had left, and there was a new teacher. I was a little more stressed because I had to take care of babies all day and then come home and take care of mine, but it was all right. The next year was when everything changed. We had new supervisors who were out to get everyone. Our classrooms didn't have walls (long story) and I had to work with toddlers instead of infants (difficult when you have a toddler at home too). The prior summer, there had been a family gathering and I took my daughter and my boyfriend. One of the supervisors had it in for me from that point forward. I have a strong feeling it was racially driven (she was not happy that I was white and my boyfriend was black), but I didn't know what to do about it. I started to have health issues (bone spurs and other foot problems). Ultimately, that supervisor made up a lie about me. I couldn't disprove it and she said I had to either resign or be fired. I resigned.

I tried to get back into teaching. I substitute taught one time. It just wasn't in me anymore. My spirit had been broken. I wanted to help children, but this was not the way to do it. I didn't feel that I could help children the way I wanted to help them. There was not as much opportunity to concentrate on helping each child individually as I thought there would be. I thought it over for a long time. I prayed a lot. I had a new job (in customer service) for almost two years before I made my decision. I was going back to school for my Masters degree in Clinical Counseling.

How did I come to this decision? I prayed, read my Bible, thought about it, wrote about it, took assessments to discover my strengths and personality traits, and finally came to this decision. Ultimately, what brought me to this point was listening to God. Some people say God doesn't speak to us anymore. He spoke to me. It wasn't a booming voice from the clouds. He spoke to me through his spirit and told me this was what he put me here to do. As I've been attending the church that I intend on staying with for years, the church that I finally feel that I can be a part of, I have discovered that God put us all here for a reason. God knew who we were and why we were here before we were even born. If God is telling me this is why I am here, God can't be wrong.

I am getting very close to finishing my degree. I am on course 12 out of 20 courses. I will be delayed a little with the birth of my third child in January, but I will get right back on track again and finish up my courses. I am excited to begin my clinical hours in about a year and learn everything I can to be able to fulfill my purpose.

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Why it's important to read to your baby

I was an Early Head Start teacher for almost 3 years. During the course of this job, I learned a lot about how babies learn. Did you know that ages zero (newborn) to three years old are the most formative years for a child? These are the years when the most brain development occurs. Babies and toddlers are ALWAYS learning. It makes sense. EVERYTHING is new to them!

I once talked about reading to my baby and someone asked me, "Why would you read to your baby?"
Author Emile Buchwald said, "Children are made readers in the laps of their parents." This is so true. How do children learn? By observing! If a child never sees their parents reading, the child will probably not view reading as something that is important or fun! So how can you help to instill a love of reading in your child?

- Read to them! You can start this when your baby is just a few months old. At first, he will just listen and look at the pictures. As he gets older, he will try to turn the pages and grab the pictures as you read. When he is old enough to talk, he may even repeat some of the words. Many parents establish a bedtime routine for their babies to help them sleep better at night. Reading a story before bed is a great part of a bedtime routine and you can carry it on throughout childhood.

- Expose your child to books. As early as 6 or 7 months old, let your baby sit on the floor with books. Of course you want to get board books and soft books that are safe for babies. IT'S OK FOR THE BABY TO PUT THE BOOK IN HIS MOUTH! As long as it's a sturdy book, it's totally fine. Babies experience the world with their mouths. This is how they will experience the books. Let them do this. As they get older and as they watch you read the books to them, they will start to try and turn the pages themselves and pat at the pictures in the books.

- Repetition is key. If you are a parent, you know that your child asks to watch that same movie or TV show over and over again. Why not do this with books as well? Find books with phrases or words that repeat. When your child is a toddler or preschooler, he will love to repeat or say phrases of the book along with you.

Remember these things and you can get your child started on the reading track early! Happy reading!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Then and Now - Family TV Shows

The television shows out there today are not near as good as they were when we were children. Or let me modify that statement. The television shows for KIDS are not as near as good as they were when we were kids. Unless of course you look at PBS. PBS still has some great kids programming. But let's take a look at THEN versus NOW...kid's TV shows.


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Clarissa was a fairly innocent junior high/highschool girl, learning about life. Carrie will later on go on to write about Sex in the City. Which one do you want your daughter to learn from?


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I happen to think that the new My Little Ponies are kind of cute and the show is not near as cheesy as the old one, but some think that the ponies being "slimmed down" is a sign of our society putting so much stress on the pretty. I think both styles of ponies were pretty and I think the new ones are just more "Anime" looking because that's the in style thing these days.


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I won't get too far into the reasons I really don't like this show, but for a show that is about a family, I don't think it is really a show you should watch with your family. Maybe your husband or wife, but not the kiddos! Not like you could with Full House, Family Matters, Step By Step, or any of those great TGIF shows from way back!

You are free to form your own opinions. These are just a few of the differences, and I definitely think that THEN was better than NOW!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Tell Your Mountain How Big Your God is!

For day 14 of the July Blogger's Challenge, the challenge is to write a post about faith. This fits right in with my plans because I wanted to post about this and we've been talking about faith in church lately.

What is faith?
Hebrews 11:1 says "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Recently, our pastor has been giving sermons about faith. It has been a whole different approach really to the way that I was taught previously. It was always, "Well, you can't change some things, but oh well. Just accept it. Have faith." Like somehow that makes it all better. Faith should be powerful, but lately, looking at it from the above approach, it has made me feel weak.

I was not expecting to have another child. I'm not prepared for this, and neither is my wallet! Everyone kept telling me, "Have faith. God will provide." That didn't make things any better. So I just sit here and wait for God to provide? What do I do until then? I do everything I can to change things. Then people tell me there's some things you can't change so just leave them to God. I never really understood what that meant.

Then my pastor said something profound. Declare it to God. Have faith that it will be, and it will be. Don't make your prayers be a begging session. Tell God that you know that he can provide for you. Do what you can to change things, of course, but also pray to God with confidence, with faith, with boldness. It will happen!

This changed my total perspective on things. After all, doesn't the Bible say that we can move mountains?
Mark 11:23 says "Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them."

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If we have faith in what God will do for us and we declare it with faith, it will happen. Since I've had this perspective this past week, my outlook has been so much sunnier. I've had some bad things happen to me this past week at my job, but it's just slid off my shoulders because I have faith that God knows where I am supposed to be. I am working my way towards achieving His calling for me, and I have faith that it will turn out right.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Letter to my Husband

I don't usually do this, make my feelings about my husband public. He's not one for PDA's. But I thought that this letter challenge was an opportunity to share my feelings, without getting too mushy, of course. So, here goes.

To my husband:

I want to thank you. I want to thank you for being there for me. Things have gotten rough for both of us at times, and I always know that you will be there for me no matter what.

I want to thank you for putting up with my quirks and understanding my struggles. Not every man would put up with his wife not knowing how to drive and being chauffeured around town. I don't think I let you know enough how much I appreciate what you do for me.

I want to thank you for being a great dad. You are the best dad our kids could ever ask for and everything I expected you would be. I know you didn't have a lot to model from, but you just have a natural knack for all things "Dad".

I want to thank you for doing everything that you can to provide for our family. I know it's been hard, and I also know that you can and will do even more. Just have faith.

I am so blessed to have spent the past 10 years of my life with you and the past 3 years being married to you. Each day I will strive to be the best wife I can be and I look forward to many more years with you.

Your wife

Ok, so I hope that wasn't too sappy or embarrassing. :)
That's my letter!

Monday, July 8, 2013

You've Got Questions, I've Got Answers - PART TWO

And now....for PART TWO of my Q&A challenge!

boltoncarley asked:
Do you think the counseling degree will help or hinder you in parenting your children?
At this point, I don't see how the degree could hinder me in parenting my children except that I will hopefully get a career out of it and that may cause a little added stress in my life. I don't think it would cause more stress than I'm going through now, though! (Being at a job that you really don't like all that much is pretty stressful.) I think it can help because I have practice listening and helping effectively. I already notice that I have more of a sense when things aren't quite right. There's been times when K started crying about something that just did not seem worth crying over, I talked to her, and I was able to discover what was really wrong and comfort her that things are going to be ok. I'd like to think I'd have those skills as a parent anyway, but I am sure that studying about how to listen effectively to my clients has something to do with that too.

Joanna asked:
Was making your career change a smooth transition? Any suggestions for someone considering making a switch themselves?
I haven't really made a career change per se. I mean, I taught for 3 years and I essentially didn't have a choice but to change my career. I guess I could have kept looking for teaching jobs when I lost my first job out of college, but the passion just wasn't there for me anymore. So in that way, yes it was easy. The thing that has made it difficult was my decision to have another child last year (I ended up skipping two terms so I fell a little behind). Had that been the end of it, I'd be able to just get right back on it, but now I have another one on the way and I'll have to miss at least one term again (though more than likely it will be two). Technically, I have until 2019 to complete my degree, but I definitely don't want to take that long! I have been trying to find jobs that will help make a transition easier, but right now any entry level jobs in the counseling field that don't require a license in counseling pay far less than my current job.

My advice for making a career change - pray on it. Make sure it's something that you are really called to do. Don't jump into it without thinking it through, asking advice from others, researching, etc. I looked at several different schools before I found a great one that has online courses and fits my schedule. They are a little pricier than some other schools, but they are also a really great school! Another key I have found is networking. I still keep in contact with the woman I did my practicum with and I am friends on Facebook with a few of my classmates. It helps me to know how they are doing, when they graduate, and get jobs. It's an inspiration to me and they are always there to offer up advice too!

What are the differences parenting a boy vs. a girl - or is it much the same?
You know, I couldn't really tell you yet. My son is only about 8 months old and a baby is pretty much a baby. His temperament is a little bit different than my daughter's was (he likes to be held A LOT) but other than that there is not much difference yet. We'll see how it's different (as I'm sure it will be) as he gets older!

Del asked:
Do you plan to get your drivers license one day? :)

For those of you who don't know, I don't have my driver's license. As a kid, I was diagnosed with sensory processing (or sensory integration) disorder. It's a disorder that affects how I perceive things and essentially I just get really overwhelmed trying to take in all the information all at once that is needed to drive.
I would like to get my license. It's just so overwhelming for me to drive and I don't really know how to overcome this problem. I have even talked to a counselor about it before, but it didn't really help. She just told me to keep practicing and I don't think she really understood what the problem is. I am not really sure that anything can be done about it, but I do often feel like I am inconveniencing my husband in that he has to drive me everywhere, so I'd like to try.

Amanda asked:
Do you have a dream? If so what is it?
My dream is to be successful in my career, for my husband to also be successful in his career, to have our children thrive and do well, to be comfortable financially and be able to live in a nice house, not cramped like we are now. I don't need to be filthy rich, just able to pay the bills and still have a little leftover to enjoy. I know it's a ways off, but I have faith that we will get there. God does not want his children to be poor and hurting. I keep striving to do His will and I know that he will fulfill his promises.

Thank you everyone for all of your questions! I hope you enjoyed learning more about me, and I hope you'll keep reading!

You've Got Questions, I've Got Answers! - PART ONE

Yesterday, I posted an Ask Me Anything post as part of Liv, Laugh, Love's July Bloggers Challenge. Today, I answer your questions. There were some good ones! I was asked a lot of questions, so rather than make this a really long post, I'm going to break it up into TWO parts! So, here's part one!

Sara asked:
What made you want to go back and get your Masters in Clinical Counseling?

Sara, I could write a whole post on this question! I will keep it fairly simple and say that I felt a calling from God to go into this profession. I taught in Early Head Start (mostly with infants and toddlers) for almost three years when some backhanded things occurred (that frankly, I should have sued over)and I lost my job. After that, it was a few months before I found another job and that job was not even in the teaching field. I tried to substitute teach, but it just didn't feel right to me anymore. I did a lot of soul searching and I felt like teaching (children, at least) was just not what I was supposed to be doing. I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing, though. I prayed, read my Bible, etc. At my job, my supervisor gave me one of those personality tests (you know, the Myers-Briggs type) and lo and behold it said for my personality type that a good career fit was counseling. A couple of people had stated to me over the past few months that I would make a good counselor. I also had a lot interest in my Psychology courses in undergrad (I almost did a double major, in fact). I just felt that everything was pointing in that direction and so far I still feel that I've made the right choice. I am doing GREAT in school (I am about halfway through and I have a 4.0 GPA) and I have enjoyed every single one of my classes! I've still got a ways to go, but I know that I'm on the right track!

Jen, my sister, and the host of this blogging challenge had a lot of questions for me.

What is the one thing YOU need to do (no one else) to reach your goals?

First, I think I should say what are my goals? Well, the two I want to concentrate on are finishing my Master's degree and losing weight. Finishing my Master's degree is really just about my buckling down, getting my classes completed as quickly as I can. I am only taking one a term right now because I feel that's the way I can do my best. Two a term was just too much for me. For my second goal of losing weight, this one of course will have to wait until after baby #3 is born. I have already lost quite a bit of weight (over 40 pounds) since Baby T was born. So, my plans are that I will DEFINITELY buckle down and exercise more. I need to be able to keep up with my kids! I will eat more healthy foods and exercise at least three times a week. I know this will be tough to do with three kids, but I know I need to do it for myself!

What song title best describes your life?

I don't know if it's really the song TITLE that describes my life, but the song I identify with the most in my life is Awake and Alive by Skillet. I've posted the lyrics below for you to enjoy.

I'm at war with the world and they
Try to pull me into the dark
I struggle to find my faith
As I'm slippin' from your arms

It's getting harder to stay awake
And my strength is fading fast
You breathe into me at last

I'm awake I'm alive
Now I know what I believe inside
Now it's my time
I'll do what I want 'cause this is my life
here (right here), right now (right now)
I'll stand my ground and never back down
I know what I believe inside
I'm awake and I'm alive

I'm at war with the world cause I
Ain't never gonna sell my soul
I've already made up my mind
No matter what I can't be bought or sold

When my faith is getting weak
And I feel like giving in
You breathe into me again

I'm awake I'm alive
Now I know what I believe inside
Now it's my time
I'll do what I want 'cause this is my life
here (right here), right now (right now)
I'll stand my ground and never back down
I know what I believe inside
I'm awake and I'm alive

Waking up waking up
Waking up waking up
Waking up waking up
Waking up waking up

In the dark
I can feel you in my sleep
In your arms I feel you breathe into me
Forever hold this heart that I will give to you
Forever I will live for you

I'm awake I'm alive
Now I know what I believe inside
Now it's my time
I'll do what I want 'cause this is my life
here (right here), right now (right now)
I'll stand my ground and never back down
I know what I believe inside
I'm awake and I'm alive

Waking up waking up
Waking up waking up
Waking up waking up
Waking up waking up

What do you like best about being a mom?

There's a lot of things I like about being a mom, but I think my favorite thing is watching my kids grow, change, and learn. I am so impressed with how smart my daughter, K, has become. She's a beautiful, articulate, and imaginative 6-year-old. I am so amazed at how big Baby T has gotten already. He's working on crawling, though right now he just rolls to get from place to place. He can even say words already like "Daddy", "Cat" and "Hi!". It's so incredible to see these tiny babies grow up to be such wonderful children!

How have you changed as a parent from your first child to your second?
I haven't really changed that much, but I have tried to spend more time with my children. When you're working full time and you have kids, it's easy to become a little detached or just want to veg out when you get home from works. I make it a point to play with my daughter and my son at least for a few minutes a day. My daughter wants a lot more attention because she's making up for the past few months when the little baby got all the attention. He doesn't need as much now and we can all play together, so I try to make sure I give that to her. We even have "Mommy and K" days every few months where we go out to eat (and try to do it without the baby if at all possible, it's more special to her that way). I am learning to have more fun playing with my daughter in the way that she wants to play. I may be over 30 years old and I don't play the same way a 6 year old does, but I can still have fun!

I will put up PART TWO later on today. Thanks!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Ask Me Some Questions!

So, I'm participating in the July Blogger's Challenge brought to you by Liv, Laugh, Love: A Mommy Blog. Her Day 7 and 8 challenge for us is to ask our readers to ask us some questions. Then on Day 8, we will answer them in a blog post. can post your questions in a comment or on My Facebook Page and I will answer them tomorrow!


Monday, June 17, 2013

Trusting in God

I recently found out some news that I was not expecting. My family has gone through a lot of hard times, and I fear that it is going to get even worse. My husband has had difficulty finding a good job despite the fact that he is highly educated. Now, more than ever, we need God to provide. Trusting in God is easier said than done. My mother keeps telling me, "Trust in him." I keep recalling Bible verses like Proverbs 3:5-6 that hangs on the wall of my apartment. -

(Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.)

What does this mean? Trust in the Lord even though you may not understand why certain things are happening the way that they are. If you submit to him and surrender to him, he will lead you down the right path. I know I'm going down the right path career-wise, but what am I going to do now? I am really struggling with this news (that I am not prepared to reveal to my bloggers yet - sorry but it's pretty personal) and I just find it hard to trust that things are going to change so that my husband and I can provide for our children.

One of my favorite Bible verses is Matthew 6:25-34:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

I try not to worry. I do everything I can to make things work for me and my family. I have to leave the rest in God's hands. After all, Romans 8:28 says:

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

Please say a prayer for me and my family during these tough times ahead.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Review: Bound Together by Chris Brauns

When reading the byline of this book "how we are tied to others in good and bad choices," I thought it would be an interesting topic to explore. Upon reading this book, I discovered that it tells me something I already know. The negative way we are all bound together is through Adam's sin, which in turn made us all corrupt by nature. The positive side is that these bonds were broken and new bonds were created with Christ when he died for us. These are the new bonds that bind us together. This is great news!

The great news discussed above is revealed within the first three chapters of the book. In my opinion, the book could have stopped after three chapters. In the later chapters, I found this book dry. It reminded me of philosophy texts I had to read in college. This book may be ideal for a theological scholar (which I am not) or a pastor trying to get some ideas for a sermon on this topic, but I did not find it at all interesting. I'm surprised I read as much as I did. I may look up some of the Bible passages the author referenced, but other than that this book was not appealing to me at all.

I receive these books free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Epically Awesome Award of Epic Awesomeness!

I've been nominated for another award! YAY! Dawn at Delectably Dawn nominated me for the Epically Awesome Award of Epic Awesomeness. This is yet another award in which bloggers recognize other bloggers for their, well, epic awesomeness!

The rules for The Epically Awesome Award of Epic Awesomeness are:

1. Display award logo
2. Link back to the person who nominated you
3. State 10 things about you
4. Nominate 10 other bloggers

Here goes - 10 things about me (and I am running out of things...)
1 - I am currently looking for a new job. It's not a secret. I want to break into the counseling field as I'm getting my Masters degree in Clinical Counseling. Keep me in your prayers as I look for something that will suit me and pay enough!

2 - I have been breastfeeding my baby for almost 6 months now, which is more than 4 months longer than I was able to with my first child! So proud of me! :)

3 - I love to watch The Voice. (Check out my previous post about The Voice and why it inspires me here.)

4 - I am a Christian. I think you already know that if you're reading my blog.

5 - I can't drive. Yes. I will admit it. I may even write a post about my struggles someday. Essentially, I think it is because I have sensory processing disorder. I just get overwhelmed by everything and I can't process it all and I "flip out".

6 - I am trying to lose weight but I'm not very successful at the moment. I need to get off my butt and do something but it's hard when I work full time and don't get enough sleep. I'll get there, I will. I already weight 40 pounds less than I did before I got pregnant.

7 - I have very small feet. Size 6. Well, they are short but kind of wide. Weird feet.

8 - I like sci fi shows like Star Trek, The X-Files, Fringe, and Stargate.

9 - I like to wear dresses when it's warm enough. I would rather wear dresses than pants.

10 - I don't like to wear socks if I can help it. Of course, I wear them most of the time but in the summer I like to wear sandals which means no socks of course!

Random enough for you??

And my blogger nominees are:

I didn't find 10 because I'm running out of blogs to nominate. Guess I need to follow some more blogs!

Rockin' Autism Mom
My Life as Lucille
Among Many Blessings
Devote and Seek
The Wild and Wonderful World of Gingersnaps
This Life's Beautiful Moments
Clothed in Love

Review: The Christian Parenting Handbook by Dr. Scott Taransky and Joanne Miller

I recently read The Christian Parenting Handbook by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller. Turansky and Miller are the founders of the National Center for Biblical Parenting and it shows! The strategies in this book are what they call "heart-based" strategies which basically means that the children will be changing not only their behavior but their hearts. I want this for my children. I do not want them following simply out of obedience, but also because it is the right thing to do. I don't seem to get a lot of resistance from my daughter, but I do get some whining so I love the chapter entitled "Teach Kids to Be Solvers Instead of Whiners". I like how the chapters are structured. They are short and to the point. They often have biblical verses to back them up and include some real-life examples. The real work is left to the parents, but these are some great jumping-off points when a parent may be at a loss for what to do. I would recommend this book to any parent who is struggling to parent their child based on biblical principles or just doesn't know where to start.

I think I'm through reviewing parenting books for a while. It's frankly getting a little repetitive so look for something new on my next book review!

I receive these books free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Why The Voice Inspires Me

She steps unto the stage, a bundle of nerves but so excited to have this chance to show the world what she can do. As the music cues up, she takes a deep breath and then she begins to sing. She sounds like an angel, note after note drifting to the audience and those four chairs that will determine her fate. The chairs do not turn. She keeps singing, reaching a high note and singing it from the very depths of her soul. Suddenly, a chair turns. "I WANT YOU" lights up in large letters. She finishes her song, but all the while she is choking back tears of joy. She's actually going to get her chance! They chose her!

Why do shows like The Voice, American Idol and America's Got Talent evoke such strong emotions out of so many of us? When we hear the back story of the contestants, we can identify. She's a mom, just like me. He quit his dead end job to pursue music. She just lost her mother to cancer and is singing in her memory. So many stories, the list goes on. We see people just like us getting their chance to be what they were called to be. What a joy that would be! To be called to your purpose and to fulfill it is perhaps one of the greatest gifts one can imagine.

As I watch that contestant get chosen to move on to the next round, something inside me stirs. I want to feel that feeling! I want to apply for that job that is just right for me, where I can use my talents. I want to interview and have someone say "YES! I WANT YOU!" Until that happens for me, I will just have to live vicariously through the talented singers on The Voice and enjoy the special bonuses of Adam Levine and Usher while I'm at it! ;)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Hello everyone! I was nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award by Ginger at The Wild and Wonderful World of Ginger Snaps! (Check her out!)
Thanks Ginger! I am so honored to have already received 2 awards in the short time I have been blogging. It's a great way to connect with other bloggers out there!

There are only two rules to this award - You must tell some things about yourself and you must nominate other bloggers.
So here goes! Some random facts about me!
- I am a Christian (and proud of it)! Lately, I want to share this with everyone I can. I know that Jesus Christ died to save me from my sin and I will shout it from the rooftops!
- I have the cutest kids ever! Ok, I know every mom says that about her kids but really mine are the cutest. For privacy reasons I don't post pictures of my children on my blog, so you'll just have to take my word for it.
- I may have shared this on my Liebster Award random facts, but I will share again. I am currently pursuing my Master's Degree in Clinical Counseling. I took a little hiatus to have my son, but I am starting back up in June and excited to really get the ball rolling. I am about halfway through the program and I have a 4.0 GPA!
- I love to sing! I have a karaoke machine in my home which I do not use nearly enough since the baby has been born, but it is something I really enjoy doing! Once we can finally get a house I would love to set up a karaoke bar of sorts in my home!
- I am a Sci Fi junkie. Some of my favorite shows include: Star Trek, The X-Files, Fringe, Stargate SG-1, and Stargate Atlantis.
- I also love superhero movies. Current faves: The Avengers, Iron Man 1 and 2, Spider-Man (1, 2, and 3) and the Amazing Spider-Man wasn't too bad either.

I hope you enjoyed these interesting facts about me (hopefully you found them interesting).

Now for the nominees for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award:
Singing Through the Rain
Devote and Seek
Story of a Girl

I picked these bloggers because I follow their blogs, love their writing, and I am inspired by them to continue on my journey to build my blog and extend my reach to the blogging community so that I can share my writing with the wide world out there on the web! Thanks ladies!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Book Review: The Christian Mama's Guide to the Grade School Years: Everything You Need to Know to Survive (and Love) Sending Your Kid Off into the Big Wide World by Erin MacPherson

I was so excited to get to read a book by a blogger! I became even more excited when I found Erin's blog and Facebook page, sent her a message, and got a response back! It's so fun to connect in the blog community and I'm so proud that there are bloggers out there that are able to take it that extra step and have books published, especially when they are about topis so near and dear to my heart.

Those of you who have been following me know that I have a 6 year-old daughter and a 5 month old son. I debated about reading Erin's book The Christian Mama's Guide to Baby's First Year, but having been through these times once already I thought that I may read one on a topic that I am not as familiar with - that is the topic of sending your kid off to the big wide world of school. My daughter has been in school for almost 2 years already, and I wish I had known or thought about some of these things way back then. Erin MacPherson does a great job of interweaving humor, personal anecdotes, and practical advice into this book about a time of life that is very difficult for most moms. MacPherson's book includes chapters on preparing your child socially, academically, and emotionally for school, choosing the right school (homeschool, private school, public school, etc.), and getting involved (or not getting involved) in extracurricular activities. None of us knows everything about getting our kids ready to go out into that big world, but this Christian Mama's Guide gives us the tools to get thinking about what our kids need to at least be somewhat ready and what we can do to prepare ourselves to let go. I look forward to reading more of Erin's blog and developing a blogging relationship with her as I have so many other bloggers out there! Thanks for writing such a helpful book for all of us Christian mamas out there!

I receive these books free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sunday, April 7, 2013

My Love/Hate Relationship with Breastfeeding

I am guest posting for Ginger at The Wild and Wonderful World of Gingersnaps. I found Ginger on one of the many blog hops I frequent, starting reading her blog, nominated her for a Liebster award, and we've been blogging buddies ever since. Thanks for letting me guest write for you today, Ginger!

My love/hate relationship with breastfeeding.

I tried to breast feed my first child. It didn't work out so well. Not only did I have an overactive letdown, which if you've never experienced it is pure craziness, my daughter also seemed to have some kind of milk protein intolerance. She would cry non stop for at least 2 hours, every single night. I managed to breast feed her for about 2 months before I simply gave up. She was a happier baby for it.
When my son came along, I was ready to have the same troubles. After all, my daughter inherited her milk protein intolerance from her dad. I thought that my milk may come in the same way too. Alas, things have turned out much better this time around and I am breast feeding my son going on 5 months!
That being said, breastfeeding is great, but sometimes I HATE it! It's a love/hate relationship.

So why do I love breastfeeding?
-It's a way to bond with my child. I think I love that “skin-to-skin” as much as he does and it makes him so happy to see me after I've been gone all day!
-It saves a TON of money! It's great to not have to buy formula all the time!
-It's very convenient. Baby needs to eat, the food source is right there. I just have to find a comfortable, discreet place to feed him if I'm in public. I will breastfeed in public, I just try not to do it right in the middle of everything.
-It helped me lose weight and has helped me to keep it off. When I couldn't breastfeed my daughter, I gained back all the weight I lost from giving birth and then some! With my son, I lost 20 pounds just giving birth and another 15 since then.
-It's great for the baby! He was 5 pounds 13 ounces when he was born and he weighed 13 pounds by the time he was four months old. A lot of people who see him say they can tell he's breastfed because he's got those chubby cheeks! I love it!

Why do I hate breastfeeding?
-I'm the only source. I have to get up at all hours of the night and feed the baby, while my husband snores away in the bed. It wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have to work, but I have to be to work at 7 am so sometimes it is really tough.
-I hate pumping. I feel like a cow. Some days, it's tolerable. Some days, I wish I could just skip it. But I know I have to do it to keep up my supply.
-Sometimes, I wonder if my baby only loves me so much because I have the food. Then I think about it for a minute...nah he'd love me either way!!

So, if you are a breastfeeding mom or you are a soon-to-be mom thinking about breastfeeding, remember this. There may be some things you absolutely hate about breastfeeding, but when I weigh the pros and the cons, the things I love versus the things I hate, the things I love definitely win out. Don't let the tough times discourage you. Power through and you'll see that the benefits far outweigh the inconveniences.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Book Review: Organic Outreach for Families: Turning Your Home Into A Lighthouse by Kevin G. Harney and Sherry Harney

As a Christian, I know that it is important and necessary for me to spread God's light throughout my community. The problem has always been, "how do I do this?" It's hard to talk about God at my job (and I can get in trouble for it too!). So how and where can I share God's light? Organic Outreach for Families discusses some practical ways you can turn your home into a lighthouse. It starts with your children. Raise them up in the way they should go and teach them to be God's light to others. This book gives some tips on how to help your children learn about God and share Him with others. It also talks about inviting people in to your home which I think has been the most difficult part for me. I invite people in and I try to be as inviting as possible, but people just don't come. I was hoping that this book would explain a little more about how to get them to come, but it does not really. It does talk about how to make your home welcoming, but if people just won't come in to your home it's hard to know what else you can do.
I did like the chapter about spreading God's word to people in your family. I know there are some people in my family that I would like to know God better. I don't know too well what's going on in their lives and I think I should be closer with them anyway. Maybe this is my opportunity to do so.
All in all, this is a book with some great starting off points if you want to outreach to your community and your family and "turn your home into a lighthouse."

I receive these books free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Book Review - Intentional Parenting by Sissy Goff, David Thomas, and Melissa Trevathan

I usually do my book reviews on my original blog, Following the Path. But since this book was about parenting, I decided to post my review on Counting My Blessings.

This book was of initial interest to me because I am a Christian and because the authors are counselors of children and parents. They are in a field that I can see myself moving into and I wanted to see their views on parenting as a Christian. After all, that's what my blog is about!
Intentional Parenting seems like it would be a handbook for parents. How to be an intentional parent...but that's not the name of the game. Though this book gives many a tip on how you can be a better parent, it does not claim to be the answer. Ultimately every chapter ends with leaving it up to God. But we have to meet Him halfway there. I struggle in many of the areas that are discussed in the book. Who hasn't struggled with "Being a Patient Parent", "Being a Consistent Parent" (that one's especially tough), or "Being a Playful Parent" (I myself am trying to get more involved when my daughter says "Mom will you play with me?"). I recommend that you get out a notebook and write down your answers to the questions in the chapters. Journal about it, reflect on it. That is how this book was intended to be used. It is to help you reflect on what type of parent you are and work to improve yourself to be the parent God wants you to be for your children. This book can help you to become a better parent by realizing that you can't do it alone, that you are never meant to be perfect, and that you can and will be the best parent you can be with God's help. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to know how their faith and their parenting can go hand in hand.

I receive these books free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

"Boys don't play with dolls!"

When my husband was a baby, his mom's friend made him a "Cabbage Patch" doll. It looks like the original Cabbage Patch kids, but it's not really a Cabbage Patch Kid officially. His brother got one when he was a baby too. He wanted to do something special for his kids and carry on this tradition. We had a daughter first. She got a CPK when she was just a few months old. (In fact, it was pretty neat because it was a big sister and little sister pack, so it came with a full size CPK and a newborn CPK. So she was able to play with the little one until she got a bit older.)

Now, we've been blessed with a sweet baby boy and we've learned why my husband's mom's friend had to make the CPK. They don't make (many) boy CPK's and you definitely can't find them in the store, only online. Oh, and don't try to find one that looks like a "mixed" boy because it's not going to happen. We went all over town. Shopko, Target, even Toys R Us. Nothing. So, lamenting over the fact that I can't find this special gift for my baby boy, I post a status message about it. (Names have been hidden to protect the not-so-innocent.)

If you can't read it basically says we can't find a baby doll for the boy and the friend said, "Because dolls are for girls, duh! Get that boy a stuffed animal."

The winky face shows she was saying it jokingly, but still...

Never has something proved my point in such a profound manner. Our entire way home from the store, my husband and I went on and on about how sexist people are thinking that boys don't play with dolls. Boys don't play with dolls because no one lets them play with dolls. I think that if boys were allowed to play with dolls a little more often, maybe we wouldn't have such a problem with lousy fathers who don't give a darn about their kids!

I felt a little better when a couple of my friends shared some recommendations for boy dolls. However, they are both really expensive. I found a boy CPK on the Cabbage Patch Kids website that looks like my little one, but that was after much searching. Isn't he a cutie?

It costs $49.99. That's a little pricier than most CPK, but I was willing to pay it. I went to check out and THE SHIPPING IS $18!!! Well, maybe my husband's mom still knows where that friend is and she can make baby T a doll because that's about the only way he's going to get this special gift.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Ladies and gents - I am happy to announce that I have been nominated for a Liebster Award! For those of you who don't know what this award is all about, basically it is an award that bloggers give to other bloggers. It particularly spotlights blogs with 200 followers or less. I guess you would say it helps to identify us as "up and commers" in the blogging community. I am honored to have been nominated by Lizbeth at Just Dip it In Chocolate. Thanks, Lizbeth!

Now, here's the rules about the Liebster award. I must answer 11 questions that have been posed to me by the one who nominated me, post 11 random facts about myself, nominate 11 other bloggers, and pose 11 questions to those bloggers that they will then answer on their Liebster award posts!

Here goes!

The questions posed to me by Lizbeth:

1.What is the #1 thing you love most about blogging?

Blogging is a great way to connect with others who are like me. I have always had trouble getting to know people “in real life” and it's nice to connect with others, even if it is online. To be able to share my thoughts and know that there is someone out there that cares about what I have to say and that what I could say could help others are strong motivators for me to keep on blogging.

2.What is your all time favorite movie?

The Avengers!

3.Are you a Coffee or Tea person? I used to say tea, but now that I get very little sleep AND have a hard time unwinding at the end of the day, I have to say BOTH! Coffee in the morning to wake me up and chamomile tea at night to help me unwind before I go to sleep.

4.Looking back, which was the best year of your life so far?

I honestly have to say that 2012 was a pretty great year. I gave birth to a wonderful baby boy and I've lost quite a bit of weight too. I feel healthier than I have in some time. My daughter is doing great in first grade. The unfortunate thing is that my husband has been going through some tough times on the job front, but I feel that a change is around the corner as far as that is concerned too. It's in God's hands!

5.Beach house or Mountain Cabin?

Beach house! I live in Nebraska and it is cold for a few months out of the year. I would love to have a beach house to run off to in the cold winter months!

6. Have you ever visited any other country outside the one you live in? Which one you loved the most?

I have never been to another country. I would like to go to Jamaica some day. I hear it's paradise!

7.Do you know when to stop talking when you argue or do you go on and on and on like the energizer bunny? 

It depends on who I'm arguing with. With my husband, it's hard to get a word in because he wants to have the last word. We don't argue a lot but when we do he usually wins! If I'm arguing with someone, say at work, I am usually right which means I will keep going on and on and on until they realize that I am right!

8.Favorite music era and genre?

I like music from the late 90s and the first decade of the 2000s. Anything (rock, pop, rap, r&b, hip hop) is good for me (except COUNTRY)!!

9.If you have to pick a super power..what would it be?

I would want the ability to teleport. Not only could I get wherever I wanted to go whenever I wanted to go there ,(Jamaican vacation, here we come!) but I would save a bundle on gas and I'd never be late for work!

10.When was the last time you ate Fast Food and what was it?

Well...if you consider Little Caesar's fast food then it was on Sunday.

11.First or last person to get a joke?

I am usually the one telling the jokes that other people don't get.

11 Random Facts About Me
-I am pursuing my Master's degree in Clinical Counseling
-I love to sing Karaoke!
-I have a goal to lose 32 more pounds before the summer gets here. Think I can do it?
-I hate wearing socks. Summer is my favorite time of year because I don't have to wear socks.
-I am an extremely picky eater. I have just a few foods that I really like and I get sick of the same food over and over again very easily.
-I played the piano for several years and the drums for 12 years. I haven't played either in by far too long.
-My favorite restaurant is Smashburger followed closely by Five Guys Burgers and Fries. I had cravings for them like mad when I was pregnant and I still love them!
-If there's one thing I can't stand, it's fake people. Be real or just get out!
-I can be really lazy, but I'm working on it!
-I love to go swimming, but I can't really swim.
-I love to take pictures of my kids!

And now! The nominees for the Liebster Award!!
Yours, Mine, and Ours
Women Abiding
Our Before and After
Yoga Mommy's Selftalk(In)Sanity
The Wild and Wonderful World of Gingersnaps
The Three Whiskateers
Dogs Don't Eat Pizza
Momma DOO
Beauty Through Imperfection
Pursuing Heart
Do Small Things with Love

And here are the questions for my nominees:
1. Why did you decide to start blogging?
2. What is your all time favorite book?
3. If you could meet any famous person, who would it be and why?
4. Who is the person that inspires you the most?
5. What is your dream job?
6. What is your favorite thing about being a parent?
7. What do you do to unwind?
8. Do you think of Facebook (and other social networking sites like Twitter) as a good thing or a bad thing? Why?
9. What is your all time favorite TV show?
10. Where do you want to be in 5 years?
11. What is your guilty pleasure?

Monday, February 25, 2013

What defines my family?

At our church this month, we've been talking about families. It's a whole series, going through the basic things like how to treat your spouse and how to parent your children based on biblical principles. Yesterday's sermon was about the family meeting and also about what defines your family. We should talk to our children about 1) who they are, 2) where they come from and, 3) where they are going.

So what defines our family? My husband and I were discussing this yesterday evening. Two words that he could think of were "scholar" and "warrior". I agree that we are scholars. My husband has his Masters degree and I am pursuing mine. We always work to learn more and more each day and we are very intelligent on the whole. We want our daughter and our son to be the same way. I started thinking about the word "warrior". Warrior has the base word "war", so it makes it sound like someone who is a warrior is always at war with someone or something. So, as my husband often does when he starts to think of what a word really means, I looked it up in the dictionary. According to, a warrior is "a person engaged or experienced in warfare; soldier". But there is another definition - "a person who shows or has shown great vigor, courage, or aggressiveness". I started to think of the words that describe a warrior - dedicated, perseverance, strength, courage. Yes. This describes my family. We've been through a lot, losing jobs, friends, etc. We've always had each other and we've, each one of us, been a warrior to get through it all.


It's difficult to trace my roots back too far. I am a European mutt. English, Irish, Swedish - those are the main ones I can name. I did a report in grade school about my ancestry, and it was difficult to go back very far. My husband's family roots may be a little easier to assume, though maybe not easy to trace. There's the possibility that his ancestors were slaves, and we also know that there is Native American blood in his family. So when I tell my children where they come from, I think it really boils down to uniqueness! There's not many children that can trace such a varied ancestry. It's also so important to talk to them about how things were different before. I've written another post in the past about racism, and my daughter has asked questions about skin color from time to time. I try to put it in the back of my mind because it's not really that important to me. I don't want it to be that important to my daughter and my son either. I want them to be able to turn to someone who asks them "what" they are and say, "I am me!" If they ask them if their dad is black and their mom is white to say, "My dad is my dad. My mom is my mom." Yes, where they come from is important. I won't deny that. I just don't want that to define where they can go.

My family is going places. Lately, we are stagnant. But I want us to go places. My father had his Bachelor's degree and my mother a high school diploma. I am going for my Masters degree, my sister has hers, and my brothers are both fairly successful in their chosen career fields thus far. My husband's mother and father both were educated, but they did not get as far as he did. He has two Bachelors degrees and a Masters degree. That is further than anyone in his family has gotten in schooling. So, yes, we are going places. The next step is to have successful careers and live in a house rather than a cramped apartment. When will it happen? Soon, we hope. But our family is going places, with God's help!

Sit down and define your family - WHO ARE THEY? WHERE DO THEY COME FROM? WHERE ARE THEY GOING? Have a clear vision because you can't get there if you don't know where you're going!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

10 Things I Miss About You

It's always tough going back to work and missing your new little baby. It was very difficult with my first baby because I had to go back to work so early (she was only 6 weeks old). It's a little easier with Baby T. I wanted to get back into the adult world and not just live in the land of poopy diapers and goo goo ga ga forever. But I still miss him when I'm at work. And I miss my daughter even more than I used to as well. I guess being home with them quite often for 12 weeks will do that to a mom. Here's my list of 10 things I miss about my babies when I'm at work.

1) I miss his smile when he wakes up from his nap in a good mood or when he's happy right after he finishes eating.

2) I miss his little baby feet. (Aren't they so cute?)

3) I miss her beautiful curls.

4) I miss cuddling. With either one of them. Don't tell Miss K or she will want to cuddle all day long on the weekend!

5) I really do miss breastfeeding him. Yes, I do it when I'm home from work but with the exception of the feeding right when I get home, the rest of them are when I'm getting so tired there's not much involvement there. It was really nice to have every feeding be a breast feeding over the weekend. I'm sure he feels the same way.

6) I miss her laugh. She's got the cutest little laugh. I'm sure her brother's laugh will be just as cute once he starts laughing. (I can't wait!)

7) I miss my mid-morning nap. Yes, I know that this is not so much a son and daughter thing, but I need that nap!

8) I miss "Mommy and K days". We used to do them once a month on the day that my husband worked but I didn't. We would order Jimmy John's or go to the pizza place down the street. It was nice bonding time for us. We can still do it, but we get limited time with the whole family on the weekend so time is precious. I know she would love some time away with just mom and no baby though!

9) I miss trying to catch him doing something cute or groundbreaking. It makes me a little sad to know that I may miss the first babble, the first laugh, the first crawl, the first steps because I have to be at work. I hope his dad will break out the video camera!

10) I miss how he smells. That baby lotion smell is just one of the best smells in the world!

Absence really does make the heart grow fonder. I do miss my babies when I'm away, but that makes the time I spend with them even more precious.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Smile! You're on Video!

"Come on, I said SMILE! You were doing it a couple seconds ago! Why won't you do it now? I just turned on the camera! Come on!"


This seems to be the pattern when my baby is doing something cute. I got lucky and managed to get video of him smiling for one of the first times, but he will not smile for a picture. The other day, he rolled from his stomach to his back. We all cheered and I got out the video camera hoping he would do it again. I rolled him back over to his tummy and what did he do? He cried. He kept crying and wouldn't stop. Darn. There goes that Kodak moment.

We all want to be able to capture these moments so we can see them over and over again. We want to capture these firsts and store them forever. One thing I've learned as a mom as that usually the first time your child does something, it's spontaneous. So unless we have the video camera on him 24/7, we're probably not going to catch that very first giggle, the first time he crawls, his first words, or his first steps. The best we can do is capture them the second, third, or twentieth time around and remember how we felt that first time.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Building Blocks

As I was falling asleep last night, I was thinking of ways that I could bring a little more "personality" to my blog. For privacy reasons, I don't want to post pictures of my kids on my blog. But I wanted to use some of my photos somehow.

I thought of the photos I have taken of my daughter's (from here forward referred to as "K") artwork and creations she has made with blocks and legos. I realized that I have pictures from when she was 3 years old up until now. (She is 6.) I thought it would be fun to see how her block building has changed through the years. So here we go!

June of 2009 - 3 years old

February and May of 2011 - 5 years old

2012 - 6 years old

It's so much fun to look and see how her creations have grown more and more elaborate over time. She still enjoys playing with blocks and I think she will for some time. It's one of her favorite things to do. Sometimes I wonder if she'll grow up to be an architect. You never know!

Monday, January 21, 2013

What Today Means To Me

Today is Martin Luther King Jr Day. What does this day mean to me? A whole lot.

50 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. stood in front of millions and told them about his dream. His dream that one day people would be treated equally. It's still not entirely fulfilled, but we are much closer now than we were 50 years ago. The part of his speech that really stands out to me is this:
"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

I have two children. My husband is black, and I am white. It was only just recently that we were allowed to mark two races on forms that we fill out. When I filled out my son's birth certificate form, I had to put "other" because they would only let me mark one race. Why do we put so much importance on this, the color of our skin? I know it harkens back to slavery days and what not, but why is it still so important years later. Why do I have a fill out a form and mark that I am Caucasian? Why do I have to mark that my child is black, white, or "other"? My husband has taken to writing in "Christian" as his race, and I have to say that describes me much more than a color or "ethnicity".

We SHOULD be judged by the content of our character, not the color of our skin. But these color lines are so prevalent in society still. My daughter is in first grade. She told me that one of her friends saw her dad pick her up from school one day and asked her, "Is your mom white?" Kids are asking these questions. Will the day come when they stop asking these questions?

I am thankful to Martin Luther King Jr. We would not be even close to asking these questions if he had not done what he had done 50 years ago. We still have so far to go, but we've come so far. People still look at my husband and I like we're crazy. They still ask questions. He is still denied jobs, I think because he is a black man. I was attacked by a relative of his simply because I am white. Some women still give me mean stares when they see me with my family. Do they wonder why he's with me or why I'm with him? I don't know, but I hope that one day soon, MLK's words will ring true and there will be no more stares, no more questioning looks. No one saying that it will be "tough" for my kids.

I'll leave you with this.
My daughter drew a picture of the family. In her picture, I am the same color as her dad (dark brown). I asked her why. She said, "I didn't have a peach marker." She didn't see that I was the "wrong" color as being a problem. She just colored with the markers given to her. I hope we can do the same and realize our color is the marker God gave to us. Sure, we can't change it. But we can change how we treat others because of their color, judging them on the content of their character, looking underneath the surface to what's really important.

Thank you, Dr. King.

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Undervalued Father

My husband recently posted a status message to Facebook that got me thinking. Basically, he was upset about all these anti-father posts, e-cards, jokes, etc. on Facebook and Pinterest. For example, this one from

Now I have been staying at home with my newborn for 2 months and I am exhausted, believe me. But I would never say that my husband is never exhausted and I would never claim that he doesn't do anything because he's not at home with the baby all day. I don't know where this lack of respect for fathers came from, but it is really starting to upset me!
I started to think about how there are some fathers that run out on their responsibilities. Young men who aren't ready for a child and leave their "baby's mama" high and dry. Everyone always blames the father, but could it be, even just a little bit, that women's attitudes are to blame too? When we have attitudes that say fathers don't matter, that they don't do any work, and that they're only there to provide money, that's what the fathers start to think. No wonder they run out on their responsibilities when they don't have an accurate idea of those responsibilities!

So, though some of you may find this card from funny:

I do not. Father's Day should be just as important as Mother's Day. I would not be the person I am today without my father and I would go nuts if I didn't have my husband around to help (with more than just "bringing home the bacon").

End of rant.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Mother's Inventiveness

What is that saying? "Necessity is the mother of invention?" Well, I went on an outing to the library today and I had to be quite inventive. Knowing that it would be difficult to find a private place to breastfeed in the library, I packed some frozen breast milk that I would defrost if I needed to do so. I expected that there would be hot water in the bathroom, but that was not the case. The bathroom had those automatic faucets that turn on when you put your hand under them. The water was a set temperature, so it would be of no help in defrosting the frozen breast milk. Luckily, my son was not screaming his head off yet, but I could tell he was getting hungry. A mother knows.

I thought on my feet. What was in the restroom that was hot? The air dryer! It was one of those air dryers that blasted so hard that the skin on your hand moves, so I knew it would be pretty warm. I defrosted that milk with the air dryer, my son got his bottle, and all was right with the world.

When have you had to think on your feet? What did you do?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Feeling Overwhelmed?

It happens every week or two. I have a bad day or night with the baby. He cries all day, won't take a nap, or he wakes up for a feeding and then won't go back to sleep. I get quite overwhelmed, but I get over it by the next day. I've already said three times that I was going to quit breastfeeding, but I talked myself out of it (with a little help from my husband). I wanted to share a few pieces of advice for what I do when I am feeling overwhelmed.

- Take a breather. You've been holding the baby for 30 minutes and he won't stop crying? Nothing's wrong, his diaper is clean, he's been fed...usually for my baby this just means he's really tired. This generally happens when I am also very tired. It won't kill your baby to be alone crying for a few minutes. Breathe. Lay him down in his crib and step away. It's better than getting frustrated. The baby can sense that and he will just get more upset.

-Use pacifiers! Some parents swear they won't use them because they will have to ween their kid off of them. My baby doesn't use his every nap time, but the times he is especially fussy I will give him a pacifier. Unfortunately with young babies you sometimes have to hold the pacifier in their mouth to get them to take it, but once my baby does he calms down pretty quickly.

-Other soothers - find something that works...rocking, singing, crib soothers like First Years Gentle Vibrations Crib Soother or Fisher Price Ocean Wonders Soothe and Glow Seahorse are the products that work great for my son. You will find what works and you'll feel quite relieved when it does.

-Ask for help! Whether it's pumping some bottles (if you're breastfeeding) so your husband can get up with the baby every once in a while for overnight feedings or simply asking your husband if he can hold the baby for a while to calm him down, don't feel like you need to do everything on your own! Ask for help! It's a good way to help Dad feel connected too since breastfeeding takes so much on your part.

-Pray! This is my number one! If I am feeling really overwhelmed, I pray for the Lord to give me the strength to carry on. I say a prayer every night that my little boy will have a good night, sleep well, eat well when he gets up. This does not make everything turn out perfectly, of course, but for the most part things have been pretty smooth. I have had a few setbacks, but I pray and sleep on it and then I feel better in the morning.

If you're feeling overwhelmed, what do you do?