Tag Archives: motherhood

Why I Go to Church Without My Husband

Nearly every Sunday, I line my little ones up for a quick picture before we go into church. It’s just a fun thing I do because I like looking back at the photos as they change over time. I often share them on Facebook or Instagram, and it never fails, every few weeks someone comments or messages me asking, “HOW do you do it?!” The “it” being get 5 kids dressed up and to church weekly. Well, I just do. The same way some moms get 1, 2, or 6 kids up, dressed, and out the door to school every day. It’s important, so we do it, even if it’s not easy.
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Over the years, there have been many, many Sundays when I have carried a baby on my hip and/or held the hands of little ones as we crossed a parking lot, found classrooms, and made our way to seats at church. Unfortunately, a larger number than I care to count of those trips were done alone, without my husband beside me, especially over the last couple of years. Neither of us have enjoyed this situation, but it is what it is. My husband doesn’t like missing church, and I don’t like going alone. He’s also super helpful when it comes to getting kids ready and out the door. However, his job complicates things, and he can’t always go to church with us. Currently, he’s only able to go every other week. The other weeks, I’m on my own. He’ll help me get them out the door if he’s still at home, but I can’t get up counting on his help because if he gets a call and has to go, I’m left scrambling and unprepared. Been there. Done that.

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When I show up with our crew, I usually get surprised looks and comments like, “Wow! Supermom!” I usually smile and laugh, but if little ears weren’t listening I’d tell those onlookers, “No. Exhausted mom.” Because by that point, I am.

I’ve dressed and fed them, combed hair, made ponytails, helped with requests for cologne or “smell goods,” changed diapers, refilled sippy cups, found lost shoes, herded kids to the car, buckled seat belts, taken a kid back inside to potty, retrieved dropped hair bows and blankets, driven nearly an hour, gone over our plan and expectations, found lost shoes again, found lost hair bows again, unloaded our van, and herded them across a busy parking lot. At that point it’s only about 2/3 over. Before I get to sit down, we will make our way through a crowded building to the bathroom, help 2 go potty, wash hands, stop at the water fountain, make our way back through the crowd to check everyone in, then drop kids off on three different halls in 2 different buildings. Sometimes Most of the time I’m sweating by the time they’re safely in their classrooms. I probably don’t even look like the same woman that walked in the door with them. 🙂

I don’t say this to brag. At all. I say all that to tell you, it’s not easy. Most of the time I wouldn’t call it hard necessarily (unless you’ve been up all night with a baby and you’re running on 3 hours of broken sleep. Then it’s hard. Very hard.), but it is work – a lot of work. It does require planning, energy, and dedication. I don’t have it all together. When we leave our house on Sunday mornings, more often than not it looks like someone broke in and ransacked the place. Not to mention, the pictures should speak for themselves. They certainly are not frame worthy every week.

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But it’s worth it. Very worth it. Even on the Sundays when things have gone terribly, terribly wrong, there has always been that one part in the sermon, or one comment from a friend or stranger, or that moment of Peace during a favorite song that reminded me why I did it that morning and encouraged me to keep going. I’ve learned that God gives strength to the weak and rest to the weary. I’ve learned that people you have no idea exist (because you’re busy counting heads and rushing to the potty) are watching you and the example you set, good or bad. The few weeks I have stayed home and deemed it to be too much work, I have always regretted my decision.

Mamas, take your babies to church, even when it means going without your husband. I believe those may be even more important Sundays because the effort you put in shows your children that even when it’s not easy, and it is exhausting, it’s worth it. It’s important to go and worship with other believers. It’s important to join with a church family and learn and serve together. Church isn’t just something we do when it’s convenient or easy. It’s part of life, and life is messy.

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the day approaching.” Heb. 10:24-25

It’s worth it.

 

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5 Tips for Moms Who Want a Morning Bible Time

I often hear moms say that when they get up early to have quiet time for reading the bible, all the kids wake up earlier. I’d like to encourage you to KEEP DOING IT, even when it seems like a waste of time. It’s not. If nothing else, you are showing your kids how important it is to be in God’s Word everyday. Satan will use anything and everything to distract and discourage us. Mine go through seasons of this too, and at first I thought it was just going to be a total fail. It hasn’t been though!

I’ve put together a few tips and tricks to hopefully get you started in the right direction with carving out your own quiet time in your schedule and will maintaining peace in your home.

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(This post contains affiliate links. Purchasing through these links will not change the cost, but will benefit my family and help to keep this blog going.)
 
1. Teach them to stay in their room until a certain time.
Even as early as 3/4 some can learn “Stay in your room until there is a 7 right here on the clock.”  There are also special toddler clocks that you can set to change colors when it is time to get up or go to bed. (Like this Ok to Wake! Alarm Clock and the Teach Me Time! Talking Clock)
2. Readers can bring their own bible or pick another book to read in their bed, or possibly sit and read in the same room as you.
I love when my oldest brings his bible to sit beside me and read. A few years ago we got him a NIRV translation, and it has turned out to be great for him. It is the NIV translation, but on a second or third grade level, so it’s not a story bible, but it is also easy to read. (This NIRV study bible looks really neat, too.)
3. Read to them.
They probably won’t sit still or even act like they are listening, but they are still hearing God’s Word! Those little seeds are being planted! (Also, If you want to read at naptime, go in their room and sit and read aloud until they fall asleep. This worked wonders when my boys were both toddlers and naptime became a nightmare. Now with my girls, if they get in trouble at naptime, I separate them, and I read aloud to whichever one is in the living room floor.)
4. Prepare cups/sippy cups the night before and set them in the fridge so they can help themselves when they get up.
This has been a big help for me. Some days I am not quite finished when my girls get up, so having their cups ready to go allows me to give them a little independence and me a few more minutes to finish up whatever I am reading.
5. PRAY. PRAY to wake up earlier. PRAY they sleep later. PRAY for wisdom in the best way to handle it for yourself and your children.
Really this should be #1. It sounds simple, and it usually is. It may take a while for your kiddos to catch on and understand that you are serious when you say, “Go back to bed.” Pray for patience and to show them grace. One method may not work. Pray for wisdom. It may require not hitting the snooze button 4 times. Pray for self-control.

 

So tonight, set your alarm a few minutes earlier and say a quick prayer that you don’t hit the snooze or wake up the kids! These are a few of the things that have worked for me. Did these help you? Did something else work in your house?

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What I’ve Been Up To

Things have definitely been busy around here since my last post. A little something I didn’t mention much around here is that I spent the last several months anxiously awaiting the arrival of a sweet baby boy.

 On December 18 we welcomed our 5th baby, our third son.

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(How sweet is this picture? I die.)

He’s a month old, and we finally have had a day that wasn’t total chaos from the get-go! Today I’ve prepared 3 meals (Thank goodness for crockpots!), changed too many diapers to count, bathed 3 of the 5, one bathed himself, and one more bath to go after rest time! I took a shower too! That, my friends, makes me feel like a superhero. It may have something to do with the fact that I somehow consumed two cups of coffee before 10 a.m. while they were still hot warm. 🙂

The worst that has occurred, so far, has been a certain two littles coloring on the table. Oh well. I can handle that!

I’m sloooooowly working my way back into a routine that hopefully includes more blogging! Y’all, five kids is like having 3 kids all over again. Haha!

 

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For the Mamas Who Don’t Get a Break on Mother’s Day

Mothers everywhere are waking up this morning to flowers, fresh coffee and breakfast in bed, snuggles from sweet sleepy-faced little ones, and promises from daddies that they will dress the kids for church.

Except you.

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You woke up to a kid vomiting down the hall and across the bathroom at 4 a.m.
Or maybe you woke up to find a toddler who peed through her pull-up
– in your bed.
Instead of flowers, you’re starting the day with a cleaning rag in your hand and tears just below the surface.

Hold on, sweet mama. Close your eyes and whisper a prayer.
You are not alone.

Mothers all over are waking up with the same feelings you are. They have sick kids, work responsibilities, absent husbands, or no husbands at all. Do not let Satan fool you into believing the lie that you are alone in your hurt and exhaustion. How do I know? My husband has worked at least a few hours of every single Mother’s Day since I was pregnant with our oldest child. Some years he was absent all together, out on the road somewhere, working to provide for our family. This year, he’s on call and I doubt we will make it through the day without him having to leave a few times at least. his phone just rang. See, I told you that you weren’t alone. 😀

I wish someone had told me some of those years that I was doing a great job, that doing the mama thing on Mother’s Day is hard, but it is pleasing to the Lord; that it makes my husband love and appreciate me even more. I wish someone had shown me the things it teaches my children, so I’m telling you.

Mamas that won’t get a “break” today – you are a beautiful mother worth celebrating. The work you do today is the Lord’s work. You are not alone. There are lots of other moms just like you – probably even sitting in the next row at church this morning. Even if he doesn’t say it or isn’t there to see it, your husband knows what you are doing today. He appreciates it and is amazed by it. Your children see it too. They know their mama loves them, and even if they are too small to say it or do it themselves, they want to do sweet things for you and with you.

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
{1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

This is Mother’s Day. It’s not just a day to celebrate mothers, but to celebrate being a mother. It may not feel like it, but you moms that push through the day, doing all the things you did yesterday and will do again tomorrow, are giving your children a wonderful view of motherhood through the lens of God’s love. Being a mother means loving, giving, serving, and sacrificing. What better way is there to celebrate being a mother than by loving, giving, serving, sacrificing, and teaching your children?

Today may not be easy, or relaxing, or even fun, but having those children is still something to celebrate.
Serve up frozen waffles and bananas on paper plates or go by a drivep-thru on the way to church for a fun breakfast.
Take those babies out to eat by yourself.

Just because today is work does not mean you aren’t celebrating. Serving your family is worshiping the Lord. Worshiping the Lord is celebrating Him.

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just another day in paradise

I’ve seen this at least 50 times, and I love it no less.

My toddler ate all my gum this morning while I cooked breakfast to retaliate for me making her stop digging in the freezer and putting the ice cream back. (I know it was in retaliation because she proudly waltzed into the kitchen with the last half stick in her hand, opened her mouth wide, and said, “I eat all your gum,” with a very devious ‘what are you going to do about it’ grin.)

Then she colored on the walls with my orange highlighter I’ve been missing for a week.

And unrolled all the toilet paper.

I also found a plate of half-eaten food (and a lego man) in our stack of folded blankets tucked under the hall table.

And my husband just called to say he’s working late.

And I texted him this afternoon to say that I dozed off watching a science video with the boys today during our school lessons.

And our oldest has a 1 1/2 hour baseball practice this evening.

Unfortunately the nearest Starbucks is an hour away. Sonic will have to do.

I’m really glad God gave me a good sense of humor and pretty weather today.

And caffeine. 🙂

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Mamas, we are not enough.

People often ask me how I do it all – keeping up with 4 little kids, a husband that works a lot of random overtime and weekends, homeschooling, the house…

Here’s my secret: I don’t. I’m not enough.

This is what my living room looks like this morning.

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Toys scattered, folding chairs and tissue paper leftover from a birthday party (on Saturday, ahem), and a couple of in-progress projects for my husband stashed against the walls.

Does it always look like that? No. Sometimes it’s worse. Sometimes it’s totally clean, and a nice space to relax in. I prefer the latter, but life happens. Ya know – one broke down vehicle, a sick dog, two sick kids… There may or may not be a “note” in my phone where I made a list of what everyone wanted for breakfast on Monday. At Sonic. Life is messy.

Here’s the other part of my not-so-secret secret: God doesn’t expect me to do it all, every day.

He expects me to follow after Him and serve others wholeheartedly. If that means we get school lessons done, everything checked off the to do list, and supper on the table at 5 – great! If we work hard, but have to slow down school to accommodate a little boy not feeling well, and I get less cleaning done because I have to take the time to teach littles to pick up after themselves – that’s great too.

Mama, if you’re exhausted from being up all night with a newborn or sick babies and need to sit a bit longer reading your bible and drinking another cup of coffee before going head first into that busy day – that’s great too. That is not time wasted. God created our bodies and spirits to need rest.

Sometimes we (Read: I) take the “One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys,” part (Proverbs 18:9) way too far and feel like a failure when it doesn’t all get done, despite my best efforts. Laziness certainly doesn’t glorify God, at all. However, God gave us mamas each 24 hours and no third arms. 🙂

He sees you making those extensive to do lists that you know won’t all get done in one day with a toddler at your feet.
He sees you struggling to stay awake through those 2 a.m. feedings.
He sees you staying up late to talk to that teenager with hurt feelings.
He sees you silently cleaning up a mess no one else noticed.
He sees you packing lunches and brewing coffee in the dark of the morning.

He knows how hard we try. He sees our hearts when we realize we should have tried hard.
He also gives us grace.

Give yourself some grace. Put breakfast on paper plates if the kitchen is already a mess. Grab a second, or third, cup of coffee, read your bible, and do your best. Don’t say yes to that extracurricular just because you’re afraid of letting someone down. Apologize to the little one you were short with. Ask for forgiveness, and let His love wipe the slate clean. Love Him, love others, and rest in the knowledge that God loves you. Mamas, we are not enough, but He makes us enough.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭12‬:‭9‬ NIV)

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They grow up too fast.

Today I was once again reminded that they grow up too fast. I was unpacking a forgotten box, and Miss SK was helping. She pulled out a pencil and a random piece of paper. She then plopped down in the floor to scribble for a bit.

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A few good books

It’s probably no secret, I love to read. I definitely didn’t do enough of it last year though. I think I finished 2, maybe 3, books? Maybe it was 4. I’m not really sure, but I know the last several weeks, I’ve been glued to a book most nights while I waited to win the war with my children over bedtime. I’ve shared a few quotes from some of them on Twitter and Instagram and had several ask what books they came from, so I decided to compile a short list of some of the most recent books I have read or am currently reading. One of the books I started a couple of years ago (and sadly still haven’t finished!) suggested moms could benefit from, as often as possible, choosing books that were both interesting, but also encouraging or educating. While I do enjoy reading fiction, I’ve found that over the last few years, my heart hasn’t been in it as much. So, without further explanation, here are a few reading recommendations for those looking to start out the new year with a new book.

Tender Mercy for a Mother’s Soul: Inspiration to Renew Your Spirit
book cover  By Angela Thomas
  This was given to me by a good friend, and I’ve read it in full twice and also read bits and pieces here and there just because I love it that much. Lots of helpful insight and encouragement all in one little book. I’m beginning to think the best books by moms for moms are the shorter ones. Those are the moms/authors that get it, and understand that I do not have time to read a lengthy book in a short amount of time anymore, and I will get annoyed and discouraged by that fact if I try.

 

Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches
book cover for Loving the Little YearsBy Rachel Jankovic
Another book that was gifted to me that I am oh, so thankful for! As a mama of three tinys and one on the way, this one was very encouraging. It’s also another short book that packs the good stuff in without taking up lots of extra pages a mom of little kids doesn’t have time to read.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Decades of Fertility
By: Natalie Klewja, Carmon Friedrich, et al.
I came across this ebook through the blog of onebook cover of the authors and it immediately piqued my interest. I finally bought the Kindle version of it just a couple of weeks ago, and I am really enjoying it so far. Each of the authors does a good job of being very real about life and pregnancy as a mother of many and how God has blessed them and taught them amazing things through letting HIM have control over every aspect of their lives, even the very private part that our culture tells us to take control of.

 

Life Interrupted
By Priscilla Shirer
9781433670459_cvr_web-1  Another one that I am currently reading. This was also a gift from a friend. Really, my friend Heather magically finds way more reading time than I have and she has awesome taste in reading material. I adore this book for so many reasons. I’ve already gifted a copy to someone else, and I haven’t even finished it. This is a great book for anyone dealing with big or small “interruptions” in their life.

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30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 18

Day Eighteen

I’m thankful to be able to feed my family.

Yesterday my family went grocery shopping. We were crunched on time this weekend, and the best spot available was yesterday afternoon on our way home from viewing another house. Because of the items on our list, we had to make 2 stops.

At the first stop, we unloaded our two youngest from their car seats and laid them in the front seat to change diapers. Hubby with one and me with the other – we do diaper changes in the car like pros now. Haha! We didn’t even have a kid out of the car before one was crying, and we laughed about how bad the trip was starting.

We made it through our short list for that store (of course forgetting two important items!) and at the check out my husband grabbed drinks out of the cooler for a treat for us. Back in the car, he mentioned how he sometimes feels guilty for the frivolous spending that goes on in our country, ourselves included, and so many think nothing of it, ever. I agreed. We certainly didn’t need $3 worth of sugary drinks. We are just as guilty as the rest of this country’s population.

This isn’t a new topic of discussion for us either. With a growing family, we know the importance of stretching a dollar. I meal plan, budget our finances, and cook mostly from scratch just to stretch our food bill (and keep my family healthier). Some paychecks we have to stretch more than others, but even then, you’ll find items in our pantry that others would consider unnecessary and a huge treat. On just about any given day I have the ingredients to whip up oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips. Nearly every week I purchase or make an extra dish to take to our Wednesday night small group.

At our second stop, I pulled put my long list of items needed for the next week or two. I had planned out a menu of meals for our family, double checked the kitchen for what we had and what I needed for each recipe, made a list and hoped it would all be within the amount I budgeted for groceries. Thankfully it ended up under our budgeted amount, but after we made it home with 3 sleepy kids and I put everything away, I opened one of the freezers (Yes, we use two! So many in this world will never own one!) to squeeze in one last bag of green beans and felt so very grateful to be able to feed my family – to live in a country of abundant food. Even with so many struggling financially, there are churches and food banks and non-profits handing out free food every day to those in need. There are people out in the woods and fields across the country right now harvesting wild game for their families and others. We are blessed with a basic necessity that we so often don’t stop to recognize or appreciate. This morning I’ll be filling my crockpot with the ingredients of a potato soup, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to cook another meal for my husband and children.

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19 weeks (Baby Number Four!)

This entire year is a big blur. It has been one major event/crisis after another, and poor Baby #4 hasn’t gotten any blog space!! I feel terrible for it! I’ve actually taken several weekly pictures that never got posted. 😦 Now we are in the process of selling our home (moving in with my parents in 2 weeks!!), so we don’t currently have internet service at home. I’ve just been running up our phone bill with extra data charges. Oops. I just happen to have a spare minute tonight while we are at my parents’ house, and my husband went shopping for a tool to work on his car. 

How far along? 19 weeks, 4 days

Total weight gain/loss: +1 lb (Or so the scale says tonight. I think that varies depending on whether or not I keep breakfast and/or lunch down. Today was a decent day.)

Maternity clothes? Nope

Stretch marks? nope

Sleep: I have 3 kids, ages 3 and under, and weird pregnancy dreams.

Best moment this week: Snuggling with my boys at nap times.

Movement: Occasionally

Food cravings: none this week

Gender:don’t know (Daddy is working 6 days/wk, and we’ve had no time to go for another ultrasound!)

Labor Signs: nope

Belly Button in or out? still in

What I miss: Nothing at the moment. I’m feeling really great.

What I am looking forward to: Buying a house!

Weekly Wisdom: Make lists. Lots of lists. And phone reminders. It’s your only defense against pregnancy/mommy brain.

Baby’s Development:


Vernix caseosa, a greasy white substance made of lanugo, oil and dead skin cells (yum) now coats baby’s skin, shielding it from the amniotic fluid. (Picture yourself after a nine-month bath, and the need for protection makes sense.) You might actually get to see the vernix at birth, especially if baby is premature.” -thebump.com

“Your baby’s sensory development is exploding! Her brain is designating specialized areas for smell, taste, hearing, vision, and touch. Some research suggests that she may be able to hear your voice now, so don’t be shy about reading aloud, talking to her, or singing a happy tune if the mood strikes you.


Your baby weighs about 8 1/2 ounces and measures 6 inches, head to bottom — about the size of a large heirloom tomato. Her arms and legs are in the right proportions to each other and the rest of her body now. Her kidneys continue to make urine and the hair on her scalp is sprouting. A waxy protective coating called the vernix caseosa is forming on her skin to prevent it from pickling in the amniotic fluid.” -babycenter.com

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