Sunday, February 12, 2017

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Friday, December 25, 2015

No Nonsense Baby Registry From A Third Time Mommy

Oh how different it is to be pregnant with baby number three!

My first pregnancy started with me scouring the internet for hours everyday, putting a registry together before I knew anything about babies, I consistantly "ate for two" and eventually bought everything myself before the baby shower. After the baby came I pumped too early, woke her up to feed every 4 hours and had accumulated way more baby junk than we ever could have needed. Yikes! Granted I was young and overly excited. The unfortunate thing is that I believed I needed to buy everything I saw on Pinterest to keep my baby safe, healthy, occupied and loved all day.

The second time around I was a little more knowledgable. We used a lot of hand-me-downs! Although we still held onto more than necessary, at least I got to reuse some of the things we had spent so much money on and hardly any time using the first time. We lived with my husband's family and while we appreciated all the extra help they gave us, I was so stressed and couldn't help but feel inadequate because of our situation. I suffered from ppd during my baby's first couple months. 

This time around the feelings are so completely different. 
I wouldn't say I've matured necessarily, but I've definitely learned from my experiences. My perspective has done a 180. Our focus is on the baby this time. My beautiful little miracle! Our gift from God! When my first two were born, we were so surrounded by things that we thought we 'needed' that I hardly got to hold my baby. It wasn't that I couldn't, it was that we had a bassinet, crib, pack n play, boppy, bumbo, vibrating seat, swing, car seat, jumper, and probably more that I can't remember that I thought we had to use.

I missed making memories with my babies at those precious ages
because there was so much stuff 
that we knew they'd quickly grow out of, 
and I felt we needed to use them before it was too late. 

I was totally brainwashed and believed we needed at least 2 of every baby product on the market. It's kind of sad actually..

Don't get my wrong, I have so many beautiful memories of spending time with my sweet babies during their first few months! And I'm so thankful that we had the ability to take care of our growing family. We were never without necessities!

But I also have a lot of memories of the stress that comes with the clutter of unnecessary things. 

Our babies were moving through stages so quickly during the first year, some things got used maybe once or twice (especially the clothes!). Looking back, I realize now that the money we spent on all of those "necessities" would have been better used to stock up diapers & wipes.

I'm not sharing this with you to whine about my regrets or convince you that you shouldn't buy the things you've had your eye on for your baby's nursery. I'm telling you this so that hopefully you can avoid some of the craziness that comes with owning all the stuff they say you "need" during your first or second pregnancy. Preparing for a baby is such an emotional experience! Use this time to seek the Lord and learn all you can about parenting instead of stocking up on things that will hold your baby for you. 

Even though this is my third time, I made a brand new list (I'm a list person) of what we need to get before our baby comes. My list is extremely minimal compared to what you'll typically find online but it's just right for our family. Yours may be longer and that's okay!

We'll buy:
-1 baby carrier (I loved my Organic Ergo.. I'll probably get another!)
-2 natural pacifiers (probably a natursutten)
-1 Moses basket (we live in a very small home so this will help me be transfer the baby through our narrow hall and onto limited floor space)
-car seat (we loved our key fit 30, hoping to get another or whatever the latest model is)
-5 onesies, 5 pants, 5 socks, 2 warm sweaters (Major major downsize going on here.)
-4 sets of cloth nursing pads

Still have from the last baby & will be reusing:
-stroller (baby jogger city select. Just needs to be washed)
-1 sound machine (amazing little device especially if there are other kids in the home)

I'll be making:
-1 pacifier clip (life saver!) 
-a few beanies ;)
-1 or 2 sets of mittens

And that's it. As the baby gets older we'll have to get a crib again & other things, but as far as I can remember, this is all we need for our first few months. I'm so, so excited to experience pregnancy and motherhood in this new way. If you found this helpful, please introduce yourself in the comments! I'd love to meet you. <3


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

This year I'll be telling my young children the truth about Santa.

You read that right, this year I'll be telling our 3 and 4 year olds the truth about Santa. The decision came pretty quickly after watching this video this morning. In case you can't head over and watch it right now, it's an Ikea commercial that shows children being asked to write two Christmas lists- the first is to Santa and the second is to their parents. You'd think the contents of these letters would be similar, but they couldn't be more different! The first lists include physical items such as games, instruments, and even a unicorn. The second letters however, include more intimate desires including spending time together, getting more attention, having dinner together, being tickled, playing together as a family... etc.

"Imagine! You want to
give them the best you can, 
and the best is yourself!"

At the end of the video, the kids are told they can send only one of their letters out and are asked to choose between the letter to Santa and the one for their parents. Can you guess which letter they unanimously chose? You guessed it! It's the one to their parents. These kids value quality time and fun with their parents over the extravagant lists of toys from Santa. Woah! If you don't have the chills or tears or both, then you're probably not a parent haha. I'm not sure how true this video was, but I know that the message they portrayed is absolutely valid and so important!

I have been struggling for months with how we are going to celebrate Christmas this year. I had a few things in mind that are essential- not getting into debt, getting the kids involved in giving to the needy, going through an advent plan as a family, not feeling guilty about receiving unwanted gifts.. But I still wasn't 100% sure how we were going to tackle the issue that is Christmas gifts. I knew that if we were going to not be giving any out, we needed to inform our friends and family of our plan so that they wouldn't be spending time and money on us expecting something in return. And that's the problem right there! 

Christmas has become
a time of guilt instead
of time of grace.

I don't know about you, but it doesn't take much to cause me to feel guilty! Especially around this time of year.. God forbid you forget to get a gift for someone and they show up with something for you. My eyebrows just took on a nervous expression just thinking about that scenario!! The giving and receiving of temporary physical gifts has taken over this season that is supposed to be about the incredible eternal gift that Jesus gave us 2000 years ago- the gift of His life! He gave us the opportunity to spend our lives with Him by coming to earth as a baby and spent His time with imperfect people, sinners, people like you and me for approximately 33 years. As a Christian, Jesus is my example & I strive to be like Him in everything I do. In all unsarcastic honesty, my kids aren't asking for 33 years of quality time. I think it would be accurate to say they'd be happy with an hour of undistracted time with Mom and Dad a day. Why is that so hard? Do I really want to buy them more things to distract them so that I can have time to myself while missing the ages and stages of my kids that, once outgrown, I'll never get back? Again, woah.

God in all His power probably could have created something to send down here instead of His Son. A quick and easy gift. Last minute, DIY salvation available for all, day or night. It would have been convenient for Him & it may have even been more convenient for us. It wouldn't have been the same though. The intimate time He spent with us proves His amazing love for us. Would we as Christians feel as loved if God had simply left a gift for us to open, watched excitedly as we opened our gifts, then after a few days went back to whatever it is He does up there, expecting us to remain occupied with an amazing gift but no one to share it with? It's an extreme comparison to make, but I don't think it's inappropriate.. He is our Heavenly Father and we are told to imitate Him. Eph. 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. This verse is specifically referring to walking in love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself for us. 

He graciously gave us the
ultimate gift of time with Him
here on earth and in Heaven. 

As I sat there pondering the message of the video, I realized that our generation has done a fine job of raising children whose expectations of Santa are often unrealistic and do little but promote stress and disappointment. Kids stress about choosing that big toy or game or whatever it is for their list while their parents are most likely stressing about how they're going to afford that big item. Unfortunately so many families experience disappointment on Christmas day when their high expectations of gifts are unmet. Sometimes is out in the open and sometimes it's just an inner heart sinking feeling we get when we are disappointed. Either case, this is so sad!! This season of love, giving and appreciation has become a season of thinking we deserve to get whatever we want.

True story-- When I was little, like between the ages of 5 and 8, my parents asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I was quick to tell them. That year my heart was set on a pink and white polka dotted bathrobe. Well, Christmas came and it was time to open my gifts. When I opened my gift and saw the robe, my excitement turned to utter disappointment. The robe was striped-- not polka dotted. I have been told my family that I screamed and cried and pretty much ruined that Christmas. I can't even imagine the anger and frustration that resulted in my parents because of my selfish reaction. I'm sure they were hurt. They spent hard earned money on that robe and were so excited to be getting me something I had been looking forward to..

I wonder if my expectations would have been different
if I had known what my parents sacrificed for us to have a 
beautiful, family-filled Christmas that year?

Now I'm going to make a third list. A list of ways I can prove my love for my kids through gifts that will promote spending time together. I want them to experience the joy of opening gifts on Christmas morning and to keep experiencing joy as they play with their new things with the people they love and admire the most. 

Betsey (age 4 1/2)
-a bat & a ball. She's pretty good at hitting already!
-board games & treats. Hmm.. she does share my appreciation for chocolate. :)
-watercolor paints, a giant notepad & aprons for both of us. She has been wanting to paint so bad. I have been saying no because of the mess and clean up time. :(
-books. We've read the same books for years. Need some new and exciting ones!
-a stool for them to reach the kitchen sink and help out with cooking. Aprons would be handy for this as well! 

Beverly (age 3)
-a mommy & me class. she loves all things dancing, singing and gymnastics. She would be ecstatic if she got to do those things with me in a class!
-a flashlight. So many reasons! They're just fun.
-dress up clothes. Maybe some for me too to get myself playing with them. :)
-a soccer ball. She's quite good at running and kicking the ball!

...I have to admit, making these lists isn't easy. It's so much easier for me to think of all the things I can get them that will make my life easier, like movies and toys. I already know I'm going to need to remind myself that those things aren't bringing us closer as a family. This Christmas I am going to tell my children the truth about this beautiful season of grace and giving, do my best to help them appreciate and love people, and try to bring as much joy and quality time as possible into my home. 

I'd love to hear your ideas for family-time promoting gifts! Please share your ideas in the comments. Maybe it'll help a child spend more time with a parent or family member this year! <3

Okay so this picture was on her birthday, but you get the concept. ;)

Erin :)

Friday, October 16, 2015

memories of pink and blue

Pink & blue have been making some fun appearances in my life this week. The combination is special to me because they're the colors we used in Betsey's nursery 5 years ago. WOW.. I can't believe that was only 5 years ago!! Time is such a strange thing as a parent. In one way I feel like my kids are growing up so quickly, while at the same time I feel like I've been their mom forever. It's hard to remember life before kids haha. I'm sure other parents understand this odd feeling!

All of those memories of Betsey's pink & blue nursery had me dreaming of my newborn baby. I just went back 3000 instagram pictures to my first few posts.. Who remembers Earlybird? :D

Monday, October 12, 2015

Today I'm thankful for ______________.

"Focus on His promises" is something I've heard a lot and never fully understood. I figured that probably referred to hundreds of promises that deserved a lot of study time and attention and I'd get to them eventually..
Another quote I never understood was "God revealed something to me". 😏 To be honest, that second was more annoying than anything because I just didn't see how it was possible to know a message came from God. It still makes little sense in my head but isn't that the best part about how He works? Anyway so yesterday (for the second time this week) a thought popped into my head that I hadn't worked up to. Normally my thoughts bounce off each other and grow into deeper thoughts and I can remember the pattern of thought that lead to where I was, but not these times. God's been dropping some of the craziest things into my head that I know couldn't have come from me! 
Yesterday it was about everything that He hasn't promised me. 
He didn't promise that I'd have an easy life. He didn't promise that I'll always be happy. He didn't promise that I'll be successful. He didn't promise me that I'll get to travel the world..
He also didn't promise me running water. He didn't promise me a home with a heater and a/c. I wasn't promised a fridge full of food or a closet full of clothes or a job (or 3) or a shelf of bibles or a light to turn on when my kids have nightmares. 
However, He did promise heaven to all of His followers & I'm counting on the fact that heaven is going to be far more amazing than anything I'll never get to see here on earth!! & I'm okay with that! 😊
These things don't just happen in my head because I am and have always been a pretty selfish person.. 😁😞 But gratitude has been coming from Him in buckets lately and I'm loving it! 💕 take a second to say thank you to our Sweet Creator today for all the little things.

Today I'm thankful for ______________.

-a husband that works hard for us.
-healthy kids
-my glasses
-sweet friends
-soft yarn
-air conditioning

Erin <3

Sunday, October 11, 2015

- October 12-19 goals -

Hello & happy Sunday!
The girls and I are enjoying a quiet day in so I'm taking advantage of this beautiful day off to write up this week's goals!

- October 12-19 goals -
-make & send current orders
-stock the shop
-finish Fervent
-buy snacks for the day care
-run 10 miles (I can't believe I still haven't hit 10 mi in 1 week. Time to change that!)
-drink Greens before coffee every morning!
-get the girls' halloween costumes ready
-read Awana book and memorize the long version of the verse with the girls.
& most importantly,
-journal & pray everyday!

Doable goals for sure. Now to stay focused on the list and not on my pinterest or instagram feeds...

Any suggestions on staying focused on goals and overcoming distractions?


Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy 4th!

Happy Independence Day! Hope everyone has a fun and safe holiday. 

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