Since February just started, I’m thinking Valentine’s Day! I mean, on a day like today, the overcast just has us dozing off. But, at least there’s another holiday to look forward to. Am I right?
Since, you all seemed to love the Free Printable Valentine’s Day cards I made last year, I thought I’d make you some more to chose from. These are just so fun to create! I design all of my graphics on Canva.com, which is free for anyone to use. They have all sorts of cute illustrations and fonts!
If you don’t really like putting a lot of time and effort, though, these are pre-made, along with a PDF printable file. Even a last minute mom can print these out at home the night before Valentine’s Day! (And believe me, I’ve been there!)
As my middle son nears age 5, I feel like I missed him being a baby. Part of that may be him being the middle kid. Or maybe because he’s close in age to his brothers. Whatever the case, he suddenly seems so grown up!
This is what I want him to know.
Dear middle child,
It seems as though you were a baby yesterday. I can still vividly remember birthing you in a tub at the hospital. When the midwife pulled you from the water, she placed you on my chest. I was instantly overwhelmed when I met you. My heart was beating so fast because we both worked so hard and there you were. You cried and cried until you were cleaned up, swaddled, and placed back in my arms.
When the room cleared I faced you towards me so I could gaze on your precious face. You were happy and silent now. I felt so at peace in that little room. You snuggled daddy soon after. We were lucky to leave the hospital with you, unlike your brothers. It felt strange, walking off a day after we had you (instead of the 8 days in the NICU for your brothers).
When you came home, you made our tiny family more whole! Your big brother instantly wanted to hold you and feed you. As you grew more, he would play with you and your baby toys. He showed you the way of the world. And you two laughed a lot! I loved seeing you two become best friends.
I’ll still never forget the time your big brother dumped an entire can of baby powder all over you. When I walked in on the scene of the crime, you two stared blankly at me as if nothing happened. I laughed so hard!
Soon, you were 18 months old, and you were no longer a baby, nor the baby of the family. I feel like from then on was focused on your younger brother. I feel bad that we didn’t get more time with you as the baby.
But I can tell you one thing, I do appreciate you being independent. I love watching you tinker with gears and building sets. I love watching you color a picture of us. The way your tongue rests on your lips when you focus on the lines. I love your sweet little voice and your kind spirit. I love your perspective of life. And I absolutely love when you curl up next to me on the couch (and demand a prompt back rub).
I will never get those first few years back. All I know is that you grew up too fast, so I’m going to slow down and enjoy you more now.
One of the biggest stressors of being home with my boys is keeping the house clean. It’s like I spend a morning cleaning and then by dinner time it’s destroyed. Sometimes it feels pointless.
Do you feel this way too? Like you might be a little more enthused if you could clean your whole house while someone watched your kids? Or if once your house was clean, your kids helped you keep it clean?
My house never stays clean! But I can make it appear that way for guests.
Essential oils have really made a break into society. When they became really popular a few years ago, I wondered why. Here is my discovery.
Why Essential Oils?
After going to an oil party a few months ago (for Young Living), I fell in love! At the party, oil diffusers set the mood with relaxing lavender, lemon oil flavored the water (while detoxing), and the Thieves household cleaner actually works! I was given generous samples to try at home and absolutely loved the results!
With some previous knowledge of natural remedies, I knew I wanted to try some products with less side effects. Think about it, every medicine you take has possible side effects. Natural is just safe.
There are so many more benefits to using essential oils and I will share those with you along my personal journey.
I had never really thought about how many toxins are in…
Here in northwest Ohio, we’ve been ready since Halloween because of our early snow. In fact, our youngest has been sure to thank God every dinner time prayer for our Christmas tree. Since October. We didn’t have a tree up until two weeks ago.
As Christmas approaches this year, I’ve tried to take the pressure off and focus on more important things. I could be trying harder to whip out some quick posts for you, sell you all my favorite things, and focus on all the commercialism. But I’m not going to. I realize that makes me sound a little bit like Charlie Brown.
Instead I’ve been focused on how blessed I am, focusing on my family, my goals for the next year, and focusing on my purpose.
A lot has changed for our family over the years. The biggest changes are of the heart for us. No one says life is going to be easy, safe, or that it will be constant. But I think God uses those moments of uncertainty to depend on Him. When we grow humble, we can see our blessings clearly.
Our family has been through a lot of stressful situations from NICU visits, ER visits, break-ins, military life, and at times financial strains. But those moments have shed some light on my blessings. I now see my healthy family, that we’re safe, we have amazing support, everything we need, and a God who loves us.
Our pastor has been preaching on the Nativity story leading up to Christmas. I’ve heard so many renditions of the same story. The basic story, the cultural break down, and even this hilarious viral video done done by Soutland Church!
In preparation for Christmas, we’ve been crafting, listening to a lot of Pentatonix, decorating, and making some goodies!
What have you guys been doing to prepare for Christmas?
I think I know you just a little better than you realize.
I know that those little eyes looking up into your soul is your fuel. I know that you delight in every new milestone that your little one accomplishes! I know that you are filling your memory bank with pictures of sunshine in your sweetie’s hair and the mental recordings of her laughter. “I’m going to remember this for the rest of my life,” you tell yourself.
I know your maternity leave may have never quite ended or that you quit working for various reasons to be home. I know you pour your heart and soul into this job.
Even as your babies grew up, you still couldn’t sleep well through the night. You still have urges to make sure they’re all still breathing and well. You get such little sleep some nights, even though you’re wrecked. You spend all day making mental notes and trying to stay on everyone else’s schedules. You focus on child development, health, nutrition, cleaning, and bills, and some days forget to fill your memory bank. Or do something nice for yourself even.
Regular days you play referee to break up your kid’s fighting. If you’re not breaking up fights, you’re repeating yourself to your kids. “They totally heard me,” you say. And all that can turn into a lot of yelling.
Just a little while before your husband comes home you realize all of your hard work appears to have evaporated into thin air. The nutritional breakfast/lunch is on the dinning room floor, the dishes are stacked high again, the laundry train lost it’s caboose, for every one mess you picked up there’s another 10, the fight you broke up is now back in full swing, and now you’re husband is going to see. So we panic that our husband will think we we’re lazy all day and we stress clean.
You hide the dishes in the dishwasher and clothes in the washer. At some point you just don’t care about the mess any more because you’re tired and defeated. You’ve spent all day feeling isolated, tired, and irritated.
This life is all you now know. And no one told you it’d be so tough!
No one told you that you would feel this pressure to be a good mom, even when no one else is even around. No one told you that you would feel lonely in your own home, surrounded by your minis. No one told you that it’s almost scary to wake up one day and realize you don’t have anywhere to be. No one else that needs you more than your children.
No one told you that you boarded the struggle bus with your own worst critic. You.
I never realized how all of those tough days would sneak up on me and make me feel so small. I never realized the weight of it all until I opened up about it. And I never realized how similar my feelings were to other moms until other people started opening up about it.
Motherhood is the most beautiful thing to happen in your life, but the most demanding. I know it may not seem the way you pictured it. I know it’s full of days when you wish you could work or that you hope the kids would become more independent sooner.
In 7 years time, this is what I learned about motherhood (especially being a Stay-at-home mom):
I felt most successful when I gave my kids the most attention
I always criticized myself, even when I didn’t use social media
I read so many expert tips and I felt like I tried everything, when I should’ve just used my motherly instinct
Treat yourself more! I almost never did things for myself. I started to feel more motivated when I had things to look forward to.
Call up your mom to talk. It’s such good therapy!!
Take help when it’s offered.
Find ways to record good memories, whether a journal to your kids for when they grow up, candid pictures, or videos of them being happy. Then just brain dump the days of yelling.
Look back on these recordings when you’re blood pressure is through the roof. You’ll just be looking through pictures thinking of how sweet your babies are.
Being a good mom holds a lot of pressure. You don’t always have to hold it together. Grow your faith!
And lastly, don’t let someone’s idea of you define you. You are so much more!
We do so much around our homes, but it never feels like enough. We always question how we’ve done as a mom. Somehow with how busy we are, it can feel like our lives are somehow incomplete. There is always still more to do.
To those of you wondering if you’re a good mom, or when you will ever even fit into your own schedule-
I once read a simple quote, “you are enough.” It changed my whole thinking and gave me a sense of peace.
Enough with the mom guilt. Enough with believing what people think of us. Enough with not giving ourselves something to look forward to.
We made it to December! What a great month to celebrate Christmas! Right after the month of being thankful, we celebrate a month of giving.
This warm season can be chaotic. Bake the cookies. Send the greeting cards. Select the tree. Decorate the house. Buy the gifts. Wrap the gifts. Visit Santa. Cook the nice dinner. Get everyone a nice outfit. Family Photos. Prepare for guests. And the list goes on.