Happy Mother’s Day!

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Happy Mother's Day!

I feel so blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful moms. I thought about listing them all, but there’s too many and I’m too worried I would leave someone out, so instead, I present you with this list.

To the mom who gave me life, the one and the only, Happy Mother’s Day!

To the women who have taken me under their wings and loved me as if I was their own daughter, Happy Mother’s Day!

To the moms that I see in my day to day every life, who lift me up and encourage me, Happy Mother’s Day!

To the moms that I love but who live far away, who also lift me up and encourage me, Happy Mother’s Day!

And to all mothers everywhere, Happy Mother’s Day!

Like I said at the beginning, it is a blessing to know so many wonderful mothers. It is such a privilege to watch you raise your children. You inspire me, encourage me, and challenge me in so many ways that you don’t even know you are doing. Whether you stay home with your kids or you work at home or you work outside of the home, you are all doing your very best to raise your children and you have all taught me so much.

No matter where we are on our mom journey, there is always something we can learn from each other. I hope that you all can see how beautiful you are inside and out. You are setting examples for your children of strength and grace, of beauty and passion, of compassion and fierceness. Whatever tough moments lie behind you, you’ve overcome them. Whatever tough moments lay ahead of you, I know you’ll overcome those too.

I know it’s not Mother’s Day until tomorrow, but I couldn’t resist posting this early 😉 Happy Mother’s Day! 

Free Clip Art

Everyone’s Favorite Songs

So, I was curious what everyone’s favorite songs were and so I asked you. And let me tell you, you guys delivered! You have such varied tastes in music, it’s kind of wonderful and I love it.

Everyone's favorite songs

So I took all those songs and I turned them into a Spotify playlist. Entitled everyone’s favorite songs, of course. There are a few that are covers because I couldn’t find the original on Spotify. Usually, this is because the artist or whoever owns the rights to the song has chosen not to make it available on Spotify. There are a lot of songs on Spotify, but not everything. I do love Spotify and I promise this is not an ad haha.

So right now, this is a very short list. I could only add what people said! So obviously, this is not exhaustive of everyone in the whole wide world. First of all because I don’t know everyone in the whole wide world! But I could add to this list at any time, so if you have something you’d like to add, please let me know and I’ll add it!

Oh in case you are wondering why I picked a picture of a CD player over all the newer ways to play music, it’s in honor of Dominic. Dominic has been enjoying the discovery of the CD thanks to a birthday gift of a CD player from his aunt. He’s always been a musical kind of kid, so this was a really great gift for him. He definitely has developed his own favorite songs already. It’s one of the most awesome parts of being a mom is seeing these tiny infants turn into such personalities.

What song would you like me to add? 

Picture altered and adapted from a picture by mconnors at morguefile.com

Ramblings About Kids and Technology

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Technology and Kids

Do you ever wonder sometimes what it will be like for our kids to grow up with so much technology? Now, let’s just get this out to the way that this is not going to be a doom and gloom post about kids and technology. Because let’s be honest, I don’t really enjoy reading those posts. Even though I actively monitor and limit my kids’ screen time, they still get some and I don’t think that.

But today I was just thinking about how I grew up with technology and how much more so that will be the case for my kids. I mean, earlier this week, Dominic sent his first text. Well, he typed it anyways. I don’t really remember a time before technology. But he really won’t remember a time before technology.

Periodically, Nick looks at our monthly phone usage. Today he informed me that in the last month I have sent 1,053 text messages. And this number doesn’t even include iMessages, of which I have also sent many, but have no data on that. And this number doesn’t measure Facebook messages, which is my main form of communication with a few friends. But basically, the point is, I use these tools to communicate a lot.

Because that’s what they are – they are tools. And this is one of the perspectives that I hope to teach my kids. Not that technology is doom and gloom, but that, when used properly, technology can be a wonderful tool, that allows us to connect with people. That allows us to learn. That assists us with tasks we find difficult.

But also that just because it is a tool to do all those things, doesn’t mean that it should be the only way we do all those things. That there is value in face to face connection. That there are ways to learn outside of technology. That sometimes there are creative solutions to difficult tasks.

There’s a lot of things that I want my kids to learn about technology and honestly, I don’t even know what all of those things are. Somedays, I feel like I’m still learning about technology and I’ve been using it for a very long time. This post is definitely a lot more rambly than yesterday’s post. I hope that’s okay. 🙂 I’d love to hear your thoughts on kids and tech – the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

5 Things I Have Learned in 5 Years as a Stay at Home Mom

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As Dominic’s 5th birthday approaches, it occurred to me today that that means I have been a stay at home mom for almost five years. That’s longer than it took me to finish college, longer than any job I held, longer than I’ve known some people. It’s a long time. And so, in honor of Dominic’s 5th birthday, here are five things I have learned in my five years (rounded up) as a stay at home mom.

Dominic reading to me and Allen - what I've learned as a Stay at Home Mom

Structure helps us all.

This may sound silly, but I have alarms on my phone for lunch time and dinner time and bedtime. This allows us to keep things at roughly the same time every day without watching the clock, plus the kids understand what’s coming next. I also use an app that keeps track of my housework and this results in us doing certain things on certain days of the week. The kids have picked up on this and they know what to expect. It helps me a great deal to have some kind of structure otherwise the day blurs together because there’s no start and end time to my day. The kids knowing what to expect also helps them to roll with the day – they know when they can expect to be fed and they generally go to bed fine because we have a routine in place before bed.

Everyone is going to have opinions.

I have to start off by saying this is true of all parenting – not just being a stay at home mom. Everyone – and I mean everyone, including random strangers – has opinions on the “right” way to parent kids. Somewhere, someone out there thinks you are ruining your kids for something you do/don’t do. Guarantee. And every kind of mom faces their own kind of stigma and naysayers. For me, as a stay at home mom, this has included pressure from others to get a job and someone I knew called me a freeloader once. All of these things though are just opinions and frequently, not very helpful ones. You and your spouse are the ones who get to make the decisions about your unique and amazing kids – period. Check the outside opinions at the door to your house. This is way easier said than done, but it will make a world of difference.

You need a tribe.

Being a stay at home mom can be lonely and isolating. You don’t always see a whole lot of adults and being around your kids all the time can be hard. You need to find the people who are going to support you in this journey, the people who are going to lift you up when you feel like quitting or when you feel like you’re not good enough. I’m fortunate to have a strong tribe of people supporting me and I truly believe their support is invaluable.

My tribe is a diverse tribe and includes wonderful ladies nearby and far away, some who have kids, some who don’t, some who are the same age as me, some who are older, some who share my faith, some who don’t. However, what they all have in common is that they love me and want to see me succeed. They’re not seeking to tear me down but to encourage me. They’re not seeking to force their opinions on me, but to give advice when asked. They’re not seeking to tell me to quit, but to tell me I made this decision for a reason and to keep going. I am grateful to each and every one of them. I hope that you are lucky enough to find a tribe like I have. Because I can tell you when I didn’t have a very big tribe, it was hard.

There is more to you than being a stay at home mom.

When I first had my kids, I fell into attachment parenting (more about that another day). This made me feel like I could never leave my kids. Like I had to be with them 24/7 or I was a bad mom. I let myself be completely absorbed by parenting and let my other hobbies and interests fall by the wayside. But do you know what I’ve learned this leads to? A stressed out me.Over time, I’ve been able to slowly add in more things that are just for me. I sing in my church’s choir and attend Bible study regularly (with some of the moms from my tribe – thus accomplishing two things 😉 ). I blog and I read books and I write. I try and get out with friends and with Nick when I can.

Being a stay at home mom is a lot of pressure. If you let that be the only thing you have going for you, it’s easy to let the failures crush you. But the reality is, you can not measure your self-worth or success by the behavior of your kids. I still struggle with this because unlike other jobs, there’s no paychecks or promotions or recognitions. But for me, having things I can enjoy outside of parenting helps remind me on the bad days that there is more to life than parenting and I have not failed as a human being even if my kids are little terrors.

It’s normal that it is simultaneously so hard and so rewarding.

I feel like when your kids are little and it’s hard, you tell yourself that later on, it will be easier. When they don’t need you to do so much for them, it will be easier. But the reality is, it doesn’t get easier in a linear fashion. Some things get easier, but then there are other new problems that crop up. And sometimes, if you’re like me, you think if you just work a little bit harder, you will get there, to a point where it’s easier. But life – and parenting – don’t work like that. Parenting has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

But! On the flipside of that, I’ve also never done something this rewarding. There are awesome moments where you see them do a new skill for the first time. Or get a big hug from them with an I love you. Or they finally remember to do something you’ve been working on with them for ages. These moments make your heart like 3000 times bigger. It is frequently both of these things in the same day and sometimes even in the same moment. That’s normal. That’s life.

So I suppose, on reflecting on this list at the end, this isn’t just about being a stay at home mom. It’s also/mostly about being a parent. This is what I’ve learned and really, what I’m still learning. I’m still a work in progress, just like my kids.

What have you learned from parenting? 

Kids in the Kitchen: Grilled Ranch Chicken

I really believe strongly in involving kids in the kitchen. One of my goals for my kids is to teach them how to cook. I think it’s a very important life skill. I really want to teach my kids how to do it so that they can take care of themselves. Plus I want them to be comfortable in the kitchen.

For the most part, this is not hard because they want to be helping in the kitchen. But sometimes it’s hard to think of a way they can help. Or, like I was in the beginning, you might worry about the mess or screwing up the recipe. But, over time, I have learned to let go a little bit and let them help. So, in this occasional feature, I am going to give you a glimpse into some of the ways that I cook with my kids.

Tonight, we made grilled ranch chicken. This recipe comes from The Everything Food Allergy Cookbook (affiliate link). I got this cookbook when it was free for Kindle one time (I’m a collector haha) and while we don’t have food allergies, I’ve found it has some especially excellent recipes. I especially like the fried rice recipe it contains. But because of that, I’m not going to be including the full recipe. My main helper was Dominic (4), while Allen observed.

While Dominic has helped in the kitchen before, today was really the first time I let him help with measuring. This is a big deal for me because I was worrying that he would either measure too much and make a big mess. But today, he helped measure the ranch dressing (the cookbook had it’s own recipe for ranch dressing, but sometimes I take shortcuts ;)). Then, we talked about the difference between a teaspoon and a tablespoon, and he held the tablespoon while I poured the lemon juice (apparently I couldn’t let go of all measuring control ;)). Then I put the chicken in the bag with the marinade and after I closed it, he helped move it all around and get it all coated with marinade.

Dominic measuring the ranch dressing

It’s just simple stuff, but I see this as laying the foundation for more cooking skills later on. We all enjoy it.

What have you cooked lately? What do you like to cook with your kids? Are you comfortable with your kids in the kitchen?

Me Through Dominic’s Eyes

Dominic's name and age in a pin screenSo, these questions were floating around Facebook for a while and everyone was answering them and I thought it would be fun to have my kids answer them periodically, as they grow, to see how their answers change over time. Today I started with Dominic, who is almost 5.

  • What is something mom always says to you?
    • That you love me
  • What makes mom happy?
    • When I listen, that’s the best one
  • What makes mom sad?
    • When I don’t listen
  • How does your mom make you laugh?
    • By telling me jokes
  • What is her favorite thing to do?
    • Be our mom
  • What is your mom really good at?
    • Loving us
  • What makes you proud of your mom?
    • When you clean the dishes
  • What do you and your mom do together?
    • Learning
  • How are you and your mom the same?
    • That we’re both humans
  • How are you and your mom different?
    • That we’re not the same age
  • What does your mom like most about your dad?
    • That he loves you
  • How old was your Mom when you were born?
    • I don’t know, but maybe 5

He answered I don’t know to quite a few questions, so here are the ones who said he didn’t know

  • What was your mom like as a child?
  • How old is your mom?
  • How tall is your mom?
  • What does your mom do when you’re not around?
  • If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
  • What is your mom not very good at?
  • What does your mom do for a job?
  • What is your mom’s favorite food?
  • If your mom were a character, who would she be?
  • How do you know your mom loves you?
  • Where is your mom’s favorite place to go?

What do your kids think of you? What would their answers to these questions be? 

101 in 1001: Submit 30 Written Pieces for Publication – 3/30

Write, Edit, Submit

I have accepted the fact that I passed my 1001 days about a month ago. But, for me, the time frame is less important than actually doing these things that I want to do, but that I put off as being too hard or out of reach for me. Now I’m going to submit 30 pieces for publication.

I am not going to do this all at once, but I thought I’d keep a list of where I submitted with links included, for other writers who might be looking for places to submit their work. Really, every time I submit something, it intimidates me. I get rejections and that’s never fun. But you can also never be accepted if you never submit, so, pushing myself to submit 30 pieces is definitely pushing myself outside of my comfort zone, in a good way. I don’t want to let the writing part of me die just because I am a stay at home mom now – so blogging and submitting is one way I can keep that alive. So, without further ado, the (incomplete) list. In case you’re wondering, you can assume rejection if it says nothing else haha 😉

  1. Metroparent Magazine
  2.  BlogHer Voices of the Year (submissions closed for this year)
  3. Holy Hen House (they were looking for new regular contributors)

Happy submitting! May the odds be ever in your favor.

Where are some places you have submitted to in the past? Or that you would recommend submitting?

Photo adapted from photo by cohdra at Morguefile.com. 

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