Wednesday, May 31, 2017

“What Not To Do”

A couple months ago we were out eating lunch and ran into a former student of mine. It was a young man I taught in middle school who was about to graduate high school. I could tell he was happy to see me and Jonathan and we were glad to see him too. (It’s always neat seeing them grow up and become adults).

After I asked him all about what he’s been doing and his plans for the future, I asked him about his parents. His demeanor totally shifted and he told me they got a divorce. I told him I was so sorry to hear that. He told me it was fine, but I told him it’s okay to feel sad about it and I know it can be hard. His next response has rang in my ears ever since. “That’s okay…I guess at least I learned what NOT to do in marriage.”

My heart broke for him when he said that.

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Over the next couple weeks, that line just kept ringing in my head…”at least I learned what NOT to do.”

I thought about it a LOT. I reflected, then thought ahead 14 more years to when we will have our first kiddo graduating high school. Will he be saying “Well at least I learned what NOT to do from my parents when it comes to _________!” ?? What areas of my life do I need to tighten up? What aspects of my life am I not demonstrating excellence, or am I struggling to the point that my children won’t want to be like me? Where they feel like I was more of a lesson in what NOT to do than what TO do?

I have been praying that the Lord will give me wisdom and reveal those areas to me. I know I will never be a perfect mom, wife, or person…but I hope to be a positive example in as many areas as possible. “WWJD” is not just a bracelet – it’s a concept we should apply to our lives. To consider how Jesus would handle different situations. And if our goal is to be like Christ, I want our children to be able to think “How would mom and dad handle this? What would they do?”

Are there any areas of your life where you’re sending a message of “what NOT to do” rather than being an example of “what to do?”

Overcoming “Shy” Behaviors

For the past several months, Jase has acted more nervous in bigger crowds of people. For example, if we enter a room and there are several people around (even if he knows them), he acts embarrassed and doesn’t want to talk to anyone. He will also not respond sometimes when people are talking to him in public. (Like if we see a friend of mine out in public and they try to talk to him, he won’t talk back.) I know sometimes people feel like they know him better than he knows them because of social media, so I was trying to be considerate of his feelings, but also felt like his response might be perceived as rude and disrespectful. I wasn’t really sure how to handle it. I tried disciplining for it, ignoring it, talking for him, etc. I finally reached out to two wise women in my life to seek their perspective & suggestions. I also try to avoid labels, so I hate to use the term “shy.” But often when he wouldn’t talk back, the other adult would say “Oh he’s shy!” I didn’t really know how to handle that aspect either. We are definitely still working through it, but I wanted to share their tips/responses because their wisdom was so helpful for me.

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- Acknowledge we understand he might feel nervous, but tell him that we love him too much to not let him enjoy being friendly to others. Let him know that he doesn’t have to have long conversations with others, but it’s rude not to say hello when one of mommy & daddy’s friends says hello to him first. It is part of teaching him to be kind to others and esteem others better than themselves. (Phil 2:3)

- Practice/role play at home. Pretend you are someone new he is meeting & have him look you in the eye, shake your hand and introduce himself. Do it often until he becomes comfortable doing it, giving him plenty of opportunities to find it painless with me & Jon.

- Remind him of our expectations before we go in somewhere (especially if we know we are going to be around others) & encourage him that we will be right there with him.

-Give him phrases to say. It may just be that he doesn’t know what to say, so give him one or two lines. “Hey there, I’m Jase…how are you?” or “Hi, I’m Jase, nice to meet you.” He doesn’t ever have to give hugs/kisses, but needs to speak back when someone addresses him to say hello.

- If someone suggests he is shy, be sure to say something positive about him after that comment (like what a great big brother he is) so it gives us something positive about him to focus on.

-Remind others that he just turned 4 years old during conversations. “Yep, we just celebrated his 4th birthday a couple weeks ago! We had a fun pirate party, didn’t we Jase?” (He looks much older than he is, so sometimes people expect him to behave like a 5-6 year old.)

- Let him hear you praying for him thanking God for making him such a friendly young man.

- And one of my favorites…Pray for the Lord to fill in parenting gaps! Such a great reminder. I am not doing everything perfectly as a parent, and my time is divided, so ask the Lord to fill in those gaps. He is faithful!

I know each child is going to have their own personality. Some are naturally going to be more outgoing, extroverted, and friendly, and I am so thankful the Lord created each of us uniquely! However, “shy” behaviors that err more on the side of disrespectful shouldn’t be tolerated. Like one of the ladies reminded me, our goal is to raise a confident gentleman, and therefor we must discourage any selfish behaviors that will hinder that development.

Again, we are still working through it, but I feel confident this is going to help us redirect & shape him.

**Thank you Mrs. Willette and Mrs. Jan for your godly wisdom!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Jase’s 4th Birthday Party

We had a BLAST at Jase’s 4th birthday party!

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I booked the party a while back at an indoor trampoline park because Jase and his little friends are the perfect age to enjoy that. It was pretty expensive, but they had so much fun it was totally worth it. Jase told me he wanted a pirate party and the only thing he asked for was a pirate cake. It turned out so cute! My friend Sandy hooked us up with this super cute (& delicious) pirate cake and cupcakes, and I ordered all of the decorations off Amazon.

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The birthday boy had a blast running, playing, climbing, and jumping with his friends!

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I made the kiddos little treasure chests filled with pirate costumes. Neither of my boys liked the costumes, but they were all SO cute!

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Jase doesn’t like to be the center of attention, so the birthday song didn’t go over too well. I remember acting EXACTLY like that as a child because I felt embarrassed.

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His friends helped him blow out his candles.

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And then we sent them back to jump off some of those cupcakes.

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Party Guests:

  • Mom, Dad, Kade & Beau
  • Grammy, Granddaddy, Carsyn & Presley
  • Papa, Aunt Jade (“Jimmy”), Will, & Kayton
  • Richard & Jean
  • Greg, Tammie, Zach & Morgen
  • Stephanie, Gracie, Chloe & DJ
  • Keene, Ellie & Easton
  • Jody & Bryce
  • Brian, Laura, Braylon & Mayson
  • Meghan & Miley
  • Lacy & Josiah

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Jase- Your daddy and I love you more than you know! We both agree these last 4 years with you have been the best of our lives so far, and every new phase and age with you is our favorite. We love seeing you grow into who God created you to be! You are a smart problem solver, very thoughtful, & a protector of your little brothers. You like playing in water, digging in the dirt, finding bugs, and Paw Patrol. You make us laugh with the funny things you say and you have an awesome imagination. Everyone thinks you’re much older than you are because you’re so tall. You amaze us with your memory and some of the connections you make. We are SO proud of you and honored to be your mom & dad. We can’t wait to watch you grow this next year!

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Happy 4th Birthday, sweet Jase!!

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Tips for New Mamas

This is especially geared to the first time mamas in the first few weeks so feel free to pass it along to any expectant moms (and add your own suggestions too!). These are some of the things I’m either glad I knew or wish I’d known sooner.

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  1. Let them be little. The number one thing I hear moms & grandmothers say is “Soak it up & enjoy every moment because they’ll be grown before you know it!” And it is so true. It really does go by so fast. Yes, sometimes the days feel long, but the years are short. You blink and they’re at a big new milestone. Soak.it.up mama! Try not to rush through to the next season. Enjoy their sweet newborn smell, that fuzzy head, and soft baby skin… & try to appreciate the joy that comes with each new phase! You’ll probably find that you prefer some ages/phases over others, but choosing to have a grateful spirit and focusing on the positive will help you find joy in each season and enjoy the blessing that motherhood is. Your sweet baby is a precious gift from the Lord! Isn’t it so cool that God chose YOU to be that sweet baby’s mama? And nobody in the world can do that job better than Y-O-U.
  2. Sleep when they sleep. And don’t feel guilty about it! (Especially when they’re brand new.) You probably hear that, but if you’re like me you think “but then I’ll never get anything done!” It’s okay…it can most likely wait. Sleep deprivation causes all kinds of crazy, & broken sleep can be tough.  Yes, it’s par for the course sometimes with a new baby, but a nap can really make you feel like a new woman! I had to learn it’s okay to call someone every now and then and ask them to come over for a couple hours so you can take a nap. I pay attention to my body. If I feel exhausted and feel like I’m short or having trouble thinking clearly, I call for back up so I can take a nap. If you have older kids, maybe ask someone to keep them for a couple hours while you sleep with the baby on your chest. If you really want some good deep sleep, you can probably talk a grandparent, aunt, or good friend to come snuggle the baby for you for a little while. And again, don’t feel guilty about it! It’ll help you be the best version of yourself if you can catch an extra few z’s.
  3. Accept help. People who offer to help genuinely mean it and want to help. Let someone bring you a meal, run some errands, watch your older ones, or do your dishes. If someone asks, be willing to share something they could do that would be helpful. (Just write them a thank you card and know you can return the favor in some way later when you guys are more adjusted.) Most of the time people are more than willing to help, they just don’t want to overstep boundaries. So if you need help, ask. If someone offers, accept.
  4. Keep taking your vitamins. Growing those babies seriously sucks the nutrients out of you, and they continue to take what they need from you when you’re nursing, so don’t stop those prenatals. Pregnancy and nursing are NOT the times to eat junk either, despite what you may hear! (Even though you do get extra calorie allowances.) In fact, your baby and your body needs nutritious food more than ever. You are growing that baby & developing all of their systems, including their entire immune system based on what you feed them! It is SUCH an important job & a huge responsibility. Keep taking your vitamins to fill in the gaps and give your own body and baby best possible support. You’ll want to work with your doctor on a regimen, but I take AdvoCare’s multivitamin (Coreplex with Iron), omega (Omegaplex for baby’s brain development specifically), probiotic (Probiotic Restore Ultra) for regularity and healthy immune system, calcium (Calcium Plus- also has vit D and magnesium), and C-Grams during sick season. I also take a coconut oil supplement to help with milk supply.
  5. Don’t compare. Really try not to compare your baby to others. They all reach milestones at different times, have different tempermants, etc. Try not to compare yourself either. Your body doesn’t bounce right back immediately. In fact, losing weight too quickly can cause toxins to be released into your breastmilk. Focus on nourishing yourself & eating as healthy as possible and drinking lots of clean (FILTERED, not tap) water. Take time to look them in the eye each day, give them little massages, sing to them, talk sweetly to them, and thank God that he created them to be exactly as they are.
  6. Let go of expectations. You do not have to be supermom. I remember someone telling me my only job the first few weeks was to rest, eat and drink plenty, snuggle with the baby skin-to-skin, and establish a good nursing bond/milk supply. Just hearing that really took the pressure off, especially for a “doer” who likes things to be perfect. I remember waking up my first morning back at home after having Kade and doing some cleaning and making breakfast for everyone. Mistake! (You can usually tell you’ve overdone it if your bleeding starts picking back up.) Bond with your baby. There will be plenty of time for chores and chats with others as he/she grows. And by the way, do not feel obligated to entertain when someone comes to visit. It’s okay to have some boundaries (like asking people to wash their hands first and not allowing them to come around if they’re sick), and it’s not rude.
  7. Find some mentors you trust & seek wisdom from them. Most moms are more than happy to share their advice and things they’ve learned. It doesn’t mean you have to do everything just like them (because every family and every baby are different), but it helps to have someone you can go to. Try to find someone whose values line up with yours and who has the same “end goals” when it comes to raising kiddos (even though there is never really an end)…or at least the fruit on the tree (as in they’ve raised kids who are incredible adults.)
  8. Those noises are normal. Babies make all kinds of noises, and for the most part, they’re pretty normal. So just relax! Your baby can sense anxiety/stress, so the more relaxed and confident you are, the more peaceful the baby will be. I do have a Snuza and Angel Care monitor for peace of mind though.
  9. Write it down. If you have a question, right it down. Track their pees/poops/feeds for the first couple weeks. (Your pediatrician will probably ask anyway.) You can use an app to track if you want. Keep track of baths. (FYI- they don’t need baths every day. It’s too much for their little skin.) And grab a journal and write down some notes to the baby- some of what you are thinking and feeling, prayers and verses you’re praying over them, songs you’re singing to them. There are so many things you think “Oh, I’ll never forget this!” But you do. It’ll be sweet for both of you to look back on when they’re older.
  10. Pray! Now is the time to become a prayer and praise  warrior. Pray for the baby all throughout the day. While you nurse. When you’re changing their diaper. (And that’s a LOT!!) When you’re laying them down. When you recognize a quality in someone else you appreciate, pray that over your child. Pray for their salvation! Pray they come to know Christ at an early age and the enemy never lets them doubt. Pray they become more like Christ and hide the Word in their hearts. Pray for their protection, wisdom, blessings, and the Lord’s favor. That they are a man or woman after God’s own heart like David. That they have the wisdom of Solomon. The faith of Abraham. The obedience of Noah. The perseverance of Job. The servant’s heart of Mary. The strength of Sampson. The courage of Joshua. The leadership of Moses. The humility of John. The boldness of Paul. Find Scriptures to pray over them and speak into them. Pray for the Lord to give you parenting wisdom. Pray for him to fill in the gaps for you. The prayers of a mother are mighty and powerful, so never underestimate them. If you feel overwhelmed, pray. He is so faithful to answer! And of course, PRAISE him for the blessing of that sweet baby! You probably won’t even need that reminder because it comes pretty naturally when you look into their face,but I do think it’s important they hear you thanking God for choosing them for you and you for them.

P.S. Coconut oil solves pretty much everything!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Easter 2017

We had a wonderful Easter this year!

We started the morning going to church to worship our risen Savior. It felt extra special this year after really studying about the crucifixion and resurrection through the book of John during BSF. Thinking of that sacrifice, especially now that I have sons of my own, is just overwhelming. I am so thankful the Lord loves us enough to be willing to cover our sins. My prayer this year was that we’d remember that sacrifice and atonement throughout the entire year, and live our lives fully showing our gratitude daily through our love, our actions, and our praise.

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It took us over an hour to get out of the parking lot and back home after church because it was so packed. Praise the Lord! So thankful for everyone that came to church that day and heard the powerful message of the gospel.

After church we headed straight to my mom’s to spend time with my family and eat Easter lunch. The food was delicious as always.

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After we ate, we spent the rest of our time outside enjoying the beautiful day. I wrote Happy Easter, and Jase drew either an “X” or a cross through it. We’ll just go with a cross, right?

The littles getting ready for the egg hunt. Girls and their drama! Ha!

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The boys’ Easter baskets are packed up. I never imagined we’d still be renting at this point, but here we are. Mom let them borrow some of her baskets & they could care less anyway.

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This was my favorite picture of the day. Such a cool shot of Jon & Kade!

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Jase is super competitive! Can’t imagine where he gets that from.

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Thankful my sister snagged this shot. I’m always the one behind the camera for the most part, so I’m always thankful to have a picture with my babies.

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Dying eggs with Aunt Stephanie and all the kiddos.

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The boys were totally worn out, but I wanted to head straight up to Dahlonega so they could have plenty of time to play at Papa’s. They took a nap on the drive there. Rare moment of all 3 boys asleep at once in the car!

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I’ve been practicing a little bit with Jase, so Papa got out the ball, bat, & tee. He can crush the ball! I can’t wait to watch him play some day after his daddy really starts working with him.

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Aunt Jean & Uncle Richard came by too. They loved snuggling all the babies.

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Uncle Will with sweet baby Kayton.

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Papa & his happy place…and the babies in their happy place.

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Both of the boys, about the same age sitting on the pig in Papa’s front yard….

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I didn’t do Easter baskets, but Grammy & Aunt Jimmy both got the boys baskets full of goodies & they were excited about them. Very sweet.

It was a gorgeous day & a sweet time with family. Thankful for the memories, and most importantly for what we’re truly celebrating on Easter.

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