Tag Archives: motherhood

She’s gone TURBO!

4 Jan

Turbo

If any of you have seen the movie “Wreck it Ralph” you will soon understand the title for this post.  Yesterday my typically cheerful 13-month old was anything but cheerful.  She whined and cried almost all day long, refused to play with any toys unless she was in my arms, napped shorter than usual, and threw little fits when I wouldn’t let her chew on my iPhone.  I’m pregnant with my 2nd, and seem to be unusually exhausted these days.  After attempting to put mascara on my left eye using my right hand (she literally would not let me set her down), going to the bathroom while she sat on my lap (familiar anyone?) and not getting a thing done all day long, I was feeling like I was going to lose it.

When my husband walked in the door from work I breathed a sigh of relief and went to hand her to him, but she threw a little fit and absolutely refused to enter anyone’s arms but mine.  That’s when the thought came, “Oh no…our sweet little girl has gone TURBO!”  I then fought with my bad mood as I prepared some quick dinner (bean burritos anyone?) and silently pondered how on Earth we would handle 2 little ones come June.  Then the good news came.  My husband had a soccer coaching meeting and kids were welcome!  And if there’s one thing that makes Kinley happy it’s being around other little kids.  I happily sent them on their way and started on my list of tasks that never got started and my mood instantly took a turn for the better.  Two and a half hours later they both came happily through the door and my husband reported of her joyous time playing with the other kids (well mostly just observing them since they were much older than her).  She would stand there holding onto the couch and excitedly jump up and down repeatedly.  Then it happened.  I realized how much I had missed her and grabbed her into a huge hug.  She gave me that goofy grin that I love so much and my heart melted instantly.  As I got her ready for bed and blew little raspberries on her chubby little tummy I thought how interesting it was that after a full day of chaos and frustration, all it took was one little moment to completely turn my heart around and remind me how much I love being a mom.

I thought about how I might feel in the future with more kids and designed my own little quote as a reminder:

Mother

 

 

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A Mother’s Best Friend: How to Do  a Prayer Journal

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Fun ways to show Love to your Child

5 Oct

Eat Family Dinner Together.  This is one of the most important things you can do for your kids.  I took many, many classes in college on family and child development and family dinner always came up.  It is one of the best ways to build your child’s self-esteem, to have close family relationships, and by having meals together your children will be significantly less likely to get stuck with the wrong crowd or get into drugs.

Make family dinner fun and don’t over schedule your kids so much that dinner together is impossible.  Have “themed” dinner nights such as “Taco Tuesdays”, “whatever’s leftover Wednesday”, or “Favorite Foods Fridays”.  Make dinner a special time to ask your children deep or fun questions about their day, their interests, and their friends.  Have special moments for “brag time” during dinner and build sibling relationships.  If certain nights are just too busy during dinner time, schedule out a special time for snacks after school when you can all sit down together.  I remember as a kid occasionally coming home to dinner on the table at 4 pm because our family had too many things going on that day and family dinner was too important to my mom to give up that day.

Know Your Child’s Love Language and Find Ways to Express it Often.  Love languages don’t just pertain to marriages, children have special ways they like to be loved too.  If you can, it would be really good to read the book specifically about love languages for kids.  The book has awesome reviews, and parents have noticed a dramatic difference in their children once they learned what their love language was and different ways that they could meet their needs.  If your child’s love language is touch, make time for extra cuddling, hugs, and kisses.  If your child’s love language is time together, take time out of your day for some special one-on-one time.  Do more to spend time with this child than you would with others.  If your child’s love language is words, make sure you show you love them by stopping what you are doing to give eye contact, give praise, and talk about how they feel.  Does your child feel loved through notes or gifts?  Plan ahead and find ways to creative ways to show love in this way.

Take the time to be silly, to be messy, and to take in life’s simple pleasures.  Make up silly songs with your kids, play pretend, get on their level and play on the floor, build forts, get your fingers messy, talk in funny accents, and leave enough time in your schedule for star-gazing, looking for fun shapes in the clouds, and feeding the ducks.  Have you ever noticed how easily children are amused?  I once took a walk with my niece that would have taken the average adult two minutes.  We were occupied for over 30 minutes because she had to stop and smell every flower, touch every plant, and wave at everyone that passed by.  That’s what living is all about.  Take time to be a kid again.

Say Yes as Often as You Can.  There’s a difference between spoiling your children rotten and doing simple things that bring happiness into their life.  Yes kids should have chores, and yes kids should have consequences for their choices but kids also deserve plenty of love, attention, and simple pleasures.  As a kid I always wanted to ride on those little kiddie rides that they have at the grocery store that move when you put a quarter in them.  I believe I only got to ride them once or twice in my lifetime which is great, but for the amount of joy that it brought me to ride one, that could have been a very simple pleasure for my mom to provide.  I don’t blame her at all, in her mind I’m sure she considered it a waste of money.  But to me it wasn’t a waste of money, to me it was the world.  Once when I had my niece and nephew for a few days I took them to the dollar store and told them they could choose one item of their choice from the WHOLE store to buy.  My nephew picked a little package that had Police handcuffs, a gun, and I believe a walkie-talkie.  Sure it was a cheap toy and it was broken by the end of the day, but this kid was in heaven.  He played pretend police and handcuffed his little sister for different offences ALL DAY long!  I had no idea a dollar could be such a pay off!  I have a personal rule that if I’m not running late for something and I pass a lemonade stand I ALWAYS stop.  I always stop because I remember the pure delight I felt as a kid when someone finally pulled over and bought my lemonade.  And I stop because no matter how tight my budget is, 50 cents isn’t going to break me (maybe that’s a bad way to think, but it brings fulfillment and warm fuzzies into my life).  So next time your little one asks you to play ponies, cars or house–say yes.  Even if it’s just for five minutes.  Make it a game to see how many requests you can say yes to and always make sure it’s more than “no”.

Get to Know Their Friends and love them as your own.  It’s very rewarding to children when their parents have a good relationship with their friends and it’s also a good way for parents to know what’s going on in their kids lives.  My best friend’s parents never wondered what their kids were up to because they were always at the house.  All of their kid’s friends always wanted to hang out at their house because their parents were to friendly and fun.  I still call my friend’s parent’s “mom” and “dad” because I honestly felt like they cared about me like their own kid.  One of my neighbors said to me the other day, “it used to bug me that the neighbors were always eating at our house, but then I just learned to be grateful that they enjoyed being at our house and that I had enough money to feed them.”  Not all of us have the financial stability to feed our kid’s friends all of the time, but we can still come up with creative ways to bond with our children’s friends.

Set Limits and Have a Sense of Humor.  Studies have shown that children feel loved when their parents set limits and don’t give in to all their requests.  They may give you a hard time about their curfew, but they feel more loved that the child whose parents don’t care when they come home.  Just because you are setting limits doesn’t mean you have to do it in a harsh tone however.  Make learning something to be praised (“I’m so excited for you to learn how to show respect to your sister!  This is how I’m going to help you learn”).  Some parents feel they have to raise their voice to let their children know they are serious.  The opposite is true (more about this here).  When children are being yelled at they are more focused on protecting themselves and staying mad at you.  When you discipline with love and a sense of humor, children naturally are more likely to self-reflect and learn valuable lessons.  Teach them that making a mistake is exciting because it brings the opportunity to learn and grow into the people we want to be.

Praise, Praise, Praise!  More on this here, but find ways to express appreciation, adoration and respect to your child.  Leave love notes on their pillow, sneak a letter into their lunch, and tell your husband and family all the reasons why you love this particular child.  Leave no doubt in their mind that they are loved, appreciated, and cherished.

Discover their Talents and Put Them to Use.  This is probably one of the things my own mother was best at.  She had (and still has) a talent for making me and my siblings feel gifted.  She always said things to me like “Oh Kristina!  Will you please write  a poem to go with the neighborhood Christmas gifts?  No one has the same gift for rhyming like you do!”  And if I came up for an excuse for why I couldn’t or why I didn’t have time she always made it seem like it wouldn’t be the same unless I did it.  She would also say things like “Kristina, will you plan your sister’s birthday party?  You are so fun and creative that I just don’t think it will be the same unless you are the planner,” or “Kristina!  I need your handwriting!  Please come write on this for me!”  I always felt needed and felt like I had a unique place within my family.  Still to this day she will call me to plan something for her, or get a good deal, etc.  Every kid comes with their own unique personality and it is important to help them discover the different ways that they can positively contribute to the world around them.

Surprise!  Find fun ways to shock them with your love.  Shock them meaning do something they wouldn’t expect.  If you always say no to pop tarts for breakfast, break them out one morning in celebration of something.  Sure they aren’t the healthiest thing, but one morning isn’t going to send the body into complete shock (hopefully), and the reaction on their face will be well worth it.  Try to get that look on their face as often as you can.  Do you never order anything off the dollar menu?  One day just say, “okay!  Order whatever you want!”  Are you strict about school absences and tardinesss?  One day check your child out of school for an hour and go do something fun (probably shouldn’t make a habit out of this one, but I would have been shocked out of my mind if my mom ever showed up at school and checked me out for something other than a dentist appointment)!

What are some fun ways that you like to show love to your children?

 

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kindness

A Mother’s Best Friend

25 Sep

I firmly believe that prayer is a mother’s best friend.  As a first time mom, it’s been neat to feel how much God is a part of my child’s life.  There is a certain peace that I feel that tells me that as long as I am doing my best and asking for God’s help, he will make up for the areas that I lack.  I love having him as a partner in parenting.

When I was in college I started something called a “prayer journal” for a summer.  I wanted to make my prayers more sincere and focused, so I started journaling before I would pray every night to kind of bring my mind to the right place.  Something incredible happened from this experience:  I noticed my prayers were being answered far more than I realized.  Too often I think we pray for little things, God answers them, but we forget that we prayed for it in the first place and as a result we withhold our thanks.

Now that I am a mom I have had prayer on my mind again.  How many times has God answered my little prayers and I have forgotten? I thought it would be neat to start again with a prayer journal but continue it throughout motherhood.  Maybe one day I will compile the sections that pertain to each child and give it to them when they are older.  How cool would it be to know about every prayer your mother said pertaining to you?  What if you saw the following entry:

“Please bless _____ that she will find some friends.  We just moved into a new neighborhood and I can tell that she longs for a good friend.”   A few days later…..  “Thank you for helping my daughter find _____.  I can tell they have a lot in common and will make great friends for each other.”

Or, “Please bless ______ that he will feel better.  It breaks my heart to see him so sick.”

Miracles and answered prayers happen so often but we naturally forget them as time passes (or at least I do).  It would be cool to look back on all the blessings received from the Lord, as well as prayers that didn’t get answered the way we wanted them to and how the blessings were found after time had passed.

This is the format that my prayer journal takes:

In the first part I try to list as many things as possible that I am grateful for.  I once heard, “If tomorrow you only had what you thanked God for yesterday, would you have much?”  I love that thought.  Gratitude is a powerful life tool.  Second, I try to notice specific answers to prayer, or different things that show the hand of God in my life that day.  This could be as simple as helping me to be  positive to a particular situation, helping me remember an appointment, or as big as healing me of sickness.  Whatever it is I try to be on the lookout for what God has done for me.  Next is people to pray for.  This is fun because it also gets me in the habit of thinking throughout the day who could use a prayer.  Sometimes it ends up being someone I don’t even know from a news article I read that day, or someone I just met.  Next is short term requests.  This would be things that I am wanting help with this day, week, and sometimes month (example: help me have enough energy to accomplish what I need done tomorrow).  Long term requests are typically a month or longer (example: help me pay off my debts).  Another section that would be good to add would be “My Part in Receiving Answers to my Prayer,” to help me remember to do my part!

What are some things you do to make your prayers more meaningful?

How has prayer helped you as a mother?

SpongeBob’s Square Pants: A Tribute to Young Comedians

24 Aug

My baby girl is quite the little babbler lately.  She loves to talk to herself and I wish so badly I knew what she was saying.  What is going on in her little mind that she just can’t stop talking about?  Maybe she’s having conversations to her toys and truly deeply thinks they are listening.  Maybe she just likes the sound of her own voice and isn’t trying to say anything at all.   Maybe she’s secretly making fun of me.  Whatever it is she is doing, it’s cute.

I can’t wait to hear her little voice make out complete sentences for the first time, or embarrassingly repeat words that maybe she’s heard me say (my husband is already trying to train me to delete certain ones from my vocabulary).  What are some of the funny things that came out of your children’s mouths when they were first learning to talk?  A big part of me wants to start adding more intellectual words to my vocabulary so that she will have them in hers (There’s just something funny about a toddler using the words “Well actually,” or “As a matter of fact,” or “that’s correct.” (Okay, let’s face it…those aren’t the most intellectual of words, I obviously have a long way to go)!  What are some fun words you have loved hearing your children say?

I have a niece named Cambria and a lot of people say my baby girl looks like her.  I hope that means she will act like her because she is hilarious!  Here are a couple of her famous one-liners:

After wanting to tuck her mom into bed: “Mom, I still like your eyes, even when you take the make up off. They’re not that ugly.”

Cambria coming in from outside after seeing her breath: “Mom, I accidentally smoked out there!”

Cambria: “If I draw a picture for Jesus, then He would hang it on his refrigerator because He loves me.”

At her grandparents house, Cambria said, “Mom, is Oreo gonna be a dog all day?” (Oreo is the name of the dog)  Her mom said,  “Yep. I think that is pretty much his plan.”

Once Cambria had oatmeal for breakfast. She took a few bites then went to play . When she came back she stared at the bowl. When her mom asked her if she was going to eat it she said, “I can’t. It’s dead. It died mom. It’s not yellow, it’s brown. It’s dead.”

And one of my all-time favorites:  She was staying at my house one weekend while her parents were away.  I went to turn on a Netflix show for her and as I was scrolling through, she said : “Oh no!  My mom doesn’t let me watch SpongeBob Square Pants!”  Then she leaned in really close and whispered in my ear, “I’m pretty sure it’s because of his square pants!”

I love that girl!

What are some classic lines from your own children?

 

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

7 Aug

I recently attended a seminar on body image with the youth (12-18) in our neighborhood.  I was shocked at some of the stats.  80% of 10-year-old girls have dieted, and I believe it was 18-20% for five-year olds!  What?!  Why do we as women fall for all the tricks the media uses to tell us what we should look like?  Why do we sometimes have a love/hate relationship with ourselves according to what our body is currently looking like, or not looking like?  What message are our children learning and how do we stop it?  Let’s make a change so that our little girls end up like this:

And our boys can end up like this:

 

I once worked at a treatment center for teen girls and witnessed girls starve themselves, throw up, and try to commit suicide because they had convinced themselves they were ugly and didn’t have value.  No dieting was ever enough.  Sadly, 2 of those girls ended up in a mental hospital because there was nothing else that could be done for them at that point.  That’s correct:  Insanity.  Obsession over body image drove them to insanity.  I’ve noticed a trend on Pinterest lately of all my friends pinning all sorts of unreal images of super skinny, flawlessly beautiful, super tan, and abnormally muscular girls with an attached description that says something like, “How to get a body like this in 2 weeks”,  “exercises to tone your butt”, or “10 workouts to help you feel beautiful”.  What about feeling beautiful NOW and for the rest of your life?  Why do we believe all the lies that are fed to us that beauty looks a certain way?  I must admit, I am guilty pinner of the fitness pins.  Post-pregnancy belly is a new way of life for me and has been a bit hard to handle at times.  But I try not to re-pin the pictures of practically naked girls with bulging muscles because the message that is being portrayed really bugs me.

I have a sister that gets super emotional about her weight.  If she gets on the scale and sees she’s a pound heavier than the day before she will cry and most likely have a bad day.  After giving birth to my daughter, we had a contest to motivate each other to see who could lose the most weight.  I had never tried to lose weight before and I started to get caught up in the whole “weighing in” thing and I noticed as my mood started getting connected to the numbers I started to feel “fat” all of the time.  After a couple of weeks of this I decided to give it up because I wasn’t happy.  I kept training for my half marathon and I tried focusing on eating more healthy foods, but I stopped looking at the numbers.  I started filling my time with crafty projects and things that I am passionate about and without knowing it I lost an extra 10 pounds in a short time.  I truly believe that happiness and love of self can be one of the best ways to gain a healthy body.  A size 0 body that is bulging with nice toned muscles?  No, probably not.  But a healthy body and a beautiful body.  Our bodies are meant to go through different phases, sometimes we will weigh more than at other times….it’s time we as women accept that and find other things to focus on.  Someone once told me, “I’ve never seen an ugly person that was confidant and wore a smile”.  That’s a true statement for me.  The most attractive people in life are those who are beaming with self-love and confidence.  Out of curiosity I went to various websites researching ways to overcome a negative self-image.  Some very good articles are here and here.  One article specifically mentioned 25 ways (I recommend going there and reading more in-depth as they are awesome ideas).

Some of my favorites were:

“Treat others with love and respect”

“Be happy, joyful, and grateful”

and “Reflect on the kindness of other people”

If you seem to struggle at times with your body, I recommend taking the “I-Love-My-Body” pledge found here and put an end to the personal bullying.  If the things you say to yourself aren’t things you would want said to your daughter or your best friend, stop saying them.

Image

In conclusion, go grab a brownie and watch those youtube videos one more time!!!