Cleaning House Book Review

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A few weeks ago I got the book Cleaning House from the digital online library. I had no idea what to expect with this book, but about half way through I knew I had to share it with all of my mom friends!

Side note, if you are a book lover and not using your local libraries online options then you really need to. For one it’s so fast. If you finish a book you can download another ebook or audio book right then and there. Two, you don’t have to bring the kids with you while you look for your next book. Three, I like all types of reading material but audio is my favorite because I can listen to it on the road or folding clothes. Four, your online account customizes your experience. It’s like Netflix as far as making recommendations based on what you read or what other people are reading.

That’s how I found the book Cleaning House: A Mom’s 12 month experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement by Kay Wyma. The author has 5 kids and most of them are at least close to the teenage years. The book is about her battle against the entitlement and codependence that is rampant in her home. She decides to have her kids tackle a new responsibility each month to teach them necessary life skills and give them meaningful work. The projects are things like laundry, cooking, yard work, and hospitality.

A quote from the book that sums it up is “One of the biggest obstacles is parent induced over indulgence. What is the answer to over indulgence? Give them work. Meaningful work.” 

I love the idea that when you allow kids to have more responsibility in the home you empower them and encourage a confidence that goes deeper than words. Many parents, myself included, often want to help our kids out of the best of intentions. Whether it is because we don’t want to see them fail or struggle, or on a practical note we know we can do it better and faster. However, if you are always bailing your child out when it’s tough (like homework, carrying things, and making lunch are just a few that come to my mind) you are sending a message that they can’t do it. Another great quote from the author-

“Loving them by making them work puts energy behind my claim to believe in the kids. The assurance that you can do anything you put your mind to has greater meaning now that I’ve gotten out of the way.” 

I read a post recently by Amanda of Airman 2 Mom. She got a new van recently that has keyless entry and locks automatically when you walk away from the van with the key in your pocket and it unlocks as you approach the van. Amanda says the problem is that she likes to double check to make sure it’s locked so she goes back to grab the handle, but by doing so the door automatically unlocks. Do you see the dilemma? She can’t check the lock because she is inadvertently unlocking the door. She has to walk away and trust that the remote worked.

Amanda compares this to not trusting your kids. When you hover, and doubt, or refuse to let go you undo that independance that they were practice. Sometimes you have to trust that the door is locked or that your child can handle themselves and then walk away. I thought that was such a great analogy. It doesn’t mean you don’t ever check on your kids. She does a great job explaining the scenario, you should read the whole post.

That’s what cleaning house is about. The goal of parenting is not to provide a successful childhood, but to grow your child into an idependant adult. You eventually have to get out of the way.

I am so glad that this Kay Wyma book fell in my lap because I personally gleaned so much from it will need to reread it later down the road (although for the record the concepts can apply to ages 5 and up in my opinion). I never thought I would say it but I, The MESSY Mom, love “Cleaning House”.

By | August 17th, 2016|Parenting Tips|0 Comments

Four Kids in a Grocery Store

Every once in a while I go somewhere with all four children and seamlessly accomplish the daily tasks at hand. That happens about as often as I find the perfect avocado and consume it at it’s peak ripeness. It is an anomaly.

Last week I attempted grocery shopping with all four kids. I have done it before and managed okay, but I try to avoid it at all cost. On this particular outing I prepared ahead of time. I had them get their wiggles out before we left and I had something to entertainment each child while in the store. I searched around the parking lot until I found one of those shopping carts that have a car in the front.

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This is a different shopping trip.

Once I had the “shopping car” I strapped the baby into the baby seat, the two younger ones were side by side strapped in with their own steering wheel, and my oldest has, by the grace of God, reached the level of maturity where he can walk beside me for an entire 45 minutes (PTL).

The first half of our excursion went okay. They each got to pick out one treat for later while I scanned the aisles. Toward the end of our excursion we hit some rough terrain. Despite my threats and pleas I could see that we were headed for a crash landing. We barely made it to checkout when Elle started screaming. Then everyone started fighting and shouting at illegal decibels levels. The young man that was bagging my groceries was moving at a glacial pace and for some reason he kept asking me if I wanted my items bagged.

Do you want this bagged? He would mumble slowly holding up a package of gum.

Yeah, that’s fine. I tried to shout back over the screaming children.

Do you want your milk in a bag?

No that’s okay. 

Do you want your watermelon in a bag? 

No.

I finally unleash Ezie and SJ thinking they could help put groceries on the belt and they did, but afterwards they decided to climb on top of the plastic car. At this point the bag boy is still asking if I want stuff in a bag.

Now hold up a second. I’ve been to the grocery store a few times in my life. I get the question about the milk, the gum, the watermelon, but he even asked if I wanted my cinnamon rolls from the bakery which were in a plastic container in a bag! Huh? I was so desperate at the moment that I just told him No. Just throw it in the cart.

The bag boy  put all of my groceries in a separate cart from the one containing my children so I definitely needed his help getting it to my vehicle. Then I realize on my way out that I had pre-purchased a bag of ice. So I left the bag boy, the carts, and all of my screaming children in the doorway as I quickly grabbed the ice.

The ice is right by the door! Right there! But in that brief moment it was like a crowd rivaling that of black friday were trying to enter the doorway we were blocking. Really!? Why? How?

It happened quickly, but you know how in a car wreck or life threatening situation things seem to happen in slow motion? That’s how this was.

I saw all these people with carts wanting to get past my traveling circus and they are staring in horror and disbelief as Elle is screaming bloody murder, SJ is sitting on the car like she’s riding a horse and Ezie is running around wildly. It was like I died right there and left my body and my spirit was floating above watching the tragic scene and my spirit man was also staring down in shock at the four crazy children and screaming mother. Then my spirit came back into my body and I managed to get my cart and my clan out the door and into the parking lot.

The second that my key remote was close enough I popped my trunk and told the bag boy he could just load them on top of the stroller in the back. Except when he got to my vehicle he left the cart full of groceries and took off. He didn’t make eye contact or mutter a word. He just fled the scene like a victim escaping captivity.

I sighed. Who could blame him? I loaded up my kids as steam was evaporating off of my body. Z was the only one who got to have his good behavior treat that he had picked out. Every else including myself had acted out of control in the store.

I just have to take it all in stride knowing someday I’ll be able to go to the grocery store and maybe, just maybe I’ll find the perfect avocado.

By | August 12th, 2016|Family, Laughter, Motherhood, Uncategorized|2 Comments

A Priceless Mother Son Outing

J and I have a goal as parents to take each child out individually for some special one on one time at least once a year. This tradition in our home doesn’t start until they are five years old. There is no good reason for this, it’s just how it happened naturally for us. I think it is because it’s all about the preschoolers all day long. They are more needy and hoard our attention. They get to stay at home with me when the other kids are in school and they need me to lay down with them until they fall asleep at night. I manage to have incidental bonding time frequently when they are still babies or toddlers, whereas when the children are school age it feels more appropriate to get in the car and go somewhere with just mom or just dad to connect without distraction and to be intentional about it. That’s really how this whole thing got started.

When Z was in Kindergarten we did a mother son knight at Chick-fil-A, and mother son game night at his school.

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Then the next year we did mother-son-knight again

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and enjoyed a Mother’s Day tea at his school.

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In second grade however neither event happened. At least if any mother events did happen I was unaware. One day I realized that we hadn’t had our one on one outing in over a year! He did stuff alone with his dad on more than one occasion, but I wanted my Z time!

So before his birthday or the beginning of 3rd grade I wanted to be sure we had a chance to get out and have some fun just the two of us. We had several grand ideas and nothing seemed to be working out. Which by the way is the reason for the meager goal of a one outing a year. Getting away is always easier said than done. Finally I decided we would just keep it really simple. We would eat out and take a trip to a frozen yogurt shop.

We both cleaned up for the occasion. I wore a dress and he had a button down shirt even though we weren’t going anywhere even remotely fancy. On the way to dinner he had the idea to quiz me on my times tables. We started making a game out of it. He would go through his homemade flash cards and shout out the problem. Then we would come up with an answer in our heads (I am really bad at multiplication or math in general by the way, so this is a challenge for me. However his new obsession has certainly sharpened my memory quite a bit). Once we had the answer in mind we would say Ready and then count to three and say the answer out loud at the same time. If all went well we would say the same thing in unison. If not then we’d laugh and turn the card over to see who was right.

When we got to the restaurant we decided to split a meal. Finally a date that will share a meal with me.

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I encouraged him to place the order for us, he had his own money after all. He was a little hesitant, especially when she asked what name to put it under. I had to repeat his name for the worker to understand, but he did really good. When we sat down he gave me a surprise note he had written for me. After we ate he put the receipt in his pocket because he said “I want to show dad that it has my name on it.” What a delight to see my young son growing and maturing right before my eyes. I was so proud of him and I could tell he was beaming with pride too.

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After we finished our meal I got a coffee and he got yogurt and we had our dessert on the patio at sunset. The sky was gorgeous. There was even a rainbow.

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Before we drove home I pulled out my phone to type in a quick note. I have had a habit recently of typing memories into the notes app on my phone because I am becoming more and more sentimental the older I get. I always put the date and then the memory, but I couldn’t remember the date so I asked Z. He said it was the 9th, but I almost didn’t believe him. That would mean that Elle was turning 9 months old the next day. I said “The 9th!? Are you sure it’s the 9th already?” and he said “Yes I am sure it’s the 9th because my birthday is in 3 weeks and 4 days which is 25 days. It is the 9th.” I just stared at him like, for real? This whiz kid has left me flabbergasted with his random calculations yet again.

There are many well meaning mothering intentions that don’t go as planned and tomorrow I will give several examples, but for today I just wanted to share a simple precious evening that I will forever cherish.

By | August 10th, 2016|Uncategorized|2 Comments

A Gift Guide for Bearded Men

In full disclosure, I did receive some Dapperman products with no strings attached. I chose to include a brief review of some of these lovely items in this gift guide.

My husband J just recently celebrated his 40th birthday (*GASP* I know.). A lot of old photos resurfaced to insure J was properly embarrassed for this special occasion.

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As I looked through the cute and often awkward stages that he went through I believe he successfully managed to try all the major hairstyles of the 80’s and 90’s.

I also noticed that once he realized what a killer beard he could grow he never turned back. Despite the changes (and ahem, loss) of hair over the past decade the beard has been an anchor on his face.

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So I figured what better gift to get during this time of crisis than something that would nuture the constant in his adult life (his beard) from the other constant in his life (me).

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Enter the beard grooming kit. Not all of this is new, but I am showing all of his kit to spur on your own ideas for the bearded man in your life.

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Each man’s beard is one of a kind and so is their grooming kit. Mix and match with different products and tools to meet your lumberjack’s personal needs.

Start with a decent bag. You can find these men’s toiletry bags shaving kit bags on amazon such as the David King & Co. Large Multi Pocket Shave Kit

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You can also find them at most retail stores like Kohl’s or JCPenney, or  L.L.Bean.

Now that you’ve got your bag you need to fill it with beard grooming tools.

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If your man has a beard he probably already has his choice tools. He also probably hasn’t replaced them in a long time so he may be due for an upgrade. J’s bag includes cordless Wahl clippers, scissors, and comb. Everybody man needs a nice pocket comb and they are misplaced frequently so you can never have too many. Definitely put one of these in your kit. Same goes for the barber scissors.

Lastly the bearded man needs products.

J’s kit includes Dapperman Black Egyptian Beard Oil and Beard Balm. He uses them daily and we both love the look, feel, and smell or the product.

Their mission is simple, Do Good. I love that the products are all natural and beyond the surface their vision is to inspire something deeper, something noble. Here is what I found on their website.

 Within every man there is a gentleman. Beyond the noise there are values that need to be remembered, need to be celebrated. Dapperman is about having the confidence to be an individual. To stand up in the face of adversity, and to make the world a better place for those around you. Our business is founded on simple principles: respect, not contempt; pride without ego; lead, don’t follow.

Isn’t that awesome? They have other great products too, so you don’t have to have a beard to benefit from their pomade, “righteous hold matte clay” or soap bricks.

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Whether it’s a mustache, stubble, massive beard, or a beard dream, a new shaving kit is sure to rejuvenate that smile underneath all the hair. And when my bearded man is happy it makes me happy too.

 

By | August 9th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

A Mom’s Review of The Little Prince

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This morning after breakfast I spent what felt like an eternity trying to get on Netflix. Our Apple TV remote is busted and you have to touch it in just the right spot with your fingernail to get it to work. Oh, and it can only go down not up. It’s like hacking into DNC’s email just trying to get past parental controls. It is possible, but it takes someone that really knows what they are doing.

Anyway once we were logged in I was pleasantly surprised to see  that The Little Prince was now available for streaming. All 5 of us (myself and 4 kids ages 8 months to 8 years) piled onto the couch and started the program. I was not expecting a full length major motion picture so I was amazed. Wow, I felt like I was watching a pixar short, except it wasn’t short.

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The original French story is interwoven into a more modern story and they tie it all together nicely in my opinion.

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It’s hard to take a classic and turn into a newly interpreted form of art. Most people that are book readers always agree that the book was better than the movie and that’s probably true here. However, I still loved it. They separated the original aspects from the book via stop motion animation while the rest was computer animation (both media were phenomenal). It was very artistic.

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If you read the book it is going to make a lot more sense, but myself and my oldest were the only one who had and the younger ones enjoyed it just as much as we did. In fact kids are a lot more open to nontraditional animations and story lines than adults are. That’s actually a big part of the whole theme in The Little Prince.

My thoughts were this is a kind of weird, but I like it. Weird like Tale of Despereaux (which we own), or The Never Ending Story, or Up, or BFG (okay, I haven’t seen BFG yet, but my son read the book and loved it).If you do not like those books/movies you probably won’t be into this one.

Here are a couple things for parents to be aware of in The Little Prince. Keep in mind there may be some spoilers.

It is a little creepy. There are some very dark characters and intense moments which include a child’s involvement.

I hate to be that mom, but part of what should have been sweet made me uneasy. The main character is a little girl (voiced by Mackenzie Foy) and she sneaks off to hang out with an old man (the aviator voiced by Jeff Bridges). They spend long periods of time in his house. She rides in a car with him without her mom’s permission and he doesn’t even have a license. The cops catch him and she is in trouble for lying, but the mom (voiced by Rachel McAdams) is kind of the bad guy here and the old man is the lovable good guy. I just told my kids “This movie is pretend and it’s fun, but in REAL life you never go hang out with old men or anyone without mom and dad’s permission. It’s never a good idea to be sneaky no matter how fun. In real life that would be extremely dangerous.”

The good news though is the movie, like the book, has a powerful message. Even for parents it’s a message of focusing on what’s really important in life instead of only what is practical. It’s about having an imagination and dreaming!

It is based off of French book that is world renowned and the film is also originally foreign which I think makes it a cultural and educational experience. I love how it ends with Fin instead of The end.

My favorite part though and *spoiler alert* for those who haven’t seen it, is when the mean boss looks at the prince (voiced by Paul Rudd) and he says

“I think it’s time you get back to work my little failure.”

The Prince who has lost his way pauses and then musters up the courage to stand up to the business man and says

“I am not a failure. I’m The Little Prince.” The business men laugh and call him hopeless and then the little prince declares

“I’m not hopeless. I’m hopeful. That’s right I’m full of hope.” And his countenance changes as he reclaims his true identity.

I’m telling you right there in the living room in my pjs I get all pentecostal and I quietly clap and say “Amen. Amen, that’s right.” I had tears in my eyes and prayed that my children were hearing the same message that I was.

If nothing else I was just impressed with Netflix. For $9.99 a month my family can watch a high quality movie in our pajamas the moment it is released. An experience that before would have cost us at least 80 bucks and a trip to  the theater (not that a trip to theater isn’t fun too, but it’s nice to have options).

The Little Prince was a charming, sweet, and inspiring movie. For us it was a real treat.

 

By | August 5th, 2016|Uncategorized|2 Comments

Summer and School

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I may catch some flack for this post in the land of the free home of the 3 month summer vaca, but I am just sharing my personal thoughts here. No pressure.

First off the disclaimer. I am all for kids being kids. I love the idea of learning through play. I agree we need breaks. All of us.

Now for the shock and horror. I think year round school would be the ideal model. I am not not even suggesting more school, just a little more evenly spread.

That’s why my kids do summer school around here.

There I said it, okay? I care about my kids maintaining in June-August some of what they learned academically in September- May.

However, it’s not like I send them off to boarding school or we sit down with books at desks all morning long. It’s super low key, and at this age I have not heard one complaint. When they are older it will probably look different, but here is what it looks like for now.

SJ (first grade) goes to a private school for the deaf and since she has a lot of catching up to do summer school is important. We have done fund raisers, grants, and anything we could come up with for her to be able to attend school through part of the summer. It’s critical for her. Even with the summer program she still sometimes regresses during the 6 weeks  she has off.

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Z (3rd grade) truly loves to learn and actually thrives in that traditional school setting. One of his classmates really struggled in school this year and his teacher said he needed summer tutoring  for reading and writing. This was concerning for his family who couldn’t afford a tutor so I told them to sign me up. I may not be a certified teacher, but when it comes to reading and writing I have lots of heart! Plus it’s 3rd grade. I think I can hang at this point in the game. So I’ve been doing homeschool lessons with the boys a few hours a week. I even plan to have them do a guest post here on the blog so be on the look out for that!

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Sometimes I wonder why our system is the way it is. Why does it make sense to have such a big break at one time? If we are trying to cultivate a thirst for knowledge then why is there so much push pack for learning in the summer. There are different theories on the origin of summer break. Regardless of why it’s always been this way research shows it is failing our students  and my mind wonders if it will ever change.

I talked to my mom about my theory of having the same amount of days off, but spread out and she disagreed at first. She said we always bounced right back after summer break and were all the better for it. Indeed. This is true, but kudos to my mom for inspiring us to read, create, and discover all summer long. I like to say that I am “a homeschool mom trapped in a public school mom’s body” and I definitely get that from my mom. That’s why it makes complete sense that summer break worked for us. Sadly it is the low income income, special needs, ESL, and latchkey kids that are suffering (which means the majority of American children).

Summer is almost over. So far this year my kids have been able to explore other parts of the country, go to museums, VBS, the library, and state parks. We’ve done science experiments, summer reading programs, math games and more. This summer has been full of enrichment.

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But before you think I have pedigree children that are fully cultivated let me tell you what else they did all summer long. They watched My Little Pony. I am talking hours and hours at a time. They also discovered the hilarity of America’s Funniest Home Videos. They ran around outside and played in the sprinklers. They got injuries, made huge messes, and were sleep deprived. They also ate gummy worms and tons of other foods void of nutrients. They didn’t do any service projects that I know of. Oh and they bickered a lot.

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I often hear the all or nothing approach when it comes to implementing academics in the summer. It doesn’t have to be that extreme. I really feel like my kids dodged the summer slide by practicing just a small fraction of school work in the summer months and they were still able to have gobs of time to veg out.

The school calendar is a complicated subject, I am not claiming to have a solution on a national level. However, I am saying it could stand to be evaluated.

By | August 1st, 2016|Uncategorized|6 Comments

Having a Child With Hearing Loss

This post is made possible through the support of Cochlear. This company is a huge part of our lives and something I am very passionate about. As always all opinions are my own.

 

I will never forget the day we found out that our daughter SJ was deaf. The intensity of those feelings that seemed like they would always be raw have since been diluted with time. It took a good two years though to find our new rhythm.

No one in our family was deaf. So at the time all I had was a stack of books and pamphlets from the audiologist about “Understanding Your Child’s Hearing Loss.” To say it was overwhelming would be an understatement. I knew nothing about hearing loss. I honestly had never even heard of the cochlear implant before. Now I don’t know how I missed it, but it just wasn’t a part of our lives at the time.

When I did hear about the cochlear implant I thought it was brain surgery, which isn’t true. I also thought it would be better to wait until my daughter was an adult and let her decide for herself whether or not she wanted cochlear implants. However, after learning so much about how critical those early years are in language development we decided we wanted her to hear. Deaf children as early as 12 months old may qualify for cochlear implants and SJ was already two and a half years old. There was a lot of time to make up for and we wanted her to hear as soon as possible.

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Like I said, we didn’t have any friends or family that were deaf that I could talk to, but I heard that my friend’s dad had cochlear implants. I was desperate to hear his thoughts. So even though he lived in another state I got his email address and reached out. He told me about his hearing loss and why he chose Cochlear for his hearing implant. In short, he explained how Cochlear has an amazing track record. Cochlear has been in operation for over 30 years. They are the global leader in implantable hearing solutions. SJ and my friend’s dad have Cochlear implants, but they also provide other products such as bone conduction implants. Cochlear has helped over 450,000 people worldwide who have moderate to severe hearing loss.

Deciding to implant a hearing device into your child’s head is not an easy decision and then deciding which manufacturer she will be committed to for the rest of her life is certainly something we did not take lightly. In the end we felt like we could trust Cochlear. She’s only had her hearing implants for 3 1/2 years now, but Cochlear has gone above and beyond when it comes to partnering with us to provide SJ the opportunity to live a life without limits.

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Nearly 90% of children born deaf come from parents who are hearing (source), as was the case with our family. It’s hard to know what to do and who to reach out to. If you are one of those parents, friends, or grandparents in the middle of a hearing loss journey www.IWantYouToHear.com is an incredible resource. It can ease the sting of that overwhelming shock that you feel at first. Cochlear isn’t there to pressure you into making a decision about what to do when your child has a hearing loss. That’s something extremely personal and you have to decide what’s best in your situation. However, if you have decided that you do want your child to hear they are committed to being a support for life.

When people ask me about parenting a deaf child or a child with a disability I always say the same thing.

Being a parent is a full time job. Being a special needs parent is a like working a second job on top of that.

You can’t and shouldn’t do it alone, but luckily there is help out there. I encourage you as an advocate for your child to get a support system in place. This could include doctors, early intervention specialists, teachers, therapists, and even the team at Cochlear and iwantyoutohear.com.

Another thing I say on repeat about raising special needs children (and this applies to raising children in general) is that It isn’t easy, but it is a privilege.

Speech, language, and hearing are skills that take a lot of extra effort for these precious deaf children. But as you teach them you will learn too. You will learn how to really pause, and listen, and to not take any little sound for granted.

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I am truly thankful for this journey we’ve been on. I have been connected with so many amazing people along the way. I have never regretted our choice with Cochlear. We wanted our daughter to hear and now she can. We wanted our daughter to have a life with out limits and she does.

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By | July 28th, 2016|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Beach Baby

This little darling is now 8 months old.

 

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It’s been a big milestone month for her. At 7 months old she started to attempt crawling.

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A week later she was pretty proficient at scooting around, but she still couldn’t quite keep her belly off the ground.

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A week later she was crawling room to room and even over things!

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By the time she turned 8 months old she was using furniture to pull herself up into a standing position.

It’s been crazy to see how determined she is to be on the move. Her first 3 months of life were spent sleeping and even after that she was so chunky I really figured she would be like her brothers and take her time getting around, but I was so wrong.

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These photos were taken on our trip to Michigan last week. It was Elle’s first trip to the beach (outside of the womb). I really wanted to do a mini photo session at Lake Huron because I had maternity photos from there last year.

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Isn’t it amazing the difference a year makes!

 

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I have a family photo from this day too, but I am saving it for our Christmas card. I was trying to do a very quick design idea to make sure we could use the photo and J reminded me that we still have 6 months before Christmas. I reminded him that I may be a loose cannon in many ways, but when it comes to parties and festivities I am a planner!

Anyway, I’ll share more pics from our amazing Michigan getaway later, but I have been overdue to give a baby Elle update and I love these shots so much I just had to post them!!!
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By | July 25th, 2016|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Cow Appreciation Day 2016

I gave cow appreciation day a lot of flack this year, but in the end we still dressed up head to hoof, went out, ate free chicken, and had a great time.

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My mom came with us and it was her first year to participate. She loved it as I knew she would.

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Of course as I mentioned before it was Elle’s first year too! I had to get a photo of myself with my two youngest because the very first year we ever participated in cow appreciation day these were the outfits Z and SJ wore. She was 4 months old and Z was almost three in this photo from 7 years ago.

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Now Elle is wearing the same dress at 8 months old and Ezie is wearing that same vest and pants at 3 years old! Sometimes I feel like I am experiencing my first few years of motherhood all over again with this combination. Especially when the older two are at school.

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By the way, there is a story behind my silly costume. I ordered it from Amazon with the intentions of wearing it on cow day and also to have it as a character in the Three Little Pigs skit we did at Ezie’s 3rd birthday party.

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Since it was a farm theme I dressed up like a cow for part of it. I had all the kids gather around for a story. I was the narrator of the story and I got 4 volunteers, which ended up being three grown men to play the pigs and my little nephew to be the big bad wolf.

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As I told the story they acted it out and whenever I said the word “BLOW” (for blow your house down) the audience had bubbles that they would blow. So everyone was included and it was the cutest, funnest, best time. Really. I loved that party, and even though the costume thing at Chick-fil-A was kind of watered down this year I am still glad I got the cow costume.

 

Back to last Tuesday, here are a couple photos from after the festivities. I haven’t updated about Elle’s latest milestones, but she is crawling all over the place now.

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She can even pull herself up to a standing position. I can’t believe how motivated she is to be on the move.

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Or should I say on the Moooo-ve. Sorry, I can’t help my self.

By | July 20th, 2016|Uncategorized|3 Comments

Pretty Dresses

One day a lady from my Texas church who I lovingly refer to as granny told me, When I see a pretty dress I think of you. That was years ago before I had children and I can’t think of a compliment that has topped it since.

Granted these days it’s a big accomplishment to be in clothes that were not designed for sleeping or exercise. But on a good day, or for special occasions, I do love a pretty dress. Most girls do. My brother recently text me this sweet photo of my niece which just says it all.

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SJ is very particular about what she wears. She’s only 6 and I can’t remember the last time I got to pick out her clothes or even help make suggestions for that matter! So it’s been nice to have a helpless baby girl around that has no choice but to wear whatever I stuff her in. I’ll enjoy it while it lasts.

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J’s family came up for Elle’s dedication at the end of June and they brought with them a special dress. It was the dress my sister in law wore for her dedication, along with many of my nieces, and SJ wore it when she was dedicated.

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SJ on the day she was dedicated (she is 7 months old here).

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Elle, was very content in pastors arms as he dedicated her to the Lord. He also dedicated me when I was a baby so I love that there is history there. Watching him pray over my daughter is a moment that I will always hold close to my heart.

Another nostalgic dress resurfaced recently when I did a photo shoot of Elle with my wedding dress.

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She was born days after our 15th anniversary I consider her our “anniversary baby” That’s why I used this photo for her birth announcement

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and that’s what inspired the wedding dress photo session too.

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Everyone has been gushing over these photos which is funny to me because it didn’t fall into place quite as well as I had hoped. The nature center was so crowded, the wind was blowing the dress off the hanger the entire time. in fact at the end of the shoot J encouraged me that we could come back and try again on another day. I knew that we probably wouldn’t be able to do a reshoot before Elle outgrew this dress though which was important to me because it was the dress my dear friend’s baby wore for their dedication with the same pastor. Not to mention it’s just so lovely.
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Amongst all of these dresses is the cow print dress. I know this might not seem like it fits in with all the frilly pretty stuff, but it’s a tradition of a different kind. It’s the dress SJ (shown on the right) wore for our first cow appreciation day 7 years ago and my niece (on the left) wore it 3 years ago.

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This time last year when I learned that we were having a girl and I took a picture of my pregnant belly with this little baby Gap cow print dress because I was excited that Elle would get to wear it for Cow Appreciation day and this past Tuesday she did! Isn’t she adorable?

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Obviously I am the sentimental type. Some people simply see dresses, I see dresses stitched with memories.

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By | July 13th, 2016|Uncategorized|1 Comment