5 Ways Being A Mom Has Changed Me

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Being a Mom has changed me, in fact it honestly continues to change me every day.  Before I had kids, I was very confident in the fact that I knew almost everything, but, boy was I wrong.  I am not sure that anything can adequately prepare you for motherhood.

Perspective:  Being a Mom has forever changed my perspective on life.  I no longer believe that things are just black and white.  In fact, the gray areas far surpass any other.  Through the eyes of my children, I have seen things in ways that I don’t think I ever would have otherwise.  Because they are still so young, and tend to see the world without cynicism and fear.  And, because of them I try my hardest to be less judgmental and dogmatic.

Patience:  I am not sure you can successfully parent without some kind of patience.  Yet, I fear this will be a lesson I will continue to learn for my whole life.  There is no way that you can hear your name called over and over again, in various octaves and within 3 minutes, without having to exercise patience.

Understanding:  I think the older we get, the less sympathetic we become. We start to become easily annoyed with things that we feel require simple common sense and effort.  But, after becoming the parent of little people, I find myself being a little more compassionate towards other people’s plights.

Forgiveness:  Crayons on Walls, Vaseline all over faces… General messes… and the older they  get hurt feelings… Motherhood is a daily exercise in forgiveness.  I know I am not alone in feeling this way.  You clean up a room, only to have it destroyed moments later, by the cutest little thing you have ever seen.  Or you drive your teenager all over town, only to have him throw a hissy fit, because you won’t get back in the car to take him somewhere else.

Love:  I know it sounds cliche, but children do teach you the true meaning of unconditional love.  You love your spouse, or your significant other, but… you have very real and very definable expectations where they are concerned. Not that you do not have expectations of your children, but when they fall short you are the one who has to be there to pick them up, dust them off, and give them that needed push to get back on the horse.

I would be remiss if I did not say that being a Mom, is one of the hardest jobs that I have ever had.  It is challenging, it is rewarding, and sometimes it is a thankless job.  There are days when I feel unappreciated and burnt out.  But, the ups far outweigh the downs, and for that I am forever grateful.  God entrusted me with these little souls to love, to cherish and to mold, and even when it’s not easy, I intend to do just that.

How has being a Mom changed you?

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week!!

Teacher Appreciation Week - Free Printable Teacher Gift Tags

It’s National Teacher Appreciation Week!!  A week to celebrate one of the most noble professions out there.  I have always been in awe of teachers.  It truly takes a special kind of person to invest in the lives of  children, who are not their own over and over again.  That is exactly why I always try to make a big deal out of this week.  For their time dedication and devotion to my babies, I am extremely grateful.  There are so many great ideas all over Pinterest for Teacher Appreciation Gift Ideas.   If you are looking for some ideas, be sure to check out our Pinterest Board.  No matter what you choose as your gift,  these Super Cute Gift Tags are a sweet addition.  Grab yours today!!

My oldest child is 20 years old, so , I have see my share of teachers over the years, enough to know that having a good teacher in your child’s life is a blessing.  My middle child has some auditory processing challenges and having an amazing team has made all the difference in her progress through out the years.  My baby girl is just in the 1st grade but we’ve been  pretty lucky there, as well.  I tend to hold my little ones a little tight.  So it makes me breathe a little easier just knowing that these kind of teachers still exist.

Teacher Appreciation Week Tag Supplies Free Printable

To Download your Own Copy of the Printable Teacher Gift Tags Click Here.

“IT IS THE SUPREME ART OF THE TEACHER TO AWAKEN JOY IN CREATIVE EXPRESSION AND KNOWLEDGE.” -ALBERT EINSTEIN

Happy Earth Day!!

Earth Day Coloring Sheets 2017 Mockup

It’s Earth Day!!  Time to celebrate and teach our little ones about one of our most valuable resources and how to preserve and care for it.  Grab these Coloring Sheets and tell them how they can do their own small part to help.  Here’s some history/information I found on the origin of Earth Day.  Click the Link for the Coloring Sheet you like, Right Click and Save to Your Device and You Are In Business!!

Recycle  Plant

Each year, Earth Day—April 22—marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970.  The idea for a national day to focus on the environment came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California.

On April 22,1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.

Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. By the end of that year, the first Earth Day had led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean AirClean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. “It was a gamble,” Gaylord recalled, “but it worked.”

As 1990 approached, a group of environmental leaders asked Denis Hayes to organize another big campaign. This time, Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage. Earth Day 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide and helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. It also prompted President Bill Clinton to award Senator Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1995)—the highest honor given to civilians in the United States—for his role as Earth Day founder.

Earth Day had reached into its current status as the largest secular observance in the world, celebrated by more than a billion people every year, and a day of action that changes human behavior and provokes policy changes.

Today, the fight for a clean environment continues with increasing urgency, as the ravages of climate change become more manifest every day. We invite you to be a part of Earth Day and help write many more chapters—struggles and victories—into the Earth Day book.

Content Provided by EarthDay.org  Follow the link for additional information.

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day!!

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day Hero Image

Every year on March 17th, the Irish and the Irish-at-heart Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.  What began as a religious feast day for St. Patrick, the patron Saint of Ireland has become an international celebration of Irish culture.   I will admit that I am not normally “gung ho” about St. Patrick’s Day, but aside from the fact that I enjoy Corn Beef and Cabbage, there are now so many family friendly activities centered around this holiday.  From the  grand St. Patrick’s Day parades to the local street festivals, there is more than enough to see, learn and participate in.  And, if you happen to be kid free, there’s more than enough Green Beer to go around too.  (Yuck, I hate beer, but to each his own, I guess.)

SO LET’S GET FESTIVE !!

St. Patrick’s Day Attire:  Don your Green attire, or risk getting pinched.

St. Patrick’s Day  Traditional Irish Meals/Deserts/Cocktails:  (Clickable Links)

Corn Beef and Cabbage

Irish Beef Stew

Chocolate-Stout Cupcakes

Emerald Isle Drink

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day with Traditional Irish Recipes and Drinks

Photo Source 1: ChewOutLoud.com 2: TasteFoodBlog.com 3: MarthaStewart.com 4: TheOdysseyOnline.com

Let your little ones get in on the action, and download your 2 Free St. Patrick’s Day Coloring Sheets.

Celebrating St. Patricks Day Coloring Sheets

Luck of the Irish

Irish Blessings

For more St. Patrick’s Day Coloring Sheets follow this link here.

Friday Favorites – Week 363 – Easter Bunny Luncheon for Kids

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Friday Favorites – Week 362 – DIY Succulent Gift Idea

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Friday Favorites – Week 360 – Indoor Winter Picnic Basket

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Our Visit to the King Center: A Photo Blog

Visit to the King Center : Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site

Earlier this month, we loaded the kids up in the car and went to visit the King Center.  My older daughter had been to the King Center before, but unfortunately she was too little to have really understood exactly what the Civil Rights movement or Dr. King’s dream was about.  And so, with  blatant racism, and bigotry being displayed everywhere these days, we thought that it was important for us to remind our children of their significant heritage.

As a parent, I always err on the side of caution when it comes to telling my kids the gruesome and graphic details of life/history.  My philosophy on that is that they have their whole lives to be adults and to deal with such things.  And, I simply don’t want them living in fear.  But, as we were walking through the King Museum and I was trying my best to answer all their questions and explain the things we saw.  I was reminded that the Civil Rights movement was not just for adults.  There were several children on the front lines standing up for what they believed was right.  And, it brought me back to the famous quote by George Santayana, “that those who can not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Surprisingly enough, I do not have too much to say about our trip other than to say that it was a humbling and solemn experience.  It filled me with both great pride and waves of grief.  Pride because of the long journey that our ancestors took on behalf of the very inalienable rights we are supposed to have today.  And, grief for those who lost their loved ones in the struggle and continue to do so in the name of upward mobility and dreams yet to be actualized.

Visit to the King Center - A Day On ... Not A Day Off

A Visit to the King Center : Call To Lead

A Visit to the King Center: Signs from Marches

A Visit to the King Center: Freedom March

I'm Black and Beautiful.

I hope that you enjoyed these pictures that my husband took and, if you are ever in the Atlanta area definitely put this on your list of places to see.  It’s an experience you won’t soon forget.  How do you deal with telling your children about things that are unpleasant?  Do you sugar coat it, or give it to them straight?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, in the comments below.

7 Things Every Parent Should Know

7 Things Every Parent Should Know - www.stage-presents.com

  1.  Every child is different.  I think sometimes we base our parenting styles and decisions on how things worked the first time around, or how our parent’s raised us. I have three children and they couldn’t be more different.  Growing up, I remember thinking that my sister had it so much easier, because I had already gone through all of the hard things.  And, that my mom favored her over me, which.. well I am still not sure that isn’t entirely true, lol.  But… now that I have children of my own I know that what worked for one of them wouldn’t necessarily work for the other.
  2. There is no such thing as the perfect parent.  Even though it is what we all aspire to be, we would save ourselves so much time right out of the gate, by acknowledging from the very beginning that we are human, and therefore flawed. There will be times when you have to say you are sorry.  You will not always be right.  You are charged with shaping these little lives that have been entrusted to you, but try as you might you can’t mold them into your own image.  (Trust me I’ve tried, lol)
  3. Quality and Quantity.  I know you probably thought I was going to say  Quality over Quantity.  But Nope.  Here’s is my reasoning you are probably never going to be able to please everyone see #1.  And, even though you will most likely try to find things that everyone is interested in and or try to give them as much one on one time, as possible.  That simply may not be the way that they remember it.  So do you best to spend as much time as you can, whenever you can.  And hope that it is enough.
  4. Routine. Routine is the key to any well oiled machine.  Bed times, chores, expectations, etc.  As I mentioned before, I thought my parents were too strict.  But, the thing about it is that looking back I see now that knowing what was expected of me and how I was to conduct myself played a large part in shaping me.  I can see now that a lot of the heartache that my friends went through I was lucky enough not to have experienced, because I simply didn’t live that life.
  5. Enjoy it.  I will be the first one to tell you that parenthood is NO WALK IN THE PARK.   You love your babies and you can’t imagine life without them.  But, sometimes you do.  You imagine what it would be like to pull your hands through you hair, throw on some bright red lipstick and skinny jeans and just jump in the car heading off to God knows where and for God knows what reason.  But, you know those days are over.  So once you are back from your pity party.  Make sure to enjoy these days.  One day you will miss it.  Since my oldest is 20 and my youngest is 6, I have a unique vantage point.  I can see the other side while still in the trenches.
  6. Document your days.  This is a controversial one for some people, because if you are snapping pictures then maybe you aren’t present.  I guess I have mixed feelings about this, because I see things from behind a lens that I am not sure I would notice otherwise.  Or maybe it’s that the things that I see make me want to pull out my camera to preserve the memory.  Like taking my daughters to the beach last year, and watching their faces so go from fear, to fun, to frolicking.  It was amazing to sit there and watch them grow before my eyes.  To me, it’s equally amazing to look back on those pictures and remember that day with joy in my heart.  I think I have always taken a lot of pictures, but when my son was little there were no iPhone’s and such, so there are way less pics of him than of the girls, and it is one of my biggest regrets.
  7. We Time and Me Time are a necessity.  Before they came, it was just the two of you.  And, before you became the two of you, it was just you.  Every relationship needs cultivation, even the ones we have with ourselves.  And, I believe this with all my heart.  If you are depleted at some time in some way, it is going to come out.  I am lucky enough to have my parents close by and when I need a break they are more than happy to afford us that luxury.  But, even if you don’t have a support system close by, little things mean a lot.  Can you both get off work for a couple of hours while the kids are at school, for lunch or for a movie or both?  Can you schedule a babysitter, and make a night of it?  Or maybe you just need the peace and quiet, or solitude of a massage, or mani-pedi appointment.  Figure out what feeds your spirit and your soul and do that, make time for that.

“TODAY’S LITTLE MOMENTS,  BECOME TOMORROW’S PRECIOUS MEMORIES.”

Our Top 5 Children’s Holiday Books

top-5-childrens-holiday-books

You may very well get tired of hearing me say that Christmas is my “favorite time of year”.  But, I am pretty sure that I am not alone.  Some of my favorite Christmas memories are centered around the books my parents would read with my sister and I around Christmas time.  It is a tradition that I have tried to pass on to my own Children.  Every year on Christmas Eve they both get a Christmas related book and we read them together.  Needless to say over the years we have grown quite the collection.  I personally believe that a love for reading and a quest for knowledge are one of the most important things that we as parents, can pass on to our little ones.  It is always hard for me to narrow down only a few choices for Christmas Reading, because there is so much to choose from.  But, check out my Top 5 Favorites for this year!!  I have included some classics, as well as a Bonus Book for all those Moms who want to teach their kids the real meaning of Christmas.  All of the links to the books are Clickable.

Olivia Helps with Christmas

olivia-helps-with-christmas

The Sweet Smell of Christmas A Scratch and Sniff Story

the-sweet-smell-of-christmas

Grace At Christmas

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THE CLASSICS

The Night Before Christmas

the-night-before-christmas

The Polar Express

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BONUS — the real meaning of christmas

God Gave Us Christmas

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Out of all the books listed, my very favorite is God Gave Us Christmas.  We just discovered this one last year, and it is a gem.  Everything about it gave me the warm and fuzzies and the kids enjoyed it to.  So it’s officially Mommy and Kid Approved.

What are your favorite books to read with your little ones?  What are your favorite Christmas Traditions?  I’d love to read all about it in the comment section below.