Social Media & Kids

I was scrolling through Facebook the other day and came across a hilarious time-hop video of my oldest from a couple years ago.  In the video Ren is telling the best version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. I loved it…he however was embarrassed and immediately asked me to delete it….not the reaction I was expecting as Ren is a jokester, however I honored his request and deleted the video. We then sat down and talked about what is on my Facebook page, what I share and what is on my page that is of him. I showed him my friends list (many people that he knows casually) and explained who sees what and why I use Facebook.  I then asked him if he would feel better if I asked his permission to post pictures/videos of him instead of just doing it. He nodded and then was off to build another Lego machine.

That conversation left me thinking for quite a while about the world my kids are growing up in. When I was Ren’s age the internet was just created…(mind blowing…really)…and there was no such thing as social media unless you count Polaroids and the notes that people wrote on them. I didn’t have to navigate instant…instant anything really. The best thing I can do for my kids is keep their day to day lives theirs. They get weirded out when someone asks them a question or makes a statement to them about something (that I put in FB) that that person was not a part of. I kinda like that they are weirded out (in a healthy way) by that…because it keeps me from over-sharing and helps me to be a more in-the-moment mama.

As a blogger and a mama who writes about being a mama…and my kids are 3 parts of that 4 part equation; I will have to figure out how to navigate my sharing with their privacy. Honoring Ren’s request to not post without asking his permission gives him the assurance that his life is his and he gets to choose what parts of it are shared. As a mama of young kids I have to use my judgement of what to share and not share. When they become aware of social media and their place in it; I have to honor their right to privacy.  I want to teach my kids to guard themselves and their privacy; to know that their lives are precious, protected and not for all the world to see at a moments notice.

Have you had a social media and privacy talk with your kids? What advice would you give if you have? These are new waters for me and I would love to hear from you!

 

Beth at Our Pretty Little Girls | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Crystal at Hall Around Texas | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram

Jessica at Sweet Little Ones | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Stefanie at Lexie Loo, Lily, Liam, & Dylan Too | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram

Stephanie at Wife Mommy Me | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram

 

Hello Monday!

It’s been a while.  I have been super busy here. Prepping a family of five for a move to Germany is no small feat. We are leaving in June, our countdown is officially on. Hopefully this week, we will get the official orders that we need to have in order to schedule the shipment of our family vehicle and the packing of our household goods. Once those dates are on the calendar things will start to move super fast.

I’ve mentioned a couple of times that I have read or was reading the KonMari  Method book…The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. While I have not completed each category in my home, I do see the value of keeping things that bring me joy and ridding my home of the things that do not. As a military wife the purge part of a move is so important. Not taking things that weigh you down, things that your family does not need, that bring you stress, that your kids have out grown…etc, etc, etc. The countless trips for donations, items for sale and simply putting something at the curb for a treasure hunter to take away; this has been the bread and butter of cleaning and prep this past month. This month, I am sorting through what is left, categorizing into bins and storing it on the shelf space that I will have with me in Germany. Thankfully the military will store stuff that we are wanting to keep but cannot take with us to Germany. Now it is the deciding what goes, what goes to storage and what goes to Germany….all.the.fun.things.

Speaking of fun things…I have to test for an international drivers license and I can start 60 days before we arrive in country. Ed and I have traveled in Europe and rented a car while on vacation several years back. No special license needed then. Since we will be living in Germany and not just vacationing there we have to have a special license….one more thing to my ToDo list. Oh and German language courses online. I started one of those…I can’t hold a conversation in German yet…but I do have good word (written word) recognition so far. I am adding German language to our homeschool curricula this week and I’m pretty sure Ren will pick it up pretty quick.

Add preparing our home for the rental market…and ALL.THE.THINGS. We found a property manager and just finished updating the kitchen this past weekend. New appliances (except the refrigerator) are in and a crisp white tile backsplash is up. The wallpaper is down and I am loving the white cleanliness of it all. Once we are all packed up and moved into a hotel (May calendar) we will have painters come and new carpet laid down.

Our sweet Guinea Pig girls have a new home waiting to receive them as do our 5 chickens. We will miss the wide open spaces of this home, the sweet pets and fresh eggs.  I never viewed the “American Dream” (for myself) as a home with land, chickens, a big garden, etc. I certainly do now. Living here in Ohio has given me a glimpse of the life and type of home I want for my family when Ed’s military career is over. I am grateful for the time we have had here, the insight it has given us and the lessons we have learned.

Any advice, ideas, helpful suggestions are welcome. Wish me luck, send happy thoughts, pixie dust, prayers and a spoonful of sugar will all be good…We have a lot to do this month…April, I hope you are kind to me!

 

 

Linking up with Johannah and Heather for Hello Monday!

 

Exciting News!

We received news recently and are preparing for an overseas move. My plate is FULL of all.the.things. that a Mama must do to prepare a home and a family for a huge transition. Because of that full plate I will not be posting very often here. I hope to share with you how we prepare for an overseas move, when I have time. Once we are over the pond, I plan to write about our adventures, the day to day workings of a homeschool mama life, recipes and copy-cat recipes (there is some food you just can’t get overseas) and all the things that gives me handfuls of life.

Until then, I have more spaces to go through and organize, a home to prepare for rental and suitcases to pack and re-pack. Say a prayer for me…Wisdom and peace would be my top two. Wisdom in packing smart, packing up things my kids need to make this a smooth transition and deciding the timeline for our trip and visits to family out of town. Peace for my heart (moving is tough) and my family (moving is tough).

Thanks friends!

Just Write~ Out of Abundance

Five minutes of thoughts, words on a screen, fingertips to keys. My thoughts, my emotions, my life, just write.

We had a speaker at my MomsNext group yesterday. She spoke on taking time for ourselves, taking care of our spiritual health, physical health and finances. One of the questions for table talk was, What is holding you back from taking your Me Time? I sat there and thought for a while, the only thing I could come up with is me. I sabotage myself again and again. It’s the most consistent thing about the core of who I am. Which is sad. Why would I do or rather not do the things that I know will bring me a better life? Last year was a wash when it comes to taking care of myself and I never seemed to surface long enough to make a change. The crazy thing is that 2015 was awesome. I worked out on a daily basis, ate (mostly) healthy, I spent time in the Word and in prayer…and then 2016 happened. I don’t know what even happened…I just stopped. So here I am. Seven and a half weeks into this year and I don’t want to be consistent with myself…I don’t want to sabotage myself again. Life and the days of life don’t get longer; if anything they get shorter. There is so much to be done and my ToDo lists seem never-ending. As soon as one box is checked three more appear at the end of the page.  So this is my proposal to myself.

Spiritual:

~Daily Bible readings (Proverbs and Bible App daily readings) ~ Daily Prayer and Worship times before my kids are up ~ A Bible Study for Couples with Ed ~ Worship Music on Pandora

Physical:

~ Water, daily intake to 1/2 my body weight in ounces ~ BeachBody workout stream online daily ~Cut all processed food and eat clean, whole foods ~ Snack on fruits and veggies

Financial:

~ Stick to the budget plan that Ed and I have agreed upon ~ Make it a goal to have more money left over for savings at the end of the month, more than is budgeted   ~ Cut out emotional and impulse purchases

That’s the plan. I know I am not the only person that struggles in these areas. I have a diary for the No Spend challenge that I started in January that I will be posting at the end of this month. I hope you can share this journey with me. Accountability is a powerful thing.

One of the verses that the speaker shared, to help us give permission to take time for ourselves was Proverbs 4:23, For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. If we are not taking care of ourselves and staying in communion with God than the words that we speak and the life that we pour into others will be empty and we will become empty. I don’t want to become empty. I want to be able to encourage and speak life to those around me. I want abundance to flow from my heart.

I’d love to hear from you. Do you struggle in any of these areas? What have you found works for you? Do you have a plan in place to take Me Time? I hope we can encourage one another this year. I’m looking forward to 2017 continuing to be the year that brings great things…even the ones I have to work hard on myself for.

 

PhotoLove & a Christmas Challenge

If I could have one social media app on my phone Instagram would be it. My love for Instagram runs deep. The little window into worlds that are not my own, quick thoughts, fashion and make-up, decoration, craft and cooking ideas, not to mention the fun shopping that Instagram brings are just a couple of the reasons why I use Instagram.  The opportunity to tell my story in picture form is a fun creative outlet for me. Instagram helps me to see my days in a new light…moments that are not so golden become golden. Sweet captures remind me of my many blessings even on the hard days.

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That is why I was excited when my friend Stephanie at WifeMommyMe decided to host a 31 day Christmas 2016 challenge. Of course I jumped right on board to participate.

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One word prompts each day’s post and it is always interesting to me to see the different subjects and pictures that people post; interpreting the day’s word for themselves.

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Do you Instagram? I would love to follow you if you do. Please find me on Instagram  and follow me and I will follow you as well.  If you are so inclined you can join Stephanie and myself starting December first for #2016ChristmasMoments challenge.

 

Happy Days!

Nili

 

Just Another Manic Monday

There are days of Mama-hood that bring me to my knees. I question everything; my ability to mama, to teach my school age kids, to keep my house clean, to manage this little home and our children. This morning was rough y’all. It’s crazy how a couple hours of kids being kids (rather my kids being my kids when their dad is out of town) can make me doubt my ability to adult and mama.  The self-talk that I battle with in my head really gets to me on days like this morning. The you are not good enough, should have never been a mama, you aren’t smart enough to teach your kids, look at this house…you can’t even keep that straight, why are you so lazy, why are you so mean….and on and on…it spirals me and overwhelms me.  Thank the Lord for good friends who call (even when I don’t answer the phone because I don’t want to cry about my morning…I mean really…my life is good) and snap me out of self destruction.  Then I see it in a message I sent…”Pretty sure I’m not cut out for this”…I see that….written there, and see how the devil defeats me again and again in mama-hood. Makes me doubt everything. And then it makes me mad. Mad that I would let darkness overcome the light, that I would spend half a day not liking my family, my home, not seeing my blessings and our abundance.

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How can I turn this day around, how can I change the outlook of this Monday for me and my kids…One word…DONUTS. We pull on coats and shoes, pile into the car and head to a local bakery. One donut for everyone and some cold milk. Sweet surprises like a Monday afternoon donut run lifts everyones mood. After stopping at the grocery for a couple things, Sam notices the big black and yellow sign for the Dollar General. “Can we go to the Whoopie Cushion store Mama?” and I can’t resist. One Whoopie Cushion, one package of Booger Slime and a Princess Tiara and Wand package are purchased for my wild things.

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It’s now bedtime, homemade potato soup is warm in their bellies, bath time has come and gone. And I am ready to close out this Monday. I still have dishes to do, rooms to straighten and vacuum, laundry to fold and a bathroom to clean. I am grateful for these things. Grateful that I can…I can Mama and my kids know that I love them.  In the words of Scarlett O’Hara….

 

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Linking up with Stephanie and Tuesday Talk Hosts.

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Hope & A Crib

Ed and I started trying for a baby one year after we were married.  After trying for a year we met with a fertility specialist only to be diagnosed with unexplained infertility.  I was then put on a variety  of medications and shots and underwent a few very painful procedures. During this initial year of trying to conceive my sister sent me the crib and changing table that her children had outgrown.  I was grateful for the furniture and excited about the day that that small bed would be filled with my own children. Little did we know it would take us over five years to finally conceive. During that five year span we moved to three different duty stations (one being overseas) and the baby furniture moved with us. In each house it was stored in an extra room or large closet waiting the day that we would bring a little one home. The crib became a symbol of hope and heartache for me. Walking into the room where it was stored or opening the closet and seeing it, would bring me to my knees  somedays.  Going to a doctor after enduring shots, emotions caught up in a hormonal mess and the frustration of my own body “not working the way it should” and be told that the next appointment should be one of listening to a heartbeat and “everything is looking great you should be pregnant next time I see you”…to nothing…time and time and time again, is heartbreaking.

I still kept the crib though. I had a hope. I tied a knot on the string that I was clinging to and held on with all my might. I had dear friends who prayed with, cried with and hoped for me.  And then it happened. The two lines showed on the stick, we were having a baby…The joy of that hope fulfilled was indescribable. And now, three times over that crib has held my sleeping babies. Three different mobiles have hung over the bed, three different blankets and colors sets have adorned the sides of that crib.

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This weekend I dismantled it, I cleaned the last set of crib sheets and wiped down the rails. As I was working on it I cried, I thought of the hope that felt so heavy and almost unbearable to me at times. I thought of my friends who answered my calls when I couldn’t face the day on my own and invited me to sit on their couch and they mourned with and prayed with me.  I thought of my husband who stood beside me through the long years of infertility, he cried with me and hoped with me and was strength for me.  I thought of God’s faithfulness and the hope that he had given me.  And while I know that we are done with babies for our family, I still mourn the ending of these chapters.

I packed the crib and changing table into my car on Saturday and dropped them off at a friends house.  A friend who adopted a baby girl…to give her a life full of hope and the promises of Christ.

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Infertility is a part of my story. Moving an unused crib from duty station to duty station is a part of my story. I hope if you are experiencing infertility that you reach out to friends and hold tight to your hope string, let them comfort you when you mourn and let them pray with you.  I am certain that my story would have held more heartache if I had not opened myself and my hurts to trusted friends.

Weeds

This past Sunday afternoon was a perfect weather day.  The skies were just overcast enough and it was cool and inviting outside, all day.  I have been eyeing my backyard flower beds and staring down the weeds that just seem to grow faster than anything else.  I grabbed my gloves and headed outside to enjoy the day.  My Ren came outside after a while to see what he could help me with why I was not inside and then promptly went back inside to get me his Weeds book. “Here Mama, read this so you know what is a weed and what is not.”

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This kid never ceases to amaze me. I asked him to look through the book and find the names for some of the weeds we have.  He was walking around flipping through the book and matching the pictures to weeds.  Isn’t that the way it is sometimes? We need someone else to point out the weeds in our lives. The character in our heart that needs to be refined. For me, mama-hood is just that; my weed identifier.  Here I am thinking that I am doing ok with my heart, my life, my character and then…up pops a weed: an attitude, anger, resentment, frustration, yelling…all the things and all the ways I do not want to be.  I have to sit and pray and ask the Lord to pull these things out of me and fill the space with the Holy Spirit. I wish it was just that easy…..one pull and done. But it’s not, the roots are crazy deep and wind every which way. Sometimes we don’t identify the weed and it is allowed to grow and spread it’s seed.

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The good thing is that God is faithful. He searches our hearts and he knows us (Psalm 139) and he loves us with an unfailing love (Zephaniah 3:17).  Even when we have weeds growing too fast in the garden of our life; he is there. I am forever learning to let God garden my heart. For him to search me and know my heart. To be more like Jesus in all that I do; that’s my goal.
Linking up with Stephanie and these Tuesday Talk Hosts…
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Ren & Sam TKBTB V2

Month two of talking with my boys for The Kids Behind The Blog Series.  I love these posts.  My boys are seriously so funny and deadpan honest about what they say.  Sam always begins every answer with UH…and Ren stops to think for a bit before he gives me an answer.  I made sure to ask them separately so they wouldn’t be tempted to answer the same.  This months questions are:
  1. What is your favorite thing to do with your friends?
  2. Who is your favorite person?
  3. When playing outside, what does your ideal sunny day plans look like?
  4. What do you like to do when it’s raining? (Since April showers bring May flowers)
  5. If you could plant a garden of anything, what would you plant?

Ren-newly 7 years old!
  1. What is your favorite thing to do with your friends? I do a lot with my friends, so I don’t really know…play video games, go exploring, jump on the trampoline. He does do a lot with his friends…playing outside and exploring is what he usually does if the weather is nice. We don’t have video games at our house but he does play with friends.
  2. Who is your favorite person? You….You’re my Mama! Be still my Mama-heart!
  3. When playing outside, what does your ideal sunny day plans look like? Playing on the slip-n-slide, spraying water at my friends and grill hot dogs and roast marshmallows. Ever the jokester…Ren really will spray down his friends. We bought a slip-n-slide last summer and I know I will have to buy one when the weather warms up for sure! 
  4. What do you like to do when it’s raining? (Since April showers bring May flowers) I like to go outside and play in the mud. Once I come inside and get clean I would watch movies or shows. This kids has been known to take mud baths and dirt baths…it was a Yes Day!
  5. If you could plant a garden of anything, what would you plant? Lollypops and all kinds of candy and corn.  Thank goodness Lollypops and candy does not grow in a garden…I would be in all kinds of trouble!
Sam-four months shy of three
  1. What is your favorite thing to do with your friends? UH….Build Train Tracks. The tracks this kids has going on…thank goodness we have a big basement playroom.
  2. Who is your favorite person? UH…Mema! This is my Mama and I know she is going to love reading this! Hi Mama… We Love you!
  3. When playing outside, what does your ideal sunny day plans look like? UH….I would swing, slide and have picnic pizza. Picnic Pizza at the Swing & Slide (Playdate coming soon)!
  4. What do you like to do when it’s raining? (Since April showers bring May flowers) UH….. Put on my jacket and rain boots and jump in the water. Pretty much, this.every.time.
  5. If you could plant a garden of anything, what would you plant? UH…..Salad and broccoli and carrots and spicy peppers. Who is this old man? Sam’s nickname is Pop…this so fits him and his love of all foods…except spicy peppers…he does not eat those.
Be sure to check out all the Kids Behind The Blog!

New Life; Sam’s Birth Story

Sweetest Baby

My dear sweet Sam Bear is 6 months old today.  August 1st at 11:17 am he greeted us with his sweet self and my world will never be the same.  Oh Sam, you are such a sweet baby, so beautiful and I love you with my whole being.  I never knew how much love I could hold in my heart until I became a Mama and then I became a Mama again. Somedays I feel like my heart and soul just cannot contain how blessed I feel, how much love I have for my boys.

I love birth stories and shared Ren’s story here. And although it has been 6 months (my goodness where  oh where does the time go) I wanted to sit down and write out Sam’s story too.

We found out that we were pregnant right after Thanksgiving.  We had just visited a fertility specialist and when my cycle started I was scheduled to go in for blood work and all the other fun stuff that infertility brings.  I was a couple days late and had a couple testes here at home…I took one waited about 45 minutes and took the second one…just to make sure.  POSITIVE…YaY!!!  I was so excited and thankful to God for this miracle growing inside me.  Nine months later on his due date our little Sam Bear was born.

My labor was relatively quick and such a powerful experience.  I woke up around 2-2:30 in the morning with mild cramping and tried to sleep.  It was so hard for me to get my mind to rest but I knew my body needed it.  So I lay in bed, half sleeping, half praying, a little excited and a little scared of what the day might bring.  Around 5 am I got out of bed, checked my overnight bag (which had been packed for weeks) and showered.  Not sure what to do but not wanting to wake anyone, I sat down and began paying bills.  Ed was up by this time and wanted to get his morning run in and try to make it to work to submit leave paperwork.  I told him to go ahead and I would call if I needed him home sooner.  My Mama (who is a Doula) and my sister Irene were visiting…waiting for Sam to make his entrance.  My Mama talked me through some breathing exercises and Irene timed the contractions.  About 9 am after holding on to the back of the couch and dropping almost to the floor during contractions we decided it was time to head to the hospital.  Ed returned home as quick as he could and my Mama helped us get everything in the car and ready to go.  Sitting in a jostling vehicle and breathing through contractions a lot harder than standing and partial squatting through contractions.  When we arrived at the hospital I forgot that we had to check in through the ER…so after going upstairs looking around…seeing that no one was coming to my aid we got back in the elevator and checked in through the ER.  It was around 9:30 when we were fully checked into a L&D room.  I was checked and was so disappointed only 4 cm.  I just thought…great…only 4..I have so far to go.  My Mama encouraged me to do what my body was telling me to and the nurse agreed that I did not have to labor on the bed unless there was a medical reason to.  So I knelt beside the bed, knees on a pillow on the floor, the top half of my body laying over the end of the bed, palms open, breathing deep and long.  I remember bearing down, praying, moaning,  feeling an immense peace and also thinking that I was crazy for wanting to go drug free again.   When my OB came in, around 11am, to see how I was I could see he was a little taken back that I was not in the bed but on the floor beside it.  He asked if I wanted my waters broken, said that it would speed up delivery.  I asked won’t that make it hurt more…He said, Yes…but a 1/2 dozen of one, 1/2 dozen of the other.  After another contraction or two I looked up at Ed and decided Yes…Yes break the water…but I didn’t want to get in that bed.

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Get back in the bed I did, I was 8cm when checked.  He broke the waters and said he would be back soon….Ed told him not to go very far that Sam would be here quick.  And quick he was…6 minutes and a couple pushes later my Sam Bear was born.  Wednesday, August 1, 11:17 am, 8 lbs 3 oz and 19.5 inches long.  He was a bit blue…cord wrapped a couple times…so he was turned over to the baby nurse for oxygen and a good rub down. As soon as he was able they laid him on my chest and there I was falling in love all over again.

My little Sam Bear

It is such an awe-ing experience to carry life and then bear it into the world.  I look at Sam (and Ren) now and wonder of the miracle and God-magic that we beings are.  Created from such miniscule beginnings inside of me….and here they are larger then life, perfect and whole.