To the Weary Mama

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“Give me your heart, give me your song, sing it will all your might
Come to the Fountain and you can be satisfied.
There is a peace. There is a love you can get lost inside.
Come to the Fountain and let me hear you testify.”
                       ~NEEDTOBREATH “TESTIFY”

 

Motherhood is a gift that easily gets tainted. I know I am my own worst enemy most times. So much anxiety and thoughts race through our minds.

Am I doing this right?

Am I doing enough?

Do they know I love them?

Do they feel loved enough?

To the weary Mama, I see you. I see you trying to hold it all together on the straight and narrow path of deception. A path so wide and straight that many find their way so easily to an unfulfilled thirst for acceptance. We want to know that we’re doing enough. We want to believe that the daily decisions we make will guide our children to a better path as they grow.

I see the worry. I see the masked concern when you drop a little bit of your motherhood that you have clung on to for so long, when one of the plates fall.  It’s a constant nagging when Inadequacy drowns out all the love noise of the One who is calling you to His well.

We want to be confident in who we are, but the world constantly battles for our attention and tries to fill all those voids. The world offers us a drink and we leave still feeling thirsty. When I take that cup from the world, I leave with a false sense of knowing where I am. I leave with a parched mouth.

I know that all consuming thirst all too well. It’s that thirst that can only be filled when I drop all that I am trying to carry and come to His well where His Word fills my soul.

I want to be lost. Lost in His love that I can’t see a way out. I want to wander in the deep cave of His mystery. My feet kick the rocks on the ground in His canyon of peace.

He takes my hand and shows me His Word that’s written on my heart. I gently hand Him my heart that has it all figured it out and in exchange I receive His truth.

There are times when I trip and fall as I walk through the vast valleys of victory in Him, and it’s then I am grateful for my weakness because it’s in these moments when I know really how strong I truly am in Him.

If I am always looking back, questioning my worth as a mom, then I trip and fall. When I look side to side, I lose direction. But when I look forward, towards Him, I am lost to all that is around me. I’ll never look back again.

Wont you be lost with me?

I let go. I let go of the expectations I put on myself. I let go of comparison. I let go of my anger. I let go of myself.

I sing my song of redemption. I sing it at the top of my lungs.

Let go and sing with me.

I find His well of wild love and drink deep. I am satisfied in the lostness of knowing Him.

Peace Mamas,
Glo

Do you feel overwhelmed and exhausted? Does your faith feel empty? I know the feeling because I have been there too.

How to Survive Pregnancy with a Toddler

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Figuring out how to survive pregnancy with a toddler boy running around me is not a challenge that I thought I would spend that much energy on. I knew it would be hard at times but mamas, bending over the side of the crib to pick up my toddler is incredibly harder than I anticipated. I’m talking about being 30 weeks pregnant while picking up an 18 month old boy from his crib in the middle of the night because his gums hurt from teething.

But as I have progressed throughout this pregnancy, I have realized that I do a lot to help us both get along throughout the day so our home can stay as peaceful as possible. I know there are many Mamas out there who can totally relate to what I’m talking about and I know many of you have tips of your own! If you want to add to our list, read on and then add your comment below!

Here are a few tips to help you not just survive, but thrive while pregnant with a toddler.

They post may contain affiliate links. As always, opinions are all my own. Full disclosure here.

How to Survive Pregnancy With a Toddler. Tips for being pregnant while having a toddler.

1) Start incorporating Independent Play with your Toddler NOW.
I could probably write a whole post about the power of independent play (IP), and if you haven’t looked into this yet, now is the time. You want to start this trait now, no matter the age of your toddler. And if you aren’t sure how your toddler will respond to this, then start now so you can slowly work towards increasing time your toddler will play by himself.

Independent play is simply you letting him explore a few toys on his own, without interaction from you, allowing him to be totally creative on his own in a safe setting. You’re going to want this time to catch your breath or to feed your new baby once she gets here or whatever you need to do. My 18 month old can play by himself for an hour and 15 mins (we use a timer!). We do this almost every day. It is a lifesaver.

2) Don’t be afraid to put everyone to bed earlier than normal so you can go to bed early too.
I think majority of moms are extremely exhausted that first trimester. I know I am! When I was pregnant with Bubby, I could nap or go to bed whenever I wanted. Now that I am chasing Bubby around all day, I am wiped out by the time my husband gets home and he is usually pretty tired himself from a long day at work, so early to bed we all go.

And this can include nap time too. There are some days when I put my toddler down earlier so I could take a nap myself or I just plain needed to lay down for just a little bit. Putting him down 30ish minutes early is not going to hurt anything and I use this opportunity to teach him he needs to quietly lay/rest in the crib until mommy comes to get him. Getting your toddler used to a flexible sleep time with a window of 30 minutes is a tool you’ll want in your belt when your new one arrives!


3) Allow the extra help!
We have fantastic grandparents and relatives who will gladly take our son for a few hours or even for overnight! I have found I used to struggle with this the most when I kept holding on to control too much over my son’s routine. I realized I needed to prioritize what was important to his routine, communicate that to whoever is helping and let the rest go. Plus, I want Bubby to be used to being around those folks so when our new little one comes home, we can all have a little break from time to time.

4) Try to keep up some sort of exercise routine.
I know this can be REALLY hard the first and third trimesters but I’m not saying you need to pop in P90X and listen to Tony Romo blair out your TV. I have found that variety works best for me when I’m battling prego fatigue. A 10 minute pregnancy pilates DVD here, a 30 minute walk outside with my toddler there. Whatever I do, I try to do something 4 days a week. What might that look like for you?

5) Take a risk with intimacy and your spouse!
Each woman has her own experiences during pregnancy and when it comes to sex, this can be especially varying. Some women are raring to go and some women are still searching for their libido. When I say take a risk, I mean take a risk on being intimate with your spouse and forget about the rest. Most men are sensitive to your needs (and comfortable positions!) during this phase. Try not to let tiredness rule out intimacy every time. I know this can be incredibly hard and a sensitive topic for some but take a look and see if intimacy has faded since being pregnant again. I know it did for us and we decided to change things up so we could each stay satisfied and satisfy each other too.

Use this time to try new things or to be more open with your spouse about what works for you right now as your body is changing. I can personally say that when my husband wants to be intimate with me and I have no desire to be sexual, I tend to give him the benefit of the doubt and things almost always turn out better than I thought. Just something to think about! 😉 Feeling sexually fulfilled while you feel like a giant walking watermelon can give you an amazing boost during this tiring time, especially knowing your spouse feels good too!

6) Start planning now instead of wondering and worrying about what it will be like when baby arrives!
I tend to ask myself a lot of questions about what will I do if this situation arises with our new baby and how will I handle Bubby in the process. I am a planner by heart so coming up with possible ideas incase the need arises down the road reduces a lot of stress for me. The balance of all this is realizing that things may not go at all how you expected and that’s OK! Learning to adapt to a change of plans is such a vital tool, and I imagine this is ESPECIALLY TRUE when planning for your new baby’s arrival.

Some things to start planning ahead now:

  • Bulk freezing meals and/or snacks for your household, especially your toddler.
  • Create a general menu of a week or two of meals so whoever may help you take care of your toddler can have a reference point (I am doing this for my husband too!).
  • Checklist of new items you’ll need to get for new baby that can’t be reused from your first baby.
  • Independent Play (mentioned above) for your toddler.
  • Consider having help come by once or twice a week to help with some household chores the first couple of months. I plan on having our teenage babysitter come once a week to sweep, do laundry, dust, vacuum, etc. (Teenage girl is cheaper than maid service I would imagine!)
  • Bulk buy items that are a pain in the butt to run to the store for when you run out. I did this recently with a huge pack of a TWO MONTH SUPPLY of diapers! Whoot! We also bought bulk deodorant, toothpaste, trash bags, etc. Household items like this give me a peace of mind, knowing I wont need to worry about buying them while I’m sleep deprived.
  • Start creating busy bags or simple daily activities you can easily do with your toddler when baby is sleeping or feeding.

7) You might want to start changing up your daily routine with your toddler.
When I first found out I was pregnant, Bubby was taking two naps still. I never got too sick during that first trimester but boy I would get so exhausted mid-morning. There were mornings I would put him down a little earlier than he probably needed so I could rest for a few extra minutes. We also normally had a mid-morning snack that I slowly moved up so we could just eat lunch earlier together because it helped me fight fatigue. Having an earlier lunch helped me a lot that first trimester!

Also, before I found out I was pregnant, we would get out pretty much every day and do an errand or two or go on a playdate. As I have progressed in my pregnancy, I can’t quite keep up with that every day business. I have started more at home activities with him so we can get used to being home more which will be the case when Sissy arrives (at least in the beginning). It helps me feel more rested now and will help us adjust to being homebodies when she is born!

I know we could add so much more to our list! What would Mamas like to add? Let us know in the comments below! And if you’d like to get tips like this straight to your inbox, click here and join our Mom Tribe.
Peace,
Glo

Our Gender Reveal Party for Baby #2!

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Bubby’s little sister is to arrive in March 2017. We have been super excited over the fact that we’ll have a boy and a girl and the fun (and challenges!) that come with raising both genders. I have so many cute pictures and activities that I’ve already recorded and written down about my son, that I want my daughter to have some of those same experiences.

BUT, if you know anything about having subsequent children, you know that the pictures and crafts get fewer and fewer the more kids you have. Trust me. I know. I’m the youngest of six!

To start off on a proactive note for our little girl, I decided to have a gender reveal party. I knew she wouldn’t get all the showers and games and fun that Bubs got as our first born, so gender reveal party we threw!

Since I have such a large number in my family, I wanted to do something that was relatively simple, but still festive and fun. I decided to keep decorations low key but have some fun activities for my family to do to celebrate the surprise gender of our baby.

Gender Party Ideas for Party. Party ideas for a Gender Reveal Party.

 

MOST IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION FOR YOUR GENDER REVEAL PARTY:
Deciding how to reveal the gender is always the big question. Husband and I knew the gender ahead of time and we decided we did not want to use food in any way to reveal the answer. My family has a few who would cheat (haha!), and I wanted it to be a complete surprise to everyone!

We decided to use balloons in a box and then have our toddler son help us open the box as the balloons floated out with the gender color!
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FOOD

In terms of food, we have a party favorite in our family and that is funfetti cake. It is my favorite by far! Since food wasn’t an integral part of the surprise, I kept it very simple and cheap. Funfetti was on sale for 99 cents a box at the store, so I bought two boxes and made over two dozen cupcakes. I simply used some food decorating icing and put “G” on half the cakes and “B” on the other half.
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I decided to make our table half of a girl side and half of a boy side. I went with simple decorations from Party America. I love anything that’s chevron print, so I kind of based it off the napkins I picked up. 🙂

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DECORATIONS and PARTY GAMES

I decided to go with simple and “traditional” blue and pink colors to decorate as you can see above. I wanted the decorations to be part of the activities so I decided to use the wall space in our kitchen as part of the activities for our guests.

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PHOTO BOOTH
This was our photo booth for the day. The tissue pom poms hanging from the ceiling were super inexpensive. The blue ones were already in my son’s room from one of his showers and I picked up the pink plush ones from Party America. (Bonus, I can keep the pink ones for her room above her changing table!)

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I had a small table set up to the side with the boards for the guests to use. If they thought we were having a girl, they posed with the “It’s a girl sign.” Vice versa for a boy.

As I mentioned, this was pretty simple but our guests ended up having a lot of fun with it! I had my niece be in charge of taking pictures and getting folks to participate so I didn’t have to worry about it either! 🙂

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NAME GUESSING
We thought it would be fun to put up a list with five girl names and five boy names and then have our guests pick one of each that they thought we would use. I read the answers while we were eating lunch outside. It made for great conversation and then we told them our top name when we revealed the gender! You could award the correct answers right when you read all the answers, but it’s up to you!
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I just used the same table that had our photo booth accessories on it and threw some burlap on there that I had in my craft box. Simple and fun!
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BOY or GIRL Onesies: You pick!
This probably wasn’t necessary but these little paper onesies were so cute I had to figure out a way to use them! We had our guests write their name on the color of onesie they thought we were having. So if Bill thought we were having a girl, he wrote his name on the pink onesie. It was another cute decorative corner to add to our kitchen and everyone had fun with it.
img_3086My sister even wrote the name she thought we would use with the gender she picked and wore it on her clothes! Extra bonus!
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BEST WISHES FOR BABY
Have you ever gone to a shower and they had those cute little sheets that the guests write their best wishes on for the baby? They something like “I hope you ___________” and then the guest fills in the blank. Well, I had something like this for Bubby and I wanted Sissy to have a similar experience because I absolutely love the sweet things people write. So we had a small spot set up (below the onesie banner) and family members filled them out throughout the day.
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GUEST BOOK FRAME SIGNING
Lastly, I took a picture of her gender sonogram and bought one of those frames where folks can sign the outer part. We have since hung this up in her bedroom and she can easily see who was at her party and the warm wishes they had for her (regardless of her gender!). I had blue and pink pens and let the guest choose what they wanted to use!
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We ended up having a great time with our families and the party was a real hit! If you end up having a gender reveal party I would encourage you to think about your priorities for the party and focus on those instead of trying to do everything. ESPECIALLY if have more than one kid running in circles around you! For me, food was a lower priority and activities was a higher one.

What would you mamas add? Anyone else do something similar? Would love to hear from you in the comment section below!
Peace and happy Bumps to you expecting moms out there!
Glo

20 + Tips from Real Moms on What to Do when You have a Newborn and a Toddler

We are having our second child in March and will be bringing home our new little addition to the family while having a 20 month old running around. I am excited, nervous, and a little scared. Scared of the unknown of a life with two under two. Nervous about the demands of a toddler while having a new baby. Excited to hear what tips other moms might have for me.

Thankfully, I am not the first woman who will experience the life of a mom with a newborn and a toddler. If you’re like me and scouring the Internet for tips, hacks and advice on how to survive as a new mom for the SECOND time, then look no further.

While I have mixed feelings about being what some might call a “Modern Mom” or a “millennial parent,” I without a doubt and grateful for the over 11,000 moms whose support I have in an awesome online mom group. I’ve seen these women post day in and day out with questions and concerns about how to survive with a newborn and not pull your hair out with a toddler.

So when I started worry about what this chapter of my life was going to be like, I knew I needed to hear the realness of this adventure straight from the horse’s mouth. Mamas, I give you to you REAL advice from REAL moms about how to navigate the life of having a newborn and a toddler. Here are there top tips for us new moms!

 

Read more for tips on brining home baby while having a toddler. Quick tips and reminders for mom with two under two.

Erin said: “My youngest two are 16 months apart. Best advice- GRACE. give yourself lots of grace. It gets better, but it will be super rough at times. Don’t stress about little stuff, just take it a day at a time (sometimes an hour at a time.”

Sarah said: “Grace. Lots of grace for yourself and for both kids. Mine are 17 months apart and here are a couple things that helped me.
-a “nursing basket” with special toys for the toddler while you nurse
-have your toddler do room time during one of the feedings
-get out of the house and don’t feel guilty about it!
-go to bed when baby does until night time sleep gets better because you can’t really rest much.
-ask for help with the toddler (wish I did more of this)
-when they’re both crying, determine the highest need and go wth that one first 😉
-let baby sleep in the swing or in the carrier the first 6 weeks!
-start “sleep training” week 6-12.
Grace. Everyone needs it. And if you cry, that’s ok!”

Kerry said: “If you’re a perfectionist like I am, lower your expectations for yourself a little. I expected to nail it, and was disappointed in myself over and over. Now I don’t pretend to have it all together, and it’s so much more freeing. And when things go bad, I’m like, whatever, that’s life. And when things go good I’m like yaaaaa!”

Claire said: “Let your older one say that he does not like his brother/sister or even horrible stuff. Do not yell at him for that. Just explain him/her that you love them both, that you are listening to his/her frustration and you will protect and love each of them the same way. Do not say that the older one will help you. He/she is not the parent.”


Kiah said: “Schedule a pedicure/massage/hair app whatever makes you happy before baby is born, have a plan and stick with it. It’s crucial to take care of yourself. Also schedule realistic date nights even if youngest baby tags along.
-Meal plan/freezer meals if possible, see if someone knows of a college girl or maid service that’s inexpensive.
-Purge the house of stuff you don’t want now and organize the rest. There are lots of videos on YouTube about how to organize on a budget.
-I used lots of positive affirmation with my boys preparing for baby #2 and #3
You’re going to be such a good big brother!
Are you going to hug and kiss baby when he’s born?
Baby loves you sooo much! Look how he smiles at you!
Anytime there was a misguided comment about how jealous they would get etc I would politely turn it around.

Ashley said: “Mine are 13 months apart with no family nearby😳😂
I really tried to make the toddler a part of the newborns care- not only did I keep my daughter busy, but I really believe that they are pretty close now because of it, it also taught her how to be kind and caring towards a baby. While I would nurse the newborn, the toddler and I would have special conversations or songs that we would only sing while I was nursing.
-And when I was caring for baby, I was constantly talking to both of them about what I was doing. ” Ok, mama’s gotta change brothers clothes…again”😜
-I pretty much lived down on the ground with them reading and playing. I would put his jungle gym down on the floor and lay some books out for her, and a lot of the time I could cook and clean with no issues! They both really enjoyed music too!
-I praised my 13 month old so much for being nice to her brother. To this day she gives him so many kisses, hugs, and brings him all of his favorite toys. Now, they are to the point where he is mobile and they chase each other and play all day – it’s great! they are 22, and 9 months- looking back, I wouldn’t have done it any other way!”

Elisha said: “Be kind to yourself. Take one day at a time and don’t try and do everything ask for help!”

Dara said: “Don’t be afraid to live completely in survival mode for the first 6 to 12 weeks or as long as you have to. And also, on the other hand, don’t be afraid to go out of the house whenever you need to keep things normal.
-The best advice I have received so far, is to use the toddler as your flex point. By this I mean if you need both kids to nap at the same time with the toddler down for their nap earlier or later based on whatever the baby schedule might be. The same thing goes for bedtime. If all hell is breaking loose and you need to tend to the baby you can put the Toddler down a little bit later and they will be just fine.”

Sarah said: “Crying has never killed anyone. If baby has to cry while you care for your toddler, they will be fine. If you have a toddler screaming at your feet while you feed baby don’t let that stress you. If you have to leave BOTH kids wailing to take care of your own needs, do it. This only lasts for such a short time. They do get the hang of sharing you! You are super woman, but you’re not God. You don’t have endless untapped energy and you can’t be everywhere at once.”

MORE POPULAR TIPS FROM THESE MOMS:
*Hire someone inexpensive to help clean or cook and if they can, be with the toddler for a little bit.
*Don’t freak out about everyone crying. Prioritize who needs attending first. Oh, and don’t be afraid to cry yourself!
*Get outside and exercise when you can! This may mean investing in a double stroller.
*Freezer meals AND snacks you know your toddler will eat without much complaint.
*Don’t be afraid to ask someone to set up a “Take Them a Meal” system.
*Have second baby’s room set up as much as you can before second baby arrives.
*Get those busy bags ready and only pull them out for the toddler during specific times. Thank God for Pinterest. Also, check out my 45 Daily Activities to do with a PreToddler for quick, free, and easy tips.
*Make sure and take care of yourself!!!
*Try to keep a date night to connect with your spouse!
*Let others help you!

WHAT ABOUT YOU MAMAS? What else would you like to add? Let us know in the comments below!
As always, cheers!,
Glo

 

78 Songs That Should Be on Your Summer Playlist

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My back is damp as I lean forward in my seat. My shirt pulls away from the leather and I hang my arm out the window. There’s something freeing when you are driving 55mph on a country highway and the windows are down and you brave the wind with your torpedo hair flapping out the window.

If you would have been out in the middle of nowhere-Iowa this weekend, you probably would have seen my little family and I driving, bringing this summer driving scene to life. Asher was getting fussy, I was getting tired of the curvy roads, Mike was tired of driving, so we rolled the windows down and cranked out my Summer Music Playlist.

I am a lover of music and I am a lover of lists of all sorts. But when it comes to music, I am particularly a lover of music playlists that connect with a season or a mood. If you were to scroll through my iPod you would see quite the variety of playlists. I have traditional playlists, like Christmas or Classical Music. Then I got my “Dancing-In-The Kitchen” list. Or “Spring Break.” If I am feeling lovey-dovey, I play my list titled “LURVE.” I even have a list I like to call “Purple.” I love to have playlists that tie in with the change of the seasons. I tend to associate certain songs with certain times of the year. And as we were making our way up to Iowa, I knew I would need my summer playlist. After all, Memorial Day is an official season setter for some of us!

So, for fun, I am giving you my list of 78 songs you should have on your summer playlist. And if you don’t have one, then don’t be afraid to start! They are fun to make and an easy tradition to start! My husband has even gotten into the habit of asking about different playlists as we are traveling or hosting a party or as Christmas time approaches. (And if I’m being honest, I even have sub-Christmas playlists!! Eeeeek!) I couldn’t bring myself to put these in any particular order besides alphabetical, so enjoy them as they roll!

(I did exclude Christian songs because I have those as a separate list for the summer! Maybe another post?? 🙂 And I can’t guarantee clean language or videos in all of these either.

I know, some of these might seem cheesy, but when I hear them, I think of summer and I just can’t help myself!!!

By the way, some of these videos are pretty fun to watch–The Cranberries with the eclectic wave on the screen?!?! Or Billy Idol’s hair!

What about you?? Do you have any staple summer songs? Share in the comments for the rest of us to check out!!

  1. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough — Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
  2. All These Things I’ve Done — The Killers
  3. America the Beautiful (cuz of 4th of July 🙂 — Ray Charles
  4. Any Man of Mine — Shania Twain
  5. Anything Could Happen — Elli Goulding
  6. Are You Gonna Be My Girl — Jet
  7. Below My Feet — Mumford & Sons (by the way,  if you seen them live, they sound just as good!)
  8. Black Dog — Led Zeppelin
  9. Blood — The Middle East
  10. Born In The USA — Bruce Springsteen
  11. Boot Scottin’ Boogie — Brooks & Dunn
  12. Can’t Hold Us — Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
  13. Dead Sea — The Lumineers
  14. Difference Maker — NEEDTOBREATHE
  15. Dirty Paws — Of Monsters and Men
  16. Don’t Stop Believin’ — Journey
  17. Don’t Worry Baby — The Beach Boys
  18. Dreams — The Cranberries
  19. Elephant Love Medley — Moulin Rouge Soundtrack (Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor)
  20. New York (Empire State of Mind) — Jay-Z & Alicia Keys (struggled to find a good one here)
  21. Express Yourself — Charles Wright
  22. Fall In Love With The 80’s — Reliant K
  23. Feel Again — One Republic
  24. Fishin’ in The Dark — Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
  25. Footloose — Kenny Loggins
  26. Friends in Low Places — Garth Brooks
  27. Get Lucky — Daft Punk
  28. Gloria — Them ( This is from the movie The Outsiders and has part of my name, so I’m biased 🙂
  29. Go Do — Jonsi
  30. Good Life — One Republic
  31. Hangin’ Tough — New Kids on The Block
  32. Have You Ever Seen The Rain — Creedence Clearwater Revival
  33. The Heart — NEEDTOBREATHE
  34. Her Man — Gary Allan
  35. Ho Hey — The Lumineers
  36. Hotel California — The Eagles
  37. How Far We’ve Come — Matchbox Twenty
  38. I Believe in a Thing Called Love — The Darkness
  39. I Get Around — The Beach Boys
  40. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For — U2
  41. I Want It That Way — Backstreet Boys
  42. I Will Wait — Mumford and Sons
  43. If I Ever Leave This World Alive — Flogging Molly
  44. It’s Tricky — Run DMC
  45. Keep Your Hands to Yourself — The Georgia Satellites
  46. Kokomo — The Beach Boys
  47. Learn Me Right — Birdy & Mumford and Sons
  48. The Man — Aloe Blacc
  49. Me & My Friends — Tim Myers & El May
  50. Mony Mony — Billy Idol
  51. Moves Like Jagger — Maroon 5
  52. My House — Flo Rida
  53. Old Pine — Ben Howard
  54. Oye Como Va — Santana
  55. Party in The USA — Miley Cyrus
  56. Pour Some Sugar On Me — Def Leppard
  57. Praan — Garry Schyman
  58. S.O.B — Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
  59. Say Hey (I Love You) — Michael Franti & Spearhead
  60. Shake It Off — Taylor Swift
  61. Shake It Out — Florence + The Machine
  62. Shower — Becky G  ( I know, I know…)
  63. Slow Ride — Foghat
  64. Spirit In The Sky — Norman Greenbaum
  65. Suit & Tie — Justin Timberlake (feat. Jay-Z)
  66. Summer of 69 — Bryan Adams
  67. Summertime — Kenny Chesney
  68. Sweet Home Alabama — Lynyrd Skynyrd
  69. Team — Lorde
  70. This Magic Moment — The Drifters
  71. Thunderstruck — AC/DC
  72. Ticks — Brad Paisley
  73. Til Kingdom Come — Coldplay
  74. Uptown Funk — Mark Ronson (feat. Bruno Mars)
  75. Wanna Be With You — Hootie and the Blowfish
  76. Wink — Neal McCoy
  77. Winter Winds — Mumford & Sons
  78. Young Blood — The Naked and Famous

Don’t forget to share you favorites for Summer in the comments below!!!

 

78 Songs summerplayist PIN

I Miss My Life Before I Was a Mom

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I love how I live in a part of the world where we get four seasons. I love when I wake up early and step outside and the crisp air washes over my face. The dew on the grass is no longer frozen and the sun grazes the grass’s wetness, causing  my eyes to squint in its reflection. It’s spring time here. You know that feeling when you can sense the change of seasons? You can see the little clues from day to day. The trees start looking greener. The crisp air turns into cool morning air that will lift as soon as the sun is high. I am one of those that tend to associate memories and moments with nature’s little clues. When the yellow flowers bloom on our ground cover, I am reminded of my grandmothers and great aunts I never got to meet, but I have a touch of them with the flower I dug up from their old house to keep alive in my front yard. When our lilac bush blooms in the spring and its scent carries through our kitchen window, I am taken back to when I was a young girl waking early in the summer, dying to go outside and play.

When spring approached this year and April turned into May, I can’t help but remember my life before I was a mom. I was a teacher before I became a mom who decided to stay home. As anyone who knows a teacher knows, May is a love-hate relationship for us. We love that the year is winding down, but tend to grow old of the tiring behavior students inevitably carry during those last few weeks of school. As a reading teaching, I am not gonna lie. I LOVED April and May. We did some of my favorite units as the end of the year approached and there was LOTS of reading outside.

When I step outside these mornings, I am reminded of the feelings of excitement and giddiness I used to have this time of year. Excitement for the plans I would make for myself for the summer. Excitement while driving to school with the windows down because the cool air was teetering on being warm. The rush you get when you decide that it’s too beautiful outside to stay cooped up indoors. I miss those feelings about teaching. I miss those feelings as an individual that come with summer time. I miss my life before I was a mom.

I miss life before the responsibility weighed heavy on me. I miss life before my schedule had to accommodate this little human’s needs. Apparently naps are important. I miss my life when my husband and I could go out to eat at the drop of a hat. Or we could go see some friends whenever we wanted. I miss being able to binge watch some TV show on Netflix during the summer. I miss being able to cook big, awesome meals for my husband when I was feeling inspired because time was not an issue. I miss traveling to see our families more frequently.


Why is it that when we make big changes in our lives that people think what we did before, we can no longer like or say we miss? I feel like this is even more true as we become parents.


Why do we get this feeling of guilt if we say we miss the life we had before our children? Is it because we are afraid that people will think we regret having kids? Is it because we’re afraid people will think we love our kids less? Why can’t we miss what we used to do, but still enjoy what we’re doing now?

I miss my life before I was a mom. I love my life as a mom. That’s all there is to it.

My responsibilities these days do weigh heavy. But not every day. Not all the time. If I need to be home so my little guy can have a nap that is important to his growth and development, then I can live with that. Naps wont last forever. Besides, I wouldn’t be able to write this if it weren’t for his nap time.  Being able to see friends whenever we want has changed. Now we have to plan and schedule a babysitter, but that doesn’t mean my joy left. It just made me more purposeful in my friendships than what I was before. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to binge watch TV anymore, but that’s what early bedtimes are for, right? Right?!

I think as Mother’s Day approaches how this particular holiday has a whole new meaning than it ever has for me. Being a first time mom, (I’m not sure I’ll ever stop calling myself that. There will always be firsts that will cross my path with my first born, right?) Mother’s Day means that I am now connected to this little guy whose butt I wipe, whose tears I wipe, whose face I wipe, all the wiping!– this connection that will never leave me. No matter what seasons I go through, being a mom I will forever be. 

Now as May unfolds I have new excitements. Taking Bubby to the pool for the first time. Scheduling an annual cookout with some of our friends. Watching Bubby figure out how to walk. Planning a trip to see our family on Memorial Day weekend. The excitement has changed, but I still have it. I still have the excitement that comes when the seasons change and I will always remember the excitement I had before I was a mom. I still love that feeling as the air changes. And by God, I can still read outside if I want to.

What about you? Do you ever feel this way?

 

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Get In The Picture, Mom

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If you are like me, you love taking pictures of your kids and if you’re feeling brave, you hop in the photo with them. When I met Christina, I was thrilled that she wanted to share this post, especially since Mother’s Day is around the corner. Before I turn things over to Christina, I want to really encourage you to check out her site. I am most definitely an amateur photographer and I absolutely LOVE her site. It is incredibly helpful and user friendly for someone who dabbles with photography. Plus, her site layout is just lovely and clean. I really enjoyed stalking her 🙂

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I have never been one for being in pictures which is weird considering I am a photographer. I’ve just always been wired to hate almost every single image that had me in it. It still irritates me, however, when I hear other mothers pass on chances to be in the photograph with their children.

Don’t get me wrong. I totally get it when my clients want the pictures of the children without them in the shot. I know how it feels to not like what you see when the camera is turned on you. I know how it feels when you think that you getting in the shot is going to ruin it.

I get it but it is still wrong. You’re wrong. Get over it.

I know that that sounds harsh but I’ve had to tell myself this statement over and over again whenever the camera is turned on me.

Get over it.

My son is going to want these pictures when he is older. He is going to want to look back at these images and see me. See me laughing with him, kissing him, playing with him. He is going to look at these images and see someone that he loves. He won’t see what I see.

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My son will not look at these photographs and see a bad hair day. Or see a woman that could stand to lose a few pounds. He won’t look at these images, and see someone with a large chin or a big head. Heck, he probably won’t even notice that I have some serious double chin in some of the shots.

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He will see his mother. That’s all.

And that is who he is going to want to see.

One day, I will be gone. All that he will have left is these frozen frames in time to look back at. Because of that, I will always strive to be in as many pictures as possible.

Now, I won’t jump in every shot. There will be plenty of him by himself, with his father, etc. However, I will make an effort to always be in some. I aim for a few shots a month. I don’t always succeed but at least I am trying.

When he gets older, he will appreciate that.

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So, my message to you: Get over it. Who cares if you hate that picture of you with your double chin and your messy bedhead bun? Your children are going to love it, and that is really all that matters.

Christina Nelson

www.theeducatedshutter.com

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Pros and Cons to Having a Furry Big Sister

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I met Liz not too long ago in an awesome mom blogging group. I was excited to see that she had a post to share for It Takes a Village. I am a HUGE dog lover. If you haven’t figured that out already, check out my Instagram for some dog lovin photos. I was immediately drawn to Liz’s post as a fellow dog lover. It’s pretty amazing how pets become an extended part of your family. They can become such an ingrained part of life and I think many of us aren’t ready to balance them when a new little baby arrives. I totally get the change of pace for when you have a newborn and a high-energy dog that is ready to go go go!! As with anything there are pros and cons and Liz is here today to talk about her experiences with being a new mama and a dog lover.

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Newbie mom Liz Parker-Cook is the proud mom of a seven month old son and a 4 year old chocolate lab. She lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband and the aforementioned dependants. In her other life, she is a high school music teacher, which is much louder than parenting but has fewer dirty diapers. You can read more from Newbie Mom athttp://www.newbiemomsite.com or on Facebook, Twitter or Bloglovin‘.

My husband and I brought home Hazel in 2012. For the first while, she kept us up all night and kept me busy all day getting into things and crying for attention. She has boundless energy and ruins all her toys, but she is clever and lovable at exactly the right moments. And boy, is she a ham for the camera!

No, Hazel is not a toddler. She is a 3 1/2 year old chocolate lab. Though Hazel has always loved children, we were nervous about introducing her to her baby brother when we found out that I was pregnant. Hazel has always been sweet and gentle, but we had heard and read stories of people having to make the difficult decision to re-home dogs when children arrive. It turns out we didn’t need to worry because in August she welcomed home her little brother, MB, with much excitement. (And even more wet doggy kisses.)

There have definitely been some challenges with being a mom to a dog and a newborn baby, but also some extremely sweet moments. Here are some pros and cons of having a dog and a baby.

Con: They both need attention. (Often at the same time.) Hazel was used to being spoiled with attention and going on walks often to burn off her energy. Like any big sister, she had to learn to share her attention. At first Hazel started to whine or cry when the baby cried, and then began doing things she knew would get attention, such as jumping on the counter or destroying something. I used to run back and forth giving them attention. Hazel would bring me a toy while I was nursing her brother, but put it just out of my reach and whine so that I would get up and play with her.

It has been almost 5 months now and it is improving. As the baby grows and begins to move, Hazel has become more interested in him and less resentful. We play fun games like holding the baby like an air plane and chasing the dog around the house. They are learning to co-exist.

Pro: When the naps align it is magical! This happens maybe once a week, but when it does it is the best. There is nothing better than having the baby fall asleep in your arms while the dog snoozes beside you. They just look so darn cute while they sleep. I start to wonder why I was stressed, with these two angels in my life. Then I think, nap time for momma! We have had some lovely naps together all snugly and warm. I have also had some lovely quiet time while they nap. Either way, win-win.

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Con: The walks. Hazel is an energetic dog. She loves her walks. She cannot do without walks or she becomes crazy and destructive or whiny and irritable. I hear people say that they just wait for their partners to come home and walk the dog. This is great for them, but not an option for us. My husband takes her for walks on the weekends and sometimes after dinner, but he works long hours, so the dog care is mostly up to me.

We are fortunate to be able to have a dog walker come in to take her out for morning walks, but we still walk between 2 and 5 kilometres a day, rain/snow or shine. Plus, it takes ages to get the baby ready, put him in the stroller or carrier, get myself ready and then get the dog leashed up and ready. In this winter, this is an epic undertaking. My dog loves the snow and cold too. I know other dogs who stay inside when it rains or snows. Not mine. She spent 20 minutes rolling in the snow during the coldest day of the year. We own a lot of waterproof outerwear.

Pro: The walks! The regular walking can be a positive too. I get outside everyday, which makes me feel better. And thanks to my dog, I almost always run into someone I know in the neighbourhood, which provides me with a dose of adult interaction. I also feel stronger, and fitter than I did during my horrible pregnancy. The walking has helped me lose my baby weight, and often leads to nap time for both the baby and the dog.


Con: Dog toys and baby toys are basically the same. I defy you to tell the difference. They both make noise, they are designed to be chewed on and they look like cute animals. Many a baby stuffed animal has gradually become a dog toy. Currently Hazel is fascinated with a musical octopus MB got for Christmas that says colour names when you squeeze it. We have to keep it up high or she steals it. Presumably to learn about colours.

Pro: They will be best friends. MB is becoming more aware and is starting to reach out to pet Hazel. She has always covered him in kisses, but now he laughs. The baby is endlessly entertained by the movements of the dog and she seems to enjoy sitting with him as he has tummy time. She also freaked out with joy when MB went in his jolly jumper for the first time. Now she brings him toys to play with and drops them in front of him. The minute he starts solid foods Hazel will never leave his side.


Con: The house is overrun with stuff. Baby toys litter the couch, and dog toys litter the floor. Or the dog toys are on the couch and the baby stuff is on the floor? Honestly, I’m not sure. They look the same. It’s safer to shuffle your feet across the floor here, rather than lifting them and potentially dropping them onto something painful. And this is just the beginning…

Pro: This may give me an idea of what it is like to have multiple children. (If only in a small way.) I learned a long time ago not to compare my dog to other people’s children. Especially if they are not dog people. I have put my foot in my mouth more than once doing this. However, dogs and babies have a lot in common. Everything goes in their mouths, they love squeaky toys, they both get into everything, they both nap at weird hours, make strange sounds and stare at me while I eat.


Okay, so my dog is not a child. But I have learned the valuable skill of juggling multiple needs of my dependants.

It is hard to not neglect your dog when your baby needs you, to get up and play with your dog when your baby naps and you are exhausted.

It is tiring and guilt-inducing and it is hard to explain it to either one of them. It is also hard to explain to people who are not dog people. I talked about the challenges of balancing the needs of dog and baby by myself during the week at a post-natal class and the nurse politely dismissed me, saying: “If that is the worst thing that has happened to you with the baby, you are doing well.” Thanks…

I am also incredibly impressed by mothers with more than one child.  When I see a mom at the mall with multiple children – or twins!- I want to stop what I am doing and give her a respectful slow clap. But when I see a mom with multiple kids and a dog (or two!), I want to run over to her and bring her baked goods in appreciation for all her hard work. (This is what I would like, as well, if anyone sees me out with my dog.)