From Bitterness to Blessings

I began to feel sorry for myself as the never-ending housework engulfed me. I realized the only time I’d “relaxed” that day was while I ate dinner. After cooking and cleaning the kitchen I had gone back into clean up mode once the baby was asleep. With each stroke of the broom I let bitterness creep into my heart.

Swish…Why didn’t he at least offer to help me with the evening household chores?

Swish…Hmph. He could have at least taken the diaper pail bag outside to the trash can.

Swish…I wish he would have loaded these clothes in the car for me.

Swish…I do everything around here. (Not true but I sure thought it.)

Swish…I’ve been cleaning for hours! I sure wish I had some help!

Meanwhile, my husband was upstairs peacefully playing worship music on his keyboard.

Does this story sound familiar? (Luke 10:38-42)

As I lamented one of my favorite scriptures popped into my head, Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord… It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (Colossians 3:23-24) My sweeping began to feel a little lighter and I smiled. I started thinking about people on my prayer list and I said a quick prayer for them. Then I had the thought, “I am preparing my home for Jesus.” I got excited. Making sure the floor was clean and papers were organized now seemed like an honor. I started to think about what household tasks lay ahead for the next day and I actually felt a sense of delight as I contemplated finishing those projects as well.

Let me note that this has never happened to me. I have read stories about women who are so submitted to God that they cook and clean and feel the glory of the Lord as the lemony scent of disinfectant swirls around their home. That is not my story. But on this day I actually felt a glimmer of that contentment.

My work load did not change. My perspective changed.

A change in perspective can turn a jaded spirit into a joyful song, a mundane moment into a moment of opportunity and bitterness into blessings.

Dare I say I have had a break through?  

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A Vision for the New Year

I love New Year Resolutions. Each year I optimistically make a list of goals. My goals are usually very specific and follow the “S.M.A.R.T.” template. “I will lose 20 pounds by eating healthy and working out 5 times a week for at least 30 minutes a day by June 1, 20XX.” I am a big fan of S.M.A.R.T. Goals but this year I decided to go for a more relaxed approach.

I designed my first vision board. My board included general goals for 5 major areas of my life: Spirituality & Faith, Emotional & Mental Health, Physical Health, Relationships, and Career & Community.

Making broad goals is not something I would typically recommend but for a person like me who often struggles with flexibility and plans obsessively, a looser format can be therapeutic. Although my goals are not measurable in the traditional sense, I am taking note of my progress and have already done a mid-month evaluation. See, I told you I plan obsessively. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

2017 Vision and Resolutions

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My 2017 Vision Board

Spirituality & Faith

  • Read through the entire Bible
  • Pray
  • Memorize Scripture

Mental & Emotional Health

  • Post affirmations
  • Memorize Scripture (yes, it goes here too!)
  • Clean out the basement
  • Travel

Physical Health

  • Make and drink green smoothies
  • Exercise regularly 

Relationships

  • Listen more
  • Affirm more
  • Give more

Career & Community

  • Professional Development 
  • Create business plan
  • Save money

 

Have you ever made a vision board? Did you make any resolutions for 2017? How are they going? We are only 3 weeks into the new year. Don’t give up!

 

Year One. Check!

I was presented with a gorgeous scrapbook at my son’s birth. Each page was expertly embellished by my sorority sister. The colors and patterns chosen just so to fit the first year of my little prince’s life.

I remember feeling the joy, excitement, and anticipation as I turned each 12×12 page. What would this book look like upon completion? I couldn’t even fathom all the  experiences it would take to create the memories necessary to fill the book.

Yet here I am 12 months later looking at the scrapbook and choosing between 4000 photos. How do I decide between smiles? And why did I take so many photos of my child sleeping? This first scrapbook is nearing completion. The final selections will be photos from his “Winter ONEderland” first birthday party.

I can only wonder in amazement as I think on this past year…what will year 2 hold for our family?

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Nursing Photoshoot – A Must Do

One of the best things I have done during my first year as a mommy was to participate in a nursing photoshoot for Missouri moms. My son was 8 months old when we did the shoot. We are now 11 months in with no end in sight. We have plenty of “brelfies” but these photos by Allison Nichole Photography are a treasure. They capture the incredible bond I share with my son.

Have you done a nursing photoshoot? If not…book one soon! No stigma, no shame, all love.

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Frequently Asked Questions

When it comes to my personal life, I prefer no questions. I don’t mind questions from a friend. I usually can handle questions during a conversation with an acquaintance. My husband, who loves questions, had to teach me how to accept them as a part of normal conversation. I used to feel put off by people who just met me and asked a ton of questions. Now, I try to go with the flow and I ask a few questions myself. Its probably because I dislike small talk that I dislike questions so much.

As a parent, though,question-mark-fractal I have been introduced to a whole new line of questioning. And I abhor it.

What is he doing?

Can he talk?

What does he say?

Is he walking?

No? followed by…Gasp!

What does he eat?

Are you going to have a girl next?

Is he sleeping through the night?

When are you going back to work?

When are you going to stop breastfeeding?

How will he be socialized if you stay home? Does he go on play dates?

So I have a few questions too:

Why do you think ALL babies walk by 10 months?

Is it so hard to believe that my child eats a robust variety of fruits, vegetables, lean meat and still breastfeeds?

Did you know that the X chromosome to make a girl comes from a man and that we actually have no say in what the gender of our next child will be?

How is staying home to raise my child not work but if I put him in daycare the child care providers are working?

Are you socialized? Do you go on play dates?

Or better yet, lets talk about some adult milestones:

Did you pay your rent on time this month?

When was the last time you stayed gainfully employed with the same employer for over 2 years?

Do you own your home?

Is your car paid off?

How much money do you have saved for retirement?

Are you still on your momma’s cell phone plan?

Did you vote?

 

I don’t mean to stymie well meaning people who love my son and are curious about his growth. I just want to let my child grow at his own pace. Bombarding new parents with questions about milestones is a partner to the great evil of child/parenting comparisons. No one wins at that game. I’d rather just enjoy my son and each stage of his development. `

 

My Favorite Things

Disclaimer: I receive no compensation for the items listed below. I am not that big time yet. When I get there, I will let you know.

Christmas will be here soon. If you are expecting or looking for gifts for a new mom, here is a list of the items I found the most useful. They are listed in no particular order of preference.

favorite-things

  1. Fisher-Price Rock n Play – I used this item more than anything else. Joey loved napping here as a newborn. There is a vibrate option and it is easy to rock with your foot as you sit on the couch.
  2. Fisher-Price Kick n Play – I have many videos of my son kicking this piano and trying to reach for the toys overhead. He still loves this toy but he sits up and plays the piano now!
  3. Back Seat Mirror – I bought more expensive mirrors but this is my favorite because of its adjustability.
  4. Nose Frida – Much less fuss when I used this contraption over the traditional bulb. I recommend purchasing the saline spray as well.
  5. Mommy’s Bliss Gripe Water – Perfect for getting rid of hiccups, which my son had a lot. My aunt hipped me to this.
  6. Muslin Swaddle Blankets – Throw it on the floor for tummy time. Swaddle baby for a nap. Drape over a car seat to keep out the crisp fall air. These blankets are breathable, soft, and versatile.
  7. Halo SleepSack – This was a gift from the hospital. We ended up buying 2 more just like it. Love this thing. When baby can roll over there is an arms free version.
  8. Chicco Keyfit 30 – I bought the Equinox which is discontinued by the manufacturer but you can still get other colors. This carseat is easy peasy to install. Added bonus…
  9. Chicco Jogging Stroller – You can snap your Keyfit carseat into this jogger stroller for a nice walk in the park. It is not recommended that you run with the baby until 6 months.
  10. Summer Infant Booster Seat – We have limited space in our dining room so a high chair was out of the question. This booster seat works perfectly for our space and our boy.
  11. Fisher-Price Jumperoo – Joey loves working out his legs in this Jumperoo. It rotates 360 degrees with interactive toys on all sides.
  12. My favorite diapers are from Honest.com. My second choice Pampers. Third, Luvs. I prefer Parent’s Choice wipes.

 

Happy Shopping. Tell them I sent you.

My New Classroom

For the first time in 3 years I will not walk into a classroom and welcome a new group of students. Out of habit I saved all sorts of classroom organizers and first week of school activities on Pinterest. Then it hit me…I am a stay-at-home mom (also known as a domestic engineer). POW!

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ID from my first year teaching.

 

I have traded the often dreaded BBC (bulletin board configuration for my non teacher friends) for a updated whiteboard calendar with family activities and weekly meal plans.

I have traded trips to the teacher store with trips to Once Upon a Child and Babies “R” Us.

I have traded planning field trips for weekly trips to the library and visiting the MO Botanical Gardens, Laumeier Sculpture Park, Forest Park, and more.

I have traded beloved third grade novels such as Charlotte’s Web and the I Survived series for First 100 Words and a slew of board books.

I have traded The Daily Five for sensory bags and tummy time.

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Enjoying sensory bags at playtime.

 

I have traded lesson plans and professional development for…..wait. I haven’t traded these. My lesson plans are the learning opportunities I create for my son. My professional development comes from the Bible, parenting books, support groups, my mommy friends, and countless conversations with my mother.

My classroom hasn’t disappeared; it has shifted. I am still a teacher. I am my child’s first teacher, his mother. I wouldn’t trade this job for anything.

 

 

 

 

Check out the link below if you are interested in creating these fun bags for your little explorer.

DIY Sensory Bags