Encouraging the Moms

scan0002-5(1)A few days ago I posted the images to the right on my instagram. It is an image of myself as a newborn in the hospital, shortly after my mom had me back in 1983. That is me in the first container crib. :)

When I look at this image the first thing that comes to mind is the fact that not only am I placed on my tummy… but the baby behind me… In fact I am pretty confident every baby in that nursery was on their tummy.

Yet 21 years after that image was taken and I became a mom, you would have been crucified by medical professionals as well as other moms, if you placed your baby on their tummy. I remember when I first became a mom back in 2004, I was greatly criticized. 4 months after I had Caleb we moved to Northern Ohio. Where my husband served as an Associate Pastor and Youth Pastor. I was 21, a new mom and really a fairly new wife. This was our first FULL time ministry position. We knew no one in the area… and everything we knew was now different. My mom was 12+ hours away in Charlotte, NC… and this whole journey through motherhood was something I was about to face head on with no shoulder to cry on.

It was HARD.

I remember ladies in the nursery rolling eyes… talking down about the way I chose to do things… cracking jokes… and making me feel about as small as it comes. I remember dreading going to church many sundays because of the fear of what would be said next to me in regards to how I chose to parent Caleb. Are they malicious and hateful? Probably not intentionally… but it was hurtful. This is in no way meant to talk bad about the church btw… this can happen anywhere…

To add to the pressures of motherhood came the pressure that I began to feel by other moms.

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My mom in 1982 with my big brother Kevin

Moms would throw things in other moms faces about their choices.

Underhandedly making remarks about what a mother should choose when it comes to child birth. How the epidural was for sissys and how dangerous it is for baby. I remember when I first got the epidural the judgement I felt from other moms made me feel less than. I remember feeling almost pressured into attempting a natural birth experience. With my 3rd born I finally made the decision to go through child birth without an epidural… and the first thing I yelled out after Owen entered the world was “NEXT TIME IM GETTING THE EPIDURAL!!!” haha. Yet with Reed I chose not to get it either. Not because I felt I had to prove something… but because I wanted to try a water birth experience…. We only live once after all :)

Breast feeding became an area of severe depression for me… baby after baby facing hurdles that seemed to never end. What was suppose to be so natural was so crushing for me. Moms staring me down as I filled a bottle of formula… and anonymous commentors on my blog would tell me how selfish I was for not nursing my children without even knowing why I couldn’t.

Even when I thought I was doing things right and babywore constantly, I still got stares… some maybe curious stares but often times not.

When I had my 2nd born Taite and decided to Cloth Diaper. You would not believe the remarks I got on that. I remember people thinking I was so strange… and I would often feel pressured to put my son in a disposable diaper just to avoid any looks.

When it came time for my oldest to enter school, that too even became an area of attack.

As if my choice to keep my son home to home school him was to hurt them. I remember hearing remarks from women who happened to be public school teachers, in around about ways would tell me how I was sheltering my child and he should be in public school. How my keeping him home was an insult to the hard work public school teachers put in. As if that was my intention, to insult….

scan0001-1When I turned my 1st born around in a car seat, you would have thought I stuck his head out of a car window. I cannot count the times I was rebuked for switching him early… and while I do believer it is safer to keep them rear facing until age 2 (IF YOU CAN), I do believe there is a better way to go about explaining this to a new mom… without sounding judgmental and harsh…

The photo to the right btw is myself in a carseat, not in the back seat but the front. I mean look at that thing! haha… you’d be burned at the stake today for that one. Yet it was what my parents knew then…

I often wonder if my mom back in the early 80’s got ridiculed by other moms like most of us do today.

I wonder how much less stressful motherhood was for her without social media… constant articles about what we need to do to be better moms. How we need to cook with these certain ingredients. How things should look in a mud room and how our nurseries should be pinterest perfected to make our homes complete. How our child may contract endovirus or whatever and they need x-amount of new shots in order to live… because chicken pox kills you apparently. Did our parents worry about such things? Did my mom feel pressured to get an epidural or not to? or to nurse vs. use a bottle? Did she feel less than if she didn’t have certain baby gear or feed us certain foods?

or could my parents just be… and enjoy us while in that season.

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Me just after delivery

I have been in this battle for a while now with social media… knowing the great good that can come from it yet seeing and experiencing the bad as well. It is truly a love hate relationship. I love keeping up with old friends and family… yet each and every time I log in, I leave stressed. defeated. small. lonely.

I know that for my business and my blog… staying on social media is sort of a must. Most of my clients I find via facebook… and a lot of my blog promoting happens not only through facebook but instagram and pinterest. To do my job and bring in income for my family (that in this season we need to pay our bills), I can’t abandon social media completely… even though a huge part of me wants to do so.

However.

One thing I have been trying hard to do is to cut the phone off.

Delete facebook.

To put the ipad down.

I feel a little bit like a broken record in this post… but I just cant stop thinking about it.

On a night where I feel a little weepy because of a situation I can’t yet really express fully… I can’t help but feel frustration over how we treat each other through social media... I just want to encourage all those reading to love other moms… to bite the tongue even if you feel the need to chime in (trust me, I have been there and done that…guilty…guilty…guilty…) Before you hit “enter”, remember that mom is doing her best… and loving those babies well… Sometimes keeping our thoughts to ourselves is best and wise.

… and if anyone reading my blog has ever felt judged… or less than. I am sorry. Whenever I blog those are never my intentions.

I am in the thick of motherhood just like the rest of you :) – and my decision may work for me but it isn’t gospel.

Lets love those babies and each other today.

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I’m on my moms lap, brother to the left. Dad to the right.
Abuela (Grandmother) and center my Bisabuela (great grandmother)

Sale!

Got wind of an Essential Oil sell over at Rocky Mountain Oils today aka NAN.
For those who entered the Diffuser giveaway (this ends next monday, so its not to late to sign up)… If you know you want a diffuser even if you don’t win, their diffusers are $10.00 off today! So that makes the diffuser only $35.00 (for the small one – which I prefer!).

Essential Oil SaleThey also have a bunch of oils on sale.

Peace and Quiet is one of the ones on sale. 10% off. I have this one and love it!

Also Dreamtime is on sale – perfect for calming nerves at night :)

Bergamont is on sale too. This is a staple in my oil cabinet. It is great for skin and breakouts among many other things.

Spearmint is on the list as well. This has many uses similar to Peppermint.

To check out the FULL LIST of their oils and things on sale right now CLICK HERE.
If you’d prefer to shop on the NAN website, CLICK HERE.

The sale is working both on Rocky Mountain Oils and Native American Nutritional. To those new to this company, do realize this is the same company, just different names. I know… confusing. :)

Disclosure: The above post contains affiliate links. Rocky Mountain Oils does not pay me to post these sales. I just love to give those who read my blog a heads up before things sell out ;-) – do join the Rocky Mountain Oil newsletter to catch wind of these sales in case I don’t blog about them though. They email them out every so often.

Satisfied – Adoption?

Been a busy few weeks… with work, home school, house keeping… and just life with four dudes. We also had a meeting last weekend with The Hope Box. Those who follow me on instagram will know what I am talking about.

Yes… we are in the process of adopting. It will be a long process… but one we look so forward to. Travis and I have never really had trouble having our own children. I seem to get pregnant without much effort. While I have suffered a miscarriage at 11 weeks… and also tried for over a year to get pregnant with Taite. I still do not know personally the hard struggle of infertility. I have seen friends though struggle with this and I see how it hurts… and crushes. I cannot imagine. The Lord has given me 4 amazing boys… and I love each of them so much. My last two pregnancies were a bit hard on me physically and mentally. I battled depression after my 4th, so much so that I had to be medicated. I was put on bed rest with him as well…Reed was high risk on top of things. I had at one point to go in for 2 ultrasounds A WEEK with him. That in and of itself caused major anxiety for me. I was so scared the ultrasound machine was damaging his brain or something haha… it was so stressful having my Doc. tell me how Reed was at risk for heart defects and kidney disease…. as well as preterm delivery. I remember that whole pregnancy feeling so heavy and tense… it made it very hard to enjoy. I am thankful despite what “risk” Reed faced, he was born completely healthy and full term.

This is a total tangent unrelated to adoption below… so bear with me. …
I have often wondered “Am I less spiritual?” I remember in seminary some women (esp Pastors wives sadly…) made you feel almost less than if you did not allow God to choose how many children you had. In other words to use any form of birth control would mean I didn’t think children were a blessing, because I would essential use something to try and “stop” that blessing. I remember feeling almost guilted into the “no birth control” way of life… and while I believed FIRMLY in using a birth control that will not cause abortion. (yes some birth control can… do research it…) I really believe God also commands us to be wise… and no where in the bible does it tell us to have as many children as physically possible (although if someone wants to do this, more power to them and large families do rock)… I know for myself personally, if I did this and had children every year 1/2, I would loose my mind. Just being honest… and yes I do understand God gives us mothers who may have children fast and close together grace and the power to do it, as hard as it may get… but that still does not mean I was made to have child after child with no moments of rest. Children are a blessing… that is a given and I would never say otherwise… but for each person its different and finding a happy medium on this topic to me is key. While some may be built to birth 15 babies others are not. Will I ever be pregnant again… maybe :) I do doubt I will have 4 more naturally. Here btw is a good read that has scripture in regards to birth control and what the bible says (for those interested).

They've been watching this tow truck for like a half hour! So funny. It's better than TV. #boymomEarly on when Reed was tiny, despite my body saying no to more kids… my heart did not feel our family was complete just yet (weird I am sure for some to imagine, I mean four kids is a lot right?). The idea of adoption has been something in the back of my mind since I was a teen. I visited an orphanage in the Dominican Republic and those babies and children just melted my heart. I remember holding a 1 year old little girl on that trip who just melted in my arms. She was precious.

I could write for paragraphs on this topic :) – but in short. We want to adopt. Travis and I both.

As crazy as our family (and others) may think we are to add more to our plate… we have so much to give… and I just cant imagine not having more children.

Our boys have already begun talking about adding another baby. While Caleb (our oldest) was hesitant (because he didn’t want to share a bedroom haha)… he has now started saying things like “If we adopt a girl, she sure will be tough!” and “Owen will probably teach her all sorts of boy things.” Those small things my boys say about the thought of another baby bless me.

We have enjoyed being able to explain to them why we’d adopt, instead of having a baby grow in mommys tummy. Its opened up a lot of opts. to talk to our boys about Christ and grace and love.

So yes, super super excited about this! While it may not happen until the fall (before we get a baby), it is a process we look forward to sharing here and with others we meet.

We have started a GoFund Page but plan to hold off on raising funding just yet. We have some things to work out in regards to a possible move… and with that possible move (its not a given just yet), we may have to put off our home study until the summer. The Hope Box does not launch until summer or early fall any way, so this should still be fine timing wise. We know financially we cannot provide the money due for what is about to come with adopting… but we know God will provide every penny. I plan to organize some fundraising soon, once we have things lined up with our home study and so forth (probably around July).

… and to answer everyones question. Will we ask for a girl. :) We did request a girl but we also told the agency we wouldn’t decline a boy either. We just preferred a girl if possible. I know the Lord has lots of valuable lessons ahead for me if He ever sees fit to give me a daughter. :D

Also for those curious where the babies come from through The Hope Box. They got their idea of this ministry through the story called The Drop Box in Korea. Here is a trailer showing the basic concept. So the babies that will come to the Hope Box will be abandoned babies. The baby that we get, may come with lots of questions. We may not know any history on the baby. The Hope Box will have a medical team though that will take care of initial medical concerns. So we will know “some” information about the baby. Blood type, any medical concerns… and if that baby comes in and has drugs in his/her system, they take care of the detoxing process. So so sad to think a baby would need to go through detox! I will be to totally honest, parts of that scare me to death… I know we have to trust God with their story too… and He has the perfect baby out there for us. To those who live in GA and want to adopt through the Hope Box, they are accepting applications now, so do check out their website. The video will bring tears to your eyes. Not only thinking about the mothers who gave up their babies… for whatever reason… but all those babies who are so special and need a home.

So yes. Busy weeks!

Also this amazing warm weather in GA has kept us outside a lot… so I have neglected some blogging duties :)

Any one who has adopted or is in the process, do share any info and advice. I love learning and think its great to hear other families who have been through this process, do chime in with your experiences.

Enjoy the photos below. All from my instagram.

#familymovienight #boymom

Trader Joes shopping is Reeds Fav :)

Excited #traderjoes shopper tonight.

Our Homeschool recliner is often filled with Toby, the laziest most cuddly cat.

#homeschool buddy. #schoolpet

A great piece of scripture to remind ourselves of daily.

There are days when I struggle to find joy. I think most moms of little ones can relate. Never because we do not love our children or do not consider it a joy to be their mother. The constant pulling and need to be needed can make you weary. Seeking Chris

My boys latest craze. Super Nintendo playing Secret of Mana (RPG game) – I wont lie, I play too.

Got this as a Christmas gift back when I was 8- when we celebrated Christmas in #panamacitypanama - my boys play it now. This thing is so fun. Old school for sure :) #snes #supernintendo ????

Love my new HCSB bible. Amazing study bible!

Love these #compositionbooks for writing scripture and thoughts. Found this adorable print one at #dollartree and love it! They have great fine point pins too. I'm loving my new bible too. It's been a great asset to studying more indepth. Great commentary

Good form Reed. Good Form :)

#downdog diaper style. #boymom

A clean nursery. For once.

Cleaned Reeds tiny nursery this morning.  Its small and nothing fancy but cozy. #smallnursery pretty nuch everything you see here was given to us too. ????

A pile of mulch brings much joy.

Enjoying the weather today ???? #boymom

Essential Oil Diffuser Giveaway

Essential Oil ShelfWith spring upon us nothing sounds better to me than to open my windows and let in some fresh air. With spring also comes gloomy days with showers and often times bugs as we let loose on the play grounds and enjoy the weather. As you can see from all the oils to the right, I have built quiet a collection over this last year. My collection could not be complete though without a great Essential Oil Diffuser.

Those oils are a major part of our family routine now. We use them daily and I am thankful for them. ::knock on wood:: We have been able to go our entire FALL and Winter without a single cold. Not one fever. Not one stomach bug. Nothing. Such a blessing. Especially seeing as the winter before that we battled Rotavirus among other bugs, week after week. While oils are not a guarantee at warding off all bugs, I firmly believe they helped keep our family well this winter.

One way that I use them the most though is through our diffuser. I thought I would compile a little list below with some diffuser blends/scents I use to help with certain ailments/issues. I thought it be helpful to just make it printable/pinable. (You can save the image below – printable as an 8×11 in regular printer. Be sure to click it so you can download it full size. Also for those curious the amount of drops listed below is for the the amount of water you’d use in the SMALLER diffuser Rocky Mountain Oil sells. Not the larger one.)

Printable List of Essential Oils you will love to diffuse

Rocky Mountain Oils is being amazing as usual and allowing me to giveaway some goodies. Yay! :) Below will be a widget that you can fill out to enter. There are multiple ways to enter. The more things you complete the better your chances to win.

With this giveaway I am giving away one of the smaller Cloud Diffusers that RMO sells. It btw is my favorite. I love this little diffuser. It works great and has some great features.

Essential Oil Diffuser List

I am also giving away one of my favorite oils to diffuse. Its a blend that RMO sells called Calming. I absolutely LOVE IT!! It has been my go to the last month or so and I can’t get enough of it.

I battle anxiety often and this oil helps level that out so well. I apply it to my neck, feet and chest on days im especially anxious… and if that doesn’t cut it, I diffuse it beside me while I work or read. Helps so much. Smells wonderful too. My kids as well love this oil. My oldest who is 10 often ask for me to put it in his diffuser at night. He said it helps calm him and he sleeps better.

Best of luck to all those who enter! Super excited to share this awesome oil with one of my readers. Whoever wins is going to love it!

Dreawood and RMO Diffuser Giveaway

*For those who do not win, the Rocky Mountain Oil Diffusers will be on sale this week as well as a number of great essential oils. Be sure you sign up for their newsletter so you don’t miss any of their great sales

*The above post contains affiliate links. This in no way changes my opinion on this great company. I purchase all my oils with my own money.

Are these yours?!

I saw this comment on facebook today by a comedian and had to share. My friend (& blogger) Brandy who has 9 boys shared the remark… Yes 9 boys :)

Comedian Jim Gaffigan has 5 children; here’s how he answers the “Why so many?!” question:

“Well, why not? I guess the reasons against having more children always seem uninspiring and superficial. What exactly am I missing out on? Money? A few more hours of sleep? A more peaceful meal? More hair? These are nothing compared to what I get from these five monsters who rule my life. I believe each of my five children has made me a better man. So I figure I only need another thirty-four kids to be a pretty decent guy.”

If you haven’t watched Jim’s comedy acts on Netflix you should. Im not really into comedians but his acts are funny :) – fairly family friendly… but some of them can have a word or two. Just as a warning for small listening ears.

Big Families RockThe other day I went on a walk with my boys. Travis was at work and Reed was protesting his nap. Probably had something to do with the fact he slept in til 10am… but non the less we went on a walk in the 72F beautiful Georgia weather… As I walked down our neighborhood roads… and my older 3 boys zipped pass me on their bikes. A man in his car stopped by me as he drove passed my boys cautiously (thank you btw for the drives who do slow down)… and he said “FOUR?!” I smile as I pushed my 2 year old in the jogger… “Yup… 4 boys.” He then asked “Are these yours!?” – as if I was their nanny? yes… all four are mine. He then said “Are you done yet?” in a joking tone but none the less it is a bit offensive time after time. I don’t know this man personally and he very well could be a fan of large families and meant nothing by his remarks… his thoughts on our amount of children though reflect something I see often….

Why is it that our society looks at larger families with eyes of misunderstanding and doubt. They wonder if its worth it. If we made a mistake. Why anyone in their right mind would have more than the perfect number of 2… and how anyone could possibly want to chase children all day.

In these moments I laugh it off and try to stay as kind as I can… but there are moments when this happens that I want to be honest with the individual and share with them my real thoughts on large families.

Like Jim Gaffigan mentioned in his remark.

We may not get as much sleep.

We may not have as much money.

It may not be the most peaceful meal some evenings.

… and yes you may find less hair or more grays on your head…

but wow… look at the blessing surrounding you!!

There is not a day that passes where I regret having four children… and honestly the older I get the more I wouldn’t mind a few more.

Life can be hard in the midst of babies and toddlers… the poo accidents and the meltdowns… during weeks where sickness plagues not one but all four of your children… and in the moments when you want just a moment of peace and no responsibility… No mother of many will ever say it was easy… but we proudly admit they blessed beyond words.

So cheers to large families… Next time you see a mom with many little ones. Congratulate her on her beautiful family and tell her she is blessed.

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Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!

– Psalm 127:3-5