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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Day in the Life Of... ME!

My turn.  A day in the Life of...

Well, let me start by telling you my day...it is never how I pictured it the night before.

You see, This would be my 'ideal day' as a Stay-at-Home Mom.

6:00 am - Wake up to a quiet house, make a cup of hot coffee, throw in a load of laundry, spend time in prayer and the Word.

6:45 am - Kids wake up.  Get them a banana, cereal, and milk. Read a devotional together, pray, read books.

7:30 am - Kids quietly play while I make breakfast and get completely ready with no interruptions.

Okay...are you rolling your eyes yet?

Yeah..its probably not worth it for me to continue down that road as we all know that is SO not how our days begin or carry on as Stay-at-Home Moms.

No..I'll be completely real..as I always try to be.

Here was a typical Tuesday at the home of the Vandersluis'.  (Feel free to check out my Instagram Stories for 'A Day in the Life of' in pictures!)

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3:00 am - 19 month old wakes up for bottle.  (HOW do I wean a toddler off of a night time bottle!?)

6:15 am - 3 year old walks into bedroom, Hubby calls her over and says 'Shh...' So I can get a few more minutes in. (SWOON).

6:30 am - Hubby takes toddler to living room, turns on Dora, grabs stuff for work, comes in for a smooch while I'm lazily opening my eyes still in bed. (Okay..this sounds entirely lazy. But truth is...the night before I had 2 hrs of sleep and my 19 month old wakes up at 5 am EVERY OTHER MORNING. So I am truly soaking in the sleeping in this morning).  I read a quick First 5 Devos, check my emails until...

6:45 am - 19 month old cries from crib and I finally get my butt out of bed, pick her up, go to the living room, and get in some early morning cuddles with my two babies.

7:00 am - TV is off, coffee is being made, and girls are picking books to read for our regular morning routine of devotional, prayer, and books.  Truth is, we skipped the devotional this morning, went straight to prayer and read books. I'm really working on putting the devotional part into our routine, as I think it would be SO wonderful to start our day with God's truths.



7:30 am - Breakfast is made by me (Frozen homemade carrot pancakes, toasted), and breakfast is eaten by all.  No fights on that this morning which is definitely a mom win!


8:30 am - (Because breakfast always takes an hour) Independent playtime while I get ready.  Just kidding...Stand and watch Mommy, bug her as much as possible, and fight over everything, while she gets ready.

9:00 am - Get girls ready for the day, playtime with the girls, break up all the fights and stop all the screaming.

9:50 am - Get out the door, get a Timmies coffee, and go to Library for Story Time.  Story Time which SHOULD have been me sitting and watching my girls listen to the stories and do the actions but instead was me with both girls on my lap saying 'NO!' every time I asked them to go sit down on the carpet to join in.  Well, at least we tried.

(This is as close as Emmy would get.)

11:30 am - Home for lunch...(Which no one ate.)

12:00 pm - After a few tantrums, many excuses, multiple books, and many 'MOOMM, MOOOMM' 's being screamed from bedrooms...nap time.  (Which sometimes means audio books or quiet time reading for our 3 year old, but today was definitely a nap day.)

12:30 pm - Time.  Time to do devotions, clean, laundry, eat, write, ... ETC.  Today was laundry and meal plan and sit. And then somehow it was already 1:30 and nap time was over.  Sigh.

1:30 pm - 3 year old wakes up, asks for show so Dora goes on once again, we have a snack and then read all the books from the library.



2:45 pm - 19 month old wakes up, bottle, we get ready and head out for groceries..which involves LOTS of snacks, about 10 reminders that we are staying in the cart today, and about 15 minutes to get socks, shoes, and coats on.

3:45 pm - Home from a surprisingly uneventful trip at the grocery store with only one freak out by the 19 month old.  (Who am I kidding...and one from me because what grocery store does NOT sell Chorizo Sausage!?).



4:00 pm - After groceries are put away and kids are undressed from being outside, I decide why not? Lets put all those winter clothes back on and go to the park!  It was worth it though, we saw our first outdoor Christmas lights :).

5:00 pm - Home from park, make smoothies with the girls (because how else can I get enough veggies and fruits in them!?) and time for major clean up, dinner thrown into the oven (a casserole I made earlier and defrosted today) and welcoming our man home!



6:00 pm - Dinner...which involves Hubby and I trying everything to coax 19 month old to eat, and giving 3 year old many threats and warnings to eat.  (Do I cook THAT bad!?)

6:20 pm - Giving up on dinner, have kids run around the house, and call them to come back to take bites of dinner in between.  Hey, it may be unconventional and against rule books but it works for getting a few bites into them so I'm taking it.

6:30 pm - Hubby takes kids to a different grocery store to get that dang Chorizo Sausage (Seriously, Chili is just the BEST with it.) and I get a few minutes of quiet time to finish dishes and make lunch for hubby for tomorrow while I listen to Risen Motherhood podcast.

7:00 pm - Baths. Today? No complaints, no crying, and no whining.  I am NOT taking that for granted!

7:30 pm - All 4 of us cozy on 3 year old's bed for some book time, Bible time, prayer time, and song time.  Everyone listened, answered our questions with ease, prayed nicely, and sang along. Just kidding. There were about 20 interruptions, 3 year old knew none of the Bible story from yesterday, and Hubby made a joke out of the songs. C'est La Vie.



7:40 pm - 19 month old gets a bottle (or we try to give it to her, she doesn't take it), 3 year old reads books quietly in  bed, and Hubby is out for the evening to a friend's.  This RARELY happens so I am soaking it in and using the quiet for some good writing time, reading time, Bible time (since I didn't get to it earlier), and maybe show watching time.

7:45 pm - 'Moooommmyyy' from 3 year old's bedroom.  She wants water.

7:50 pm - 'Mooooommmyyy' from 3 year old's bedroom. She wants to read one more book.

7:55 pm - 'Moooommmyyyy' from 19 month old's bedroom.  She NOW decides she wants milk. She takes 2 oz.

8:00 pm - 'Moooommmyyyy' from 19 month old's bedroom.  She decides she wants more milk. She takes 2 more oz.

8:05 pm - 'Mooommmyyy' from 3 year old's bedroom.  She's done reading and wants to be tucked in.

And...Silence.

Phew. What a day.

And that's a Tuesday.

Truth is... As I was recording this, taking the pictures, thinking about our schedule and routine I realized how simple it really is, how mundane it can sound, and yet how much I truly love this life.  Yes, the days are tiring.  Yes, the days are long.  Yes the crying, the screaming, the fighting, the demands, the whines...all of it, it can be a lot.  But my time with my girls is precious despite all that.  Recording all this truly brought my heart into a state of gratitude for this life God has blessed me with.  It's chaotic, it's busy (yet somehow still feels like I get barely anything done), it's exhausting, but it's full. And I truly am happy to start all over again tomorrow.







Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Dear Mama, You Are Not a Failure




Dear Mama,

Your baby was diagnosed.
Failure to thrive.
Failure.

Oh mama. Please don't misunderstand this.

This is not a diagnosis for you. The 'failure' is not meant for you or your worth or your mama skills or all you are trying to do for your baby.

The 'failure' is just for thriving. Just for eating. And you know what? After coming out of a warm, mamas womb, being fed by a cord - eating isn't easy.

And mama. That's not you.

I know. I know you tried or are trying to nurse. I know you did or are pumping day and night. I know you are bottle feeding and/or tube feeding trying to get every calorie in that you possibly can. I know you are waking up all hours of the night. I know you are counting each and every oz going into your baby. I know you are stressing about doctors appointments and weight checks and test results. I know.

I've been there mama.

But please my dear mama. You are not a failure.

You are not a failure because your baby didn't want to latch.
You are not a failure because your Milk supply just wasn't enough.
You are not a failure because your baby was too weak to suck.
You are not a failure because your baby liked the bottle better.
You are not a failure because your baby needed a tube to be fed.
You are not a failure because your baby lost more weight then they should have.
You are not a failure because you had to feed your baby in a way you did not plan, whether bottle or tube.
You are not a failure.

Please dear Mama, no matter what. Don't forget that.

You are the perfect mama for your baby. And your tiny baby - the tiniest of all of them - he/she needs you. YOU. And all that you have and are doing for your tiny baby? It's enough.

You, dear mama, are not a failure.



Wednesday, November 1, 2017

A Day in the Life of... Lovely Little Lives

It is time for another 'Day in the Life of' post and today we have Heather Christensen joining us from her blog Lovely Little Lives .  
Here is a little bit about Hannah:  Hannah Christensen is a Catholic wife and mom, sipping cups of coffee between loads of laundry and organizational projects. Most days you can find her working from a home office with curly-haired children serenading her with Disney Princess songs. Her favorite days are ones where she is relaxing with her best friend and husband. She blogs about faith, marriage, homemaking and motherhood at lovelylittlelives.com. You can join her in her Midnight Moms Facebook group, a place for moms to fin moments of encouragement through connection. 
I am excited to have Hannah up here today as she talks about living her every day as a work at home mom.  It is truly inspiring to see how she gets done all that she needs to for both her work life and home life!  
Read on and then be sure to check her out and give her a 'like' at her Facebook page: Lovely Little Lives

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I am a wife and a mom. That is my primary God-given role but I'm also many other things. I am a homemaker, a blogger, an organizer and a planner, a scrapbook fanatic, and a work at home medical biller. What all that means together is that I'm a very busy woman with a lot of daily commitments and responsibilities.



I have two living children, both girls, who are currently 5 and 3. We lost a baby last year to an ectopic pregnancy and we are expecting another baby girl in just a few short weeks. Then my current daily schedule will really go out the window! But for now, this is what a typical day looks like for me more or less.



I'm not a morning person and as of yet, I don't have to be on the early school schedule (although that will change next year when my oldest starts kindergarten). But for now, I tend to sleep until 8 am or later (depending on when my kids come wake me up, clamoring for cereal). Sometimes they are up at 7:30 and sometimes they sleep until almost 9 so it really just seems to depend on the day.
I usually stumble into the kitchen, half awake, to pour them their cereal or to start a show for them. We have a rule that they can each choose one short show to watch in the morning, usually either something they found at the library or a YouTube Kids show. They like to watch Dora the Explorer, Barbie movies or anything with Disney princesses. While they are eating breakfast, I make coffee and say my morning prayers.
Often my husband has already made coffee for me and emptied the dishwasher before he goes to work. He gets up an hour or two earlier than I and he is usually already gone for the day when I roll out of bed. I always appreciate the days he has jumpstarted the coffee and kitchen chores for me.
Coffee is an essential part of my morning. I take a full mug of it with me as I make the bed, get dressed and then head down to my basement office. Like I said, I work from home as a medical biller and I also blog on the side.
I have a computer desk in our downstairs office right next to my craft table where you can find me scrapbooking our lives on my spare Saturdays. My desk is right next to a big window which is a blessing so I don't feel quite so cooped up inside all day. It also gives me a great view of the backyard and the swing set so I can keep an eye on the kids when they go outside.
I usually try to get some work in right away in the morning while the kids are occupied with their show although sometimes I admit, I waste the beginning of my day on social media.
On good days, I get a few hours of work in before I have to take my daughter to preschool at noon or before the kids get too rowdy for me to focus.
As a medical biller I send claims, make calls to insurance about claim denials, enter insurance payments and send patient billing statements. I strive to get about 10 to 15 hours a work in a week.
I am also working on my blog almost daily, either updating graphics, writing new posts, designing printables, researching new strategies, promoting myself on social media, or interacting in Facebook blogging groups.
As a creative writing major in college, I have found blogging to be a wonderful creative outlet for me as well as a way to make a little side income.
Since I have two energetic children at home, working at home and feeling productive can be a huge challenge and some days are certainly harder than others. This year is the first year of preschool for my oldest and even though it is only a few hours three days a week , it still has added a time crunch to my weekly routine.
I try to get tasks done before, during and after school time. I drop my five year old off at preschool after lunch, come home for an hour and a half with my three year old and then go back to pick her up. Sometimes I use that preschool time to run errands and sometimes, I just come home and work as fast as I can.
Along with the medical billing and blogging there is of course, the endless round of housework. The daily dishes, meal making and laundry, the clutter tidy up sessions as well the periodic sweeping of floors and wiping off counters. I do weekly chores too because I just can't stand a mess. I dust and vacuum in the living room and bedrooms, clean bathrooms and wipe down windows regularly.
It's difficult sometimes to find joy in the tedious household tasks so I've written a few reflections on finding the loveliness in homemaking to remind me about the poetic beauty in my daily responsibilities.
Between 5 and 6 pm, I hardly ever feel like I'm caught up for the day but I usually quit what I'm doing anyway to start dinner and straighten up the house before my husband gets home. I've started using a meal planning strategy this year and have grown to love and depend on it for my dinner making sanity.
After Daddy arrives home, we have a family dinner followed by kitchen clean up. Then we are usually relaxing as a family or catching up on more computer work while the kids play. Once we get the kids to bed between 8:30 and 9 pm, my husband and I have time to pray together, talk or watch a Netflix show before bed around 10:30 to 11pm.
It's not a glamorous life but it is a lovely little life as my blog name lovelylittlelives.com suggest. My blog tagline is "catching glimmers of loveliness in daily family life" and that is exactly what I strive to do every day as a mom and homemaker.
Whether it is listening to my daughters sing by my desk, or decorating their princess themed bedroom, or that glorious feeling of checking off tasks on my to do list, or sitting in the quiet glow of lamplight, reading a favorite book with my husband by my side, I try to see every moment as a little gift from God . It's not always easy or even attainable for me in hard moments, but there is always the opportunity to see life with the lens of joy. 



Wednesday, October 25, 2017

A Day in the Life Of...From Blacktop to Dirt Road

Another week, another 'Day in the Life of'. Welcome back! I am so excited this week to have Lauren who writes at From Blacktop to Dirt Road joining us.

I have been following Lauren's blog for a couple years now and it is truly an honour to have her writing for A Beautiful Alarm. Her writing is incredibly relatable, deep in the every day true moments of Motherhood, and flowing with encouragement. Specifically she blogs about farm life for a stay-at-home mom with 3 littles, being in the trenches of Postpartum Depression, and more about family and marriage life. She does not hold back and keeps things as real as they can be.

You can find her writing on her Facebook page and follow along with her every day life at her Instagram account.

I will let Lauren tell you more about her self and her journey... read on!


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Hey, hey mama friends! My name is Lauren Eberspacher and I am the author of the blog From Blacktop to Dirt Road, where I blog about all things faith, farm, and old-fashioned homemaking. Growing up in the suburbs of Kansas City, I found myself in love with a farm boy from Nebraska, which took me from the blacktop of the city to the dirt road of our grain farm. I'm a stay-at-home mom to my three small children, Nora (5), Andi (3), and Deacon (9 months) and 'learn-in-progress' farm wife to my bearded farmer, Eric. We are in the middle of harvest right now, so I'm going to share with you about what a typical "harvest day" looks like for us, along with the everyday hurdles that I face while I battle postpartum depression. PPD is such a silent disease, but seeing how it affects everyday life is something that I would love to shed light on today. So let's go!




Our middle child is our early riser... she is up at 6 am every morning ready to watch Mickey Mouse and eat her cereal. Last night, both my husband and I were up late working, so we did what any good parent would do...
We got Andi her cereal, turned on Mickey Mouse, and crawled back into our beds. Honestly, I swore I would never be "that" parent, and yet here I am. It's a glorious thing when a bowl of cereal and a cartoon can buy you an extra 45 minutes of sleep. At 6:45, I hear the coos of my little guy through the monitor. 6 months ago, I would have rolled over and pulled the covers up over my head, at hearing his tiny voice, begging my husband to go and get him. But today is different. Today I still have to tell myself to get out of bed, but I do it with hope. For someone with postpartum depression, this can be the hardest part of the day. And this morning I was grateful that it was easier than yesterday. Progress, ya'll... Progress. After walking into the bathroom and taking my Lexapro, I walked into Deacon's room and he smiles at me. Every morning I sing "Here Comes The Sun" to him as I pull him out of his crib and change his diaper. I've chosen a special song for each of my kids, and this is his. It has so much meaning to me. By 7:30, everyone in the house is up and the day has officially gotten crazy! All three kids have had breakfast, my husband grabs his dusty ball cap, I pour him a thermos of coffee and give him a kiss as he walks out the door to his farm truck. This is another hard moment for the mama with PPD - when I'm left alone. Today I have to slow down my breathing as I see him drive away. Today was going to be a busy day, and knowing I was going to be on my own until after midnight seemed daunting. But I remind myself that I was created for this day - to be my baby's mama, to be his helper, and to be a woman who chooses to be grounded in His Truth. "God did not give me a spirit of timidity," I remind myself as his truck disappears over the hill. "He gave me one of power, and love, and self-discipline. I will be who I need to be in Him today." Another small battle for this PPD mama won. It's 8 am now and I already need to start on lunch. I get my water boiling on the stove, get the kids dressed for the day, and get to work. Veggies to chop, sweet tea to make, and dessert to start on. Today the guys are harvesting the bean fields around our house, so instead of bringing an entire meal out to the field in my van, they are going to come in for lunch. And today, that is such a blessing! On the menu for today is cheesy corn chowder, chopped salad, homemade bread, and brownies. My girls always sit up on the kitchen counter tops while I cook, so I'm never lacking in company. The baby plays at my feet with spatulas and bowls and constantly wants to be picked up so he can see what's going on. My goal is to have lunch ready by 11:45, so I work intermittently though the morning to get it done. In between stirring my soup and baking bread, we pretend we are camping, put together puzzles, nurse the baby, and have snack time. Our harvest mornings might seem chaotic from the outside looking in, but taking things one step at a time is key for me. One of the things that I've learned in motherhood, and especially since having PPD, I can't have too many expectations. Spills happen, poopy diaper blowouts will happen at the most inconvenient times, and anxiety needs to be met with grace. This morning I had to phone my husband after an overwhelming moment, having him tell me to breath, knowing that I could handle the situation at hand. I got off the phone with him and retreated to my laundry room; sitting on the floor I asked the Lord to calm my heart and redirect my mind. I have a small bowl of chocolate on my laundry room counter top and it always meets me in my most anxious moments. One Hershey's Kiss and a few sips of coffee later, I was ready to get back to my morning. A few months ago, you would have found me on that laundry room floor in tears, unable to go back out and take care of my kids. But today, I have a strategy, and my strategy always begins with prayer - even when I don't feel like it. Prayer has been a way to significantly calm my anxious heart, as has reciting scripture and eating a piece of chocolate. These may seem like easy things for the normal mama to do, but for someone with PPD, making them happen can be hard. Yes, today I had to choose, but it was easier today than it was 6 months ago. Thank you Jesus! It's noon and the guys come in for lunch, there are 4 of them plus my three kids and myself, so it's a full table! We talk about the field they are on and make a game plan for the afternoon; which field they will be on, if I need to help them move machinery, etc. Another cup of coffee poured, another kiss from my farmer and they are out the door. The kids help me clean up lunch, I put the baby down for his long afternoon nap, and I sit down at the computer to do a little bit of work. The kids are playing in the basement while I work for about an hour. Writing has been unbelievably therapeutic for me as I have walked this road of PPD, and it's turned into an incredible way to encourage other women going through the same thing. At 2:45 the girls come upstairs and are ready for a snack, apples and peanut butter. We play through the rest of the afternoon, and start to get Eric's dinner ready at about 5pm. Tonight I make him a deli sandwich, throw in an apple and some chips and a few protein balls and brew him another pot of coffee. It's windy today, so they will be harvesting beans well into the night. Last week they were able to go until 2am, so I'm suspecting tonight will be the same. Late nights alone are hard for this mama. I miss my husband and so do the kids. He works so hard for us and I'm so grateful. We walk out to the field and deliver his dinner at 6pm, then come back in for baths. This is when my anxiety and frustrations really start to ramp up. It's the end of the day, - I'm tired, the kids are wired, and I'm ready for the day to be done.... to be alone for a few minutes. But this is when I cling to my scripture the most. "Be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy." Again, the practice of reciting scripture saves my PPD mama heart. Another deep breath, another few verses, and my mind shifts. It's now 8 pm, and this is the part of the night where I can either cry or laugh...and I've gotten to the point where I've chosen to laugh (most of the time!). “OK guys, time for bed!” My girls run down the hallway towards their rooms. After tucking each of them in and giving them kisses, I walk out into the hallway and stand in between their bedrooms, and begin to say our bedtime prayers. As I stand there and nurse the baby, the girls start calling out song requests. I sway back and forth in the hallway until that baby falls asleep and the girls stop calling out for me. I look down and the baby is asleep. Oh my goodness, I did it!! They are all asleep!!! I lay my little guy down and walk out onto the front porch. I can hear the hum of the combine over the hill and I say a prayer of thanks and safety for my husband. I feel my anxiety start to rev up, but I pause to take a deep breath. The air right now is crisp and cool and smells like crunchy Fall leaves. It's a beautiful way to end my day and just one of the subtle ways that God romances my heart during this busy season. It's 9 pm and I end my evening on the couch, returning emails, blogging, and updating all of my social media accounts. I absolutely LOVE to write and connect with my readers, so this is a really special time of the day for me. I continue to be blown away at the different opportunities and platforms that God has allowed me to have through my little corner of the internet. It is truly a gift to be able to encourage other women in their walks with the Lord and provide them with parenting humor along the way. Alas, it's 1 am and I'm gently being nudged by my husband. He is in from the field and I've fallen asleep on the couch once again. We crawl into bed and snuggle in close - it's the best part of my day, being close to this man. And tomorrow I get to wake up and live this crazy farm life with him, and PPD, all over again.



Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A Day in the Life of... Melissa Best

Another Day in the Life of post today!  Want to know why I love these?  We get to see how different our lives as moms can be, how much we can relate to another mom going through similar struggles and stages, and how fun it is to see the daily lives of others.  I desire to bring community among moms, a job which can often feel lonely and overwhelming.  Saying that, if you read a 'Day in the Life of' post from one of the writers joining us here that inspires you, encourages you, or lifts you up - please reach out to them!  They will love it, you will love it...it will be worth it!

Today we have Melissa Best joining us!  Mel is from my own city of Hamilton.  We met in University and recently reconnected because of that common factor...kids.  She is incredibly open, honest, and loving - which you can see especially from her Instagram account found at A Glass of Melk.


Melissa is one of many creative talents!  She shares beautiful images of her life and her family on her Instagram account, she blogs at A Glass of Melk, and she creates embroidered art and more, which you can find at Little Nest Embroidery.  Check her out!


And now for her typical day...


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Hello friends! My name is Melissa Best and I'm honoured to share with you today a window into what a random day in my life looks like. I live in Hamilton, Ontario with my husband Dan, our 2.5 year old Theodore, and am 31 weeks pregnant with our rainbow baby who we've already named Joanie. I would describe myself as thrifty, creative, and social, and have been on a mission since getting pregnant with Theodore to slow down, simplify, and try to do things with intention to build deep relationships with one another in our home, and with friends and family around us. I am a birth and postpartum doula which makes my schedule kind of random, and I don't work typical hours.



I blog at www.aglassofmelk,weekly.com, and my main social media platform would be through Instagram @aglassofmelk


7 am we wake to the sound of Theodore in his room shouting with excitement"the sun, it's awake! The sun is awake!" (he's referencing our new grow clock that tells him when its okay to get out of bed) My husband Dan gets up and takes him downstairs to play and they have breakfast together while I sleep for another hour.





8 am I get up and join the boys downstairs, and spend some quality time together before Dan heads to work at 8:30.

We share a car, so if we plan in advance, he will bus to work so I can have the car to do errands or see friends in the morning. In my "pre-mom" life, I loved going out for coffee at coffee shops, so this is something I've tried to hold onto with friends, except we host each other in our houses with homemade coffee instead. With toddlers in tow, I find our visits to be much more engaging when there is either toys for the kids to play with or cough cough Paw Patrol on TV.




By 11:30 I try to get home, and have Theodore help me make something for lunch. He loves helping in the kitchen, and usually lunch is something simple like grilled cheese and soup, or macaroni. I try to bake with him once a week, or make something like homemade applesauce as these are some of my favourite memories from my childhood. We always make a bigger mess of the kitchen and flour ends up everywhere but the payoff is worth it.

12:30 we head upstairs to his room, read some books together, and I stay to cuddle for a few minutes and rub his back before I leave. Then, depending on how I'm feeling, since this pregnancy, I try to nap when he naps, or on alternating days, I do some of my own nesting activities like sewing baby clothes or being creative somehow. I always find it tough to choose between a)housework b)creative nesting c)doula work or d)napping. I've learned to always prioritize naps, and if I'm not feeling like I need one, then I jump into the other things!





3:00 Theodore wakes up again with the excitement of the sun coming up, and we have 2 hours before Dan comes home for dinner. You'd think in those 2 hours we'd be productive and it would be the perfect time to get a casserole in the oven, but I usually don't think about what's for dinner until about 4:45. Meal planning is NOT my strong suit, and at 4:45 I'm often struggling to either defrost a hunk of meat from the freezer or look at the random assortment of leftovers in the fridge and wonder about what they'd taste like scrambled together in the frying pan.

5:00 we pray and Theodore lists off the things he's thankful for, and we eat our dinner scramble.

After dinner if the weather is nice we go for a walk around the Bayfront by our house, or play a game together before Theodore goes to bed at 7:30. Dan and I take turns putting him to bed, and the other starts cleanup of the main floor that looks like a tornado hit it at this point.





By 8:30 the house is clean, and we will usually sit down to read a book together for half an hour before turning on a show. We swap between parenting books, marriage books, and devotional books. This is not my strong suit either, it is Dan who has a love for reading and he usually initiates this.

9:00 We are ready for our show, and usually snack on either "treat cereal" like Corn Pops or Cinnamon Toast Crunch, or Hummus with Tortilla chips. Every once in awhile through this pregnancy I basically feel ready for another meal around bedtime, so I'll make a full out pan of nachos for myself, or grilled cheese, etc etc.

And then, 10:00 bedtime!!

And then around 4:00 am I wake up from pregnancy insomnia, and I just lie in the bed for awhile trying to convince my body it's time to sleep. I end up coming downstairs for another snack, and reading, browsing through Instagram, or online shopping (most of my Etsy purchases happen at this time of the morning).

So that's a random day in my life. Thanks for reading along, feel free to pop by my social media channels and introduce yourself!




Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A Day in the Life of... The Glorious Mundane

Today for 'A Day in the Life of' we have Suzanne from The Glorious Mundane joining us!  I just love the name and the meaning behind Suzanne's blog - our mundane, regular tasks as Moms can feel just so... dull.  But Suzanne reminds us that they are truly wonderful and in her words, glorious, because of our God who makes ALL things glorious!  Even (or especially) in the every day life of motherhood.

Be sure to check out her blog and her facebook page for some sincere every day encouragement for us mamas. 

And now?  Read & look ahead to see her typical day displayed in pictures.

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Hello! I'm Suzanne! I'm a Christian, a LEO (law enforcement officer) wife, a Mom and a foster Mom. I love to hang out with my family, live frugally, go for a run, be outdoors as much as possible, and curl up anywhere with a good book. I have a passion for being an authentic woman, wife and mother and to not shy away from the hard moments in our lives. After becoming a stay at home Mom, I mourned for a while that my life was so mundane and boring. And then I had a perspective shift when I was reminded that raising children is such a gift, and that through the mundane I can seek to bring God glory. After that, we opened our home to foster children and have had four children in two years! I love to write on my blog, The Glorious Mundane, and you can keep up with me there or on Facebook or Instagram. Thanks for following along with a day in my gloriously mundane life! 

SIX am

Wake up and devotions.



SEVEN am

Off to school for Heavenly and Blog work for Mama



EIGHT am

Feed my family. Eggs. Eggs. Eggs! Everyone has eggs for breakfast!




NINE am

Run...training for a half marathon! 



TEN am

Goodbye Daddy and Preschool Activity. We have been going through the alphabet and focusing on one letter a week. We are almost done!



ELEVEN am

Daily Chore. Today is laundry day. Tomorrow we clean the bathrooms. We *try* to do a different chore each day.



  
TWELVE pm

Lunch! What shall we eat today? Why must everyone eat every day?



ONE pm

Rest Time ((Bask in the silence!))



TWO pm

Work Time for Mama. Blogging, Reviewing books and organizing my calendar.



THREE pm

Snack and Homework




FOUR pm

Homework, Crowd Control, Chores and Chaos. Sometimes referred to as "the witching hour(S)".



12. FIVE pm

Dinner prep + a podcast



13. SIX pm

Dinner Time! Its 3 kids against 1 adult and usually results in approximately two warm bites for Mama. But everyone else is well-fed and content, so we will continue to call it a win.



14. SEVEN pm

Family walk, Books, Bath and Bed.



EIGHT pm

Lights out for the littles! Also far too chaotic to snap a picture. 

NINE pm

Lights out for the big! Mama collapses on the couch and forgets to take any more pictures. 

TEN pm

To bed and read a book for the Mama. Welcome home from work, handsome officer.


ELEVEN pm

Lights out for all! To all a goodnight! 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

A Day in the Life of... All Natural Joy

Back to a 'A Day in the Life Of...' we have Amber from All Natural Joy joining us today. Amber blogs about finding joy in motherhood and enjoyment in being a mom. You will see from her post below that she puts a positive spin on some of the mundane and dull tasks we may have in motherhood.

Read about her typical day homeschooling her 7 kids below and then be sure to give her a follow at her Facebook page: All Natural Joy.

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Hi I’m Amber and I’m grateful for the opportunity to share a day in my life with all of you. I blog at allnaturaljoy.com and I would say my life is pretty typical but I guess from the outside looking in people think that I live a crazy life!


Mostly because I have seven kids and I stay at home with them and homeschool. I adore my kids and love every minute of being home with them. They are so precious and the time goes fast, so I’m grateful to have the privilege of being with them everyday! It never gets old.  


Growing up, I always said that I wanted to have ten kids so I guess I’m well on my way! The funny thing is, although I have a large family, I like order and I don’t like noise and chaos! But that doesn’t mean I always get it! Being a mom of a large family means I have opportunities to become more like Christ everyday. It means laying my wishes aside for that of my family. Still, though, a little peace and quiet never hurt anyone!


On the other hand, I hate sticking to a schedule, so you might say I’m pretty spontaneous. (I know! It doesn’t make sense to me, either! How can I love order and not like a structured schedule?) As a result, every day at my house looks a little different. And although I love the idea of a routine, I think that being spontaneous and flexible has made my kids very willing to ‘roll with the punches.’


One of my downfalls, if you will, is that I am a complete night owl who wishes she was an early bird. That poses some problems in my non-schedule, but I make it work! I am always tempted to stay up way later than I should because that’s one time the house is super quiet! (Don’t get me wrong, I do love the hustle and bustle that comes from having a full house!)


So, a typical day at my house doesn’t start with me up at the crack of dawn with all of my housework done, waiting for the kids with a full breakfast on the table. (Though, I think that would be so awesome!) But I also don’t sleep in past 7:00. I’m just usually tired from staying up too late the night before!


My day usually starts with my three-year-old getting out of bed way earlier than I think he should. He is an early bird (unlike his mommy) and also doesn’t sleep much during the night. (He’s one of those kids that doesn’t need a lot of sleep.)
(My precious early-bird three-year-old)


I wish I could tell you that I have already been up for three hours ready and waiting, but the sad truth is he is really what starts my day. His first words are always I’m hungry! Which makes my toes curl. But he so crazy cute I can’t help but smile! Why are they always hungry anyway?


So through sleepy eyes, I turn into an early bird anyway. Together we walk down to the kitchen and get something for him to eat. We chat about things three-year-old boys like and I try to sneak in some bits and pieces of the gospel. It’s so important to seize any opportunity I can! One by one, the rest of the kids join us and everyone gets their own breakfast. (Believe me, my kids love cereal over a breakfast buffet, anyway!)


After everyone is fed and clothed we head up to our school room to start school.


(I somehow manage to shower and get dressed somewhere in between breakfast and school.)


We open our school day with prayer and a time around the Bible and then I start teaching.

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This year I have five students in school. My oldest is in 11th grade and my youngest in kindergarten. And I have kids in several of the grades in between.


Once we are finished with Bible then my oldest son studies on his own. And I am around to direct him if he needs it.


Then I teach my middle three kids while my two younger kids play together and my baby naps. Once I get the middle kids well on their way with their schoolwork and all my teaching is done, then I teach my youngest daughter kindergarten, which includes Phonics, Math, Handwriting, and Reading, among other things.


The kids and I usually spend from about 8:00 am until noon on school and my teaching.


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(Me teaching with my baby who decided not to take a nap that day!)


Then we come back down to the kitchen for lunch.


My husband, who is a pastor, joins us from the office so we eat lunch together as a family. After we are finished eating he reads our worldview curriculum and we have a time of talking with the kids. (I LOVE hearing their hearts on some of the relevant matters going on in the world today. It’s so neat to see them apply Scripture truth to current events.)


Then either my husband or I put our three-year-old down for a nap and the big kids do their Quiet Time, freeing my husband and me up to have some time to talk, usually over tea or something special that I make in my blender (usually a smoothie.) I am madly in love with my husband and cherish the moments to spend talking to him about each of our days.


The rest of the afternoon is spent on everyone’s individual projects. I usually spend my time blogging and helping the kids with their independent school work. Most recently, I am finishing up writing a book, so my time has been more directed toward those efforts.



When the afternoon is concluding, we all come together for a meal again between 5:00-6:00 (remember we aren’t too scheduled!) If I’ve done a really good job, I’ve been careful to prepare ahead of time and have a healthy, delicious dinner waiting for everyone. Some days we end up eating leftovers, but we still eat together, something my husband and I both feel is very important. We have a great time talking and visiting with our kids and hearing about their days and what they learned or were challenged with.


When we are finished, we clean up our dinner together (which is also a fun and bonding time) and then spend time doing Family Worship, which is my favorite time of the day. Together we read Scripture and discuss it. Then we sing praise songs and hymns and close in prayer when we are finished. We spend time talking with the kids, hearing their hearts. We recap the day and take time out just to be together and reflect on God’s Word and His goodness to us.


When Family Worship is finished, it is time to put the ‘littles’ to bed. The big kids stay up a little bit later and either work on projects, play board games, or spend time with my husband and me.


After everyone is in bed, I either spend time blogging or talking to my husband. And as I mentioned before I usually stay up way too late and wake up tired to start it all over again the next day!


This is a typical day, but we are crazy and sporadic. As a ministry family, at any given moment our day could change. And that’s why I hold loosely to a schedule. Sometimes we are called on to help someone in need and other times things we didn’t expect pop into our schedule. We must always be ready to serve however God wants us to. In doing so, we have found ourselves in some pretty crazy situations, teaching our kids that


‘The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.’ Proverbs 16:9 (ESV)

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(One such crazy incident where we found ourselves completely out of the plan of a ‘typical day!’)


So as you can see, I think my day is pretty typical. Others do not! But I love what I do and I wouldn’t change it for the world! I am one blessed mama!