Sweet & Sour Kids

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You know those Sour Patch kids commercials? “First they’re sour, then they’re sweet.” That’s about what it’s like every day with kids.

My day usually starts around 3:00AM (sour) with a wake up call from my baby Sarah letting me know she’s ready to nurse. I usually groan, hit my cell so I can use it as a flashlight, then get my baby girl and make my way to the couch. As I nurse her, sometimes I’ll scroll through Facebook, sometimes I’ll close my eyes and doze off again, but other times I’ll choose to soak in the moment. I look down at my (sweet) baby girl and realize she will never be this little again, she will never need me as much as she does now again, and I kiss her cute little cheeks before putting her back in her Pack n Play while I crash back in my bed next to my sleeping husband.

Then my alarm goes off at 6:15AM telling me it’s time to start getting ready to take Noah to school. I snooze it a couple of times, knowing Nathan will be up and starting breakfast for everyone (thanks, babe). I finally drag myself out of bed in time to make Noah lunch and see how crazy his bedhead is to fix it. We walk to school, and he chats with me about his new friends and recess (these walks are so sweet). As soon as he walks inside the school doors I realize how freakin’ hot it is at 7:30 in the morning in October, and sweat like a pig on the walk back (sour).

The rest of my morning is filled with watching Tim and Isaac make a huge pile of pillows and blankets to jump on to (sweet) and being a referee when they both jump at the same time and knock heads (sour). Baby Sarah is quick to remind me every few hours to nurse her and will coo and laugh with me (sweet) until she poops (sour), and then laughs some more at me. The amount of diapers I go through a day with 2 littles still in diapers is ridiculous.

After lunch everyone takes a nap. I think most people will admit that kids look the sweetest when they’re sleeping. Some days I nap with Tim (sweet), other days I decide to tackle the dishes or work on the pile of laundry my kids create (sour). Then I wake them up to drive to get Noah (because I’m not walking 2 miles in 100 degree South Texas weather with all the kids). Now, that pick up line is something else: it seems no matter what time you make it in the line you end up waiting at least 20 minutes, and then occasionally our A/C goes out when the Suburban isn’t moving (oh so sour moments).

The rest of the day is a blur. I just try to keep the boys from hurting each other until Nathan comes home, feed and bathe them, and then put the boys to bed. This is usually when baby Sarah wants to tell me about her day so we chat and giggle at each other… These days aren’t glamorous, but they’re mine. These days are demanding and not always encouraging, but I know that even though I have some sour moments, I’m guaranteed some sweet moments too.

How about you? Share some of your sweet and sour moments below!

From Super Mom to Super Humbled

supermom

I can’t be Supermom today. I tried and failed miserably, and it’s only 1:00pm. I really wanted to be Supermom today. I had good intentions. We had students over for breakfast, which was fun and the boys love that. Then I did a little business on my computer. I hit a new rank in my business yesterday, so I was just looking everything over, congratulating my builders, and emailing new contacts. I made green smoothies for a snack with a little essential oil love in the mix, as requested by my 4 year old, Noah. (Yeah, rockin’ it! **Cue to roll your eyes**)

WO in smoothie

Noah had also been wanting banana nut muffins for the past few days, and I hadn’t gotten to it yet. So after our smoothie I decided to do that. Which trailed into lunch time. So I was making muffins and lunch at the same time. I slightly burnt my first batch of muffins. They tasted ok, but looked terrible. The boys were super whiny and fussy because it’s naptime and now they wanted to eat ALL the muffins.

I finally step out of the kitchen for the first time in a couple of hours and the rest of the house is a disaster. Every single toy bin was out. Timmy was running around with his underwear in his hand, and Isaac was leaving a trail of drool everywhere he went. And we’re also dealing with pink eye in the house. I lost it. I lost it and I let Timmy have it. He cried and went to his room. Noah picked up the toys and ran to his room. I changed Isaac and put him to bed without giving him his eye drops because I can’t find them ANYWHERE.

I tip toed in the boys’ room and asked Timmy if he wanted me to sing to him. He nodded and smiled. A smile that let me know he still loves me even though I yelled at him when he didn’t deserve it. I sang “Jesus loves me,” feeling like the biggest hypocrite singing the song because I sure didn’t show him love 10 minutes ago. I told him I was sorry and tried not to cry when he gave me a big Timmy kiss.

I left his room and by now all the boys are in bed. I know I should be exercising but my body is exhausted, drained from all the emotions that went on the past thirty minutes. So I decided to write. And to tell you, fellow mom or dad, if you just blew it with one of your kids… it’s not too late to start fresh. Give them a hug, tell them you’re sorry and you love them, but you need Jesus just as much as they do. I need Jesus to help me make it through the day with enough grace and strength to love on these boys that He has blessed us with. There’s no way I can make it without Him. He is my Rock when my emotions create a storm within me. He is my anchor that keeps me grounded. He is who I can turn to when I know I didn’t act out of His love, and extend me His grace to try again. So, that’s my goal for the rest of the day… Not to have the perfect workout or work for another hour in my business or make a 5 star meal for dinner… My goal is to try and love like Christ loves me. Because if I don’t have THAT as my primary goal, then the rest doesn’t matter … my day is wasted without His love.

So, how ‘bout it? Are you with me? How will you show God’s love today?

Friday Fun Facts #14

1. Noah informed me he wants a sister. I tried to tell him we don’t have the best track record at producing girls. LoL

2. The boys favorite activity right now is jumping on the trampoline with the sprinkler on top, pouring down. Who needs a water park?

isaactrampoline

3. Target has obnoxiously large shopping carts for crazy parents with multiple toddlers like us. Thank you, Target.

(Every store should have these!)

4. You probably don’t want to know this, but I’m having a proud parent moment so I’m sharing. Timothy pooped in the potty. That, dear readers, is a huge win in this house.

5. While we’re on the topic, it’s gotten to the point in potty training where when I step in a random puddle in the house (with 3 boys, this is an everyday occurrence) it can be any 1 of these 3 options: Isaac’s drool, water that spilt from the sippy cups that are labeled “spill proof” (so not true, people), or it could mean Timmy had an accident. I stepped in a puddle the other which was sadly, too big to be a drool puddle, and a sippy cup was nowhere in sight. Fun times.

Potty Training from the Trenches

Potty training. *Wince* *Cringe* *Close my eyes and pretend it’s over* That’s what I really want to do when it comes to potty training, but I can’t really do that. So, here we go. Today I’m hoping just to give you some tips about what has helped with my boys, and offer a little encouragement along the way. I’m right there with you, potty training my second son right now. So, let’s do this!

WARNING: Throughout this post there will be words like “potty” and “poopy.” Deal with it.

pottytrainingnoah

1. Every child is different.
By now if you have more than one child, you know this. Consider for a minute though, that if your children are different than chances are they will respond to differently to different methods of potty training (and discipline, for that matter).

Noah, our firstborn, is much like me in that he likes systems and schedules. He likes thing a certain way: THE ONLY WAY. Each toy belongs to its coordinating bin. We have our weekly routine and we should always stick to it. The way I chose to potty train Noah worked great for him: I set a timer for every 20 minutes and he would sit on his little potty (with me right next to him cheering him on) and he got a sticker every time he went (a BIG sticker for a poopy). After about a week I didn’t need a timer anymore, but he still got stickers for one more week. After about 3 weeks he was completely potty trained.

Now, my Timmy, on the other hand is more like his daddy: a free spirit. He doesn’t care which toy is in what bin. He doesn’t care what our schedule is, he just wants to have fun. I tried to potty train him multiple times the same way I did with Noah and I failed miserably every time. Do you know when he decided to potty train? When I was in California! LoL By the time I got back to Texas he would just tell me when he needed to go. He never used a little potty. He never needed stickers or a timer. He just needed his own time and his own way.

2. There may be setbacks.
We both of our boys we had small setbacks. When we were potty training Noah, he had to go to the hospital for a crazy stomach bug. So he was in diapers a couple of days during that time. This past week while Tim was dealing with a stomach bug he was in diapers too. If something like this happens, it’s not the end of the world. They don’t forget how to go in the potty. Just pick up where you left off. Life goes on.

3. It’s not a matter of if accidents will happen, but when they will happen.
Be prepared for accidents. I like to have some underwear and shorts in the diaper bag or car just in case something happens when we are out. I started keeping wipes in various places around the house to easily clean up any messes. I have found that I am much less stressed if I know all this is in place.

4. Grace.
Ok, now this one is a tough one. Potty training comes easily for some kids, not so easily for others. I know it can get frustrating and it’s time consuming. I remember when I was potty training Noah thinking it was easier when he was in diapers. BUT your efforts will pay off. In a short time they will be able to go potty on their own and not need you anymore. They will eventually be able to clean their own bottom. It will happen before kindergarten. So for this short time, remember to have grace for your little one during this learning process. I’m right there with you, cheering you on.

Now when you’re cheering your cute little toddler on, and saying, “You can do this!” just tell yourself the same thing, You can do this!

Ok, fellow parents and grandparents, what potty training tips do you have to share?

Friday Fun Facts #9

1. My baby boy turned 1 this week. I seriously have no idea how that happened. Also, today he said “mama” for the first time. Excuse me while I go cry in a corner.

2. Nathan preached this past Father’s Day at our church, and rocked it. It really just makes me fall in love with him all over again when he preaches God’s truth.

3. The other night Timmy came running out of his room saying “Too loud, too loud! Woof woof!” I had to sit in on his bed with him for 5 minutes to figure out the problem. They have a Melissa & Doug Sound Puzzle (zoo animal themed) and sometimes it has a mind of its own. The lion kept roaring and scaring Timmy. I ended up taking the entire puzzle out of the room so the poor kid could sleep.

4. Noah has such a vivid imagination. He loves to make up stories: in the car, when he’s in bed and supposed to be napping, and even when he’s going potty. The crazy thing is, we all had imaginations like that when we were kids… When did our creativity get crushed? Let’s bring it back!

5. While brushing Tim’s teeth the other night, I thought I saw a cavity. I gasped, brushed where I saw it, and I was relieved to find out that it was just a chia seed. Gotta love those granola balls, y’all.

Granola Balls: Healthy and Toddler Approved!

As a mom of hungry boys, I am always on the lookout for healthy snacks that actually taste good. Then I stumbled across this gloriousness (not sure if that is a real word, but it should be) through my friend (thanks, Lindsey!) who had found this recipe on a blog smashedpeasandcarrots.blogspot.com. I think the term that they used for the snack was “energy bite,” but my son Noah renamed them “granola balls,” so that’s what we call them in my house. You can just call them “awesome.”

I knew this recipe was a winner when my son said it tasted like a cookie, AND I was happy with all the ingredients in the recipe. Not only that, but your kids can totally help you make this recipe. Let’s be honest, what kid doesn’t like being in the kitchen? Let’s get right down to it, because you don’t want to waste another minute without this recipe. Be sure to read all the way down to the notes for modifications for the healthiest snack possible!

granball1

Ingredients:
• 1 cup of oats
• 1 cup coconut flakes
• ½ cup of chia seeds
• ½ cup chocolate chips (optional)
• ½ cup peanut butter
• 1/3 cup honey
• 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:
1. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl until they are all evenly distributed. I start with a spoon and end up working with my hands. Your hands will get messy, just embrace it.
2. Place the bowl in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
3. Once chilled, roll into 1 inch balls (makes about 20-25 balls). Again with the messy hands, but you can lick your fingers after!
4. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week, but they won’t last that long!

Notes:
• Instant oats are heavily processed, which means less nutrition. Use old fashioned oats!
• As far as the coconut flakes go, use UNSWEETENED coconut flakes. There is no need to add more sugar to the recipe, and you still get a great texture and flavor from the unsweetened flakes.  You can usually find these at any whole/health foods store.
• The original recipe calls for flax seed, which I actually always have, but I used chia seeds a few months ago and prefer the texture more in this particular recipe. You can totally use chia or flax or a combination if you wish!
• If you want to omit the chocolate chips, you can substitute any dried fruit in its place, but I gotta tell ya I almost always use the chocolate chips. The mini chocolate chips work the best, and it becomes more of a treat for me and the boys. 🙂
• You can use any nut butter in place of the peanut butter. Again, try and find one without any add sugar or junk (look on the back of your jar). I’ve used unsweetened/unsalted almond butter and it worked just as well.
• Honey has great health benefits, so I don’t substitute anything there.  If you can snag some local honey, use that for assistance in allergy relief!

You will soon find that this will be a staple in your arsenal of healthy snack. These are so much fun to make with the kids, and I’ve gotten opportunities to explain the ingredients going in the snack and why they are so great for our bodies.

Do you think your family will enjoy this recipe? Try it out and leave your reviews in the comments!

Friday Fun Facts #6

1. So, I started a wellness/fitness challenge with some girlfriends this month. I’ve been working out every day this week and I am so stinkin’ sore! Peppermint essential oil is my best friend right now because it’s able to soothe the occasional muscle ache.

2. This week is also VBS at our church. It’s my first time to actually work a VBS because, well, I love my kids, but have a hard time with other people’s kids. I kinda lucked out because I’m known as “the oil lady,” and I am at a tent where the kids make homemade lavender hand scrubs. So, I get to smell lavender all day and talk about Jesus to little ones. It worked out nicely.

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3. On that note, my boys get to hang out at VBS too. It is an incredible feeling to watch them sing and dance for Jesus… I was hiding in the back where they couldn’t see me watching them and my heart was overflowing with joy.

4. The other day while I was sitting in our recliner, Noah wanted to sit in my lap. Well of course, after Tim saw Noah in my lap then he wanted to be in my lap. And then Isaac started whimpering because he realized he was missing out, so I ended up with all 3 boys in my lap for a good 30 minutes. It was a tight squeeze, but a sweet moment.

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5. When we sing “If you’re happy and you know it,” little Isaac started singing “Hooray!” and throwing his hands in the air. I can’t believe how fast he is growing!

Cold Oatmeal: Sounds gross, Tastes good!

Cold oatmeal: It sounds gross, doesn’t it? When I first read about cold oatmeal it did not sound appealing. I think it’s because I think of the cold oatmeal I am usually eating: you know, the oatmeal that gets left at the bottom of the pot after my kids are all done eating… That kinda cold oatmeal. BUT this is not just someone’s lifeless leftover oatmeal. It’s a whole new way to eat oatmeal and it tastes so stinkin’ good. The best part is that you make it the night before so when you’re ready to eat breakfast the next morning, it’s all done! Did I mention you can totally make this dairy free if you wish? I got a recipe from theyummylife.com and just catered it to my preferences. So, here’s my first cold oatmeal recipe that I tried and adore! Let’s get started.

oatmeal

Ingredients:
• ¼ cup old fashion oats (stay away from instant, it’s way processed)
• ¼ cup vanilla yogurt
• ¼ cup milk
• ¼ cup berries
• ½ teaspoon cinnamon
• Dash of nutmeg

Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients in a glass 8 oz. jar with a lid.
2. Secure tightly with a lid and place in the refrigerator to let it sit overnight.
3. In the morning, top with fresh berries and one more dash of cinnamon. (Optional).
4. Eat and enjoy your healthy, ready-to-go breakfast. Share with your toddlers, which really means you should triple the recipe because everyone loves it!

Notes:
• To make this dairy free, simply substitute the milk and yogurt for a quality soy, almond, or coconut option. I used organic soy milk and it turned out great.
• You can use whatever yogurt you have on hand. If you want to avoid the added sugars of the vanilla yogurt, just use plain yogurt and you can add a splash of vanilla extract and honey to taste.
• When you mix all the ingredients together, it will be a thinner mixture and thicken overnight.
• This recipe makes one serving, so if you’re wanting to make it for your family just double or triple the recipe and place in separate jars so there’s no fighting over it in the morning.
• Get creative with the flavors and add-ins: try it with chia seeds or sliced almonds, bananas or peaches would be yummy too!

Have you tried cold oatmeal before?  What are your favorite add-ins?

Friday Fun Facts #4

1. So the other day I took out the boys’ coloring supplies, which included crayons and markers. I went to clean the kitchen and when I came back Isaac had blue hair.

2. This past weekend as the stomach bug hit my family one by one, at the end of it I wished I would get the stomach bug so I could lay in bed for 2 days. Is that bad? Surely, I’m not the only mom to think this before!

3. Timmy likes to eat the entire strawberry including the green tops. More fiber, I guess!

4. When I asked Noah what he learned at church he said, “Our God is an amazing God!”

5. Peeling paper off of broken crayons can entertain toddlers for over half an hour… but does make quite a mess. Hopefully, I’ll have a post about recycled crayons soon.

boyscrayon  (There they are peeling away at broken crayons.)

Who Loves You?

So, this is a post I wrote almost 2 years ago on my previous blog, but I think it fits perfectly into my focus for this week, which is motherhood.  Mother’s Day is on Sunday and I want to share the blessing of motherhood to other moms in need of encouragement as I share struggles and victories, or just a good laugh as I share silly things my boys may do or say.  I hope you are as blessed by this reminder as I was:

Here is a conversation my husband had with our son Noah, when he was only 2 years old…

Nathan: “Noah, do you know I love you?”

Noah: “Yes, daddy.”

Nathan: “Noah, who loves you?”

Noah: “Jesus.”

loving-God Photo Credit: ourhealingmoments.com

Oh, the many lessons learned by my son in this small conversation I was blessed to witness.  This truly is a moment I will never forget.  I want to focus on one thing I noticed during that precious interaction and that was this: Noah, in all his two year old glory, knew without a single doubt that Jesus loved him.  We tell Noah that Jesus loves us all the time, but that particular morning there was no priming his brain before the question Noah, who loves you? was asked.  At that time, Nathan and I were both expecting Noah to respond, You do daddy, but what our son said was even greater.  Noah knew Jesus loved him.

This may seem redundant, but hear me out.  Noah did not have to think back to how he had disobeyed me the previous day and wonder if Jesus still loved him.  I’m sure Noah didn’t think he had to perform obligations and duties for Jesus to still love him.  He just knew, at that moment he was loved, and is loved by Jesus Christ.

Oh that I may have faith like my (at the time) two year old son to know Jesus loves me… He loves me today and tomorrow, He loves me during my successes and my failures, He loves me when I obey Him and catches me when I fall… He loves me unconditionally.  I pray today that you will know you are loved by a Savior.  You are loved by Jesus.