Dear 8th Child,

Dear 8th Child,

One day you’ll be bigger than me. Your ideas and thoughts will be as wild and free as the wind, unique to only you. You’ll have sprouted wings and you’ll be standing on the edge of our little nest looking in awe at the big world that surrounds you. It will be exciting and terrifying and electric all at the same time. You’ll swing, at times, like a pendulum between boy and man. Between rowdy and responsible. You’ll have times where we, your parents, will be your soft spot to land and other times where the lies that we are against you will seem surprisingly true in your green ears. But know this. No matter what we love you. We want what’s best for you. We want to raise you to be a man of integrity and strength, but sometimes that comes with pain and failure. And it’s hard, damn hard. For both of us. To see your child struggle and fail is one of the most festering wounds a parents heart can have. But failure is the largest part of success. Picking yourself up and trying harder is a skill learned with practice. Making your path smooth and neat by removing all obstacles is not a long term solution to this broken world. We know you’re going to capable and competent, but you’ll have to be reminded of it at times by struggling and surviving it. And when you’re in the midst of it please KNOW that we are here. Know we will offer you love and support as you’re fighting the good fight. But also know that in time, when your slowly shedding the little boy façade, more battles will be left to you to fight. Know that in those in between years, as your boyhood is fading in a haze behind you and we aren’t stepping in to fix things, that we haven’t left you. We are preparing you. Preparing you to wield your strengths to help others and yourself. Preparing you to believe what God and we already know to be true: that you are capable. You are worthy. You are enough. Even in your brokenness. That you are given strengths to help others and given weakness to show God’s infinite strength. But for now… For now stay little for a while. Let mom slay your dragons for you. Rest your curly head on my shoulder when you’re tired. Because time is a thief and now is now and I will rejoice in you at this stage and every one thereafter.

Love,

Mom

Breathe it in…

He is the most like me.

He is the one I butt heads with the most.

The one that first called me “mom”, and he’s growing up. He hangs somewhere in the midst between boy and man, lingering in each category for a while before returning to the other. Reminders of his boyhood like these sometimes catch me by surprise. I know they will become fewer and fewer. Car keys will replace small boyhood toys, a deep voice replacing his once squeaky coos. We’re in the phase of letting go. Very slowing letting go, but letting go all the same. It’s a stage I embrace and mourn at the same time. Nothing gives me greater joy than seeing him spread his wings, but the realization of how short the season of parenting is can be like a bomb inside. I’m not going to sit here and say enjoy every moment, because you won’t… and all that tends to do is make us, as mothers, feel bad about how we counted down the minutes till bedtime last night (or the last 27 nights…) BUT I will say respect the process. It is SUPPOSE to come with both waves of great relief and happiness that they are becoming more independent and also with a bittersweet tinged sadness that the baby you rocked and nursed and carried on your hip is slowly fading into a man.

And. It’s. Okay.

It’s okay to feel both. Just like it’s okay to have tough days intermixed with ones you feel like you are WINNING at this parenting gig! Life’s a great big ‘ole bowl of mess, filled with every kind of emotion and experience and effort. We were not meant to ride on a cloud of happiness and success our whole existence. This life is organic and messy; hard and beautiful; heartbreaking and soul lifting. All at once sometimes. Breathe it in. All of it. Don’t push that away. That is exactly what reminds you that you were created in God’s own image. That soul that stirs up all those thoughts and feelings and ultimately drives you back toward Him. Sometimes sending you to your knees in the process. Embrace that!

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Mommy Necklaces Review and GIVEAWAY!

mommy necklacesigI have been in love with this product now for over 2 years (right after I was first introduced to it by another YouTube mom), so when Mommy Necklaces offered to allow me to review one of their new designs I was jumping out of my maternity shorts to do so!

 

Mommy Necklaces are beautiful, stylish necklaces designed not only to be a gorgeous accessory for moms, but also an engaging necklace for distracted little ones. Made in the USA (in Michigan) from baby safe materials they are an amazing tool to keep little hands busy while nursing/feeding and are the perfect length for doing so. One new feature that I LOVE is that the “donut” can be ordered in a soft silicone teething style for older babies to sooth their gums on.

My original purchase (almost 3 years ago) was a dangling donut in the color “Caribbean”. I don’t think this style/color is available anymore but there are SO many gorgeous color combinations on their site.

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Ezra and then Cora seemed mesmerized by the colors and slight sound and feel the donut made while sliding against the beads of the necklace. I got SO many compliments on the style and when other moms realized it was also a teething/nursing necklace their eyes went wide and they asked where they could get one. I don’t think there has been a time I have worn it that I don’t get some kind of comment of its awesomeness!

My newest style, “Promises”, doesn’t disappoint. It has all the same features as my other beloved dangling donut (break away clasp, breakage guarantee, baby safe materials) with the added bonus of coming with a soft, flexible teething donut.

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GORGEOUS, isn’t it? And if you know me I am TOTALLY into everything rainbow!
As a kick off and celebration of World Breastfeeding Week, Mommy Necklaces is going to GIVE AWAY a nursing necklace to one of you! If you would like an opportunity to win a “Promises” necklace just like mine, click on the Mommy Necklaces button below and look through their amazing line of products.

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Pick your favorite design and then comment on my YouTube review (posted below). I will randomly pick 1 YouTube comment on August 7th (announced on the 8th) to be sent the same “Promises” necklace that I have. I am so excited to bless someone with an opportunity to try out their gorgeous necklaces!

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Encouragement to Mom’s in an Overly Critical Culture

With the aftermath of any tragic news story involving a child I feel like every single parenting decision falls under a highly critical lens of public opinion. Instead of rallying around parents in the aftermath of a tragedy we lie in wait ready to attack every minuscule parenting decision they have every made and then ascertain why it certainly led to the tragedy that ensued and how it could have been avoided if the parents where only more like themselves – perfect.

The fact of the matter is we live in a fallen world and some accidents are just that – ACCIDENTS. Some with favorable outcomes. Some with life changing and gruesome outcomes. And in most cases the parents didn’t intend or foresee the harm that crept in and engulfed their family.

Imagine if we surrounded and supported families in their time of need. Imagine if we were confident enough in our own choices that we didn’t feel the need to pick apart others’ choices. Imagine that instead of looking down our noses on top of our high horse in our glass house we stepped out in love and showed those grieving families compassion and transparency. What if we let them know that we are not perfect either. We have all made mistakes and even small ones made within the perfect storm of events could have tragic outcomes. Most don’t, thankfully, but to some it is their constant reality. The stones thrown at people on a public, worldwide forum (internet – thrown mostly by those that DO NOT have all the facts) for any real or perceived lapse in judgement is a hail storm of evil like no other. And NOTHING is safe. The size of our family or lack there of. Our choice on how to birth our baby. Our choice on how to nourish our baby. Our choice on WHERE to feed our baby. On what sunscreens to use on them, where they should sleep, how they should sleep, when solid food gets introduced, when to allow them to use a public bathroom alone, how to educate them, when to front face them in an automobile, how long to keep them in a booster, whether or not to use kiddie-leashes, whether or not to feed them added sugars, or GMO’s or additives or food coloring. THE LIST IS ENDLESS and most decisions that we pick apart are superficial like these!

I am ready for moms to start rallying and becoming the voice of ENCOURAGEMENT to other moms. To inspire moms to share their lives, experiences and struggles with others instead of having everyone so scared to have REAL, RAW relationships in fear of being shamed by others for perceived “parenting fails”.

I made this video a couple of weeks ago and I hope it blesses you in your parenting journey!