Tag: Mom Moments

My Daughter – Ambassador of Light

I’m sure most people feel the way about their kids that I do about my daughter. She lights up my world. My son does too. This post however, is about my daughter. It is over the last two years of having her in our home that I have come to realize just how special she is. Let me share with you what little I know about my daughter’s potential.

When I First Met My Daughter

My daughter was born in the afternoon after a grueling labor. Twenty hours of labor and three and a half hours of pushing. As I finally got her out of me, I collapsed in a kind of exhaustion that I think few have experienced. My body and spirit felt broken and I didn’t know if I would ever be the same again.

I was right in being worried; I never was the same again. But it wasn’t because of my delivery experience. It was because of the big, beautiful eyes looking up at me when they placed her in my arms. She made me a mommy. Her eyes were wide and it seemed like she was seeing more of me than I have ever seen of me. My baby girl was perfect.

my daughter-at-6-months-old-looking-up
Looking-at-my daughter-right-after-she-is-born

The First Sign

The first sign of just how special my daughter really is, was the complication with the umbilical cord. We found out after I had delivered that the cord was small and that it had a knot in it. If she had somehow managed to tighten the cord during her 9 month stay in my womb, she would have died. If it had pulled tight during delivery, she could have died. But somehow, through all of that, she survived.

Survival

She survived during a very rough postpartum for me. Our challenging stay in China would have been enough to rattle the calmest of babies, yet she survived.

I got really sick when she was just two and a half months old (bronchitis, tonsillitis, a viral infection and the flu). My temperature was 104 and I finally had to an IV with antibiotics to knock out the infection. Yet somehow, she never got sick. Not one time during the China trip did she get sick.

We rode in taxis without seat belts or car seats (because they didn’t have them) on what looked like some of the most dangerous roads we’ve ever had the pleasure of taking. Granted, we were observing with our Western eyes.

She has shown her resiliency time and time again, proving to me that she is here on earth to bring light to those in darkness.

waiting-at-a-bus-stop-with-my daughter

Helping her Brother

Grayson, has not been as easy-going as his sister was. Perhaps it is because he was not forced into a life of nomadic venturing from the very beginning. He gets very upset when he cannot go to sleep on his bed, our bed or someone else’s bed.

If we are out and about and he is having a hard time, Siena will grab his hand and say, “It’s okay.” She’ll give him her favorite blanket and her favorite baby. If I need her to, she will run and grab his pacifier so that he will have something to suck on. She wants to help her baby brother to be happy.

my daughter-holding-her-brothers-hand

Helping her Mommy

About a month ago, I got the flu after she did. She had thrown up, been miserable and then of course, it was my turn.

I was laying on the couch, perpetually letting Daniel Tiger occupy the screen so that I would have to get up as little as possible.

At some point, Siena came over and patted my hand and then climbed up with me. She snuggled next to me, grabbed my arm, put it on herself and held my hand to make me feel better.

my daughter-holding-her-mommy's-hand
My daughter-at-6-months-old

What I See

Every day she is learning. She creates new things, comes up with new words, or impresses me with her actions as she learns to be a good person.

One of the things she absolutely loves to do, is be a mama. She tries to do everything I do, so I have to watch what I do sometimes. I have to send her out of the room before I trim my bangs… because we all know what could happen if she found scissors and decided she wanted to be like mama.

She puts her baby and bunnies to bed. She tries to feed Grayson. Her favorite thing to wear when mama wears boots, is her boots that match. She likes to sit in the sink while I get ready and pretend to put lotion on her face while I’m getting ready. She loves to wear a backpack and get ready to go because I have a diaper bag backpack that goes everywhere with us. Our baby girl is a Mama in training.

Siena loves music. She dances, tries to play the piano and sings along when her mama is singing at the top of her lungs. She laughs when she tries new things at the thrill of doing something new. My daughter is the sweetest.

She is Human

She gets angry, throws tantrums and tries to kick the cat. My daughter is imperfect, but her human nature is not ever going dissolve her worth.

my daughter-sleeping-as-a-newborn

Rarity in Vision

It is rare that someone gets the opportunity to see just how special someone is. I think that is the role of a parent. I doubt anyone will see as much as I, her intrinsic value. She has overcome so much already and she is only two years old.

I can already see her doing so much. One day she’ll light the world. She is going to accomplish so much and become so much. I can't wait to be a witness to it. Even now, there are so many people who want to talk to her because she is lighting up their day. My daughter is an ambassador of light and one day, everyone else will see it too.

5 Mom Moments That Were NOT Funny at the Time

Mom Moments = Memories

Mom Moments may find us as soon as we see that we are going to become mommies. Three of the ones I will share with you today occurred while I was pregnant with my first child. The other two are ones that happened within her first 4 months of life. You cannot have too many Mom Moments because those are the memories you talk about until you die.

Passed Out

I was only four months pregnant when I had one of my first Mom Moments. We had spent all day shooting a wedding, that night I had walked a midnight 5K with my two sisters and then we had had to spend the whole night packing up our apartment to move. The next day, we had somehow managed to get everything out of our apartment.

I had ended up without a car, stuck at the apartment with just me, the cat and the litterbox. All the furniture was gone and I was exhausted. Finally, I laid on the ground and immediately fell asleep. Less than ten minutes later, my cat let out these long mournful cries like I had never heard before. I got the distinct impression that he had literally thought that I had died. As soon as I moved and called to him he came over and plopped next to me and demanded to be comforted.

Me&My-Sisters-before-the-5K-during-one-of-my-Mom Moments
Selfie-on-My-Birthday-to-Get-Oil-Changed-Before- the road trip of one of My-Mom Moments

Pit Stop in the Canyon

The second of my Mom Moments: The day after my birthday, we were driving and I was pregnant. I had had some bad sushi (all cooked fish) that morning and was already prone to morning sickness. We were driving out in the middle of nowhere to get to a family reunion. The road was on the side of the mountain and on the left side of the narrow road there was a cliff and on the right side of the road, a wall.

My nausea kept building and building. I told Austin that I had to throw up, I couldn’t hold it in. I looked for something, anything to catch the vomit and found a grocery bag. Barely opening the bag in time, vomit spewed from my mouth.

I quickly realized that my grocery bag had holes in it. “Austin, there’re holes in this thing!”

He was already pulling over in the first tiny alcove he could see in the canyon wall. I hadn’t even noticed that he had already rolled the windows down. Apparently the fumes from the vomit had been immediate and it was all Austin could do to keep driving and not throw up himself. “Get that out of the car!”

I am not proud of us that day. We definitely littered. We left that grocery bag full of vomit on the side of the road and I still hope that no one has found it.

A Memory Lapse

Mom Moments #3 - I was driving and Austin was giving me directions on how to get somewhere. He said, “K, now turn left at the next stop sign.”

I nodded and silently took note. I pulled up to the intersection, stopped at the stop sign and went straight.

Austin stared at me in shock. “You didn’t hear me?”

“What?”

“I literally just told you to turn left at the next stop sign.”

I started laughing. “I’m so sorry. I seriously forgot.” I could suddenly remember him telling me, but not a second after he told me to turn, I had already forgotten. He was in disbelief.

Jennifer-at-the-Steering-Wheel,-representing-one-of-her-Mom Moments
hotel-room-in-china-location-of-one-of-my-mom moments

No Boundaries

Mom Moments like this are ones that few people in America will get to experience this viscerally. Six weeks after Siena was born, we moved to China for the next 5 months. During our stay there, our parents came out to visit and we stayed in a hotel. One evening, I was inside of our room breastfeeding and a maid comes in to prepare it for the nighttime.

She puts the candies, adds the towels, oh and makes sure to peak down my cover at my nursing baby. That’s right, she walked all the way around the bed, came over to me, grabbed the top of my cover and looked down at my naked breast and my hungry child.

Although she was more assertive than other Chinese women, she was definitely not the first or the last to attempt such a thing so while shocked, I was not surprised.

The Great Wall Disaster

The Great Wall Disaster

My Mom Moments will make you feel better about any Mom Moment you may have, especially this one. We obviously had to see the Great Wall when we were in China with our parents. We put little Siena in our “Joey” (front pack) and went off on our grand adventure. The Wall was quite a ways from our hotel and we realized as we got off the Wall that Siena had pooped.

I looked in my backpack for a diaper and with crippling fear realized I did not have another one. It would be at least a couple of hours before we would be able to get back to the hotel and that included a miserable, hot bus ride.

We pulled out what we did have in the diaper bag and realized we had a “cloth diaper” that we had been using as spit up cloths.

Then I spotted a Subway. I wasn’t sure how I was going to communicate with the server there as no one speaks English. I walk in and play a game of pantomime and charades until she finally hands me a plastic bag, big enough for a 6 inch sub.

We took Siena to the main reception area for people wanting to go on the wall where there were some chairs. I tore holes in the corners of the bag and we made a makeshift diaper for her. She hated it at first, but you know what? It held up. She peed on the way back and her clothes stayed dry.

My-poor-trusting-baby-during-one-of-my-mom moments
My-poor-trusting-baby-during-one-of-my-mom moments

Share Your Mom Moments!

Do you have a Mom Moment that can stand the test of time? Please share it in the comments below. It will make the rest of us feel better about our own Mom Moments. 

If you want to read about an epic FAIL of many Mom Moments about potty training, check out my blog post: Potty Training, Poop Everywhere Edition

Want to see more embarrassing Mom Moments? Check out Embarrassing Mom Stories

Potty Training, Poop Everywhere Edition

toddler-girl-sitting-on-the-potty-in-the-bathroom-for- potty training

All parents have a Potty Training Story so allow me to add mine to the mix. That way, if you are perusing the internet, late one night because you are desperate for validation and understanding, perhaps you will come across my blog and know YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Potty Training has got to be one of the most feared and dreaded rites of passage that parents will get the pleasure of enduring. I assume that once you have passed the threshold, you will emerge pee-stained and poop-smudged, but victorious. You have slain the beast! The mammoth that blocked your way to that time-honored badge of parenthood has now been defeated. You are a champion among us mere mortals.

I have held no such honor.

In the Beginning

My naivety at the beginning was laughable. Potty training would be a breeze! After all, everyone has to go through it at some point, right? I read all the books, searched the internet and I thought that I would come through the dark abyss faster than most parents.

"I've got this," I would think to myself.

My daughter was exhibiting all of the tell tale signs.

She would grab her diaper after she had urinated or defecated and say, "potty!" Check!

She was uncomfortable in a wet diaper if she wore it too long. Check!

She could take off her own pants and her own diaper. Check!

She showed an interest in the potty. Check!

The only check that eluded me was the staying dry at night. But we could just potty train her during the day and she could still wear her diaper at night. So, that was an unnecessary check.

Approaching the Beast

We had so many well-intentioned talks. We bought her some panties, explained what the potty was for, showed her how to use it, let her sit on it at night before she went to bed and when she woke up in the morning she would sit on it. This was going to be a piece of cake!

Things started out smoothly. The first day, only one accident! She went to the potty every time. We applauded her, cheered for her and gave her a treat. She was ecstatic. We were ecstatic. Our wallets that finance her diapers were ecstatic.

The second day the potty training had a couple of setbacks. More accidents, but nothing we couldn't overcome.

Maybe We Weren’t So Smart After All

The third day, things took a turn for the worse. She was acting like she had to go potty and of course, the doorbell rings at this exact moment. I left Siena in the living room with the potty and go answer the door. I signed for a package and went back to find Siena standing in the middle of the living room saying, "Uh-oh. Uh-oh. Uh-oh!"

She hadn't ever said uh-oh before when she had an accident. I followed her line of sight and gasped. A BIG GIANT POOP LOG was on our living room carpet! So many questions rushed through my mind. How had something that size even fit inside of her? How did she manage to poop in the middle of the room like that? What words do I use to explain that this is not okay without it sounding like she had gotten in trouble.

toddler-staring-at-her-poop-on-the-living-room-floor-during- potty training
piece-of-poop-on-living-room-floor-during-the-course-of potty training

The Mania Continues

The next day, another poop fiasco. This time the poop was in her bedroom and my husband was the lucky one to find the present bestowed upon us by the potty training gods.

A third poop visitor came in the subsequent days. Okay, this wasn't working. She didn't like pooping on the potty. We knew when she had to poop, but she wouldn't sit on the potty. Instead she would go off somewhere else and poop on the floor. Was the floor a superior receptacle for catching poop?

Change of Tactics

We tried a lot of things to adjust our potty training regimen.

We put a diaper on her after the poop as a form of consequence. She didn't care.

We had her wear panties to at least try to catch the poop. This resulted in more pee pee accidents.

We quit rewarding her for pee pee in the potty and encouraged the poop more. Indifference.

We tried pull ups. She didn't love the pull-ups and forgot to take them off to go potty.

toddler-sitting-on-potty-in-living-room-for potty training

The Toddler will Adapt Too

Our potty training antics were not lost on our daughter. She started changing her tactics too. I'm still not sure if it was an effort to try and become better at potty training or if it was to stunt the progress so she could keep being a baby. Regardless, we were at a loss after the new developments.

This may get to be TMI. You might have to shield your sensitive eyes if the poop talk is too much for you. One of my other tactics was to show her the poop in the toilet so she could see, "Look, poo poo goes in the potty!"

At this point, she was back in diapers unless she decided she wanted to go potty. And since she could strip down and take off her diaper (and she did on many occasions, even without trying to use the potty) it worked some of the time. We were exasperated and so we had almost given up hope, but we still continued to teach her about the potty.

She clearly had an interest after all.

The Straw that Broke the Camels Back

Every time she would poop, she started squatting and going, "potty, potty, potty".

I said to my husband that maybe she was ready now because she was recognizing when she needed to poop.

Then she ran off to the bathroom. I didn't want to follow her too closely, because she seemed to like to poop in private...I should have followed her immediately.

I finally followed her to the bathroom. To my dismay, she had taken all of her clothes off, thrown her poopy diaper inside of the big potty and sat on the little potty (covering it in feces), peed and was now unrolling all of the toilet paper to try and clean herself.

It took me a good 15 minutes to get everything cleaned up.

Beating a Dead Horse

My husband was once watching the kids while I was off doing something productive, but really just provided me an excuse to get out of the house. He apparently fell asleep on the couch while watching Siena.

During his slumber, the unthinkable had happened. He awoke to Siena placing a dirty diaper on top of him and a poopy bum to catch before she sat on something. After cleaning her up, his new quest was to find the poop that had fallen out of the discarded diaper somewhere in the house.

He must have been successful, because I have not found any other poops.

Guests

The potty training had pretty much come to a halt. We didn't bring it up. If she wanted to do it, fine. We would indulge her whim begrudgingly.

Then, one morning, I had a couple of ladies from my church in my house. We were chatting in the living room and suddenly Siena runs off, shouting, "potty!"

Oh well, if she comes back naked, I'll put some clothes on her.

We kept chatting and then I realized that Siena had still not come back yet. I heard her clanking around in the potty and suddenly felt a bowling ball drop into my stomach.... it was happening again.

I ran to the bathroom and her poop and diaper were still on the floor at least but her bum and potty were both covered in smeared poop.

I quickly cleaned everything up while my poor guests tried to help. One of these ladies had also just seen me cleaning up one of my sons blowouts in her own home. She literally has been witness to me cleaning poop off of both of my naked children. Oh, the things she must think.

Then, I washed my hands, put Siena's diaper and clothes back on and we got back to visiting.

potty-training-at-its-finest---toddler-running-down-the-hall-with-toilet-paper-rolls-on-her-wrist

The Consequences of My Actions

After the ladies left, I put Siena down for her nap. When she woke up, she suddenly had Pink Eye! What the freak?! We had just spent the last month and a half sick with colds, flu, pink eye, bronchitis, bronchiolitis, every sickness that this winter had felt the need to inflict upon us and now she was sick again.

Bowling ball drop. I had forgotten to wash her hands. I didn't know she had probably tried to pick up her poop and throw it in the potty like she had done the last time.

toddler-in-panties-in-living-room-for-potty-training

The End of Potty Training

That was it. We're done! No more potty training. I refuse to do it. My daughter will wear diapers for the rest of her life. My son will never have a chance to experience what underwear feels like.

Ever since that day, the potty has been locked under the sink. Perhaps I will forget one day and my daughter will be able to coerce me to pull it out again, but for now, our potty training days are over. And we will not be lured to the battlefield again. The beast has slain us and we will play dead for as long as possible.

Share Your Own!

Have a crazy potty training story? Please share in the comments below so the rest of us can feel a little bit better about our own defeating stories.

For another potty training horror story, check out this lady's fun blog:

http://thishappymom.com/authenticity-2/confessions/potty-training-horror-story

One Way to Spend Time with Your Toddler & Still Get Things Done Around the House

I will be explaining to you how to spend time with your toddler, but first a little preface to what the events typically look like leading up to it. It's hard to know how to keep a toddler engaged. It's even more taxing trying to figure out how to spend time with your toddler when their interest level peaks after just a couple of minutes and all you want to be doing is something else.

The Go-To Entertainer

When we are bored in the winter, it is a constant battle of 'how much television am I going to let my kids watch today?' I go back and forth with myself. I have all this stuff I need to get done. We're trying to save money, so I need to cook more meals so we don't go out to eat. The whole house is a disaster and I have students coming over for piano lessons. The laundry has literally not been done in weeks. The clean clothes are wrinkling in piles in and around the laundry baskets that have been tucked at the foot of our bed. Showering is a must... And it's too cold to go outside! If I am going to get stuff done, I've got to find a way to keep my kid engaged.

The easiest solution is, of course, television. If my daughter has her eyes locked on the TV, she won't chuck a doll at Grayson's head. And let's be honest, we watch TV at our house all the time. Every day. I would be lying if I said that I did not just let Netflix of Amazon prime run through episodes like a perpetually energetic hamster on a wheel. It's fine if you judge me.

Most of the time, at some point during the day, I decide, okay, we've watched too much TV. Jennifer, it's time to spend time with your toddler and baby... or at least de-zombify your children.

spend-time-with-your-toddler-doing-something-new-and-exciting

The Meltdown.

Tantrum. The end of the world. Life is over as we know it because Wa-Wa (Sofia the First) and Grr (Daniel Tiger) are no longer welcome in our home. After the initial earwax curdling screaming, the negotiations begin. "Mama, wa-wa?"

"No. Mommy said no."

"Grr?" she asks.

"No, sorry."

"Choo choo? (nursery rhymes set to music)" Now she's getting more desperate.

"Siena, no more show."

Another crying session. "Show!"

I finish up whatever task I was working on while she tries to figure out what to do with herself. Then, the inevitable happens. If she can't be watching her show, then mama can't be doing whatever she wants to be doing. Mama is now my daughter's new favorite toy.

The Point of Decision – Mommy Leash vs. Ignoring Your Kids

Siena has now learned that in order to get what she want, she needs to communicate it. This is great, most of the time... One of the not so great aspects is what I call 'the Mommy Leash". The Mommy Leash is when your child grabs your hand in an attempt to do whatever it is that they want you to do. This is aggravating for Mommy and Toddler.

I now have to decide if I'm going to engage with 'the Mommy Leash' or if I am going to pull my hand away from her and say something like, "Mama's busy right now."

I hate both options. On the one hand, I don't really like being forced to do something, even if it is by my toddler. I have watched her try and do this to other toddlers too and they don't like it either. So, I should at least resist for their benefit so she learns that that is not an effective way to get what she wants. But if I don't come, she will continue to pull and pull until we go back to the last phase and start all over again at tantrum.

The second option of brushing her off, makes me feel like I am ignoring my child or not being attentive enough. Should I be playing with her as frequently as she wants me to? Does it make me a bad mom if I don't? I don't think so.

So, I'm stuck.

spend-time-with-your-toddler-doing-what-she-wants-to-do-sometimes

Secret Option #3

So, while you are caught in the dilemma of Mommy Leash or Ignoring Kids, instead I like to try and remember the alternate dilemma. This dilemma is Mommy Leash vs Mommy Led. I remove my hand from my daughter's sticky grip and ask her if she would like to do something with me. This can be anything. It could be helping me unload the dishwasher, pick up toys, color in her coloring book, play with bubbles, build a block, read a book, sweep up the crumbs, help me vacuum, give her brother a kiss or cook a meal. LITERALLY ANYTHING.

If your toddler is trying the Mommy Leash on you, they probably are trying to communicate that they just want to do what you are doing. They want to be with Mama. Sometimes, though, they just want mama to entertain them. The distinction is easy to determine for my daughter. I usually know if she actually wants to spend time with me by asking, "Do you want to cuddle with me?"

If she says yes, I know she really wants her mama.

"No," is usually the response I get, which means, she just wants someone to play with and she wants them to do her idea. Now I can choose whether I want to do what she wants me to do or not.

Spend Time with Your Toddler – Siena Style

If I agree to her idea, I know what I am in for. My daughter's favorite thing to do, is pretend to be the mommy. Frequently, she will announce, "Night-night!" Then she will take my hand and try to force me to bed. (Which is funny, because that is never how we get her into bed.) She pulls and pulls and if I acquiesce, she will 'read' me a book, put me in her bed, give me her baby and blankie, turn on the 'shishis' (the projector fish night light), shut the door and leave me in her room.

If I try to get out of bed, she puts me back in bed and closes the door. Typically not the best way to spend time with your toddler when you are not even in the same room.

Regardless, sometimes I play her games with her, especially if I want to just lazily play on my phone in her bed after she closes the door. But a lot of times, I don't want to be put to bed multiple times throughout the day.

It is okay to say no and still spend time with your toddler. It is also okay to say "no, thank you. I really need to finish this right now". Or "No thank you. I don't want to do that."

I am no expert, because my kids are still young, but I think being honest with them will pay off later.

The Most Common Responses

I am learning more and more that my daughter is very opinionated about what she does and does not want to do. But, she is also very open to new ideas. Sometimes I will suggest a long list of things and she will say, "no... no... no... no..." and I am flabbergasted when she says no to the one thing I thought she would certainly say yes to.

But more often than not, when I suggest something she will get excited about a new idea or a new experience and say "okay!" It could be work, but she has seen me do it and so she wants to give it a try.

My toddler will try anything, except different foods sometimes. But if she has seen mama do it, she wants in! And if she has seen dada do it, even better!

I have learned that just by asking your toddler if wants he to do what you are doing, you get to spend time with your toddler AND get stuff done.

My daughter really likes to help. And even if it takes me twice as long, it's a lot more fun... or memorable... doing it with her.

spend-time-with-your-toddler-while-you-are-cooking

The Result

The best thing when you spend time with your toddler this way, is that even though they may only stay engaged for a couple of minutes, they learn that mama is doing something important. If I let my daughter help me with chores, she may lose interest, or I may have to ask her to let mommy finish. But even when she disengages a couple of minutes later, she doesn't try to take me with her. Now she understands that I need to finish what I am doing before I can hang out with her.

It's almost like she has been let in on the secret. Now she is a part of the task and understands its significance. Spend time with your toddler, even just for a couple of minutes or explain to them why you can't, because they're smart. They know your sincere intentions.

Spend Time with Your Toddler and Love it!

Taking a little bit of time to change the situation from Mommy Leash to Mommy Led will help you relax, have open communication with your toddler and will help you to spend time with your toddler.

We still watch a lot of TV. It's hard to find stuff to do in the winter, but I treasure the times when I am brave enough to push the big red power button on my remote and really BE with my kids.

I love spending time with Siena. She is getting to the age where she does or says things that catch me by surprise and have me laughing more every day. She knows how to help me unload the dishwasher, she will sit on the stools by the counter and snack while I cook, she tries to entice me away to one of her fun games on a daily basis and on the rare occasion, she will let me snuggle with her if I put on her show. My baby girl is my buddy and I love it!

For fun indoor ideas that require more preparation than I am usually willing to do, check out this Stay at Home Mom's sweet blog!

Toddler Activities

Most Days will be Just a Day

Just a day. Nothing newsworthy to report. No pictures to share with my friends. Only lame stories to share with my spouse. Today was just a day. It must not have been very significant.

I feel like there is this pressure to fill your day with activities that you can later share and brag about on social media. Or, perhaps not even to share or brag, but that if you don't keep up with everyone else online, you are somehow less than everyone else. It's easy to look into the rosy tinted windows of other people's Facebook feeds and think, "I didn't do any Funtivities with my kids today... we didn't go on any adventures... I didn't create a custom painting for my future baby's nursery... I haven't traveled anywhere that amazing..."

And then the conclusions that you don't even recognize, but permeate your subconscious nevertheless. Those conclusions are things like, "I must not be a good mom, I must be pretty boring, I must not be very creative and I must be trapped in my life of poverty or obligations." These are the lies that siphon into our thoughts and create feelings of sadness, worthlessness, frustration, anger and jealousy. And when I say lies, I mean LIES.

The Lie of Just a Day

Suddenly, seeing the accomplishments or good times of someone else is determining my character? No. The very idea of that being the logical succession of actions is laughable. And it's not that you are actively comparing yourself to other people. You are just thinking, "That looks fun!" "Wow, I wish I could go there!" "How did she make that?" "That is so cool!" These lies don't come from you, that's why you don't notice them slither into your soul. They are suggested to you, and unless you recognize what is happening, you will start to believe them.

3-month-old-laying-in-mommy's-bed-like-most-mornings when it is just a day

‘Just a Day’s have been around for Forever

I have found that one of the best ways to combat the lies that so frequently affront us, is with truth. So, today, I hope to impart some truth about the lie of Just a Day. It is not JUST a Day

My childhood was full of days that many would qualify as Just a Day and I feel like I had one of the most incredible childhoods. My mother was amazing. She cared for us, let us explore, took us on adventures... but the most important thing, was that she loved us. She didn't have Pinterest to plan the perfect toddler craft. She didn't have Facebook to show her the latest recipes to make our meals look like farm animals. She didn't have YouTube to show us kid friendly videos.

And some days, I was downright bored. I would follow my mom around the house like a grumpy slug and complain of my boredom. I'm sure mothers of older children have heard the song. "Mom, I'm so bored!"

Sometimes she would just respond, "I'm sorry." And then we would be forced to try and fix our own problems, which is the last thing we wanted to do.

Other times she would try and give us ideas and we would always have an excuse to hurl right back at her. "No, that's too messy. It's too cold outside. I don't want to do that." But, if we were bored long enough on one of those, "Just a Day"s we would come up with something awesome and that is what we remembered forever.

What we did on the Days that were Just a Day

• We used to go out on the trampoline and use the added time in the air to perfect our Mighty Morphin Power Ranger Moves.
• If we had to do our chores, but didn't want to, we would make our stuffed monkeys do them for us.
• Once I convinced my siblings that it would be a good idea to run away with sleeping bags filled to the brim. We made it to the front porch and my dad found us around 3 in the morning when he went to let the cat out. My sister started laughing and we were caught!
• We made clothes for our dolls.
• We created food in the kitchen and to my poor mother's dismay, left the mess for her to clean up.
• We made a disgusting looking bologna casserole for a game show on TV. We were not selected.
• We played in a canal outside my grandmas house and my sister and cousin told me that a dead dog floating down the canal touched them... I still don't know if I believe that.
• We slid down the stairs in our sleeping bags.
• We paid my brothers one penny every couple of hours for them to pull us around the house in sleeping bags.
• We played princesses.
• We played barbies with the barbie house my Grandpa made for us... until once we opened the roof and a whole colony of earwigs was discovered.
• We stayed home while my parents went on a date night and cowered in the basement under a bed once because my brother accidentally admitted to someone on the phone that our parents were not home, so surely they were coming to break in or kidnap us.
• During a thunderstorm we went into our empty living room with blankets and would hide under them every time the thunder rumbled.
• We decided to race down the neighborhood on our scooters and bikes after dark and I broke my arm.
• We played outside in the sandbox and tried to build bridges.
• We made friends with the neighbor kids.
• We tried to invent things.
• We created mazes for our hamsters.
• We made cards, scrapbooked, and tried to figure out ways to fly.

just-a-day-when-toddler-girl-is-pajamas-and-eating-candy
Scripture-for-most-days-will-be-just-a-day

Why Just a Day is AMAZING!

I hope you realize that no day is Just a Day, in the sense that every day matters. Every day is significant. Even though you may not see it now, there is something incredible about the days that are Just a Day. Not every day is going to be spectacular. Even if you spend the whole day lying on the couch, depressed or you just let your kids watch TV all day or your house is still a mess; the day was not wasted. That day was just a small note in a symphony that is shaping who you are. If every day was momentous, no day would ever feel special and we would become exhausted.

One of my favorite scriptures is "And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength... therefore, all things must be done in order." - Mosiah 4:27

I don't need to have a playdate every day. There is no need to have an immaculate house every day. If I neglect cooking for a day, no one is going to starve. I could do absolutely nothing noteworthy or "post-worthy" and my 'just a day' would still be amazing! I would still have a home. My husband would still loves me. My kids would still be happy and healthy.

Today is spectacular because my baby got some sleep or I called that friend I've been thinking about or I didn't get frustrated. Perhaps I actually wiped off the counter or I could have forced myself not to move because I've been sick and didn't want to overdo it. All of these are a great! My day is a success! Just a Day is the best day.

The One who Loves your ‘Just a Day’ the Most

I look at my kids and see their little accomplishments. My daughter throws her hands in the air and yells "I did it!" when she has accomplished something great. She put on her shoe! She put the papers on the floor! She ate the bite of oatmeal! She colored all by herself! She gave her brother a kiss! She put her baby in bed! She got the cap on the marker! Even though these seemingly insignificant achievements are irrelevant, I know better. She's learning independence. Her confidence is growing. She is expressing love and her happiness infects those around her. She brightens my day just by being herself. My baby girl is perfect just the way she is and I can't imagine condemning her because she didn't do anything that would seem incredible on social media.

I don't think our Father in Heaven ever condemns us for having a hard day. It seems impossible to me that he would look down at us and shake his head in disgust for not accomplishing as much as we would have liked. His expectations are different from our expectations. He loves us more than we love our children. He recognizes more than we do, just how much good we are accomplishing for those around us. If all we do all day is wipe the boogers off of our sick child's nose, he probably metaphorically shouts, "you did it!" But even more significant, I think he is eternally grateful for the service that we rendered that child.

just-a-day-where-my-toddler-is-playing-with-kitchen-measuring-tools

And those who Love your ‘Just a Day’ who you will never know

"Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." - Matthew 25:37-40

You will never know how much you have helped someone just by living your 'Just a Day'. I can't count the number of times I have received a text, gotten a phone call, someone stopped by or said just the right thing that helped heal my soul. Most of these people don't know how deeply I needed them. And I guarantee that Heavenly Father was so grateful to His other children for helping me to feel loved even though they may have felt like they were having just another day'.

Don't ever feel bad about your "Just a Day". Your "Just a Day" could have been someone else's life changing answer to their prayers. Your life is never insignificant to Him and it will never be insignificant to those you are helping along the way.

If you would like to read about one of my ‘Just a Night’s click below:

Family Fun at the Farm & Mom Fail – Simple Outings are Easier than Complicated Ones

Why I decided on Family Fun at the Farm

Family fun at the farm wasn't something super planned, we just wanted to go and do something after a long winter. It finally warmed up enough to go and spend the day outside. Even though both of the kids had a bit of a cold, the three month long sick stay at our personal Residence Inn was getting tiresome. But what should we do?

One of the best things I have learned is it is best to just go somewhere. Get out of the house. Go do something. Even if you don't have anything planned, something is bound to happen and because when you do something out of the norm, it creates an experience.

Putting off the Milk

We left right after Grayson woke up from his nap. He had had a bottle a couple of hours ago, so I thought he would be fine until we got to the farm.

We drove up there and met my friend and my daughter’s future husband (if all goes according to plan…) to walk around the farm. Because family fun at the farm can be even MORE fun with someone else having family fun at the farm. Plus, they can also help with crowd control, because when one kid runs off, you have another adult keeping an eye on them. Thank goodness for great friends!

toddler girl running across the field after her boyfriend starting out the family fun at the farm
cold toddler for family fun at the farm

Mama’s Mistake

So, in the middle of February, this mama foolishly didn’t bring jackets because it was ‘so warm’. It was NOT so warm. It was tolerable by our house but when we arrived to the open plains of the farmlands, it was now a little chilly.

I didn’t bring many blankets (just one for the shade and my daughter’s blankie), didn’t bring jackets and we were all wearing short sleeve shirts. Smart.

Cows

First we visited the cows. It wasn’t long before Siena was yelling, “cow! Cow!”

“It is a cow!”

“Mooo! Moooo!”

This conversation happened about 4 times in a row. And as a sidenote, last summer we went to the farm and every time we approached an animal bigger than a chicken she started sobbing and trying to climb around me to hide from the cows, sheep, goats or horses.

When we were standing by the cows, Grayson was suddenly not happy anymore. I realized he still hadn’t eaten, so I shook up a bottle and fed it to him. He guzzled it down, but slowly. As he was eating, we wandered to the sheep, with me awkwardly holding the bottle up for him to eat.

toddler looking through bars at a cow during family fun at the farm
toddler girl and her cows to start off the adventure of family fun at the farm
toddler girl looking through bars at a farm at sheep
toddler looking at a sheep through bars in a farm as part of the family fun at the farm

Sheep

We made it to the sheep and Siena insisted on screaming, “Baaaa” at all of them and then was confused when the sheep ran away from her.

Then, Grayson started fidgeting. He spit up all over himself and I tried to catch it with my spit-up rag. He probably had more coming, so I quickly got him out of his car seat and tried to burp him. Of course, this was the exact moment that the wind picked up and took his breath away. He screamed; I felt terrible.

I wrapped him in the blanket that I had brought, but that was not enough for him. It was still too much for his face that was exposed to the elements.

No more burps, no more spit up, just more sad baby. I put him back in his car seat and buckled him in, hoping the pacifier would do its job. It did not. I wrapped him in Siena’s blankie, without her seeing and covered his car seat with the bigger blanket. The sun was blinding and had to shade his eyes.

From then on I was consigned to constantly moving the stroller, or he would cry out in protest.

infant boy unhappy with bubbles out of mouth while his sister is having some family fun at the farm

Bunnies! & Chickens

Siena loved looking at the chickens and bunnies, especially the bunnies. She loves bunnies. She jumped up and down when she saw the bunnies and shouted, “bunny! Bunny! Bunny!” I rocked Grayson back and forth while trying to get the occasional picture of Siena.

toddler looking at chickens during family fun at the farm
toddler looking through chicken coup fence during family fun at the farm

Playground

Then she went to the playground and ran around with her “boyfriend”. I paced around the perimeter trying to sedate my angry child. This was especially difficult when Siena wanted to slide down the big slide and the only way to get her up there was ‘spot’ her as she climbed up the bars to get to it.

toddler girl sitting on wooden horse in playground after having some family fun at the farm
toddler girl on playground during family fun at the farm
toddler girl on spiderweb at playground during family fun at the farm
mom & toddler selfie, proof of family fun at the farm
toddler girl on playground spiderweb during family fun at the farm
toddler girl going down the slide after having some family fun at the farm

Picnic

After they were all done playing, Grayson had fallen asleep and we sat at the picnic tables to eat lunch.

After a couple of bites of Siena’s sandwich, the wind picked up again and my little toddler sat quivering on the bench.

“Do you want to eat in the car?” I asked her.

“Okay.”

toddler girl enjoying sandwich at picnic table after having family fun at the farm with all of the animals

Going Home

And that was the end of the farm trip. Just ninety minutes later, we were heading home.

I guess the family fun at the farm was still family fun. It didn’t matter that I had forgotten coats. We still had fun, my babies are both still alive and well and I got some pictures to remember our eventful trip. All in all, not bad. Mom fails don’t matter as much when you’re just trying to be One Helluva Homemaker.

If it's too cold outside and you're stuck inside, here are some fun ideas for things you can do inside that you probably already have on hand!

When Anger Blinded Me to My Toddler Who Kept Getting Out of Bed

The Frustration of Kids Getting Out of Bed

Why do you keep getting out of bed?! Don't you understand that if you don't go to sleep you're going to be grumpy all day tomorrow and then I'm going to be grumpy all day tomorrow and then you'll have to go to bed even earlier? I want to take this knowledge and insert it into my child's cranium with a thumb drive so they can process the consequences. And yet, every night I feel like I am waging the age old war of the toddler who keeps getting out of bed.

I don't have a solution per-se. Our methods work on and off. But, I do have a story for the moms or dads who want to rip their hair out because their baby doesn't treasure sleep the way that us adults do. Welcome to one of the countless nights that my 2 year old kept getting out of bed.

Calm before the Bed Time Storm

It was a quiet night. My husband and I were excited for some downtime and a break from work and caring for two sick kids. I had just managed to get both of the kids in bed and felt like I could finally relax after an exhausting day. We had just settled into the couch cushions when I heard the familiar turn of the knob from down the hall. Ugh... it was happening again.

Flashes in the Distance

My daughter stood in the hallway, waiting for mama or dada to come put her back in bed. This happened about three times in the evenings. Each time, we took away one of her toys that she likes to sleep with. The one that usually keeps her in bed is the threat to take away her baby if she gets out of bed again. This was the last threat before she finally stayed in her bed.

Thunder Rumbling

We stayed up later than usual and I didn't fall asleep until around 12:30 in the morning. At 2:00 am my 2 year old daughter walked into our room. "Mama? Dada?" I woke with a headache.

To my dismay, it looked like she had gone into my 4 month old son's room to let him join in on the fun. He was awake too. My husband was down for the count. I quickly put my daughter back in bed, after taking away her baby (as promised) and then fed my son.

It was 2:30 now. That was rough, but my bed was calling me. My eyes were just drooping enough to partially sedate me when I heard the door open again.

Lightning Strikes

I growled as I dragged myself out of bed, trudged down the hall and less calmly explained it was time for bed. After flinging some more animals out into the hall and listening to her scream as I walked back, I laid down on the couch this time, having some inkling of what I was in for.

Torrential Rain, Tornado Wind, Flooding Molten Lava

She kept getting out of bed again...and again..and again...and again! I wanted to cry. I wanted to swear. I wanted to strap her to the bed with a couple of tie downs. Instead, after about the 8th time of putting her back in bed, I towered over her and said loudly, "This is not okay. It is time for bed." It was the sternest voice I could muster without screaming the way I wanted to.

I stripped her bed of all toys, blankets and happiness and then stood outside of her bedroom door like a rabid dog about to attack the bunny rabbit inside. Anger flowed out of me like the never ending spit up of my infant son. Could she not see that her mama was at her wits end? Did the darkness mean nothing to her? If I broke down and started sobbing in front of her, would that make a difference?

I had let my anger get the better of me and suddenly I felt very childish. I was raging against a two year old. She had reduced me to her behavior. This had to stop. I had to regain control and act like an adult. But since I had no idea how to do that, I silently said a prayer that I would be able to let go of my anger.

Clouds Break

I listened intently at the door, still irritated but the blood boiling, all consuming rage had subsided. The furnace was blowing hot air throughout the house and I couldn't hear into her bedroom very well. Finally it stopped and I could hear deep breathing coming from the room through an extremely congested nose. I considered leaving her there, but I couldn't bear the thought of her sleeping the rest of the night (what little was left of it) without a blanket. As angry as I was, I couldn't shake the thought of a shivering, little girl in her room.

My daughter did have jammies on that night. This is a picture of her a different day but still sick.
I cracked the door open. It woke her up immediately. She sat up, looking sad. I grabbed some blankets from the closet and put them on top of her. "Thank you for staying in your bed," I said.

She tried to snuff her nose but it was still very congested.

"I'm going to go get you some medicine."

Tears of gratitude and in a tone that expressed that I finally understood what she wanted, she said, "Okay."
 

Sun comes Out

I wanted to cry now. My little girl was just sick and needed help feeling better and that was why she kept getting out of bed. And in my anger, I couldn't see it. All I could see was how angry I was that I still wasn't asleep, that my husband was still asleep and that I was traipsing around the house in less clothes than I would have liked, trying to deal with my misbehaving child.

But if I had just taken the time at the beginning to ask her why she had gotten up in the first place, I could have saved myself 2 1/2 hours! That's right, it was now 4:30. I got her some Ibuprofen and her bunny and her favorite blanket.

After she got her medicine, she immediately laid back in her bed. I gave her her bunny and blanket. "Baby? Baby?" she asked.

"No. You still got out of bed and so we can't have the baby. But when you wake up in the morning, you can have your baby."

"Okay."

Warm Breeze

I kissed her goodnight and finally laid back in my bed. This time, I knew she wouldn't be getting out of her bed. And I could finally rest my eyes without waiting for her to get up. I was right. I slept all the way until 6:30 when my son woke up, ready to eat again.

While my night actually had some legitimate reasons behind the nighttime wakings, there have been plenty of nights that were just frustrating until I finally 'fell asleep' with adrenaline still flowing through my veins.

We’ve all been there.

Mamas, dadas, we've all been there. And if you haven't, just wait. And for those of you who feel like you are all alone because you don't know anyone else who has gone through this, you can know that this mama has.

If you want to read about someone else's miserable night of trying to keep their kid in bed, click below:

My Baby's Heartbeat Bear Blog