Showing posts with label Motherhood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Motherhood. Show all posts

September 26, 2017

When You're Letting Go of a Piece of Your Heart {Motherhood}

I opened the white, front door of our family home and stepped outside. Cold morning air hit my face and I remembered that it's not summer anymore. September is here with a hint of fall and changes with it. Down the stairs and a few steps onto the street, I was trying to remember the shopping list that was his first school year's necessities. Lunch box, sneakers, uniform, light jacket, and snacks. I reached for the handle of the car door and reminded myself that I wasn't going to cry when I will be dropping him off in a few days. I will smile, wish him a good day and tell him that I will be back soon. I won't make it a huge deal and inflate this out of proportion but at the same time, I will make this milestone a little bit special. I reminded myself to add another thing to the list and drove off.
My big boy, my first born baby is going to school, pre-k to be exact. To some it may be just another trip down the road but for me it was an end of an era. It's the beginning of the end of innocence, carefree childhood and flexible bedtimes in the middle of the week. It is what so many mothers experience this time of year. 
It's a time to embrace the new and remember the old. 
It's a time to give yourself a pat on the back that you've made it so far but to roll up your sleeves and get to work on their homework. 
It's a time to clean out their room and help them settle in their dorm room, while leaving a twenty dollar bill under the rug for a rainy day. 
It's a time to give yourself a break when your last one boards the bus and waves you good bye, leaving you home alone not sure what to do with yourself.
It's a time to give yourself permission to have a good cry and watch a sappy chick flick in the middle of the day, then throw some pizza in the oven and call everyone for dinner. 
It's a time to make homemade cookies when they come back from their first day. 
It's a time to settle down and buckle up, to face the reality of your kids' abilities and push them harder to reach for more. 
It's a time to let go of the extra curricular activities that break up your family time, make your head spin and your hands reach for fast food more times then you should.
It's a time to plan family meals and listen to their conversations.
It's a time to invite the Lord into your morning devotions with your kids before they board the bus.
It's a time to encourage them and uplift them
It's a time to pray for them while they're away 
It's a huge change that brings painful and joyous moments with enormous challenges.
It's an adjustment of routines, bedtimes, shopping lists and budgets. 
It's an expansion of our hearts to find the space and strength to forgive those who will hurt our babies, those who won't understand them and those who will reject them. 
It's an appreciation of those who take the extra time and put extra effort in their success because let's face it, we can't do it alone. 
When you are letting go of a piece of your heart, let God take over. Trust Him to take you through this uncharted territory of firsts - first unaided written letter, first A for enormous effort, first totally failed exam, first oppositional college professor and even first love.
As moms we go through a lot and we all go through similar situations. We all need each other to learn from, to share with and to uplift. It's a tough job and we shouldn't be going at it solo. Find friends who will encourage you, who have gone through similar situations and those who will uplift you in their prayers.
Mama, you are strong, persevering, tough,  unbreakable and courageous. One who wants her child to not just follow the rules, but follow God Himself.
Let me take your hand. And stand with you.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

June 26, 2017

5 Things My Kids Taught Me About Life

Her Boots (also love these) //  His Boots (he still wants another pair)

When I had my first boy, Jonathan, life changed. Dramatically. Everything from what time we went to bed to what was on TV changed. I was determined to be the best mother - to teach them, mold them and guide them where to go. But one of the things I didn't expect is to learn something from those little people that we brought into this world. So here are 5 things I've learned from my kids

1. Be In The Moment. How many times we are too preoccupied with life or stuff to just enjoy simple life's pleasures. Like Rain. I mean, seriously. When it rains, my kids get excited because they get to go splash in the puddles and carry their umbrellas. They forget that it's wet and dirty, they just enjoy the splashing and stomping into giant puddles, getting wet and dirty. Life is full of moments that are enjoyable and it's up to see to see them.

2. Enjoy The Small Things. Getting rain boots in the mail was the highlight of their week. From picking them out to seeing UPS truck pull up to our house, everything was so fun. Then getting to go and explore outside right after the rain, it was simply joyous occasion. They were happy with the little things like rain boots and puddles.

3. Get Carried Away. As adults we like to rationalize things and put a limit onto how much is a reasonable amount of fun. Even I get myself caught saying, "that's enough now", but why? There should never be enough laughter, fun and joy. Kids don't think that at some point they had enough laughing and playing. They would rather crash on the floor while playing, then go to bed. Getting carried away with things you enjoy is the best you can do with your life.

4. Let Others Join The Fun. My kids always ask me to come and play, or go climb trees or jump puddles with them. They never hesitate inviting our neighbors to pool parties or to our backyard to play. They simply want to spread the joy around them. They don't think that this person isn't good enough or they don't fit some social standard - they love people for who they are. Bring others into your life and see what surprising treasure you may find in those relationships. Maybe it requires you to step out of your comfort zone, give someone a call or invite them into your home. You will never be sorry for doing more, but you may regret not doing enough.

5. Look For Extraordinary in Mundane. The day we went outside for a walk around the neighborhood, was a rainy, gloomy, windy and cold day in the middle of June. We were stuck inside all morning, kids wanted to go play but it was raining non stop. The moment it stopped we hopped outside for a quick walk. Half way through it started to rain again. There was nothing really exciting going, but we just made do with what we had. They enjoyed themselves in the small window of gloomy and boring. Life is what you make it out to be. You can be in the most picturesque place in the world and not see it, yet someone can be in the dead of winter and recognize beauty of it all. 

So today, try to be a kids again, and you will see how much more joy you will find in your life! 
Thanks for stopping by.

April 26, 2017

Toddler Activity {Making Rain}

Hello there! Having two children at home all the time, gets them a little bored. This passed winter was so long and cold that we were looking for ideas on how to stay busy and not to loose our minds. My son Jonathan is 4 years old and loves all hands on activities. He loves cooking with me, mixing things and see what comes out. On a particularly rainy and cold day, I was looking for something to keep him occupied and found this cute idea on Pinterest, Honestly, I can't even find the link of the original blog post. But whoever you are, I give you credit for being so creative and finding a way to use common household things for such a fun experiment, We learning about rain and how it works because I'm sure God does have fun when it rains. So, I hope you enjoy making this fun experiment with your little ones over and over again, because we sure do. 

Things You Need
- Shaving Cream
- Large Glass Vase/Jar
- Colored Water
- Ramekins
- Syringe

How To
Pour water into a clear glass jar and leave room on top for shaving cream, about 3 inches. Mix colors of your choice with water and make sure it's really concentrated. It will become much  more pale when mixed with shaving cream and more water. Fill the rest of the vase/jar with shaving cream and set it up on a table. Fill the syringe with color of your choice and sprinkle all over the top of the shaving cream. Do not put it all in one spot, you will end up with cloudy mess instead of pretty drops. Keep going alternating colors and watch the colored water fall to the bottom of the vase/jar. After a while Jonathan got bored of the 'right' way of doing it and made cloudy with spraying syringe directly into one spot. After a while water was dark and cloudy and we started all over again. Enjoy! 

Thanks for stopping by!

November 12, 2015

Holiday Perfection {Motherhood Challenges}

With the upcoming holidays, social media tends to draw pictures of perfection. More like tiny flawless snapshots in time for all to see. What we don't see is the hours (or even days) of preparations, stressful photoshoots, sleepless nights, marital quarrels and misbehaving children. We only see a small part of someone's perfectly staged photos (mine included) and think that this is reality. Absolutely not.

November 4, 2015

7 Things You Can Do Now to Get Ready for Christmas

Christmas is coming! The more we plan for the expenses that occur during December, I believe the more we can truly enjoy the season. Here are ten things you can do in the next few weeks to ensure your Christmas is restful, enjoyable and frugal!
1. Determine what type of Christmas you want this year. This will help you make every other decision as you prepare for the season — both how you budget your money and how you spend your time.

September 22, 2015

Body Image {Motherhood Challenges Series}

Becoming a mother is an earth shattering experience. If you haven't been through it, there really is no way to explain it. Honestly. Besides having the precious little bundle of joy and the excitement of being a mother, there are a lot of things a woman goes through. 

After growing this gorgeous belly and having everyone admire your body's ability to house a human, all of a sudden you are empty. You have nothing but flab skin and stretch marks, your hair is falling out and your breasts are leaking milk. What has happened, you may ask yourself? Where am I in all this? Who's this tired and frazzled woman starring at me in the mirror?

All those things are normal and part of the deal.

After having my first baby, I was super upset and almost hated the way my body looked. I gained too much weight and on top of that, had a C-section which made healing that much more painful physically and emotionally. There were stretch marks and lots of silent tears in the shower. I did not appreciate what my body has done and wanted my old self back. Desperately.

It took time and lots of patience to feel like myself again.

This time around, I took care of myself and was kind to my body all throughout my pregnancy. I ate healthy, exercised and didn't gain above what I should. But I still have loose skin and a flabby belly which will take time to disappear. And even though I look better, it's my attitude and thoughts that changed. 

I appreciate my body's ability to grow a human being.  I marvel at the fact that I was able to give birth naturally and the incredible feeling that it gave me. 

I love my curves and that soft belly that once held my precious little girl. I enjoy the fact that my ankles are back and don't look like elephant feet anymore (ha!). I love being able to breastfeed my child and laugh every time I get a let down. 

I know that it takes time to lose the baby weight but I'm not in a hurry. I'm enjoying this season of life because I know it goes by way too fast.

Honestly, having a positive body image is not about size or number on the scale, it's about feeling comfortable in your own skin. I'm happy with the way my body looks right now and what it has accomplished. I know I'm not perfect, and never want to be. Those curves remind me that this body brought two amazing individuals into the world and that's something to be celebrated (with a giant piece of cake;-).

August 28, 2015

10 Postpartum Essentials {Motherhood}

Between getting the nursery ready and thinking of baby names, who knew that the nine months could fly by so fast. Of course, you have all the basics (and more) covered for the baby but who knew that there was so much more involved in your own postpartum care. Here are my top ten items that I couldn't live without right now. Hope it helps some of you new moms in search for things to stock up before you give birth. Trust me, you do not want to make a Target run on the way from the hospital.

Nursing Tanks & Bras- I've tried couple different brands and by far these are my favorite. I always size up and buy few of the same color so it's easier to wash them. There will be plenty of leakage and you will change them very often, so get a few.
For the times when you will actually want to feel like a human being and leave the house, you will need a little more support than a tank. For easy access you still want to wear your nursing undergarments but the ones that have a little lace and look sexy.

Nipple Cream - When the breastfeeding starts, it's uncomfortable at the very least and very painful at most. Yes, nursing isn't supposed to hurt (after a while) but those first few days are rough. All of a sudden someone is abusing your most sensitive parts every few hours. Having something to soothe the pain (see below) and keeping nipples from cracking is important.

Gel Pads - These pads are  life savers! I used them non stop for first few days and wish I knew about them with my first baby. They are a little on a pricey side but well worth it. I didn't have to buy any because the hospital gave me two pairs and I only used one.

Nursing Pads - Once your milk comes in, there is no tell when and how often you may leak milk. Sometimes it happens when you start to hear your baby cry, other times the let down may happen at the most random times. To protect yourself from embarrassment and having to change your clothes all the time, place these pads inside your tank or bra.

Soft Undies - Postpartum pain is something nobody talks about. From the crazy uterine contractions (that help to shrink your tummy but hurt like nobody's business) to the sensitive bottom, you will want nothing to do with your lacy undies. Comfort is the key! I get a few of the cheaper underwear (just in case of leakage) and size up for comfort.

Shapewear - Although it's not time to start dieting and worrying, it's never to early to start caring for your tummy. The shapewear provides not only definition to your waist but also helps with all the loose muscle jiggle. Especially if you end up with C-section, tummy support is a must as it will help you move around. Even with natural birth, I love the support it give my stomach and although I don't wear it all the time, it's nice to have it on hand. Although I would recommend wearing regular SPANX if you have a lot of weight to loose or lots of loose muscle at all times. It definitely helps move things along in getting into shape.

Nursing Pillow - Whether you are a first time mom or a seasoned veteran, the nursing pillow helps relieve pressure of your back from holding the baby and helps with support. I use my body pillow from pregnancy as a boppy (it has a similar shape) but if you didn't get one while you were pregnant, this is a great things to own. Nursing can be a little difficult at first so having to put baby somewhere while you re-position yourself or rest your elbow while you're nursing is a must!

Fenugreek - just in case your milk supply doesn't take off or it starts going down, it's nice to have breastfeeding essentials on hand. Some of the recommendations for boosting milk supply are oatmeal (in any form), fenugreek, mother's milk tea, blessed thistle, drinking plenty of water and rest. By far, fenugreek is the most effective way to boost milk supply in my opinion.

Essential Oils - I have a witch hazel and essential oil blend that has been helping me tremendously. With lots of sensitivity down there and possible perineal tears, it's important to have the tools on hand to heal scars and bleeding faster. I found that essential oils are a lot safer that over the counter prescription in a lot of cases and therefore won't hurt to have something ready just in case.

If you have any more questions about delivery (natural or C-section), postpartum recovery or nursing, please feel free to contact me at I'm not a pro but have learned my fair share after having two babies.

Check out my Instagram for a chance to win a gift card to AMAZON.

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July 14, 2015

Attitude of Gratitude {Motherhood Challenges Series}

Lately, I've been counting my blessings. Twice.

There is nothing really major going on in our life, or any health scares that would make me appreciate life that much more. I just think it's part of growing up.

Hubby and I spent our anniversary weekend staying in, cooking, relaxing and spending time together (while Jonathan was visiting the grandparents). We didn't go out to any fancy restaurants or did any extra curricular activities, but simply relaxed  without the toddler running around (read: pure bliss). I think out of all the times that we did plan to 'do things' last weekend was the most memorable. It made me realize how blessed I am.

That is one thing I struggle with, especially when I start comparing my life with other's. Comparison truly is a killer of all joy! There are many things I can complain about, and find negative in my life, especially when you look at social media staged perfection. But when I look closer, when I actually see how many things I'm blessed with, my heart overflows with gratitude.

I'm beyond thankful for a supportive and caring husband, who cares so much for his family. I'm blessed with a man who understands that time doesn't stand still, life is short and family is the most important.

I'm so thankful for the privilege of being a stay at home mom. It fills me with gratitude knowing that we are taken care of, and I don't have to work to support our family. Knowing that my husband takes care of us so that I can take care of our home, be there for our babies and spend time doing what I love is beyond humbling.

I'm thankful for healthy and happy babies and the ability to carry them myself. Seeing so many women struggle with infertility or raising special needs kids breaks my heart. Besides the aches and the pains, the swollen ankles and weight gain, it's the most amazing thing that happens in a woman's body.

I'm so thankful for having my family close by, and the ability to have babysitters. As much as Jonathan gets spoiled (read: a lot) whenever he visits his grandparents, I'm so grateful for the memories he's making with them. My heart melts seeing him follow his grandpa and the special bond they share and when he's playing with his cousin, having the most fun of all.

Gratitude really is a change of perspective and all depends on how you look at things.

When I start feeling sorry for myself that it's hot and my ankles are swollen at the end of the day, or that I have to clean up the house for the nth time, or that laundry never (ever) ends I think of my grandmother. A woman, who carried seven children while living on a farm with cows, pigs, chickens and the whole shebang, also had acres of land for crops and daily cooking, cleaning and laundry all the while living with her critical mother-in-law. She worked from sunrise (sometimes even before) until midnight without taking a break and without slowing down. At that moment, my little pity party starts to look silly and I know I have nothing to complain about.

Slowing down and changing the outlook on life, as well as counting how much we have instead of what we don't have brings such a change, It helps see things in a whole different light giving us an attitude of gratitude.

June 10, 2015

5 Ways To Help a New Mom {Motherhood}

After having Jonathan, I understood first hand what it means to be a first time mom. I struggled with no sleep, lack of personal time, feeling overwhelmed and constantly tired. I also, became more understanding of what other mothers of newborns go through. As a matter of fact, I became aware of how much we don't do to help mothers of newborns.
It's sad but our culture as a whole does not support and help new mothers at all. For example, by Russian tradition, the entire family gathers and comes over to the newborn's house, usually for dinner. They bring gifts but expect to be fed first class food and  leave without offering clean up (or any other help). I've been there myself - I visited other people's homes when the new mother just came home from the hospital with a simple outfit in tow. I didn't understand how exhausting it is to entertain when you have a newborn on hands (and possibly a few older siblings). From now on, here are the rules I practice.

1. Bring Food (not flowers). 
When visiting a new mother with her baby, think about what she might need at that point. She doesn't need another thing to worry about, like flowers but she will definitely appreciate food she didn't have to make. Think nutritious and healthy, something she can eat while breastfeeding and can easily reheat later. Of course, if you want to splurge on a restaurant quality gourmet meal, by all means. But even bringing a platter of pre-cut fresh fruit will brighten her day. Making things yourself will put you on her 'awesome friend' list because it shows that you really care. 

2. Ask When You Can Visit. 
Don't just barge in whenever you feel like it or have time. Even at the hospital, there are visiting hours (thank God) to ensure that mother will get the necessary rest she needs. Giving birth and caring for a newborn is exhausting enough, so don't be a nuisance. If the new mother doesn't want to offend you by saying that she doesn't want to see anyone, just tell her straight up that you wouldn't be upset in either case. It's comforting to know we have those people in our lives who will understand. 

3. Offer Help (and do it)
Instead of waiting to be served and sitting around, offer to help the new mom. She may be reluctant to say 'yes' but if you are serious, she may take you up on it. Wash the dishes, take out the garbage or run an errand. It doesn't have to be a whole day thing but every little bit helps, You can offer her to watch the baby while she takes a nap (which I'm sure she desperately needs). 

4. Drop Off Goodies
Some moms are not up for seeing people for a while but you still want to help. She may not want you to come inside her house (it's a disaster let's be honest) but she would appreciate a box of fresh bagels and fruit first thing in the morning. Drop it off at the front door and tell her to go get it, while you sneak out unnoticed. She will be eternally grateful and will not forget the act of kindness. 

5. Offer to Babysit Older Siblings
If it is a second or third (or forth) child, chances are she is as tired as ever. Now there are multiple mouths to feed and a new baby who requires all her attention. Offer to take the older child(ren) for a day so she can relax and bond with the the newborn. Make sure to ask her if she has any rules about places you can take the oldest to and food preferences. You can have fun and spoil them but she doesn't want sugar high maniac(s) to return home. 

Some of these acts are more involved and depend on how much you know the family. But anyone can pick up some food and drop it off without knocking. Life as a new mom is quite difficult. that's why we all need to help each other to get through the adjustment time. The world will be brighter and life more pleasant when we spread more kindness around. 

Photo Credit: Kate McCoy Photography

May 13, 2015

Family Vaca Recap

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that we were taking a family vacation. It was the first time we took Jonathan with us while going away from home. He had the time of his life. From (super nice) family relatives with stayed with to the daily activities, all attention was on him. We visited the local zoo, took walks in the park, went to the beach, ate at cool local restaurants and visited the coolest aquarium I ever saw. It was nice to get away and do things as  a family. Although hubby and I didn't get a chance to get away just the two of us, we enjoyed our selves very much. The roughest part was driving for sixteen hours straight. We had a few bumps along the way - one of which was me falling on and bruising/scuffing my knee. I'm doing ok but the knee will take some time to heal, making me not a very good candidate for fashion posts. Ha! Thank you for stopping by. 

May 8, 2015

Mother's Day Inspiration {Anna :: Happy Medley}

Happy Friday! I thought that the ladies did a great job with their posts this week and I hope you check out their blogs. I'm always interested in how other women balance motherhood and other responsibilities in life. I admire their ability to stay true to who they are and not loose identity after they had children. Here are couple of my thoughts on motherhood and my role as one.

Introduce yourself and describe your motherhood situation I'm a stay-at-home mom to a toddler with another on the way. My husband and I waited a few years (5 to be exact) to start a family but now we can't imagine our life without that energetic and funny boy. We are expecting a girl this summer and I think it will be an interesting adjustment!

What does motherhood mean to you? Before I became a mother, motherhood meant lots of sacrifice and little reward. I didn't know how much joy motherhood brings and in what awesome way it would change my life. I think motherhood is complete and unconditional love to your child. It's patience when you are at the whits end and constant care to the person who can give nothing back except an innocent smile. 

What's your favorite part about being a mother? My favorite part is witnessing the changes that come with growth of a child. To see him hit those milestone, change and become a fully functioning member of our family is so much fun. Oh and the things he says are pure comedy! 

What is the hardest part about motherhood? Seeing my child hurt and not being able to take away that hurt. Also, knowing how evil and dark the world can be and that I will have to let him go one day.

What is your number one goal for your children? I want them to know God and have a relationship with Him. When the religion is being squished and pushed out of our society, I want my children to know the God I know and that He loves them. 

Is there anything else you would like to add? A lot of times, we as mothers put so much guilt on ourselves (partially from too much social media filtering) thinking we aren't doing enough. I know that we all have pressures of life and doing our best. My advice to mothers and myself is to be yourself, do your best and it will be enough!

Thank you so much for reading and Happy Mother's Day lovelies!
You are doing an amazing job and enjoy your day!