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

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!
PLAN
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 happymedley@gmail.com. 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!

May 7, 2015

Mother's Day Inspirations {Lulu :: Simply Lulu Style}


Today I have Lulu of Simply Lulu Style who has impeccable sense of style and some of the cutest shoes a girl would want. I love following her on Insta to see her everyday style because that's when mamas need inspiration the most. She has two adorable kids and shared her infertility story on the blog, which touched my heart totally made me cry. I'm so happy for her that her prayers have been answered and she now posses the title of a mother. Take it away girl!



Hi there!  My name is Lulu and I blog over at Simply Lulu Style.  Anna was so kind to reach out to me to be apart of her Meaning of Motherhood blog series and I was thrilled to participate.  Wow what a topic though right?  I think I could write an entire book on the subject... but I won't! :)  Ever since I could remember I wanted to be a mother.  However it there was always something nagging inside that wondered - would I be able to?  Sometimes I just have a funny sense about things.  Indeed my husband and I struggled, (you can read more about there HERE), but we are so blessed to have 2 kiddos we affectionately call the nuggets.  Jack and Ella are twins born in 2008 and are the sweetest, funniest, adorable kids (I'm a little biased).  

Motherhood has been much harder than I expected and not really because of having twins.  It's the second guessing, the I'm not sure what to do, the NO ONE TEACHES YOU THIS!  At first it was all these things were riduculous to handle.  Add to this my nuggets had terrible reflux.  And by terrible I mean the babies were screaming and crying for hours and hours.  Side note: It's SO important to find a good pediatrician who will listen to you.  We did not.  Finally we found help, got medicine, and the nuggets were like new babies.  But during this process, of reflux, having twins... I was a new mom!  I had no idea what to do.  But the Lord gives you a mother's instinct for a reason and trust me it's there.  I had everyone and anyone giving me advice.  Everything from how to feed them, how to burp them, how to put them to sleep, but inside I began to get a good sense.  A grew, I learned, I read and developed my own strength and intuition as a mom.  

At the end of the day mothering is about 2 simple (but not so simple) things: love and discipline.  Love first, then discipline.  Don't get me wrong, I'm strict, very strict.  But my nuggets always know I love them no matter what.  I pray... a lot.  I pray that God watches over them, protects them (heart, soul, mind, body).  I pray that they the love God, love others, love each other.  I pray that they are best friend (and they are).  I pray, pray, pray.

I pray to remember the little times with my little family.  Last night we were just getting the nuggets ready for bed, showers, jammies, Ella wanted me to paint her nails, you know, the regular stuff :).  Afterward we were all hanging out in our room.  Ella was coloring, Jack was playing a game with Daddy, I was folding clothes.  It was just a normal night, nothing special, but to see them so sweet in the moment was somethingI wanted to remember.  I'm still really learning to live in the moment.  But I think motherhood is a lot about that.  It's about love, discipline, and living in the moment.  

I hope you stop by Simply Lulu to see more of my nuggets and get inspired by some mom, but not-so-mom, style.  Happy Mother's Day!


May 6, 2015

Mother's Day Inspiration {Irina :: Bond Girl Glam}



Hello there! Today we have Irina of Bond Girl Glam is giving us hew take on the meaning of motherhood. She is a beauty and has Bond girl flare (hence the name of her blog). I love her new motherhood role and how magnificent she is at it. Her baby girl is beyond adorable and I love seeing her outfit photos on her blog. Plus her birthing experience is so close to mine, I feel like on some level we connected over that. Take it away girl!


Introduce yourself and describe your motherhood situation.
I’m a first-time mom to a baby girl named Vienna.  My husband and I will be celebrating our 5th anniversary in a couple days, so we waited almost 5 years to have our first baby; it felt like the perfect amount of time to have to ourselves, and now we can’t imagine life any other way. I have been exclusively breastfeeding since the beginning (about 5 months), and I can’t wait to introduce solids in the next month.  We hope to have at least 2 children eventually.

What does motherhood mean to you?  Motherhood to me means guiding a little person so that they can learn to guide themselves and help others.  It also means forever being a source of love and comfort for that little person.

What's your favorite part about being a mother?  My favorite part of being a mother is watching all the little milestones happen in front of my eyes.

What is the hardest part of being a mom? I dislike how fast everything passes, but it also makes me try to live in the moment.

What is your number one goal for your children?  I hope my children remember their childhood with absolute fondness.  I hope they learn to feel confident, be infinitely curious, and feel incredibly grateful for everything that comes their way.

Is there anything else you would like to add?  You are enough and are doing enough, mama!


Thank you so much for stopping by! 

P.S. Check out my feature on Elegance and Mommyhood. 

May 5, 2015

Mother's Day Inspirations {Kimberly :: Penny Pincher Fashion}

Hello my lovely readers! I have been thinking a lot about motherhood and how it changed my life forever. I have asked a few of my favorite style bloggers (who are mothers too) to participate in a series discussing their take on motherhood. 
The first guest post is by Kimberly from Penny Pincher Fashion. I have been a fan of her blog for a long time now. She has a timeless sense of style and her polished outfits get me every time. Kim is also a wife, mother to two adorable kids (see below) and a business woman. She does a great job at balancing it all. Here is her take on the meaning of motherhood.





Introduce yourself and describe your motherhood situation
I'm a full-time blogger/stay-at-home mom.  I have been married for 15 years & we have two children - my daughter is 11 (going on 16) and my son is 7.

What does motherhood mean to you?
Being a mother is one of the hardest jobs in the world.  It brings both abundant joy & endless fatigue.  It is sacrificial love that means putting your children's needs first.  It is being a protector, defender, provider, teacher and disciplinarian.  It is a role that is full of challenges, but also rich with blessings.  No matter what other responsibilities I have, being a mom comes first.

What's your favorite part about being a mother?
Seeing their personalities evolve - it's amazing how completely different my two are from one another.  My daughter is outgoing & talkative while my son is more quiet & reserved.  It's so fun to watch them develop their own sense of humor, to see the things they are beginning to take an interest in & to hear how they interpret the world around them.

What is the hardest part of being a mom?
Watching my kids struggle.  My son was diagnosed with Tourette's last year and seeing him battle it has been one of the hardest things for me as a parent.  I wish with all my heart that I could just take it away from him, but I know that he is becoming a stronger person because of it and that it is making him more compassionate towards others who have similar conditions.

What is your number one goal for your children?


To have self-confidence, to feel loved & to be kind.  I guess that's more than one thing!  :)





March 11, 2015

My Route to a Healthy Pregnancy


Once you are pregnant, every fiber of your being starts releasing mother-hen hormones and you want to do everything possible to protect that child. Having a healthy pregnancy is very important, regardless of age or any other factors, so I piled up a list of things I'm doing (or at least trying to do) to keep on top of the game. 

1. Drink Plenty of Fluids. I aim for 8-10 glasses of water a day, with no more than 2 glasses of juice. If I want something sweet and bubbly, I mix one can of seltzer with half a glass of cranberry juice. I'm also a very heavy tea drinker so I do  herbal and regular teas and may have up to 3 cups a day. If I want more tea hot but already had too many cups that day, I add 1 tablespoon of honey with a slice of lemon to hot water. Sometimes I forget to drink first thing in the morning and can tell how that negatively affects the rest of my day. Fluid intake is something very important and I do everything possible to make sure I'm always well hydrated. 

2. Exercise Regularly. We have been stricken with a bad cold for the last week so I haven't done much. But I'm planning to pick it back up as soon as I can breath without cough choking my chest. My exercise routine consists of 2 miles walk/jog  2 to 3 times a week on the treadmill. I have been keeping very constant with exercise but hoping that the good weather will let me go and enjoy the outdoors more. I hate being stuck in the garage looking at my husbands tools and wishing for the time to pass by faster. I know that once it warms up we will be taking walks and going to the park all the time. Also, I ordered the exercise ball which is supposed to be very good for pregnant women but have never tried it. We shall see how it works.

3. Get Some Rest. My first trimester fatigue was so bad that I had to take multiple naps during the day. Once second trimester hit, I felt much better but still like to lie down for a quick (or a long) nap every day (if I have time that is). I have never had any morning sickness so I guess fatigue and extreme tiredness will have to be my thing. I know that I can't complete the same tasks in the same amount of time so I have to schedule things and allow more time to getting ready and lounging in the morning. 

5. Take Prenatal Vitamins. I have been slacking on this end (I have to admit) and got sick. I know that when I don't give my body extra support it needs, I get weak and get sick. I don't take anything fancy or expensive vitamin support is very important to my health. Baby will take whatever he/she needs to thrive but I may be left with less than enough for myself. Taking prenatal vitamins is definitely important and something that shouldn't be taken lightly. 

6. Watch What You Eat. I have to say that this time around, I'm not giving myself any slack. My first pregnancy I would constantly make excuses why I wanted to (and could) eat anything and everything I wanted. This time around, I'm not allowing any extra and unneeded calories enter my body. Also, I do one carb-free, protein-rich meal a day. If I start a day with egg omelet with veggies and avocado, I will skip the bread. That way I can have the mash potatoes in the evening, or vice versa. Grains like quinoa,  buckwheat, rice and lentils are great for nutrition-packed meal yet they don't carry a heavy load of carbohydrates and sugar. I also limit my sugar intake to that only in the protein rich (like yogurt) or healthy (almonds and cranberries) snacks, and fruits. Don't get me wrong, I like a piece of pizza as much as the next gal, but I know that it's a treat and not an everyday occurrence. 

What are your tips to a healthy pregnancy? Have you tried the exercise ball? Do share! 

My Healthy Pregnancy Must Haves


Thank you for stopping by!
xo, Anna

January 15, 2015

My Pregnancy Essentials




For comfort: I loved sleeping on my body nest pillow the last trimester. It's a MUST for all expecting mothers but there is no room for cuddling with hubs. It allowed me to get some sleep (between going to tinkle and trying to get comfortable there goes the night)



For skin care: I cannot live without this oil. I slather it on after every shower and even during the day when my hand feel dry. It goes on smoothly, doesn't have any smell that would get annoying after a while and is very thin in consistency. I also bought coconut oil but didn't use it as much as this. I go through 3 bottles during my pregnancy and swear it helps with getting rid of stretchmarks afterwards.


For health: it's so important to keep up on vitamins to have a healthy pregnancy. These vitamins are natural, food-based with no additives or colors. My husband did quite a bit of research before buying them for me. They are gentle on stomach and awesome for the baby.



For clothes: I bought myself maternity jeans/ that fit me like a glove. I love the new J.Crew line and bought myself a pair of shorts on sale for summer. We shall see how they work out but the Pea In The Pod maternity jeans worked great for me.  I know they might seem expensive at first but if it's your only pair you will wear them all the time. 


For shape: Whenever I start feeling like everything is just out of proportion and too big, SPANX are there to save my butt. Honestly, they support the belly, shape your body and allow you wear those pretty dresses and such. It's the dirty little secret no one talks about. 


For snack: When craving chocolate or something sweet, I eat a handful of these snacks. They are delicious, nutty and healthy, plus not too sweet. I love them and could eat the whole bag in one sitting but carry in  my purse for desperate times. 

Thank you for stopping by!
xo, Anna





December 19, 2014

Why We Don't Have an Elf on The Shelf



I may rain on your parade. You may not agree with me. This isn't about right or wrong but about what we chose to do as a family and why. You may even stop following me after this post but this is somethings that's been on my mind for a while. It has been bothering and eating me up and because I'm very opinionated and vocal about what I think.

I do not like the Elf on The Shelf idea and we don't have one in our house,

At first when I saw the idea take the Facebook posts by storm I though it would be fun to do when Jonathan gets a little bigger. But I could not justify buying the thing, making sure to move it from place to place every day,  make up the whole thing which is surrounded by a bigger lie - it's all about Santa, presents and being good or bad just to get stuff.

First it seems like a lot of work for a silly and almost cruel character who messes up a lot of things (which we parents have to clean up), doesn't obey rules (but expects children to follow), spies on the children (horrible telltale) and wants you to work for your gifts (you have to be good enough to receive presents).

The message of Christmas is that Jesus came to this earth and gave us the biggest gift of all. We don't have to work for the gift. All we have to do is accept Him.

The elf idea promotes the persona of santa and makes children believe that he will end up knowing everything they do. While including santa into holiday celebration is not horrible, it takes away from the character of God who actually knows everything and see everything. But you don't have to be afraid of Him because He will not take the gifts away just because you misbehave.

It also justifies mischief while promoting fear. Maybe it doesn't seem very obvious but the elf is constantly looking over you, checking on your every deed to make sure you are 'good enough'. Some kids don't care about the elf but some maybe afraid that they can never measure up to the standard for good boys and girls. That's completely opposite of what Jesus teaches us.

Last children have so much trust for the adults in their lives so when we make up lies and fake characters, they believe it as truth (up to the age of 10). When we include santa, elf and other cartoon-like characters and make them real, we blur the lines between fantasy and reality. So after we tell them how the elf works they believe that it's true. Then we go on and teach them the Christmas story in the Sunday school, they sing Christmas carols believing that it's true also. When the time comes to tell them that santa, rudolf and the elf are not real they are confused. Maybe that Jesus character is not real either?

Christmas is about Jesus not about any other name.

We treat the characters of santa, the elf and others as any persona from a cartoon. Yes it's there. Yes some people make it a part of their celebration. There are songs about them but the holiday is not about them.

Santa doesn't bring presents. Parents love their children and give them the gifts, doesn't matter how bad or good behaved they are. We love them unconditionally.

Elf on the Shelf is not going to spy on you or tell on you. He isn't much more than any other cartoon character (if they happen to see it at someone's house). They don't have to be afraid of anything or ever be good enough to receive things. God loves them unconditionally.

That's the message of Christmas and that's what I want my children to remember. The love, the joy and merry spirit of the season without any ill-behaved, mass-produced, popular character which no one will even remember in a few years when they will come with something new to sell.

They won't miss out on Christmas tradition because we will make our own, doing kind things for our neighbors and loving each other. They won't be spoiled with presents for being good or robbed of them for misbehaving because we love them no matter what. They will play and get mischievous without being afraid of being told on.

And they will have a great Christmas.
Hope you will too!













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