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Why I have to get back to meal planning even in the summer

So, I wrote a post about meal planning a little while back.  But now it’s summer.  So you don’t have to meal plan in summer right?  Well, you might think not, but that’s not working out so great for me!  I felt like I wanted to be more relaxed for summer.  I figured I could just leisurely pick some yummy ingredients, and make meals on the fly and enjoy making meals with plenty of time in the day to enjoy it.  Yeah… Ok… What part of me forgot that I still have four busy, demanding children, and a long list of things that need to be done every day?!  Or that I’m pregnant and might just not feel like cooking or ya know, thinking, on any given day?!  Or the “minor” fact that with out a plan I might not have ingredients in my house that go well together to make an actual meal?!  Or… or… or…!  Yeah, so, not the best plan! I think it’s wonderful to allow things to be more laid back in the summer.  I think some leisure helps us to appreciate the structure we need during the rest of the year.  And on the same token I think we need to have a bit of release from structure at times just to be able to relax and maybe feel a bit rebellious!  Unfortunately I tend to be a bit rebellious by nature, so allowing myself to rebel here and there helps me to “adult” better when I really need to!

I do enjoy being able to spend more time on breakfast and lunch.  During the school year I only have so much time in the mornings to feed everyone and pack lunches.  So breakfast prep needs to be minimal or everyone ends up eating cold cereal or packaged granola bars!  The lunches I pack tend to also be pretty typical and not real exciting.  Which is a good reason to be prepared.  Since I can do things that take more time, it’s nice to make sure that I have all the necessary ingredients.  It’s really nice being able to make different things and try them out.  Other issues as far as lunch goes can be many.  If I don’t have a plan I often end up telling them “You know what we have, go grab something.”  Leaving it up to them is ok sometimes, but often leads to poor choices being made.  And, I know, you are going to think I’m a terrible mother, but I actually forget to feed them lunch sometimes!  I think “Oh yeah, I need to make some lunch.”  And then before I decide what to make I’m  distracted or busy, and the whining starts because everyone’s starving!  Yes I eventually feed them, but later than normal, and closer to dinner time than I would prefer.

Speaking of dinner, no plan often means no meat set out to thaw!  So late lunch isn’t the worst thing because we just might have a late dinner too!  And the sides are pretty repetitive and boring if I haven’t made a menu and thought of different options to offer with each meal, and compliment it nicely.

I leave days blank and try to have the ingredients for a few extra slow cooker meals in case I decide to go somewhere and won’t be home in time to cook.  I still try to keep it flexible, but for me it’s best to have a plan!

Oh, yeah, and as a bonus tip:  pre-planning snacks in the summer is a great idea.  One that I highly recommend.  Kids become bottomless pits when they’re home all day and want to snack just about as much as they breath!  I get annoyed when they make a lot of bad decisions, so I try to have some healthy, or at least kindof healthy stuff available.

What about you?  Any tips on Summer meal planning, cooking, or snacking?  I’d love to hear all about them in the comments!  I hope you’re having a great summer!  I’ll talk to you soon!

 

Smile through the Trials!

Tiffany

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I do enjoy being able to leisurely cook breakfast, and can do things that are more time consuning

LUNCH:

Kids eat junk, or make poor choices

I forget to feed them

We eat later than we should, gets too close to dinner time

Dinner same as always, just easier with a plan.  Might forget to get meat out, not know what I have, etc.

 

 

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Calm like a duck!

Have you ever seen a duck floating on the water?  They look so peaceful don’t they.  They just seem to be sitting there floating. But do you know what’s going on under the water?  Even when it looks like the duck is perfectly still, it’s paddling ninety to nothin!  They have to move their little legs super fast to stay afloat, and to keep from being washed away in the currents.  (I’ve read that they don’t paddle nearly as fast when they are in relatively still waters, but that’s irrelevant to my point. 😉 So anyway….)

Do you ever feel that way as a Momma?  I do!  I actually think of ducks a lot.  Especially when I’m out by myself with all four of the kids at a restaurant, or worse, a clothing store…!  (I don’t know what exaclty happens when we walk into Kohls, but my two year old completely loses his ever-lovin mind!)  I’m trying desperately at times not to lose it.  At times it goes really well and it’s gotten easier as they’ve gotten older.  But there are times when I have a little one that doesn’t want to cooperate, I’m trying to figure out what everyone wants to eat, someone needs to potty, and I can feel the eyes of a not so understanding couple sitting a few tables away…  I’m trying not only to not get stressed, but not to act stressed.  I don’t want to look like a crazy, out of control woman that can’t handle her own children and needs a three week vacation!  Although, I might feel like one at times.  (For that matter, I might actually be one at times.)  So I think of those ducks.  No matter how frantically I’m trying to stay afloat, I want to maintain a peaceful demeanor.  For the sake of the kids too.  It’s not helping anyone out for all their memories of doing things to be filled with Mom being a stress ball and having an anxiety attack, snapping at everyone, and giving up and rushing out in tears.  Thankfully that hasn’t happened, but I’ve feared it a few times.

I can remember a particularly trying visit to IHOP.  At the time my third child was my baby.  She wasn’t happy at all to be there.  She was being crabby and my older two were complaining that it was taking too long to get our food.  Which it was.  I know it wouldn’t be fair, but seriously, they should expedite orders for tables with kids!  I don’t remember everything about the meal but I do remember that it was stressful.  A very kind elderly man came up to me and complemented me for how calm I was.  He clearly doesn’t know me personally, but that’s beside the point!  He saw me as a very calm Momma and that made me feel better because I was feeling anything but calm.  You know what I said in response to his compliment?  I smiled and said “Calm like a duck!”  He laughed and went on his way.  It did make me feel a bit better, but I definitely felt like a duck that day.  Paddling for dear life, to peacefully float on the surface.

So remember my mommy friends, think of our friends on the water when it’s taking everything you’ve got not to sink!  You can do it.  You can stay afloat, and have a good time.  Generally after the overwhelming craziness calms down, you can actually have a nice conversation or laugh about something with the kids.  And then you start to wonder what had you so worked up in the first place.  Until it happens again…!

Smile through the trials!

Tiffany

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To plan, or not to plan…? That is the dinner question…

I’ve been talking to some friends lately about meal planning.  I might make a video for y’all or do a periscope on exactly how I make my menu.  It’s a bit of a process so I’d have to show you to be able to explain it!  Do you like to have a plan?  Are you someone that can plan it enough in your head, that you buy the right groceries and can work it out with out much stress?  Or do you frantically search your refrigerator and pantry at 4:00, trying figure out something that you can cook by 5, or 6 to your starving crew?!

If I don’t have a plan I’m frantic when its time to cook.  I’ll remember early enough in the day that I need to get some meat out to thaw, but I’ll put it off and then end up not getting anything out!  That’s the beauty of a plan.  When I do remember, I can check my menu to see what I’m going to cook, get it out, and not think about it again until time to cook!  If it’s something that takes a little longer I can do some of the prep earlier too so that we aren’t eating super late.  It’s really a blessing to know what I’m making for dinner and not have to stress about it.  So why do I not always do it?

The funny thing is I love to have a menu, however, I don’t always love to make the menu.  It can be pretty time consuming.  It’s not really hard, and I’ve done some things to make it even easier.  Some things you can do to help are: Make a list of some favorites and what cook book and page # to find each;  Divide the days of the week into categories to make the decision making easier. i.e. ground beef, chicken, slow cooker…; Keep all your menu stuff in one place so that you’re not searching for something during the limited time you’ve set aside to plan.

I don’t love going to the grocery store either by the way!  That’s another way that having a menu really is a blessing to me.  I make a grocery list off of my menu and then get everything that I’m going to need, meaning less small trips back to the store!  It also helps me to spend less money because I’m less likely to grab things that I won’t use.  I know that I put plenty of meals on my menu, so if an item isn’t on my list I know that I don’t need it.

I’m trying to have a certain day of the month set aside for planning the next months menu.  I get it done very efficiently sometimes, and sometimes I don’t…  So I’m thinking if a certain day (The last Mon of the month, the 25th of every month, something like that) is always my meal plan day, it might help.  I’d love to hear from you!  How involved is your meal planning process?  I hope if you haven’t tried it you’ll give it a try and see what a burden it really can take off of you!

Smile through the trials!

Tiffany

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7 things to remember when your child doesn’t want to talk!

It breaks my heart when one of my children is upset about something and doesn’t want to tell me about it. That’s only happened a few times, but I fear it will happen more the older they get. Thankfully they are talkers (imagine that!) so I usually get the scoop from them with out much effort. But when it really matters, I hope we’ll be able to keep those lines of communication open.  Not much is worse than your child getting in the car looking like they’ve been crying, or trying not to.  Then you ask what’s wrong and they say “Nothing.”  Well, it’s obviously not nothing and the more you try to find out what it is, the more they refuse to tell you!  I’m no expert, and I’m sure once we are well into the teen years, I’ll have to revisit this post.  But here are a few things I’ve picked up on so far to keep in mind in those situations.

  1. Don’t push too hard.  If there’s anything that makes a person shut down, and not want to talk, it’s someone pushing and smothering them.  “Well, you need to tell me what’s wrong.”  “What did they say?  You can tell me.”  “Who? Who upset you?  Where are they?!”  These things usually do not help.  I’ve said these things during an actual conversation, and that’s fine.  But when you don’t know the story and you’re begging them to tell it to you, these questions are usually not helpful, and annoying.  As hard as it is, if they are asking for some space, it’s usually best to give it to them for a bit.
  2. Wait for a better time to talk about it.  Remember, there’s a good chance that whatever is bothering your child is embarrassing to them.  Yes you are Mom, but they can still be embarrassed to tell you about some things.  So it’s a good idea to hold off. That way some of the sting can die down, and you can talk to them in private, when no one else will hear.
  3. Offer to pray with/for them.  Ask them if they’d like for you to pray with them.  Prayer is conversation, so often listening to you converse with the Lord about their struggles, will encourage them to talk about it too.  If they don’t want to tell you what’s going on, you can pray in general for them.  And if they don’t want to pray together you can say “I’m going to say a prayer for you, what can I pray about?”  They might just say “That I will know what to do.”  Or something vague.  Or they might continue to shut you out and say “Nothing.”  But I think knowing that you are praying for them still means a lot to them even if they don’t say it.
  4. Be ok with them confiding in another trusted adult.  Now this does not go for everyone.  Don’t just say “As long as they are talking to someone, it’s ok with me.”  Unfortunately you can’t trust every adult you know with influencing your child’s thought process.  But, it’s good to have one or two other like minded, honest adults that they can talk to.  I know you hate to think that your child would ever not want to share with you.  But, sometimes they need someone other than Mom to talk to.  Sometimes Dad is better.  But often times a trusted aunt/uncle or grandparent is preferable.  My kids have a very close relationship with my sister.  Not only does she know my kids just about as well as I do, but she’s more patient than I am!  If they need to talk, and prefer it be with my sister, I’m totally ok with that.  Don’t let your pride get in the way of your child’s well being!  And if one of them were to talk to her and it be something they ask that I not know, it would be hard on me, but I could accept it.  Because I know she wouldn’t keep anything from me that I really needed to know.  (Like drugs, alcohol, a serious bully problem, etc.)  Not only do I trust her to tell me anything that I need to know, but I also trust her not give my child fuel for rebellion or to mistrust me. (It’s better they not talk to someone who will say things like “Your parents are being so unfair.” Or “Well that teacher shouldn’t be bossing you, she’s an idiot.”)
  5. Let them know that you are on their side.  If they aren’t wanting to talk and you can’t crack them, make sure you leave them with the right words swimming around in their mind.  Rather than “Fine, if you don’t want to talk, I give up!  Figure it out on your own, and we’ll see how that goes for ya!”  maybe something like “Ok, if you really don’t want to talk right now, I can respect that.  But the problem probably won’t just go away, so when you do need to talk, I’m here.  Whatever it is, I love you and nothing’s going to change that”
  6. Don’t let your imagination get the best of you!  Most the time when this happens it’s because the other girls wouldn’t sit with her at lunch.  Or the boys didn’t pass him the ball in gym class.  Things that made them feel really bad, and embarrassed.  Things that do have a real effect on them, but will pass.  When your child is huffy and is obviously dealing with something, don’t get too crazy in your head about it.  Most of the time they will tell you about it later on, and get passed it.  And most of the time it’s not that they are pregnant or decided to try smoking in the bathroom.  Don’t borrow trouble!  Wait until you know just how serious it is, to start having anxiety!
  7. Be willing to be there if it really is really real.  If it is something that’s for reals, like they really are pregnant, or did do something very wrong.  If someone hurt them on a deeper level, or any of the unthinkable things did happen…  Make it serious to you.  Don’t just ignore it and try to reason and make light of it.  I’m pretty sure it would be easy for a parent to go into some sort of denial.  So make sure to be willing to get them the help they need.  Be it counseling, rehab, medical treatment, or whatever.  This one could be it’s own post, so the short version is, remember that we already committed to #5 on this list, so stick to it.  Once something has happened, you can’t change it.  So help them to at least move forward.  No matter how the situation effects you, it’s about them and you have to see it that way and be there for them.

One thing we have to accept as parents is that hard times will come.  It won’t always be the happy, close relationship that we hope for.  There will be set backs, and real life issues.  The key I think, is to handle it the best way we can, and keep on keepin on!

Smile through the trials

Tiffany

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Happy Valentines Day!!

It’s Valentine’s Day!!  What are you doing on this special day meant to celebrate love and those we share it with?  Do you go all out?  Or do you not like the commercialization of it all?  I love Holidays and any excuse to celebrate!  I’m not saying spend a ton of money, Valentines day is one we don’t really spend a whole lot on.  But I do love any occasion to ya know, have an occasion!  Are you doing something special with your honey?  Do you get gifts for your kids, or just candy?  I’d love to know how you celebrate!  I don’t mean to spoil any surprises, but I knew I would get chocolate covered strawberries.   My husband gets them for me every year from a friend who’s wife makes them.  It’s a wonderful surprise, but, it’s not really a surprise. 😉   Don’t tell him ok… Other than that we don’t do a whole lot.  Usually a card, and a little bit of candy for the kids.

I do dress my kids in certain colors for most Holidays.  I had already bought some red and pink before I realized I wanted to use the Charlotte paper from the Charlotte workshops your way kit for my Vday scrapbook page(s).  That paper is mostly Slate, Whisper (grey colors) and Sorbet (a peachy pink).  So I got some grey to tie it in.  Yeah, I know it seems silly to match their clothes to my paper, but that’s how I roll sometimes!  Bummer I forgot to get myself something ’cause I like to take advantage of any opportunity to buy new clothes!!

Church was canceled this morning because of snow.  Should be able to go this evening though.  We didn’t go anywhere special or do anything different.  But we love each other and are together.  There’s nothing better than waking up and hearing each child say “Happy Valentines Day! I love you!”  I hope that we can remember to cherish those we love.  To look into their eyes and think of all the reasons that they are wonderful.  To think of all the blessings and excitement that they add to our lives.  Because life is too short not to savor every moment and every ounce of affection that we are blessed with.  I hope you have a blessed day and that love is in the air, wherever you are!

Smile through the trials!

Tiffany

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A child, a miniature person, full of emotions!

Preteens.  Teeny boppers.  Tweens.  What do you call the 10-12 age range?  Whatever you call them, they are an age group all their own.  And they have these dramatic personality’s that really are almost comical!!

Now I know, when my extremely dramatic 10 year old gets all weepy over something small, to her it really is meaningful.  If she’s crying about it, even if it’s ridiculous, she really does think it’s worth crying about.  I don’t want to be insensitive, but really sometimes, it’s kinda funny.  I’m not saying that I make fun of her, and laugh at the issue that made her sad.  But her dramatic response is usually a bit humorous.  When a child is 2 and says something that sounds grown up we think it’s so cute.  As they start to get older that wears off a bit.  But 10 really isn’t that old.  Some  people treat their 10 year old’s like teenagers, but really, they are so young!  They really still are this little miniature person learning how to take in, and respond to, the things around them.  When I see her like this, it makes her adorable to me again (she’s always adorable, but I mean the little kind of adorable) and I have to laugh!  Not a big, embarrass her and make matters worse, belly laugh.  But a little chuckle to myself about how she is perceiving the world at that moment.

Don’t get me wrong, she deals with some real issues that I wish she wouldn’t have to deal with.  The other girls leaving her out, not making the grade she had hoped for on a test, a boy calling her a mean name.  Those are the situations that break my heart and make me wish I could fix everything.  And some of those things leave me fighting off the Mommy Claws that seem to just be waiting to come out!

But sometimes she acts like the world is an awful place because of small things.  Her brother knocked her American Girl doll over, her sister used some of her doll clothes, or Mommy was so heartless as to let the little ones go in her room while she was gone… You know, serious stuff that just crushes her world in 2.3 seconds!  It really is silly that she lets little things get to her on such a level.  And I do get frustrated.  But it’s better that I keep from getting worked up, laugh it off, and explain to her that it’s not as bad as she thinks it is.  How do we get them to realize that some things are just not worth the tears?  It’s hard to know how to react in those situations.  I know it’s important not to belittle her feelings.  I try to say something like “I understand that makes you sad.”  I don’t want to encourage her to be a drama queen so I also try not to get too sucked in.  To remain calm myself and explain to her that it’s probably not worth the reaction she had.  I try to step outside of myself and look at how silly and cute it is that she thinks the issue is so serious.  Maybe even take a moment to be grateful that she’s not going through something more real.  And talk it out.  Sometimes she’s determined to be upset so I just let her be.  We’ll have a conversation like this; “It’s not that bad, honey.  They didn’t mean to make you sad.”  “Yes they did, they’re soo mean!  Nobody cares how I feel!!” I’ll just tell her “Well, when you are ready to calm down and talk about this let me know.”  And I separate myself from her.  This is also good because it helps me not to get too grumpy with her.  My patience tends to run thin during those times!  The point is, I think the best thing we can do as a parent is to stay calm, try to talk to them, and not take it too seriously ourselves.  Sometimes it’s hard to feel like your little princess has been wronged in some way!  Remember to be a grown up and keep things in perspective yourself.

I never would have realized how emotional little girls really can be.  I expected emotions to fly but I thought it started in the teen years.  Wrong! And I’m not looking forward to the teen years when the issues become more real, and she is still full of emotions with hormones thrown in the mix!  So I will enjoy this age, try to help her to make some sense of things, and love her just the way her little dramatic self is!

Smile through the trials

Tiffany

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When you just don’t want to put your productive pants on…

We’ve all had those days.  Days that you just can’t seem to get your head above water no matter how hard you try.  Sometimes you don’t even have the to energy to try.  One day a task can seem so simple, and the next it can seem impossible!  We talked about feeling like a failure last week, and we decided that we will not just accept it right?!  But, sometimes I just look at something that I need to get done, and instantly want to take a nap!!  It’s exhausting!  Unfortunately, regardless of how much else is going on, if you don’t do it, it’s likely it won’t get done.  So what do you do?

Let’s start by getting honest.  Really honest.  Like, the not so fun type that means we address things the way  they really are, not just the way that we want them to be, or choose to see them.  Remember, we are focusing on balance, meaning we have to be fair to both extremes of our situation.  Why are you overwhelmed by the task you are facing? Are you just suffering from lack of motivation? Is there a situation that is making it too much for you at the present moment?  Maybe you aren’t a very motivated person, and even though you want a home that reflects a productive lifestyle, you just generally have a bad case of the “I-don’t-want-to’s” or “I-don’t-feel-like-it’s”.  Maybe your health is an obstacle, or you truly don’t have enough time between tasks A and D to complete tasks B and C…  What is the reason?  Really think about it.  It’s always true to an extent that we don’t have time.  But could we have made the time had we really tried?  Some days I just can’t muster up the motivation to be productive.  And some days I want to be but physically can’t.  The biggest physical obstacles for me have been when I was put on bed rest, and now migraines and dizziness.  Being put on bedrest was so hard.  I never fully followed that order, but I didn’t do a whole lot of cleaning either.  As far as the migraines, I never would have let a headache stop me from doing what I wanted, or needed to do.  That’s what I thought anyway.   I generally have at least a mild headache.  But I didn’t understand migraines until I started having them.  And that, my friends, is a whole different ball game!!

If you truly cannot do the things that need to be done; if there is something physically keeping you from doing them, then you’re going to have to accept that.  It’s so hard, I know.  But you can’t continue to beat yourself up over something you have no control over.  Doing that will just give you a sense of uselessness and set you up for future failure.  So, if you can’t get to your to do list today, (or for two or three days) strategically divide those tasks over the days following in small pieces, so that you can slowly get caught back up.  You are not superhuman, and that’s ok.  Give yourself grace and move at a pace that is consistent, yet not unreasonable.  Of course, if you are facing any type of extended issue, you should figure out what needs to be done in order to prevent chaos and actual dirtiness.  Maybe your mom and/or mother in law could come over on certain days to help clean, or clean for you.  Maybe your husband and children can agree (or do it fighting tooth and nail…) to pick up the slack while Mommy is out of commission.  Maybe you need to hire some help for just a short time to keep things above water.  Both times I was put on bed rest my oldest son had to do all the vacuuming for me.  He was only 7 and 9, but he did a good job and it was a huge blessing to me!  (Come to think of it, I might owe hime some money… lol!)  Whatever you do will likely be a sacrifice in one way or another, but it’s something you will need to accept, because long term is much more important than right now.  Don’t lose the war because you are stubborn about this battle!

Then we have the flip side of that coin.  You might realize that you are perfectly capable of doing what you should be, but your not doing it… then guess what, it’s time to put your big girl britches on, and get to it!  The longer you stair at it and wish it didn’t exist, the worse it’s going to get!  And it’s likely that no little fairy is going to show up while you are sleeping and do it for you!! I know it can be extremely overwhelming.  At times it really does make me want to nap!  But, alas, when I wake up, it’s still there.  And it’s not going anywhere unless I take care of it myself.  My advice is to grab a piece of paper and a pen, and write down everything that needs done.  Then just do one of those things.  When you’re done with that, you guessed it, pick another one!  For some people it’s best to knock out the little things first.  If you are struggling with motivation, that would probably be the way I would tell you to go.  Seeing those little accomplishments will help to make you feel motivated, and when the mess has been making your head spin, those clean areas will help you to be able to think straight!  If the problem is more overwhelm, lack of time, or anything along those lines, I’d recommend going with the larger tasks first.  Again you will gain a sense of accomplishment, but you will also be left with smaller tasks to catch up on if you don’t get it all done in your allotted cleaning time.  Decide what will work best for you, and… go!

I don’t think there will ever be a day that I sit down in the evening and think “Wow, I did absolutely everything that I needed to do today.”  If I have days like that they are few and far between.  But I hate trying to sit down in the evening, and twitching about my house being a mess, knowing that I’ve got to go to bed soon and I will be very stressed if it’s still that way in the morning.  This doesn’t make for a good night’s rest, and sets me up for another stressed day.  Often times it actually means that I will speed through as much of it as possible after everyone else goes to bed.  And then crash.  So I prefer to get things done in a timely fashion so that whatever isn’t done when I’m ready to “clock out” (Yeah right…!) can be written down for tomorrow, and released from my brain.  Cluttered brain Mommy just doesn’t seem to give the best snuggles and night night kisses…!

I promise you I do understand the desire to be productive and just not being able to muster it up.  I really do.  Just get yourself to start.  Start somewhere.  Anywhere.  Give yourself grace until you can get into a good routine, but do not give up!  Remember, anything you do is better than having done nothing.  So Momma’s, lets try to put our productive pants on and see if we can create a less stressed tomorrow!!

Smile through the trials!

Tiffany

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A failure is as a failure does…

What’s on the to do list for Monday?  How about, clean all three bathrooms, dust, sweep and mop, clean the entire kitchen, including the appliances, get three (four, five….) people dressed and ready to be somewhere in time, make three healthy meals, do the dishes from those meals, give the baby a bath, clean out the car, make 3 very important phone calls, and maybe the one I want to make but have had to put off for weeks because I just haven’t had time to talk, email my kid’s teacher…….

That list could go on and very well be any one of our to do’s for one day.  And it could be totally doable.  But it could also make you feel like there is a whirlwind spinning around you out of control, and all you want to do is pause for a breath of fresh air! You just wanna yell “Stop the world, I wanna get off!!”  I have been in a state before where I felt so overwhelmed.  Like I was drowning and just couldn’t get my head above water.  As women, we are very hard on ourselves.  And for many women, the people around them are very hard on them too.  (Ask someone that knew your mother-in-law when her kids were young.  They just might not tell you her house was imaculate then, even though she just “cannot understand” why it’s so hard for you….!)  Do you have these crazy days like I do?  I don’t mean crazy, hectic.  Most days are crazy hectic!  I mean days when you feel crazy.  Your mind gets the best of you and you feel like you are just the biggest failure in the world.  Try as you may you just can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel and you feel like a failure.  It’s hard, and being mentally and emotionally drained like that will drain you physically.  And then guess what, it becomes even more difficult for you to be productive.  It’s a vicious cycle.  Some people cannot wrap their minds around feeling like this.  If you are one of those people, consider yourself very blessed.  But keep in mind that some things that should be a no brainer, are truly difficult for some people.  It’s funny, I could be cleaning one day and thinking “Why does this seem so hard sometimes?  It’s really not that big of a deal.”  And the very next day have all the kids tugging at me in different directions, the phone ringing off the hook, the baby in a mood and crying for me to hold him every. single. minute. Hubs calling needing me to do something that wasn’t already in my plans…  On those days, I’d remember thinking that and just want to scream “This is why!  This!  It’s impossible! No wonder I can’t get anything done!!”

So… how do you get back on top?  How do you find the light at the end of the tunnel?  I don’t know that I can answer that for everyone.  Of course, the biggest thing to me is lots of prayer.  We tend to even forget to pray during these times.  I believe God gives us more grace during the hard seasons.  (…and shall gently lead those that are with young. Isaiah 40:11b)  And clinging to him when we need him most really helps.  Even if it’s not going to be in the form of prayer, you need to find a way to come to terms with your weaknesses.  If laundry is piled to the moon, and it’s all you can do to make sure everyone has two socks in the morning (regardless of if they match!) then express that.  And maybe you can’t express it to anyone else, sometimes we don’t have someone to talk to that can be understanding.  But acknowledge it to yourself, maybe write it in a journal, pray about it, get it out in whatever way works for you. Realize where you struggle most, and give yourself some grace as you push through.  It doesn’t mean accept it as too hard and give up.  Just allow yourself the honesty to admit that you struggle with certain things.  It will help a lot.  When you know what is the most difficult for you, you can plan to do those things at times during the day that are lower pressure.  Then the things that you could do in your sleep, can be planned during the higher stress times.  But you are not a failure.  Restructure your thinking, restructure you day, and then repeat as needed!  If you accept defeat, you are defeated.  But if you refuse to give up you cannot fail!  You’re sure to have set backs.  But hey, two steps forward and one step back, is still one step ahead of where you were.  Keep moving forward, and you will not be a failure!!

Smile through the trials!

Tiffany

tick placed in excellent check box with red pen

Can you say it’s been worth every trial?


Hi friends!  If you didn’t notice, I didn’t post last Sunday.  Sorry about that.  I didn’t have anything prepared and I didn’t want to type something up just to get it posted.  That doesn’t feel very authentic to me and is not the way I want to run my blog.  I’m sure you understand that.  It was interesting because I was a little bummed about not having posted anything, and then at church, some young people sang a song and it made me think.  And I realized I had my post!  I don’t know what the song was titled, but it said “It’s been worth every mile, it’s been worth every trial.”  The word trial stuck out to me because it’s in my blog name of course.  But then I started thinking about the words of the song.  And I wondered, how many people can truly say that?  I know we believe (most people do anyway) that everything we’ve been through has made us who we are today.  But what if, if those things had played out differently we would be a better version of ourselves today?  Are we really so proud of the person we’ve become that we would say we wouldn’t change anything that made us that person?  I get it, we are at a point of going forward, hopefully, and we can’t do that if we are busy wishing we were someone else.  I figure in my life, things had to happen the way they have for me to have all of my children.  So I wouldn’t want to change anything that would change them.

Really, we can’t change anything anyway.  As neat as the movies might make it look, time travel is not possible.  So maybe there is a way to look at things rather than saying we wouldn’t change it if we could. (Although some people say that to give themselves a peace that they might need, and that’s ok too.)  Maybe instead we should realize that we can’t change it, so we will embrace it, accept it, and move on.  In every situation, good or bad, we do learn something.  It might be a hard lesson, that we don’t feel we need in our lives, but it’s a lesson.  And yes, it does shape us in at least some way.  The best thing we can take from the hard things is the fact that we will be able to be there for someone in the future in a way that maybe no one else can.

The problem we tend to have is when we hold on to things that we need to get past.  Because then we will start allowing ourselves to be shaped into somebody that we probably don’t want to be.  Holding on to unforgiveness makes us mean and irritable.  Holding on to bitterness also makes us mean, and usually very cold towards others.  Holding on to hurt makes us depressed, and sad.  And on and on.  God doesn’t intend for us to live like that and we should not want to either!  The song goes on to say “it was worth every valley I’ve had to cross.”  I’ve crossed some very dark valley’s in my life.  Did I enjoy them? No!  Do some of them still hurt to think about?  Absolutely!  Can I change it?  No.  Would I, if I could?  It doesn’t matter.  Because I can’t.  I am where I am.  And no matter what, today is today.  So all we can do is go forward.  There are many things I can look back on, and even if I still don’t know why, I do know with out a doubt that God was with me and did not leave me during those times.  Just like he promised.  And I know that one day I’ll understand.  Have you ever noticed this?  When you are (physically) in a valley all you can see in front of you is the next step, and maybe more of the valley.  But when you are on a mountain top, you can not only clearly see the next step, but you can look back and see the entire valley as well…  Sometimes it’s a long uphill climb before the valley’s become clear.  And I believe we won’t fully understand some of them until it’s all said and done.  But we have to keep moving forward.  Don’t get stuck in a place that hurts and refuse to keep going.  Keep going.  Learn what you can, and let go of what you need to.  I’m assuming one day we will be able to say “It was worth every trial.”  I hope so anyway!

Smile through the trials (Or after you’ve gotten through them 😉 )

Tiffany

tick placed in excellent check box with red pen

12 years a momma

Hey everyone!  How are you?! I’m doing really well.  I’m so excited for the new year that I’m just energized and busting with ideas and plans!  I can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store this year for my family!

So guess what else happens at the beginning of the year?  January 5th to be exact.  My first born’s birthday!!  He’s turning 12…!!  Official preteen! (Don’t worry he’s had the attitude of a preteen for a while now…)

It makes me sad when all of my kids have birthday’s.  I love planning parties and doing things to make them feel special on their special day, but it’s really hard for me to let go.  Kinda ridiculously so.  But all moms are as silly about it as I am, right?!  And I know some are even worse than me!  (I will maintain that belief rather it’s proven to be true or not!) I’m not like, sitting around crying looking at their baby book’s every time they have a birthday.  (You very well might find me doing that on graduation days, wedding days, etc. but not every birthday!)  However,  it is always emotional and unbelievable to me when they get older.

It’s a big year for all of my girls.  Our oldest (technically my step daughter) just turned 15.  That totally wigs me out!  She is learning to drive, people! How can that be?! My middle daughter turned 10, double digits!  And my baby girl will be 5 this year.  Any time my youngest gets older it breaks my heart, and he’ll be 3 this summer.  So like I said, emotional roller coaster for Mommy.  But here’s the thing.  When my first born has a birthday it gets to me on a whole different level.  I don’t love him any more than the rest of them, nor do I feel more attached to him in some way.  But his birthday is always the most emotional for me.

You see, his birthday is not just his birthday.  It’s the anniversary of me becoming a momma.  My first labor, first time holding my very own baby in my arms, the official day that I received the title of “Mommy”.  It’s a lot.  Every time he has a birthday it points out to me exactly how long I’ve been a mother.  That being said, as of today, I’ve been a mother for 12 years. Twelve Years!  I know that in the scheme of life that’s not really that long.  But it’s a long time.  I had that precious little boy that changed my life and took over my heart on a day that seems only moments past.  I truly do remember it like it was yesterday.  I can’t believe it was 12 years ago.  Isn’t it funny how that day seems like yesterday, but life before children seems light years away??  Sometimes I can hardly remember what is was like not to be a Mommy.  It’s like my entire being is wrapped up in these wonderful little people.  I say little, although the 2 oldest are just about taller than me. :-0  Which should not be legal!  But they don’t ask permission for some reason.  They are so anxious to be grown.  Which makes me sad too.  Because if I could I would freeze time for them and let them stay young, innocent, and oblivious to harsh reality, for as long as possible.  I would keep them safe in my home where I always know where they are and what they are doing.  Where maybe things still go wrong  but at least I’m there to talk about it, and try to make some sense of it, with them.

The older they get the more proud of them I become, however, and I’m very grateful that I’m starting to believe that they will one day be able to handle life with out me.  I might never like the idea, but that’s really the goal right?  To raise them to be ready to face the world, not protect them from it forever.  I see them learning to stick up for themselves when necessary.  I see that they are starting to really know what they believe, and not base that off of what someone else believes.  I see them realizing in what ways they are different than other people, and in what ways they are similar.  They certainly aren’t there yet, but I see them starting to get there.  And all of these things will help them to one day know more about who they are, and who they want to be.

But I don’t want to face those days any time soon so we will go back to Mommy being sad when they have a birthday!  My son is 12 today.  I’ve been a mother for 12 years.  It amazes me that that can be even be true.  He also makes it harder for me not be to be completely honest about my age!  I can only get by with being 29 for so long…  And if he’s 12 I’d have to have had him at 17.  It happens, but anyone that’s known me for very long knows that I wasn’t pregnant when I was in high school!  That stinker! Lol! Anyway, I want to wish my boy the happiest of birthdays!!  And I’d like to encourage you to know that it’s hard, but it’s hard on all of us, and we weepy momma’s will make it, one way or another!

Smile through the trials

Tiffany