Momma's groove

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!


Momma's groove

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


Momma's groove

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!


Momma's groove

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!


Momma's groove

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 😉 )


Momma's groove

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


Momma's groove

Happy 2016! Setting goals for yourself and your family.

Hi guys!!  I hope you’ve had a great last couple of days.  Have you set some goals for 2016?  Any New Years resolutions?  I keep hearing people say that they aren’t calling their decisions “resolutions” anymore because no one ever keeps their resolutions!  What do you think?  Is it pointless to set some things in order for the new year, no matter what you call it?  I don’t think it is.  I think that if you are truly ready to make a change, it’s great to get it as mapped out as possible.  And while it’s great to do that at any time, the new year just feels like a fresh start and a great time to do it.  Yes, I understand that it really is just another day.  Things didn’t magically change between Dec 31st and Jan 1st.  The new year doesn’t actually make us able to do things that we couldn’t do before.  But the feeling of a fresh start, and a bright new year does help to motivate us, and we should probably take any adrenaline boost we can get!  And the thing is, things can change dramatically between Dec 31st, 2015 and Dec 31st, 2016.  One day at a time, with some serious decisions and effort toward that end.

I don’t know that I would call the decisions I’ve made resolutions.  But I’ve definitely set some goals for 2016.  One of them is to post more to my blog.  So that means I’ll get to connect with all of you more!  I’m still having some technical difficulties with my video system, and that’s holding up my craft tutorials, but I will get it figured out.  I’m nothing if not determined!

Speaking of goal setting, I think it’s a great idea to include our families in our journey.  One way to include them is to let them know what you are planning to change in, or add to, your life.  It will help to keep you accountable and it will also be great for them to see you set goals and achieve them!  That’s not to say that you can’t keep some personal things to yourself, but choose some that they can be a part of in some way.  I also think that it’s a really great idea to have them set some goals for themselves.  For some reason my kids really fought me on that.  I had to make them do it.  But New Years Eve I had printed some goal sheets out for them and told them they had to come up with at least a few things.  It was a bit difficult because they really do try in school, and their extracurricular activities, so saying they will do their best really isn’t something that would be much of a stretch.  (Although my daughter did decide she’s going to try to raise her History grade.)  So they didn’t know what goals to set and honestly, I had a hard time thinking of stuff for them too.  I decided to print off a freebie that I found online (I just googled Goals for kids) and that gave them some ideas.  Beyond their goals I also set down and made new chore charts for everyone.  (They were very excited about this… Ha!)  I’ve made cute crafty charts for them in the past, and might take the time to do that again, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of time on them because I wanted them ready asap.  So I googled “Chore charts for kids” and found some freebies that would work for what I had in mind.  (Tip* rather than having to print them each week, I put them in a cheap picture frame and hang it on their wall with a dry erase marker.  They can check everything off, then once I’ve verified it, wipe it clean and start fresh the next week.) The other thing that they are doing this year is writing every night in their “Choose Gratitude” journals, that I got them for Christmas.  They were honestly reluctant to do this too, but they are finding out it’s not that difficult to think of one thing each night to be grateful for.  (You can read more about the Choose Gratitude journals by Crystal Paine in the post I wrote about her Choose Love and Choose Gratitude products.)

I’m really excited for the goals I’ve set for this year, and I’m equally excited to see my children try to better themselves as well.  I know they don’t realize how good it will be for them, but I think reaching for something, even if it’s small, will teach them a lot about who they are and who they want to be.  And it certainly won’t hurt to focus on the things that they are grateful for!

If you haven’t set any goals for this year it’s not too late!  We still really do have a whole year new ahead of us!

Smile through the trials


Momma's groove

Holiday Traditions

Hey guys!  Today I just want to chit chat about Holiday traditions and trying to manage all the super fun things that we want to do until Christmas.  The Holidays are such a fun time, but it can also be a stressful time.  As we talk about traditions, I’d like to remind you not to take on too much.  That can be really hard, especially for moms.  There are so many fun things we’d love to do, but only so much time.  When we take on more than what we can handle it makes what should be a very special time, overwhelming and stressful.  Here are a few questions to ask yourself when you get a new idea, or become determined to carry on an old tradition that’s a lot of work, or someone asks you to do an extra task…..

  1.  Is this something that I will have time to do?  That seems simple, but we tend to overestimate our own time management skills!  That, or we have a hard time saying no, and put too much on our plate anyway.  Whatever it is that you are considering, decide rather or not you really have the time to do it.
  2. How much does it mean to me and my family?  Certain things that we do mean the world to my kids.  Our count down chain (which I can’t believe we haven’t made yet, but I assure you we will be doing that this evening!), their chocolate advent Calendars, hot chocolate by the fire on Christmas Eve, the list goes on.  But some things aren’t quite as important to them.   As a matter of fact they might not even remember doing some of it.  I’ve noticed sometimes we get very determined to do the things that we’ve always done, even though they don’t really mean a lot to any of us.  We have to realize it’s ok to let go of some traditions that aren’t working for our family.
  3. Will we be able to afford it?  This is usually my least favorite one.  I hate for money (or lack there of) to get in the way of things that I want to do!  But realistically, if something really is beyond our means, we might need to let go of it for a less expensive option.  (That weekend ski trip with friends might need to be a special dinner this year, and maybe you can put back money for a ski trip for next year.)

I suggest that you make a list of the things you’d still like to do, prioritize them, and schedule the fun until the big day!! There are only 12 days left…  Make the most of the remaining time and try not to overwhelm yourself or your family!!

Momma's groove

A week with an Elf!

I’ve been so excited to have an Elf on The Shelf this year!  I’ve been a mother for almost 12 years… And we’ve never had an Elf!  We’ve had a lot of fun with him and my kids really enjoy looking for him every morning.  I created a Pinterest board for Elf ideas and then one day I chose a number of ideas using that board and more Pinterest pins, that I thought would be fun and not too difficult to recreate.  I thought it would be fun to share what he’s been up to this week!  Elf on the Shelf

On Tues, Dec 1st, we read the book “The Elf on the Shelf”.  When we finished the story, we noticed there was a

Elf on the shelf Smilesntrials.comvisitor hiding in our Christmas tree!  The book says the first thing that you do, is name your Elf.  We named him Elfis Parsley.



Elf on the Shelf Smilesntrials3The next day, I guess he was missing Rudolph….

Thursday morning he must have still been a bit homesick, because he was napping in our refrigerator!

Elf on the Shelf Smilesntrials 4Elf on the Shelf Smilesntrials 5I didn’t get a really great picture Friday, but that naughty Elf had gotten into the powdered sugar, and made a snow angel!!


Saturday he had gotten into some things again, and he had a note telling us that he had hidden 10 candy canes for the kids to find!Elf on the Shelf




Sunday morning he took a break from his shenanigans, and just set and read his Bible (That my sweet 10 year old had made for him).

Elf on the Shelf Smilesntrials 6

We’ve had a blast thus far with our Elf!  I know a lot of people aren’t fans, but I’m telling ya, it’s been a lot of fun, and we are loving it!  (These were not all my ideas, but unfortunately I hadn’t actually pinned them all when I looked them up, so I can’t credit all the sources.)  I hope you all are having a great Holiday season!  I haven’t been getting as much done as I had hoped, but we really are having fun!!

Smile through the trials



Momma's groove

Choose love

choose love by crystal paineI’m soo excited guys!  I got my “Choose Love” and “Choose Gratitude” journal’s from!!  Crystal has been an inspiration to me since I found her on periscope a couple of weeks back.  I’ve loved her motivational scopes and think she’s a lot of fun!  She has these wonderful journals available in her store and I’m so excited to share them with you all!

How many times have you yelled, or raised your voice, at your kids and then immediately started to feel bad?  Or if not immediate, it starts to eat at you later and you feel terrible.  I never thought I would yell at my kids.  I consider myself a pretty patient person, and I’ve always been determined to have a good relationship with them.  When the older two were babies I was so patient.  I didn’t foresee my future self with four, sometimes five kids, overwhelmed, exhausted, and at my wits end.  I also had no idea how other stresses could make it easier to lash out at the people I love, including my children.  But it makes me feel terrible.  And do you know what’s worse?  It gets easier to be cross.  Once you’ve allowed yourself to lash out, it becomes easier the next time you’re stressed and impatient.

I’m not saying that I just lose my mind and scream at my kiddos like a crazy person.  But I do lash out and let myself get angry more times than I feel is, or should be, characteristic of my personality.  After a couple of really rough pregnancies, including bed rest, then postpartum stuff, some other health issues, and other outside situations, I’ve allowed myself to become less patient.  It’s been bothering me a lot lately.  Thankfully it’s gotten better as I’ve noticed it and started consciously trying not to raise my voice.

It’s easy when everything is going right, and they’re being good.  I love to laugh with my kids, and we talk and have fun together a lot.  I’m really not talking about a constant thing, just the tense times.  The times when they push all my buttons. (And you know they know just what buttons to push!)  I’ve been trying very hard to do better during those times.  The other day I was watching a periscope by Crystal Paine and she was talking about her Choose Love journal I and.bracelet.  It was exactly what I needed!  I wanted to share with you guys early this month because it would make a great Christmas gift for the momma’s on your list. Or for yourself! 😉 It’s also a great time to get one because you can start it at the beginning of the new year.  I’m sure we could all resolve to do better with our attitudes is 2016…!

It’s a sweet, simple journal with the purpose of putting the focus on being grateful and loving.  It includes jchooselovecrystalpainereviewournaling prompts to get you thinking about how you can be intentional about your goal, and it’s full of inspirational quotes.  You also have a couple of lines to write down one thing from each day.  You can use it to record funny moments, things you want to journal in your scrapbook, or to write something you are grateful for.  I plan to use it for all of these purposes, depending on what’s happened that particular day.  Just something that sticks out in my mind that reminds me just how blessed I am, and just how much I love them!  I was lucky enough to get the bracelet, but it sold out shortly after the release.  They had been restocked but they sold out again!  If you are able to get the bracelet I would recommend it.  It’s cute and can be worn with almost anything.  Having that bracelet on is a constant reminder to choose love.

I will choose love more by taking myself out of the situation and trying to see why the child is behaving the way that they are.  I will also try to find the humor in a situation, because laughing always helps with any negative emotion!  I’ll try to keep in mind that they are people too, with real issues, and feelings.  And I have a responsibility to respect that.  If I need to leave the room, I will.  But rather than behaving based on often unfair emotions, I will strive even more, to choose love!

She also offers a Choose Gratitude journal.  It’s similar but more general, wchoosegratitudecrystalpainehile the Choose Love is more specific to Mom’s.  It also includes quotes for inspiration and room for journaling.  I ordered each of my older kids one for Christmas.  I do feel like the quotes and inspiration in it are more meant for an adult, but I still think it’ll be good for them.  (I heard that she’s coming out with one that’s specifically for childrechoosegratitudecrystalpainereviewn though!) I think it’ll be really great if they can learn to find the good in life and focus on gratitude.  Children often take things for granted, I’d really love to see my kids learn to recognize how blessed they truly are.  Let me know if you get one, and how much you love it!  I’m so excited to start using mine!!

Smile through the trials