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Motherhood
  • How I Want to be Remembered as a Mother

    I think about this alot - about how I want my children to remember me. I know that might seem weird since I'm only just shy of 6 years in, but it helps me to keep a big picture perspective of my legacy and the great responsibilty my role is in their lives. 

    I think about how I hope they remember me having fun. Getting down on their level. Belly laughing. Tickling them til they can't breathe. Getting up from my desk when they asked me to do a puzzle together. 

    I hope they remember me laying in bed with them at night and really trying to hear their hearts. I hope they remember feeling safe and free to be themselves. I hope they remember me apologizing to them when I was short and unkind. 

    I hope they remember me going the extra mile to make their world brighter. The pancakes with sprinkles on a Tuesday. Their names written in Jell-O. Picnics with their favorite foods. Dropping everything and heading to the park. I hope they remember our ordinary days with a bit of magic in them. 

    I hope they remember me loving their Daddy something fierce. Being excited when he walks through the door after work. I hope they remember us kissing. And that my respect for him is something they look for in a future wife. 

    I hope they remember me in front of my Bible. Praying together for big things and for little things. Singing my little heart out in church, albeit off tune. I hope they remember me with a strength that could only come from relying on Him for our daily needs.

    I hope they remember me serving people around our dining table. Gladly opening our doors, and often. I hope they remember playing with new kids because I invited their mom over for coffee. I hope they remember me loving other people well. 

    And oh how I want them to remember me delighting in them. Truly thankful to be their mother. Tracing their faces and trying my hardest to etch their sweet baby faces into my memory. Kissing them more times than they can count in one day. A love so deep and so secure that follows them their whole life long.

    ////

    For Mother's Day every year, Josh gives me the gift of pictures of me with my babies. And this year my request was for candid, unposed photos with no begging for smiles or bribing with candy. Just us in whatever we were doing. So he brought the camera along as the boys picked out flowers for me at a local nursery. 

    Such a gift, indeed.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     



  • Simple Ways to Include Your Kids in Everyday Tasks

    Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. Thank you for supporting our sponsors.

    One thing I've really worked on this past year is including my boys in what I'm doing at home. Whether it's laundry, dishes, cleaning or cooking. There never seem to be enough hours in the day so including them in the things I do gives us that time to talk and feel connected. 

    It also teaches me patiences like none other. ;)

    And I feel like including them in cooking requires the most patience. But they really love to be included. So I set aside times that I plan to include them. And I mentally prepare for it to take much longer than expected. :)

    I also pick something that doesn't require too many steps to include them in.

    Muffins are a good example.

     With cooking, getting this customized 'sous chef' apron from Minted just filled my 5 year old's little cup and added that 'extra special' factor for the times he helps me in the kitchen.

    pssst here's where you can grab one for the little sous chef in your life! Only $28 with free personalization!

    Other simple ways to include your kids in everyday tasks:

    (Note: My kids are 5 and 3 so that's the skill level I'm working with)

     

    Dusting: put socks on their hands and assign them an area that doesn't have anything breakable

    Dishwasher: let them be the one to put away the silverware

    Dinnertime: let them set the table for you

    Laundry: have them match up all the socks

    Sweeping: let them hold the dustpan

    Groceries: let them help you carry lighter things in and put things away

    Picking up: make them responsible for their own toys

    Is there something you do to include your kids that you find helpful? Share in the comments!

  • If Someone Painted A Picture of Me

    *This post is sponsored by Minted. All images and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting our sponsors!*

    If someone painted a picture of me, I would want it to look like this.

    I could've never imagined how much being a mother would change me.

    How much it would strip me raw and make me feel so deeply.

    How quickly and pointedly it would expose my selfishness and start an ongoing battle of me vs. mother. I don't want to breastfeed, it's inconvenient to me. But the mother inside of me rises to the occasion and does it anyway. I'm so tired, I wish someone else could do this. And yet, the choice to lay myself down and pour myself out, day after day. It's so very hard at first. At least it was for me. There were days where I felt so out of sorts. Am I only a mother now? Sometimes I thought I had lost me. But now I see that's all part of the process; the mother inside me being born. It's a true birth in the sense that you start with no experience. You've never done any of this before and you grow and you learn and you love. Oh, do you love. 

    And then it gets easier. Someway, somehow. In the painful process of the striping away of self, you heal into motherhood. And you realize you've just become a new version of yourself. Perhaps more beautiful than you coul've ever imagined. 

    So when I saw this Mother Embrace art on Minted, it just took my breath away. It felt like a portrait. Did someone paint this of me? I was quickly transported back to those early days of motherhood. I could feel the soft breath on my chest and the chubby hands on my face. I could sense that ache in my arms to hold my baby. I remembered the feeling of knowing that I am home to another person. I'm the embodiment of safety and security and nourishment and love. 

    My goodness, what a privilege. 

    And the hard parts become blurry. So strangely. Because I remember how big and strong those emotions felt. How FOREVER the hard days seemed. The long, sleepless nights. The fussy, teething days.

    And my redemption came with having my second son. I felt made for it. I'd grown into motherhood and felt confident in the new verison of myself. I actually loved her. I felt like people made it seem like motherhood was supposed to come so naturally and some parts of it do, for sure. But it was a fight against the natural for me. My natural bent to do whatever I wanted whenver I wanted.

    But man, what a worthwhile fight.

    So, I imagine this will be an heirloom piece someday. Something my sons get one day and fondly question, 

    "Was this mom holding you or me?"

     

    No matter where you are on your motherhood journey, I hope you can see yourself in this painting. 

    I still haven't decided if I want it in my room or downstairs where everyone can see it.

    I mean, the power of art is so strong, isn't it? 

    A small piece like this can transport me back to a specific place in time.

    Looking at this Mornings Away art, I'm standing in Lynchburg, Virgina in the summertime looking at the skyline and singing "clouds that look like mountains in the sky are next to mountains anyway" John Mayer style.

     Maybe you've never experienced how art can make you feel something.

    I dare you to try to scroll through Minted's art collection and try not to feel something. 

    And then when you do, use this link to score 15% off all gifts + free upgrade to priority shipping!

  • Grady's Birth Story

    At 5:00 a.m. on Monday, July 23, I was awoken out of a dead sleep by a terrible contraction. I had been having contractions on and off for days, but nothing like this. I laid there in bed and watched the clock and about 10 minutes later experienced the same kind of contraction. During the third one, my agonizing sigh woke Josh up. "Are you having a contraction?" He held my hand and grinned when I told him it was my third one in under 30 minutes - he knew they were different too.
    With his handy Contraction Timer App on his phone, Josh watched and timed my contractions. Around 6:30 a.m. when they started to become 12-15 minutes apart, he said it was time to go for a walk. "I am not going to work today, I want to meet my son." We went for a 2 mile walk around our neighborhood, timing contractions and talking about the anticipated day. By the end of the walk, my contractions were around 7 minutes apart.
    Back at home, I bounced on my yoga ball, finished a decorating project, and watched an episode of Law and Order SVU all the while experiencing stronger and more intense contractions. My contractions had been 5 minutes apart for over an hour, but I did not want to be one of those people who gets sent home from the hospital. I knew they were really bad, but were they just bad to my weenie, pain-intolerant self? So, I suffered for a while longer at home, by this point having to brace myself against Josh through each contraction. Finally I had a contraction that lasted over a minute and a half and that made me wish I could just die, I decided it was time.
    At 11:30 a.m., we left for the hospital.
    When we arrived and got checked in, I was doubling over in pain with contractions that were bringing me to tears. When they checked me and told me I was at 5 cm already, I was so happy that all that work had not been in vain. 
    Two hours later at over 6 cm dilated, I got my epidural. God's miracle drug. I could move my legs and wiggle my toes but I could feel no pain. What a crazy sensation. 
    My nurse, Tracy, was so encouraging and sweet. She made my labor experience that much more enjoyable.
    I had friends and family come visit me during this second half of my labor and it was a fun distraction. They laughed as we watched contractions on top of each other show up on the monitor with not so much as a grimace from me. When I was checked two hours later, I was at 8 cm. One of the reasons I debated the epidural is because I've heard it can slow down your labor, so I was happy to hear it hadn't.
    By around 9 p.m. it was time to push. 
    This was the part I was so nervous about. But it wasn't at all like you see in the movies. It was just me, Josh and my new nurse on duty, Vanessa. Josh had a Coldplay Pandora station playing on his iPhone. Josh and Vanessa each sat at the end of my bed and held my legs for me as I pushed. They gave me encouragement and helped me focus. Not too long into the pushing process, Vanessa could tell that Grady's head was turned sideways preventing him from coming down through my pelvis. She told me I was basically pushing against a brick wall. This was our new goal, to get Grady's head to turn. So they turned me on my side and tried pushing that way. Then to the other side. Finally, after over an hour and a half of pushing, we got his head to turn. The epidural had started wearing off at this point and I could feel a difference in my pushing. I could tell when my contractions were coming better than the monitor could detect. Five pushes later and Vanessa called the doctor in to help deliver Grady. 
    At 10:53 p.m. Grady Ford Goodman was born. He came out screaming and with a slight cone head from being stuck in birth canal so long. 
    Holding my baby boy for the first time was a feeling like none other. It felt so surreal to finally meet the boy I had been carrying and dreaming about for the past 10 months. 
    When I slipped him inside my gown, he was instantly calmed. I was his mom and he felt safe with me.
    Josh kissed me with tears in his eyes, "This is our boy."
    At 7.2 lbs and 20 inches long, Grady is perfect and healthy. We praise God for his faithlessness to us and for this most precious gift.
  • The Hard Days

    "You never see the hard days in a photo album...but those are the ones that get you from one happy snapshot to the next."-Just Married
     
    If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, by my pictures you might think that I was one of those women who eased naturally into motherhood. Who loves breastfeeding and who adjusted easily to life with a newborn. But I'm not. No one could have prepared me for these first two weeks of motherhood. They were filled with hard days. 
    Trying to decipher what is making your baby cry when they are full and dry is hard.
    Meeting a demanding 2 hour feeding schedule is hard.
    Making sense of postpartum emotions is hard.
    Realizing that another life depends on you is hard.
    *****
    The hospital stay was a reality tease. Grady was a perfect sleeping angel who the nurses brought in once a night for a feeding. This isn't so hard, I thought to myself. Lots of family and visitors were a great distraction and Grady passed easily from lap to lap. I didn't change one diaper.
    That first sleepless night at home was a full dose of true reality. Still feeling like I was hit by a train called labor, where every muscle in my body hurt (I did push for 2 hours, remember?), I was zombie-ing my way into Grady's room to change him and cursing my engorged breasts at 2 a.m. Add a dash of those postpartum baby blues and I was a mess. What have I gotten myself into?
     
    Thank the Lord for my wonderful family, who stayed with us that first week. My mom made meals and kept the house clean while I was sequestered in my room meeting the needy feeding schedule of my newborn. As I struggled with thoughts and emotions due to the flush of hormones that was happening in my body I wondered, Where is the overwhelming joy I'm supposed to be experiencing? I didn't feel joy. I felt almost...depressed. Like I was in mourning for the life that I'd given up and was forcing myself to accept my new role as a slave to my newborn.
    Then my family left and Josh went back to work. I got a pit in my stomach just thinking about being home alone with him all day. How do you entertain a newborn?
    My best friend Kerry sensed my anxiety and offered to come over and help me in my first days home alone with Grady. She talked me through the emotions I was experiencing and literally let me cry on her shoulder. She assured me that life would get easier and that I would leave the house again someday.
    Each day does get better and seems a little brighter as I get the hang of this thing called motherhood.
    Grady and I are starting to get into the swing of things. But there are still hard days.
    And during these hard days I am so thankful for my husband, who is an amazing dad to Grady. Somedays I think he's the one with the mother's intuition. He is calm and gentle and sure of himself as a father. My heart swells when I watch him in his new role.
    I know there will be plenty more hard days to come. But I also know what helped me in those hard days: Having coffee with a good friend. Taking a walk. Cuddling with my husband. Talking to another mom who understands. Praying. Going on an outing.
    But there's one thing I still don't understand...how do you take care of a newborn when you already have other children?! 
  • Griffin's Birth Video

    One of the best gift's my husband ever gave me was the video he made the day our first son was born.
    I have watched it so many times over his short 2 year life and it is so special to relive that day.
    So, when our second son was on the way, he assured me he'd do the same thing so that we could have one for him. He's got a quite a knack for editing video and compiling songs to correlate.
    This video is such a treasure to me.
    While Josh has the video skills, I've got the graphic skills. So, I was in charge of designing his birth announcements. I had designed this birth print for his room and decided to combine that with a photo for his birth announcement.

    We are so in love with this new addition to our family!
  • An Ode to Motherhood + What I've Learned

    I've dreamed of being a mother as long as I can remember.
    I chalk this up to the fact that I have the most beautiful and selfless mother that 
    I watched love us four kids with tenderness and grace. 
    But we don't just magically become that beautiful and selfless mother full of tenderness and grace.
    It's quite the journey of transformation in my experience.
    And I've learned a few things in my short (almost) 5 years of experience.
    Throw your expectations out the window
    I learned this one right off the bat trying to get pregnant. 
    Dream scenario: It'll be easy for us to get pregnant. We'll send adorable announcements to our parents surprising them with their first grandchild. I'll have an easy pregnancy and be one of those adorable pregnant girls that barely gains any weight and just looks like she has a basketball stuffed under her shirt. I'll love being pregnant.
    Reality: It took time to get pregnant and every month that I wasn't I started to develop anxiety that I might never get pregnant. We finally do get pregnant and send those adorable announcements to our parents only to tell them a few weeks later that we lost the baby. We grieve and then try again. We finally get pregnant again and I have a condition that causes me to bleed through the whole first trimester. I feel like I'm walking on eggshells my whole pregnancy and my face gets fat.
    You'll learn this one over and over and over as you journey motherhood though. So just take alllll those expectations and throw them out the window. But if you don't, your kids will definitely throw them out the window for you. 
    (Pregnant with Grady at 20 weeks)

    (Pregnant with Griffin at 20 weeks)

     I am really selfish
    Man, did I ever learn this when I had my first baby. 
    Your life goes from doing whatever you want whenever you want being at the mercy of a needy baby and pretty much never doing whatever you want whenever you want. 
    You learn to die to yourself in favor of another person and its hard. Marriage will teach you this a little bit but nothing really teaches you this like a newborn baby.
    For me this stripping away of self played out first in breastfeeding. I didn't want to do it.
    It hurt like crazy and was the most life-sucking thing I'd ever experienced. Pun intended.
    They really expect me to drop everything and just sit down and feed this baby EVERY time he needs to eat? Even though it hurts like CRAZY? He eats every 2 hours? You gotta be kidding me!  
    Everything in me wanted to say, "Forget this." But I couldn't find one unselfish reason not to breastfeed this baby. So, the mother inside of me rose to the occasion.
    She laid down all that selfishness in favor of giving her best. 
    That was the beginning of the end of me and it was so hard but so beautiful.
    Watching a baby grow up is pure magic
    This little person that you GROW INSIDE YOUR BODY gets bigger, and smarter, and more independent every single day. They go from completely helpless to sitting up and crawling and feeding themselves to eventually learning to walk and talk. It's so amazing to have a front row seat.
    Everything feels new again
    Getting to experience life through the eyes of your child is amazing. 
    Their excitement and wonder is so contagious. I remember feeling so excited the first time my babies experienced snow and it felt like it was my first time all over again.
    This happened again and again. Going to places, trying new things. It all feels new seeing it through their eyes.
     






    Your heart really does grow when you have more babies
    I remember crying when I was pregnant with Griffin thinking there is no way I'd be able to love him like I love Grady. And I don't. I love him in his own unique way and it's amazing and sorta incomprehensible until you experience it. 



    And then it grows even more watching your kids be siblings
    Watching my boys become brothers was something I wasn't aware would make my heart wanna explode. The way they love each other is so special and after 2 years I'm finally watching them become real, true wanna-play-and-do-everything-together friends and it is the BEST. THING. EVER.




    It's sweetest love you'll ever know
    Grady told me he wants to marry me the other day.
    This little boy love is a whole other level of love and pure dependance and trust.



    Time is so cruel to babies
    Exhibit A


    Exhibit B
     

    You can't pour from an empty well
    It's the same concept as why they tell you to put on your oxygen mask first before assisting others when you fly on an airplane. You can't pour from an empty well and motherhood is all about pouring yourself out on behalf of others. So if you're not doing things that fill your well, it's a detriment to everyone. If you've been a mother for any time at all I'm sure you know just how true this is. So find time and ways to recharge and fill your well. For me it's time alone. Time alone with God. And time with girlfriends.  I know it's not always easy to do but in my experience your family will thank you.
    It's the hardest/best job ever
    Once you become a mother, you're always on. 24/7. Even if you're getting a break you're still thinking about them and worrying if they're behaving for the babysitter. Being a mom does weird things to your heart - like you're dying to get them to sleep and then when they're asleep, you miss them. I truly count it such a privilege to be these boys' mom. And I believe God chose them specifically for me. He's given me all the grace I need to raise Grady and Griffin Goodman. And when I walk in that truth, I feel empowered to raise these boys well. I believe that raising Godly gentlemen will probably be my greatest contribution to this world.







    Happy Mother's Day to all the mamas, soon-to-be mamas, and mamas in waiting.
    My heart is with you all in so many ways.



  • The gift of pictures

    The one gift I always know I'm getting on Mother's Day is the gift of pictures.
    My husband carves out some time and gets behind our nice camera to take
    some non-iPhone pictures of me and the boys. It's such a treasure to me to have these pictures and see us grow and change together every year. 








    //////////






    Me and my babies on Mother's Day 2017













    To me, the gift of pictures is a priceless one. 


  • A Dino Party fit for a FIVE year old

    You guys, my baby turned 5! I know everyone says this, but I really don't know how it happened.
    I feel like I blinked. Wasn't it yesterday that I just gave birth to him?
    And I'm not sure why 5 feels like SUCH a big milestone but it does. 

     It also felt like a big milestone because this was the first year HE knew exactly what he wanted.
    He understood his birthday was coming and he wanted to plan his day, invite friends, the whole nine.
    And one day while we were at Walmart he saw a dinosaur piñata and that was it, he was sold.
    A dino party complete with piñata would be the perfect celebration for this 5 year old.


    And if you've been around here for any time at all, you know I'm all about cuteness on a dime.
    Getting creative with what I already have and challenging myself to spend as little money as possible are usually my method. Things that cost little money but make a big impact (see balloon 5 below).
    I brought out Grady's plastic dinos, went and scrounged up plants from around the house, and got out our family party hats + Happy Birthday banner that we use for everyone's birthday in our family plus a couple cute pictures of Grady and made this little scene!


    The only thing I really needed to make was the Gradysaurus banner. I bought a $3 pack of letters from the Target Dollar Spot and painted them green. It didn't have all the R's or S's I needed so I just traced them on cardboard and added them in.



     The cake is a big deal, of course.  And while I love to decorate a cake, I'm no baker.

     So I made it easy on myself and just did a triple layer boxed funfetti cake.
    Store bought icing as well. If it ain't broke, why fix it? That's my motto when 
    it comes to baking. hah!




    To make it even easier on myself, I made cupcakes for all the kids.
    Pre-measured, contained cake for the win.
    The only other decor we did was this super fun balloon 5.
    If you're looking for a statement decor piece and don't want to spend much money but don't mind investing some time, this might be for you!
    We just bought a big piece of plywood and painted it white for the backdrop.
    Then I freehanded a huge number 5 outline for us to follow. 
    We bought six $1 packs of balloons for 72 balloons total and then went to town blowing them 
    up in all different sizes. Start with your big balloons first to make the shape and then fill it in with the littler balloons. Use strong, white tape. Enlist someone else to do all the balloon blowing (that's what I did, hah!)
    This was my first time hosting a *real* kid party. Like with more kids than adults.
    I was not really sure how it was gonna go, but it was great.

    We did some simple dino themed games for the kids:
    Dinosaur Egg Hunt
    Dinosaur Dig
    And of course, the thing that started it all, 
    Dinosaur Piñata 

    My boy had a great day. He is such an extrovert so being surrounded by his
    people was the best gift of all. 
     (Thank you to my friend Trish who grabbed my camera and took pictures so I could 
    be in the moment. That's a good friend right there.)



    My sweet Grady boy, I count it such a privilege to be your mama.
    We've done this thing together from the start. So, your birthday kinda feels like my birthday - the day I became a mom. You've turned into such a kind, compassionate, and helpful little boy.
    You are by far one of my greatest blessings and I love to celebrate YOU.
    Every year we try to take pictures of our kids on/around their birthday and here are a
    few to remember our Grady Boy at age 5. 



  • Cheers to 3 years

    A letter to you on your 3rd birthday.
    Dear Griffin Boy,
    You make life so special. You are joy embodied in a little boy. When you were 8 weeks old, our family went through some hard life changes. You were an angel. You slept through the night and woke with smiles every morning. You helped me press on in love. And you made my heart explode everyday with your sweetness. You've grown into your own little person. And we wrestle for who is in charge. We fight hard but we love harder. You bring me to the end of myself. And yet with your chubby hands on my face whispering 'i wuv you', I am undone. You've made me rely on God for wisdom and guidance and made me drop to my knees praying for patience. But I feel like the luckiest mom in the world that I'm the one that gets to love you. To guide you. To grow you. 
    Cheers to 3 years, little boy. And many more to come. 
    xoxo