The Space Between

For the women trying to live life in the space between it all.

Tag Archives: girlmom

25 things you NEED to do before summer is over!

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It’s sure felt like summer already here in Ohio even though we still have three more weeks of “spring.” I have so much I want to do with the kiddos this summer! Here are some ideas to ensure you have lots of fun this summer. 😉 I’ll provide a couple linked pictures at the bottom to our favorite summer items in case you need some ideas – just click on the pictures at the very bottom of the post and it’ll take you to the website.

1. Go to the zoo! Make it a day trip. Pack lunches in a cooler if you want to make it a little cheaper.
2. Play in the water table – I added shovels, pales and figurines to ours for added fun! I’ve also seen some people add bubbles.
3. Play with water beads in a sensory table or sensory bin. I underestimated how popular these would be! My toddler BEGS me to play with these multiple times everyday.
4. Catch lightning bugs.
5. Go to the beach.
6. Can’t go to the beach? Then go to the “beach.” I made a beach sensory bin using rice, white beans, rocks and seashells. It totally looks like the beach and Audrey has really enjoyed playing in it! I got everything from the dollar store so it was a super cheap project and I scrounged around the house to find the beach animals.
7. Make popsicles. This is on my list to do next week so when I perfect my recipe, I’ll post it!
8. Have a water balloon fight. Because sometimes it’s just fun to throw things at your kids.
9. Pool time. Whether it be a blow up pool in your backyard or traipsing off to the public pool – time spent at the pool is so fun!
10. Walk a trail. We’ve been trying to get out and walk a lot – it’s been so fun and relaxing!
11. Grill out. Burgers, dogs, chicken, just enjoy the outdoors with yummy grilled food.
12. Go to a farmer’s market. Summer time is the best time for fresh produce. Find a local farmer’s market and enjoy some yummy local produce. Plus supporting local farmers is just better anyway 😉
13. Have a picnic. Pack up some PB&Js and carrot sticks and head off to the park!

14. Too hot to go outside? Beat the heat and check out your local library for story time options.
15. Go on a road trip. Take a day and drive somewhere fun! Enjoy the sunshine and jamming out to music in the car. It doesn’t matter where you go. Sometimes the journey is the most fun.
16. Go camping. You can do this relatively cheap most places.
17. Get some cheap summer toys and make a day of it! We ventured to the dollar store yesterday and picked out some random summer time toys. Here are some ideas: Scoosh balls (I have no idea what they’re really called – I’ve just always called them this), a giant bubble wand, squirt guns, water balloons, shovel and pale, even just measuring cups can be fun in a water table, etc. There are so many options and random things you can get.
18. Go for ice cream, with sprinkles of course!
19. Fill up a birdfeeder and watch all the birds come flocking.
20. Eat watermelon and corn on the cob and all of that good summer food.
21. Watch fireworks.
22. Go to the park – swing, go down slides, test your strength on the handlebars, etc.
23. Walk in cool grass barefoot. I promise, it’s therapeutic.
24. Plant flowers or a garden.
25. Just enjoy family time. Embrace time with your sweet kids and soak up every ounce of sunshine you can.

To the momma of the strong-willed child.

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Strong-willed. Stubborn. Spirited. Wild child. Fiery. Free Spirit. Marches to their own beat. There’s so many other words and phrases I could use to describe the incredible nature that is the strong-willed child. You will love them, admire them, get frustrated with them, underestimate them, fight with them, appreciate them, respect them, and so much more. And yet, you have to keep feeding that flame, you can’t squander it. You have to allow that fire to grow. The fire that makes them who they are. The fire that will get them so far in life. How do you think all of the great leaders achieved all they have? They’re the go getters. The wild ones. The ones who don’t follow each rule and who push back when they don’t agree. The ones who question everything and pave their own way. The ones who don’t conform to “normal.” They change the world. They make a difference.

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I know it’s hard – trust me, I really do. I know some days you want to rip your hair out because you’re so frustrated and discouraged. I know some days you question if you’re doing what you’re supposed to in parenting them. I know some days you contemplate tossing them out the window – don’t lie, you know you have. I know some days you hide in the bathroom just for a break from the bossiness. But I also know that you have all the equipment you need to raise that amazing child. I know you sometimes lay awake at night wondering who they’ll be when they get older. I know sometimes you wonder if you’re a strong enough mom for them. I know sometimes you just sit and watch them because you’re in awe of the person they are at such a young age. I know you get defensive when the person at the grocery store makes the “Oh you’re in trouble” or “They’re a troublemaker” comment, because you know you’re not in trouble. You know that even in the midst of the toughest and most challenging days that your sweet baby while yes, very strong-willed is so wonderful and capable and is going to turn into the most incredible adult. (Once you survive the teen years, that is.)

At the end of the day, all you can do is embrace the persistence and determination within your child. It will serve them extremely well in the future. Perseverance. Willpower. Tenacity. Drive. These are all words that could be used to describe great leaders, the world changers, and our strong-willed child. The world needs people like this. The world needs children like this. The strong-willed ones are the ones capable of changing the world. Let them.

I’m going to leave you with this quote from the late Steve Jobs.

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Can we just all be super moms?

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I’m a chewy, granola, crunchy, silky, helicopter, unicorn mom.

Oh, the labels. There are SO many ways to parent your child nowadays. I’ve been a mom for a mere 2.5 years and so much has changed since my first was born. I feel like we so easily label moms as something and then that’s who they are. You’re either crunchy or silky. What about those of us in between?

I formula fed my first and am breastfeeding my second. That alone makes me scrunchy. What? It’s all so confusing. I make my own baby food, except prunes – prunes, I buy. I cloth diaper and use cloth wipes – yay environment! I baby wear. I don’t co-sleep. I vaccinate. I use essential oils (a lot!) but I also use Tylenol and ibuprofen. We buy a lot of organic food but we also eat Goldfish. We extended rear face. I chase my kid around the playground with sunscreen and hand sanitizer, reapplying as needed. No shame in my pale, germ-free game. I combo fed both of my kids with purees AND baby led weaning. *gasp* No! Yes, I did. It worked great for us. We play outside a lot but we also have a lot of movie days. We do a lot of crafts but we also sometimes do nothing. I try to cook all meals from scratch but sometimes we have a frozen pizza. I had an epidural for both deliveries – I don’t regret it at all. I really wanted to have a home birth but my husband said no…and as it turned out if I had, I probably would’ve died. I don’t spank but sometimes I yell. I count to three a lot and say, “Use your big girl words” way more than anyone ever should.

My point is that NO mom is the same. Everybody raises their kiddos differently. These mom labels are great and all but we all really just need to do what’s best for our families and our kiddos. I think the fact that I fit into six different mom “categories” proves that. And these are just the first ones I could think of. I’m sure there are more. It doesn’t matter where you fit in, or if you even fit into any at all. What matters is you’re doing the best you can and what’s best for you and your sweet angels. Just keep being a super mom. That’s the only label that matters. Keep going, momma! You’re doing great.

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For when you tried your best.

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Oh sweet momma, today you rocked it. You kept the kids busy. You didn’t turn on the TV once. You painted, you danced, you played doctor, you played with playdough, you colored a card for someone who’s sick, you let them paint some more, you kept your cool, you didn’t let the series of unfortunate events get to you. Thing after thing happened but you didn’t break. Not today, Satan. Nothing seems to go right but you’re trying your hardest to make the best of it. But you’re only human and you’re only one person so naturally, it gets to you. Time for a mini meltdown. Or a huge one. Doesn’t matter.

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Why do I even try? Why is this so hard? Why can’t things just go how I want them to for once? Why does it seem like the universe is against me? Why can’t this just be easy?

 I have had those days. Trust me, I’ve had them. However, tomorrow is a new day. You get to start over again! Looking back, I know we had hard days when my second was first born and even my first was born, but I truly cannot remember the details of them. I can’t remember a specific bad day. I remember the good ones, oh do I remember the good ones! But the bad ones? Not so much. This is just a moment. An hour. A day. A week. A season. It always gets better. Sip on some coffee, snuggle with your kiddos and know that tomorrow will be better. Each day holds new hope and promises. You’ve got this.

You are capable. You are amazing. You are super mom. You are radiant. You are a rock star. (You totally rock!) You are incredible. You’ve. Got. This.

My first week as a stay at home mom was a nightmare.

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I’m going to preface this by saying, I’m SO thankful I get to stay at home with my kids. It’s such an answer to many prayers and truly a blessing for us. However, I expected our first week to be sunshine and rainbows and it wasn’t. Not. Even. Close. It doesn’t even make any sense because I stayed home before, I just had additional kids to watch. You’d think it’d be easier! Nope. It wasn’t. My kids lost their routine. They lost their friends. Now we wake up when we want, we eat when we want. We’ve been doing the same thing every day for a long time and now everything is changing. Why did I decide to use this huge adjustment and transition period to potty train my two year old? Apparently, I’m a glutton for punishment because holy moly it was the worst idea I’ve ever had.

It’ll be so great. I’ll be able to clean my house and go outside all the time and potty train Audrey and have dinner on the table when my husband comes home. The laundry will always be caught up and I’ll be able to meal prep and make gourmet breakfasts. What was I thinking? Why did I think this would be easy?

Audrey is a mess because she’s trying to adjust to a completely new day to day life and Quinn has done nothing but scream and cry all day every day since Monday. Genius idea to schedule 6 month shots that first week. Good job, Alli.

My poor husband didn’t come home to a clean house or a meal on the table or a happy wife. He came home to a tornado of a house after Hurricane Alli came through trying to do her home cooked meals and a shell of a very defeated wife. I haven’t even had time to write a blog post until now because I’ve been so busy adjusting and figuring things out.

I’m going to share a screenshot of a text my amazing husband sent me and hopefully he doesn’t get mad – just kidding, he won’t! I’m so thankful for his encouragement and support. He has made this difficult transition much easier with his encouraging words and being willing to clean our disaster house after his long work days.

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Can we all sing together? What a man, what a man, what a man, what a mighty good man. Good job, guys! But seriously, how awesome is he?! I’m such a lucky lady!

Stay at home moms, I don’t know how you do it! We just finished up week 2 and it was much better but not any easier. My house is still a wreck. I’m hoping the ability to balance things and juggle will come with time. It does, right?!

Mom Pressure

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It’s 7pm the Saturday before Easter Sunday. I realized I didn’t get dresses for the girls for Easter. What kind of mom am I? Major mom fail. Ugh. I rifle through Audrey’s closet and find a cute, fancy schmancy dress in the back that a friend gave us last summer. It’s in her size. Score! I trot out to our back garage and dig through 70 billion totes to find Audrey’s old spring clothes from a couple of years ago. I find her first Easter dress and it’s 9 months. Score, again! Pretty Easter dresses – check. Now for the perfectly staged Easter picture. Not so check. Trying to get a sassy toddler and a 5 month old to both look at the camera and smile is near impossible. I couldn’t even manage to get Little Miss Sassafras to look at the camera.

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There’s so much pressure on perfection. Living in the social media world that we do makes it difficult at times to not play the comparison game. How does she get her kids to always smile for pictures? How does she get the sunlight to perfectly shine on her children’s faces? Why does her house always look perfect? How does she do it? Why is she so perfect? Here’s her secret. She’s not. Nobody is. It’s so easy to make social media our highlight reel and let everyone believe we’re perfect. But where’s the fun in that? Life is messy, raw, real, chaotic and a little bit sticky. (Or maybe that’s just my house – stinkin’ toddlers.) Why make it seem perfect? Why allow someone else’s highlight reel to put so much pressure on you? So what if you didn’t buy your kids Easter outfits? So what if you don’t realize until 7pm that your child only had goldfish for dinner – big, fat oops. So what if you forget about trick or treating and order their costume 2 days before? (Guilty – I also did that. Thank God for Amazon Prime.) So what if you forget about show and tell and your child takes the obvious last minute choice? So what if you shamelessly turn the TV on while tossing chicken nuggets in front of your child for the second night in a row?

None of it matters. None. Of. It. Matters. Period. I promise that all your child will remember is that momma tried. You tried. You did your best. At the end of the day your sweet baby still snuggles into momma because you are their safety net. Nothing bad can happen with momma around. You protect. You love. You provide. You cherish. And guess what? Despite the messes and the chaos and your crazy dry shampoo mom hair, your sweet angel looks at you and sees nothing less than pure, beautiful perfection.

Why self-care is so important.

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Mom. Mommy. Mother. Momma. Madre. Mum. Mama. Mummy. So many titles for one extraordinary person.

Moms put everyone before themselves. There’s a running joke lately that talks about how many times moms have to reheat their cup of coffee because they’re too busy to drink it or they forget about it. I even saw something the other day where a mom said she just prefers it cold now – which for me, ironically, is now true.

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It’s currently 3:20pm and I’m sitting on the floor with my 5 month old next to me as I continually bounce her in the bouncer in hopes that she’ll fall asleep for the first time today. She won’t. But I’m trying anyways. I stop to type and she rings out again so I start bouncing again. The cycle continues. She’s been fed, changed, I gave her gripe water and Tylenol for her mean old teeth, all that’s left to do is sleep. But she won’t. As I sit with my naked face because I didn’t have time to put on makeup today and my “mom bun,” I look down at my unshaven legs and my leftover pink nail polish from my last pedicure that was in October of last year. Wow. I try to think of the last time I had a hair cut or color as my grays are growing with a vengeance. I can’t remember. I was pregnant at the time and my baby is now 5 months old. Yikes.

Self-care. It’s a phrase we hear a lot but do we do it a lot? I sure don’t. I tell my husband all the time I want to do this or that but I never get it done. I’m always so busy chasing my toddler or nursing the baby. I’ve “needed a hair cut” for the past few months. I even messaged a friend about getting in to get my hair done but I never followed through. Why do we always put ourselves last? As moms, we have to wear so many hats but sometimes I think we forget that we were a person before we were a mom. I was Alli long before I was Brandon’s wife or Quinn and Audrey’s mom. You may think this sounds selfish and that’s the stigma I’m trying to break. It’s not selfish to take care of yourself. You can’t pour into others if your cup isn’t full. I always think of the “you have to put your oxygen mask on before helping others if the plane is going down” analogy. Have you ever tried to pour water from an empty cup? It doesn’t work very well.

Self-care doesn’t have to be a 7 hour trip to the spa or a mani/pedi or anything fancy. It can be waking up 15 minutes before your kids and drinking your coffee hot and scrolling through Facebook or reading your Bible. It can be as simple as ordering your favorite takeout or running through and grabbing a coffee. It can be as simple as doing a movie day so you can relax with your sweet kiddos. Take a break. Take a shower. Take 15 minutes for yourself every day. You deserve it. You’re worth it.