Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Hey you stinky boy... I love you.

I sure lOve LOVE love you family.

I love you when you drip ice cream all over.

I love you because you read to our kids, up in the tree house.

I love you even when your dirty sweet little hands touch my white sweatshirt.

I love you even when you dig big holes in our back yard...
right before it rains for a week.

I love you even when you put dirt all over the slide.
And you love me even though there are days that I don't get you dressed.

I love you even when you dig up worms, hold them up in my face and then
beg me to allow you to take a nap with your wormie.

I love you even though I can never find any spoons
because they are all outside. In the dirt.

I love you even though most of the Cheerios end up on the table,
and not in your belly.

I love you especially because I get dandelions instead of roses.

I love you even when you leave your egg pan on the
stove for me to wake up to every morning.
And you love me even though I don't get up every morning to make your eggs.

I love you even though you rarely wear shoes outside.
I love you even though I can never keep up on all of your dishes. 
(I love being a mom even if my fanciest attire
include my new mother's day apron and my red ballet flats.)

What are the daily tasks and happenings
that remind you just how much you love your crew?

Send me your pictures with captions and I'll feature them
here on my blog!!

Or if we are friends on facebook, send them there.
Or text me!

Monday, May 27, 2013

A Healthy Family Has a Sense of Play and Humor.

It's 'Healthy Family Traits' Monday. If you are wondering what the heck that means, check out my post from last Monday Tuesday here. There are 15 healthy family traits that I learned about back in my collage days that I wanted to share with you all. This is challenging me to take a look at my family, and to see what we need to work on. Last week was "Healthy families communicate and listen." 

This week's focus is:
2.) The healthy family has a sense of play and humor.

We play a lot in our family. We pretend that "THE PIRATES ARE COMING!!" or that "THE DINOSAURS ARE GOING TO CATCH US!!!!" My husband rolls around on the floor with these boys wrastling and tickling and making my little boys laugh until their bellies ache (or until they get accidentally kicked in the face and start bawling.) I didn't grow up with a dad like that, so I love seeing this when it happens. We get silly when we have dance parties while we listen to all kinds of music like zumba dance music, Lecrea, The Mamas and the Papas, Gypsy Kings, the O Brother Where Art Thou? sound track, Alicia Keys, and maaaaybe a little bit of old school P. Diddy (mo' money mo' problems anyone.. it's the edited version, so chill out...) We go on walks and go to the numerous parks around our house to play and throw sand build sand buildings. 

Gabriel (with his fat lip from the day before. Basket ball injury.)

Max took some pictures. This is me being a super attentive parent...
or maybe just day dreaming about sunnier days to be had in California?

My sweet boys.

Luckily Max shot this one. It's me hollering at  telling Eli to not throw sand.
See? I parent my kids and teach them right from wrong.
*contrary to popular belief:)

I had to show Max how monkey bars work. I got like 18 inches of air.

Gabe had a turn being the photographer. Max practiced the monkey bars,
and I  hollered at Eli for throwing sand again.

Tough boy

Little boy in time out for throwing sand.

Gabriel found a sweet little nest on the ground. 

Being silly with your kids is easy. But being silly and humorous with your spouse? Hm. I am not as good about that. 'Cause I'm tired. And when we are finally alone at the end of the evening, there is not so much humor or playfulness. I am not up for shenanigans. That's gotta change.

So my challenge for myself this week: I gotta be more silly with my husband. And that will be easy, since WE ARE LEAVING ON A (KID-LESS) VACATION THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW!!! The time has finally come. We will be gone for six days. And we will be with my super funny uncle Pete and auntie M and cousin Jack.  So there will be lots of humor. And lots of silliness. And LOTS of shenanigans. Lots. 

So what about youa nd your fam? Do you all have a good sense of playfulness and humor?

If not, time to get silly. 


Friday, May 24, 2013

Favorite Quote Friday

For my Favorite Quote Friday I wanted to share some excerpts from moms who have shared with me their ability to relate to last weeks post Sorry my little boys act like... little boys. The responses I have gotten have been so neat to read. It is such a gift to know that I am not alone in this, and that so many other mamas (and dads!) are going through the same things. 

A sweet grandmother shared this:

Such a Great post and comments! I raised 6 wonderful sons, and am now a grandmother. Most boys LOVE noise,action and getting physical (wrestling). My only regret is not allowing for more of this natural and needed behavior at home. Along with not fully appreciating their constant energy and enthusiasm. No need to apologize for their healthy zest for life, but certainly okay to apologize to them for your off days as a mom and assure them of your unconditional love! Children are blessings every day and they only have one childhood! Carry on with confidence and a smile!

A great response from a mama who painted a vivid and beautiful picture of what her life looks like:

Wow, thank you. I have a 2-year-old wonderfully crazy little boy. He is our 2nd child after a very quiet little girl who is about to turn 21. He is wild and crazy , crabby if he doesn't nap, growls like wild animals, plays until he literally falls into my arms at night to sleep. He is loud and unpredictable when he runs in circles with his eyes closed. He is also sweet and says hi to anyone, shows compassion when his cousins cry, kisses me every time I ask and runs to me yelling Mommy like I am the most important thing EVER. I do apologize for him all the time. I even apologize for him when I know it is not that big of a deal. I do discipline, I do teach him to be respectful. Many meals on a night out have been eaten alone because my husband took our screaming/growling dino out to the car to watch Lion King and have a backseat picnic. Thank you for opening my eyes. He is a little boy and I need to know that it is ok for him to be a little crazy -- not disrespectful on my part and ruin everyone's day around me -- but a squeal here or there is all right, wanting to open a door alone is ok, wanting to explore new places and "talking" with everyone is fine. I will apologize much less.

A mom who was blessed with children with some special needs gave great perspective here:

My children have medical issues that mean I parent differently than I would if they were totally "normal" kids, and I find that it makes me a far more open parent in other ways. Their lives are so restricted by food that when they have the opportunity to run, play, and BE normal kids, well, I let them! 

By no means am I encouraging "bad" behavior - I think we're all in agreement that letting kids run wild is not okay. But my oldest son is only 3 and seems to be just as stubborn as his Mama - he doesn't really learn anything until he has done it for himself and experienced the negative repercussion personally! 

I'm tired of apologizing for it. I don't let him run wild, and I make him clean up his messes and apologize when we're out in public and he's done something that disturbs another person. But for being him? For being enthusiastic TIMES 100? For screaming in joy because he's riding in the grocery cart? For letting me know exactly how disappointed he is in having to leave the store when he was just getting his play-groove on? Well, that's just a 3 year old being a 3 year old.

And I'm not apologizing for that. My son is learning how to function in the world. The grown-ups around us are already supposed to know. They need to show patience to the little ones trying to learn the world - and to the Moms who are struggling to show them the world while not ticking everyone else off simultaneously! :-)

And one more from a mom that knows her stuff:

There is a massive difference in instructing a child and losing it because they do the things children inevitably do. Little boys are often faced with unfair negative associations and unfair expectations. When adults can't even always control themselves- or their words, for that matter- it's a lot to ask a small child to do. I should add before I sound like my children run wild that they are complimented on their behavior and manners often.

Have a great weekend. Are you doing anything fun? I get to go to Zumba, a 6 year old birthday party for my sweet friend Tamrah's little boy, and I get two girls' nights! One tonight one Sunday night. 

Check back on Monday for another healthy family trait that I will be sharing.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A little update on house project happenings.

So in the last couple of months Matt and I have been working on the first floor of our house. If you want to see what it all looked like before (Someday when it's all done, I will do official before and after shots) you can look here.

I was totally inspired by a few projects that my dear friend (and fellow blogger) Sarah had done in her house! Check out her blog An Inviting Home. It is full of sweet house projects (and other amazing stuff.) 

In her  hallway up stairs she did a birch tree stencil. She got it on-line here at Cutting Edge Stencils. And then she was sweet enough to lend it to me after I oooooh'ed and aaaaaah'ed over how great it looked.

Here is her wall! Isn't it flippin' sweet??
So Matt and I set up one night and plowed through the first phase. My friend Kristen helped me to choose the perfect grey for our living room. We chose a deep blue-based hue. We worked well as a team. Well, he worked well as a team while I just did touch ups, wiped up drips, sprayed the adhesive and texted back and forth with girlfriends about how awesome it looked.

This was a huge stencil, and was not SUPER  hard to use,
especially when there were two of us to work on it. 

The first phase consisted of this row. We didn't start phase two until a few weeks later.
We finally (pretty much) finished the day before mother's day. 

I was one happy mama when it was finished!
We still have some touching-up to do (which is why I haven't returned it to Sarah yet! I swear Sarah, SOON!) I think it will probably happen by the time Maximo's graduation happens. Not kindergarten graduation. High school graduation. Okay, hopefully before then. 

The other project we worked on was the art wall. I wanted a chalk board and a space to hang art work. Again, Sarah had done both of these projects beautifully, so I consulted with her for tips and suggestions.

Her projects turned out like this:

She created a coffee bar menu on her chalk board. Check out her full tutorial here.

Her children's art work hangs in their breakfast nook. Check out the full post here
Our art wall turned out great. We decided to use our chalk board as a legal area for kids to draw. (Although chalk still finds it's way to illegal walls.... grrr... It's better than sharpie markers though.) I saw a perfect execution of an art wall on pintrest. So we made our own version.

This is were we decided to put our art wall. We hung up curtain tension wires from Ikea.
You can find them here.
We painted with the chalk paint first.

Then Matt built a custom frame around it, complete with a chalk ledge at the top.
Gabriel's birthday sign I drew for him.
We also did a lot of other painting. We did the kitchen, entry way and  three walls in the dining room all the same color. It's a grey-toned off white. It's bright and cheery and is ready to be the back drop for a gallery wall in one place and hanging art work in other places. again, projects we will get to someday. We painted the cabinets white in the kitchen.

This was before we put the doors back on.
We painted our kitchen cabinets white. And we did an accent wall in the dining room in "moracan spice" so it's sort of a burnt orange. It's beautiful. I'm still trying to figure out what to hang on that gorgeous wall.

We had to paint while children kept on doin' their thang through out the day.
Gabe was in heaven having constant access to a ladder all day.
So, there ya have it. It's still a work in progress. 

I look at all of this and am completely amazed at God's beautiful provision over our family. Two years ago I remember crying during a conversation with my mom, so confused at how everything was just hard. We didn't know where we were going to move. I was pregnant with an unexpected baby, I was grief stricken about my dad still and worried that nothing was going to work out for us. My mom reminded me of a verse that shows just how much God cares.

Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young-- a place near your altar, LORD Almighty, my King and my God.
Psalm 84:3

This verse is what one of my tattoos is based on. It's a baby bird to remind me that God cares about mothers, that he cares about our concerns of providing for our babies, our families. Our great and almighty God cares enough to provide a mama bird a place to lay her babies' heads. So of course he was going to provide a place for me to lay my babies' heads down too. 

My nest is so sweet. I sure love my home.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Focus on Healthy Family Traits

I don't know if you know this about me, but I went to school for human services. I wanted to go in to social services or marriage and family counseling  I wanted to "specialize" in reconciliation. I wanted to help parents (especially dads) create really healthy and loving relationships with their kids. I wanted to assist families in crisis, help families stay together, encourage parents, encourage kids. Encourage families.

I got my two-year degree, and thought I'd go right on to my four-year, and then maybe a masters... but... life happened. Well three kids happened. So now I find myself spending long days reconciling differences between fighting siblings and encouraging big brother to "be kind and helpful" to little brother. I assist husband in the daily crisis of who needs a bath and what the heck are we gonna eat for dinner. It's along the same lines right?

My heart is still so eager to love on, encourage and help people. And that is the best thing about getting the kind of little degree that I did: I learned really great skills that I get to use all the time.

I just came across a hand-out from one of my classes entitled "HEALTHY FAMILY TRAITS." I remember when I got it thinking, "I need to hold on to this because someday I will have kids and a family and I will want to remember this list."

So for the next 14 Mondays, I am going to write about each trait listed, and how we (my little family) either already practice it, or how we are going to attempt to practice it. I want to challenge myself to be more intentional with my family, and I want to challenge YOU to take a look at your own family and evaluate how these traits play out in your world.

1. The healthy family communicates and listens.

I tried to communicate to Matt that I needed these clogs, but he just didn't listen.

Okay, all jokes aside. This is an area where my husband Matt and I still struggle at times. STILL after almost nine years of marriage! My "I'll be ready in 5 minutes" really means 20 minutes. His "I'm just going to go work out quick" means three hours later he comes back after picking up a friend, doing weights AND cardio, having lunch and then dropping friend off. Both of these scenarios drive us nuts. So, we are working on how we communicate time. 

We are also almost always working on communicating our feelings. Typically you hear about how women expect men to read their minds. Well, in our relationship, it's vice versa. So Matt's working on communicating feelings better. I have been working on communicating using less words. I could sit for an hour explaining something as simple as "I need help making sure Max's homework is getting done each night." Matt just needs me to say those twelve words, and he's on it. But If I talk for too long about it, over explaining and trying to figure out the nicest way of saying it, I lose him. 

We also work on communicating expectations. For example, we are going to California next week on a 6 day vaycay with no kiddos. Tomorrow night we are going on a coffee date to communicate our plans and expectations. 

As far as listening? We are both good listeners I think. Unless Matt's talking a bunch of underground locater shop talk about this broken water main and that Xcel guy who did this or messed that up and closed down the whole street and yadda yadda yadda.... I try to listen, even though I have no interest, because it means something to him, and it means a lot for him to be able to see that I am listening. Just like when I talk to him about my blog, my zumba class or my latest playdate and his eyes gloss over a little and he is still watching This Old House over my shoulder.  Okay we need a little work in that area. (p.s. I am totally kidding, I would never tell a story to him while This Old House was on!)

And what does communication and listening look like in family life with three young boys?

We ask our boys lots of questions. After school or when Maximo comes home from a friend's house I listen to him tell me all about it. When Gabe finds the most incredible worm in the whole wide world, I listen, and tell him that his worm is AAAhhhh-mazing. When Eli comes and mumbles the cutest mumble tattle tale and points at the sibling he's mad at in tears, I listen. 

We also are very clear in how we communicate love for each other in our family. And when words of love are spoken here, we all are listening. 


Hope everyone had a lovely Monday. I sure did. Oh wait. I just realized it is Tuesday. I am going on little sleep here dude. Cut me a break. 

Tomorrow I am planning on posting some house project updates. So stay tuned.


Friday, May 17, 2013

"Glass houses, friend."

My friend Heidi over at The Spicy Mustard Seed does favorite quote Fridays. 

Today, I'm copying you Heidi.

I saw a post that my friend Sumer had read and shared on facebook and I was blown away at how well this woman said it. Her name is Jill Smith, and according to my facebook stalking skillz (clicking on her 'about' button), she is a doula at Dusk to Dawn Birth Services

Let this soak in and be encouraged. 

To the mom who's breastfeeding: Way to go! It really is an amazing gift to give your baby, for any amount of time that you can manage! You're a good mom. 

To the mom who's formula feeding: Isn't science amazing? To think there was a time when a baby with a mother who couldn't produce enough would suffer, but now? Better living through chemistry! You're a good mom. 

To the cloth diapering mom: Fluffy bums are the cutest, and so friendly on the bank account. You're a good mom. 

To the disposable diapering mom: Damn those things hold a lot, and it's excellent to not worry about leakage and laundry! You're a good mom. 

To the mom who stays home: I can imagine it isn't easy doing what you do, but to spend those precious years with your babies must be amazing. You're a good mom. 

To the mom who works: It's wonderful that you're sticking to your career, you're a positive role model for your children in so many ways, it's fantastic. You're a good mom. 

To the mom who had to feed her kids from the drive thru all week because you're too worn out to cook or go grocery shopping: You're feeding your kids, and hey, I bet they aren't complaining! Sometimes sanity can indeed be found in a red box with a big yellow M on it. You're a good mom. 

To the mom who gave her kids a homecooked breakfast lunch and dinner for the past week: Excellent! Good nutrition is important, and they're learning to enjoy healthy foods at an early age, a boon for the rest of their lives. You're a good mom. 

To the mom with the kids who are sitting quietly and using their manners in the fancy restaurant: Kudos, it takes a lot to maintain order with children in a place where they can't run around. You're a good mom. 

To the mom with the toddler having a meltdown in the cereal aisle: they always seem to pick the most embarrassing places to lose their minds don't they? We've all been through it. You're a good mom.

To the moms who judge other moms for ANY of the above? Glass houses, friend. Glass houses.

Who's guilty of judging for any of the reasons above? 

Yeah, me too. Guilty.

And who has felt judged for all of those reasons above at one point or another? 

Oh wait, not me, because I have never cloth diapered (ain't nobody got time fo' dat!... unless you do. and if you got time fo' dat, then no judgement on you oh brave and mighty earth-conscious one. I salute you!)

Have a great weekend everyone. While our little boys play on their new swing set, Matthew and I will spend our weekend cleaning up our yard, trimming the raspberry bush and cleaning out my van.

Our new FREE swing set!
Our sweet neighbor gave it to us since her boys are too big for swing sets now.

We always wait until spring to clean out the van, for safety precautions. If in the winter, we were to become stranded on the side of the road, we'd be able to survive for days off the cheerios, apple cores and half-eaten cereal bars found under the seats. Does that disgust you? "Glass houses friend."


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Well, hello.

Welcome to all my new readers! I am completely humbled and overwhelmed with joy at the response to my last post. I have had over 8,000 hits on that one post. Thank you to everyone who shared it, who offered support and positive feed back. It makes my heart happy to know that parents were encouraged and hopeful after reading. 

I loved reading the comments. (Well, most of them.) I am learning that when you're transparent, wear your heart on your sleeve, share your struggles and real life experiences, that people will either love it or hate it. Or sorta like it... or sorta not like it. I love that one reader said "Haters gonna hate, proverbs nine eight." I can take the good with the bad, but as I say to my kids a million times a day, "we only say things that are kind and helpful to each other." 


I am totally new to this blogging thing. I will be in the middle of some random chore, or driving my son to school and an idea will pop in to my head. I will process through it for an hour or a day, and then I will sit down and begin to write. My grammar isn't perfect, I don't even catch all of my spelling errors. I just type out my thoughts and hit 'publish.' I don't write often, because I don't feel like I want to just write about anything. (And I am a mother of three. There's not a whole lot of extra time.) I want to write about things that get me fired up, things that I feel passionate about, or experiences that others will be able to learn from or relate to. 

So what do I write about next? I would love to hear from you about topics that interest you. E-mail me at hiseyeisonthesparrow.mn@gmail.com

But, until I hear from you, I have an idea for a pretty cool series that I want to do this summer starting in June. It's still under wraps as I process with my peeps about it and get a little head start. So check back soon. And until then, we'll see what other ideas pop in to my head. 

This is Gabe's current summer shoe collection

(aside from his faithful cowboy boots.)

If this is any indication of how my summer is
going to go,
I'm a little worried.
Any one have any extra right footed
 crocs that they'd be willing to donate?

 If not, I will be the parent at the park with the
kid who has two left feet.

Haters gonna hate right?


Monday, May 13, 2013

Sorry my little boys act like... little boys.

You know what I have been working really hard on? 
Not apologizing for the fact that I have little boys, 
who act and behave like... (gasp!)... little boys.

Before I had kids, I became friends with a woman at my church who I was immediately drawn to the first time I met her. She was a beautiful red head, she had a handsome Latino husband, and tons and tons of kids. Cute kids. Okay 5 cute kids. I remember her husband saying "so when are you and Matt going to have kids?!" (They must have rubbed off on us, because we were pregnant very soon after.) When I was newly pregnant I finally went to her house to visit her. She had two elementary aged kids and three little little boys. Like ages one, two and three. It was crazy. Kids hopping on furniture. One of her boys was eating a hand full of cilantro. One of them was pouring his own milk while standing on the counter, milk was spilling everywhere. Her back was to the kitchen as all of it is was happening. She'd glance back every few minutes, but never yelled at them to stop, or to get down. She just got up, asked for the spiller to help wipe it up, and then told cilantro eater that he was a strong boy because he eats vegetables. After lunch she swept up the kitchen and dining room floor. At least eight pounds of dirt, food, dog hair and dust. She said "this is just from today!" Yeah right I thought. Her boys had melt downs, and she just hugged them, or sent them to go freak out somewhere else (depending on the reason). They wanted to draw and color, and by then end of the activity paper was all over and crayons were scattered as if a tornado had swept through the middle of the table. She didn't holler at them to pick up every crayon as it fell. She carried on a conversation with me as she sat next to them. Never making them feel bad for the evolving mess. Never distracting them from their coloring with a "Hey! You just dropped your crayons all over, get down and clean it up!" She just got whatever help they were able to offer after the project was done. She amazed me. And scared me all at the same time. 

Now I'm the one with the three little boys. Sometimes I look back and remember her when I sweep up the massive pile from my floor every night (okay, sometimes every other night.) I think of her when my boys are the ones being crazy and screaming and jumping on the couch, spilling self-poured milk all over the counter, eating weird stuff out of the fridge (or trash/off the floor/out from under the couch... I'm just being real.) 

She never apologized to me for her boys. She never said "oh my gosh, I am so sorry he is melting down, he is so tired and etc. etc." or "sorry, they should not be jumping on the couch, BOYS STOP! GET DOOOOOWN!" or "sorry they are being so crazy" or "sorry, I'm so embarrassed  my house is a mess, these kids... " She never apologized for her messy and beautiful life with small kids. And that ministers to me as a mom of little boys now. Because I feel like I am ALWAYS apologizing for my sons and their behavior. 

Sorry Eli's crabby, he hasn't had a nap.
Sorry, they are just excited, I'll tell them to quiet down.
Sorry the house is trashed, we just had a play group here.
Sorry Gabriel is dressed like an orphan, he picked out his own clothes this morning.
Sorry we are late. I had to get three kids ready by myself.
Sorry we are eating flour tortillas with melted cheese and apples. My kids won't eat turkey and broccoli.
Sorry he took that toy away.
Sorry he hit.
Sorry Max doesn't feel like sharing.
Sorry his room is a mess, I didn't get around to cleaning it yesterday.
Sorry the coffee shop is a special outing for them, so yes they are going to accidentally spill their water, touch every cute plant in the middle of the tables, and smear their faces on the front of the bakery display case as they are filled with excitement as they decide what cookie they are going to have. Sorry you are being distracted from your book or quiet conversation by their squeals of delight. Sorry they are standing in front of the door while you are trying to get in. (Maybe you could smile at my kids or wave 'hello' instead of giving them and me dirty looks.) 

SORRY. sorry. SoRrY.
They are not adults. 
They are little boys.

Our neighborhood coffee shop is awesome. They  love our kids there.
Groundswell has been a  great place to teach  our kids the importance of being respectful, courteous, thankful, and conscious of how our behavior affects those around us when we are out in public.

Eli eating animal crackers at Java Train Cafe. 

Gabriel having a tantrum since he only got to eat ONE cupcake  at Groundswell.
And I will not apologize for his choice of attire for that day. A little mix of hipster/basketball player/cowboy.

Well, sorry. I am done saying sorry. I am done being embarrassed.  I am done feeling like I am doing society a great disservice when I bring my kids out in public. I have to bring my kids to the library or restaurants or wherever we will frequent as a family so that they can learn the rules and etiquette of being out and about in public.  I am doing nothing helpful by apologizing to my friends and other moms for the same exact stuff that their children do or will do when they get older. I am learning that how I live my life as a mom of little ones can actually be helpful and encouraging to other moms going through the same stuff if I am just real. 
Just like Amy did for me.

Here's me and my Amy. We don't always dress up like a flapper and a butterfly. Just this one time.

Amy is still a part of my life, and I love laughing with her about all that I observed and learned from her back in the earlier years. She continues to encourage me by being real evidence that you do make it through the tough years, your house will not be trashed forever, kids will sleep-in someday and that in the future your kids will be able to pour milk by themselves and not spill it all over. I sure love you Amy. Especially since you let my little ones spill all over your table now. 

So. That is my goal as of late, to stop treating my kids as though they are something to be apologized for. 

What about you? What do you need to stop apologizing for?


Friday, May 3, 2013

Hey Ma... it's not all about the kids.

Today while doing my ceiling-high pile of dishes (we don't have a dishwasher... not complaining, just sayin') I was just sort of thinking over "who is Sierra?" I thought about how if someone who had no idea of who I was asked me this, I would go on about how I am a married, stay-at-home-mom of three little boys and three daycare kids (don't panic, I only have my two littlest boys and two daycare kids at a time). Then I would go on to talk about my hobbies like sewing and DIY projects, my Zumba class, my new clean-eating lifestyle, my faith and my involvement at my church, my heart for victims of sex-trafficking and moms dealing with unwanted pregnancies, I would talk about my time in Mexico and I'd brag about my neighborhood. I have so many great things going on in my life. I get to BE and EXPERIENCE way more than just my mama job.

Sometimes I feel like my whole life is centered on kids and their needs. I get pretty tired of it sometimes. Don't get me wrong, I love that I get to be at home with my kids, and I don't take it for granted. But I do feel at times that my identity is all centered in my offspring. And then I fret about how I am raising them, how I don't study sight words enough with Max, how Gabriel is not brushing his teeth enough, or about how Eli doesn't get read to enough. And I forget that there are so many other parts to ME. Sierra.

If you are a mom (or dad) what do you do to nurture the other areas of your life? Do you struggle with making it all about the kids?

After my dad died in 2010, I realized that I needed a break. I needed time away to process and to rest (mamahood ain't for wimps, right?!) I came up with an idea for a 24 hour retreat. My best friend Hilary is childless and has the sweetest husband (he's like a brother to me), Nick. They have a nice neat house, welcoming, warm, comfy, and did I mention childless? Perfect place for respite. It was wonderful. Very quickly, with my husband's blessing, it became a monthly ritual. Matt sent me away once a month for a full 24 hour break. I still do it to this day. My 24 hour retreat is coveted by many of my mom-friends (and not-yet-mom friends too!). A few of them have had the pleasure of joining me at Hilary's. They would tell you, it is AAAAhhhhhh-mazing. What do we do? Sometimes nothing but sit and watch movies, sleep, and eat pretzel m&ms. In the past I've brought sewing projects. Sometimes we actually get dressed and we go out. Sometimes we get pedicures. Sometimes we drink margaritas. Sometimes we have long drawn-out heart to heart talks, sometimes I tell her I don't feel like talking. If you aren't on the 24 hour retreat train mama, ya needs ta hop aboard. These retreats help me so much. They help re-energize me. They help me to get girl time and help me feel like a grown-up.

Another break that I am allotted on a regular basis is my Funday Mondays. Every Monday, without question, I get to leave at 5 for Zumba, and I am not expected home until well after kids' bedtime. I get to visit with friends or have alone time. Many are spent with Lea. Sometimes we go see movies or eat Punch Pizza. Sometimes we go shopping for cheap accessories at Forever21. Sometimes we just go grocery shopping. It's a weekly break. My husband is so great isn't he?

It's funny, because when I have shared the ideas of the 24hr retreat or Funday Mondays with other women in front of their husbands, I get some crazy looks from the guys. One guy jokingly covered his wife's ears and said "don't give her any ideas!" and then agreed that they should work out some sort of regular break for his lady.

So, those are two things I have in my life, that make this all seem bearable. Opportunities that allow me to step out of the mom box for just a little while, to help me see all of the other things that make me... Me. I'm a good mom. I find a good part of my identity in that. But there are a whole lot of other things that make up this lady. And for that, I am grateful.

I think this is from when I was just starting my retreats. Me and my BFFE Hil.
Her and I had been through a lot that year.

Me and my Funday Monday girl.
If you are a mama in a similar place in life, I want to encourage you to find time to step outside of the mama box for a little self-preservation.  Go get a pedicure. Go hang with your girlfriends and laugh really hard. Go see a movie. Eat some ice cream with your BF. Go have some alone time with God. Catch a break sister. 

Have a good weekend. I am off to coffee and a play with my neighbor Amy tonight! See? I even get breaks on nights other than Monday! Again, my guy is great. I remind him of that a lot.