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The Harshe Podcast – Episode #31: Large Family Efficiency

The Harshe Podcast – Episode #31: Large Family Efficiency

January and Brandon are talking the tips and tricks they’ve learned as parents of six kids! January talks bucking the stereotype of the disheveled parents of a large family and Brandon explains why it’s so important to “Just say no.” A lot of kids is a lot of work but it is sometimes possible to stack the deck in your favor.

Subscribe to the Harshe Podcast on iTunes!

Subscribe to the Harshe Podcast on Google Play!

Subscribe to the Harshe Podcast on Stitcher!

Click here to download Episode #31: Large Family Efficiency!

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Doula Trainings International, or simply DTI, is an organization that certifies doulas while focusing on issues of justice.

DTI has reimagined what it looks like to become a modern doula, with a comprehensive 9-month program that includes ongoing peer to peer mentorship, business skills and in-depth video classes that complement a rigorous initial workshop, an extensive reading list, and practical experience requirements. 

DTI certifies both birth and postpartum doulas and that certification is for life!

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DTI will be hosting its first ever conference, the Born Into This Conference on July 12-13 in Austin, TX! Birth workers, holistic health professionals, thoughtful leaders, and creators will gather together in one space to ignite the birth justice movement. For more details, visit the Born Into This Website!

The Harshe Podcast – Episode #3: Parenting and Expectations

The Harshe Podcast – Episode #3: Parenting and Expectations

On our third episode we talk about expectations, especially where parenting is concerned, and why it’s so important to follow your intuition as a parent and to raise your kids according to your standards, not anyone else’s! Also, January and Brandon talk co-sleeping and Game of Thrones!

Subscribe to the Harshe Podcast on iTunes!

Subscribe to the Harshe Podcast on Google Play!

Subscribe to the Harshe Podcast on Stitcher!

Click here to download Episode #3: Parenting and Expectations!

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Our online store Self Love Generation is open and we are having a FREE SHIPPING special on ALL orders this weekend, no matter where you are in the world! Our classic Birth Without Fear logo, “i don’t babysit. I PARENT.”, and “You Do You Boo” unicorn T-shirts, as well as a re-imagining of our popular “Team NO Sleep” raglan shirt will ship for free if you purchase them this weekend, as well as a “You Do You Boo” rainbow unicorn lanyard that Brandon loves!

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Join January in 2017 at a Find Your Village event near you! August events have been rescheduled, but January and Brandon will be in Calgary, Alberta, Canada on September 2nd, Atlanta, GA on September 9th, and Nashville on September 23rd!

5 Benefits of Having a High-Needs Baby {Not a Joke}

5 Benefits of Having a High-Needs Baby {Not a Joke}

June 2011 ~

She was soft-spoken and smiling, in the coffee shop on Avenue de Gaspé on a summer morning in Montréal. It was the kind of cafe I would have once loved – a little crocheted hanging seat in the corner, lots of glass, a communal table. Coffee boiling in beakers. And she was the kind of woman I would have once been friends with: young, motivated, bright, hip. And childless.

I had been dragged into the cafe by my colleagues (also childless), who needed to caffeinate before our meeting. I was wearing my baby, only four months old and heavy, oh-so heavy, in a homemade sling. He looked like babies do: beautiful, asleep, and thus full of all things calm and reasonable. And then she asked the question I had been warned about. She asked, Is he a good baby?

I lurched. I paused. I stalled.

“Does he sleep through the night?” she asked.

I shrugged. I smiled and said, “He sure is heavy,” or something awkward like that, and our conversation ended on a note that told me that we would never be friends. We would never be friends because things were different in my life now; I couldn’t be seated in a cafe with my laptop and a pair of billowing MC Hammer pants. I was a mom now. And as mother to this particular baby, I wasn’t allowed to sit down. I wasn’t allowed to try clothes on. And what’s more, I had to learn to play the game. To answer the question. How good was he?

The truth is, my son – beautiful, intense, spirited – was not.

I didn’t know how to politely tell her that there are not ‘good’ babies and ‘bad’ babies. That all babies are great! All babies are lovable! All babies deserve love! It’s just that some (some!) babies need more. More what?

More everything. More holding, more rocking, more cradling, better cradling, more nursing, more cooing, more singing, more bouncing, more stroller rides, more car-rides, more nursing, more nursing-during-car-rides, more… You.

There are some babies who will sit quietly by themselves while you make your morning coffee (or have someone make it for you, in a beaker, in a café near a series of artist-run warehouses) and then sit quietly while you drink it. There are some babies who sleep through the night (for four or more hours, without waking up!). All this without resistance, without coercion, just… out of their own infantile will.

My baby was not one of them. He was the kind who needed more than I ever thought I could give. He needed near constant movement, for example. He needed so much suckling that my milk didn’t regulate until he was 12 months old. He is now 3.5 years old and he still needs significant night-time parenting.

Exhibit A: A High-Needs Baby
Exhibit A.) A High-Needs Baby

The thing I wish someone had told me is that, while my babe would never be hired to star in a diaper commercial; while I couldn’t see straight for the exhaustion; and although his part-time daycare provider had canceled on me four times in a row, like maybe she was trying to tell me something, there are benefits to having a high-needs baby. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and I don’t just mean the terrible twos.

So, to all the parents up late googling “high-needs baby” and “is this even possible what happened to my life”, this is for you: five benefits of having a high-needs baby.

1. Physical fitness. Are you worried about getting your pre-baby body back?* Having a high-needs baby will make your body strong. I’m talking about muscle, endurance, cardio. My son needed to be carried almost constantly for the first year of his life. He was 17 lbs at three months. I wore him in a carrier up to 8 hours/day. I don’t know how many calories that is (and I was eating a lot of ice-cream at the time), but it was certainly more exercise than I’d had in years.

*This is a joke. I would never say that, I vandalize posters that use these words with a permanent marker and the question, But where did it go?!.

2. Compassion. When you feel the ache in your body after two hours of horizontal bouncing, your mouth dry from shushing, your bladder full to bursting from that hell that is “lying down beside baby and staying very, very still for a very, very long time because if he wakes up you will both start crying,” you start to think, This is craziness. Why would anyone do this? Has anyone ever done this before? And the answer you might come to is: Yes. Your parents, maybe. You were the squalling baby they poured their love into. Suddenly, that time your mom yelled at you for stealing a cookie is much easier to understand.

3. Preparation. Having a high-needs baby prepares you for having a demanding toddler, a spirited kid, a superlative adolescent, a well-adjusted adult… well, a mom can dream. A dear friend of mine had an easy baby who turned into a spirited toddler and it was a tough transition. “My first born was an easy baby,” she wrote to me in an email, “…he was content most of the time and easily soothed by baby wearing or his swing. He didn’t really want a lot of stimulation or help with his playtime, content to sit and look at a baby book or sort through his toys. Then it seemed like almost overnight he became extremely high energy and high needs. I had to spend all my energy trying to keep him busy in constructive ways or a meltdown would ensue. Once my second child came along I fully realized exactly how much energy I put towards keeping him at an even keel because now I couldn’t focus just on him.” If you’ve been dealing with high emotionality and intense physical needs from day 1, you will expect nothing less on day 706.

Exhibit B: A Spirited Toddler
Exhibit B.) A Spirited Toddler

4. Health Insights. Many high-needs babies are in fact babies in pain. The mainstream medical establishment is notorious for brushing off the concerns of parents of screaming babies (as our pediatrician told me, “We want to hear screaming, that means they are healthy”). Parents, traumatized and desperate, often turn to alternative therapies and treatments. Alternative doctors are more likely to listen to patients’ needs and give them a safe space to talk about their harrowing experience which is important for health outcomes and psychological survival. And sometimes, as with my friend who took her daughter to a naturopath she now calls a “miracle worker,” or another who brought her daughter to the chiropractor several times a week for a suspected hiatal hernia, it works. The more tools in your self-care toolbox, the better. Learning about your body – and you’re baby’s body – is a good thing.

5. Commiseration. You can connect with other parents of high-needs babies much better. My parents had two babies. The first was easy. The second was tough. Really, really tough. My mother is deaf in one ear from the baby’s screaming. They learned that their “easy” first baby was simply a matter of luck. The props other people had given them, the looks of admiration and the advice-seeking from other families — all of it was mistaken. This is the understanding you get when you have a high-needs child: that you are not a perfect parent. And that parents with “easy, good” babies are not perfect parents either. Yes, there’s lots you can try to calm a child and much you could do to make them fussy. But a crying baby is not an indication you’re doing something wrong. It’s an indication that you need a piece of chocolate and a hug. Fact.

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Keep on truckin’, mamas. And thank you for the gift you are giving by raising a high-needs baby with all the understanding and compassion you can muster. Your baby is not “good” but your baby is essentially himself/herself. Babies like him/her become the people the world needs: people with a fire in their bellies and a firm footing in love. Your baby is not “good.” Your baby is perfect. And your baby will change the world.

Circumcision Doesn’t Beget Circumcision {One of These Things is Not Like the Other}

Circumcision Doesn’t Beget Circumcision {One of These Things is Not Like the Other}

Yes, you read that right, we’re going to talk AGAIN about circumcision, but this post is a little different. I’m not writing this to try to tell you what to do. In fact, this post is actually going to start off with a confession; the day after my first baby was born I had him circumcised.

Whew. Okay. We got that part out of the way!

When I was pregnant with my oldest child, I must have read everything that I could get my hands on. I was very strict with myself and did everything that I could to maintain my weight, to avoid every item on that list of no-no foods (deli meats, sushi), and struggled through headaches and pains to avoid using medications like Tylenol even though my OB said it was fine. I started a pregnancy journal and had the baby’s full name picked out by 14 weeks along.

pregnancy second baby

When I got to the chapter in my pregnancy how-to book about circumcision, we had just found out that the baby was going to be a boy and I remember reading about the detailed procedure and cringing, picturing them doing this to my tiny, new baby. I had never really read anything about circumcision before, and not only that, but I literally knew NOTHING about foreskin. Like many new moms-to-be, I decided to leave that decision up to his father, figuring, “Well, Dad’s got a penis and I don’t, so he will know the correct decision to make here.”

Well, it turns out that my husband was reading FAR less about this baby than I was and without researching any part of it, or even reading the chapters I had so nicely bookmarked for him, he told me that we would have it done because “that’s just what you do” and “we don’t want him to look different.” Even though the description had made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, I didn’t argue with him.

I ended up being (unnecessarily) induced and after 12 hours of Pitocin, our perfectly healthy baby boy came torpedoing into this world. The circumcision was performed the following day and we listened closely as all of the aftercare instructions were explained to us. They even sent us home with a whole packet of information about how to care for it and danger signs to look out for in case he got an infection. (Whoa, wait… an infection?? Isn’t that what we were trying to avoid? We’ll get back to that.)

Have you ever seen a freshly circumcised penis? It’s basically an open, raw wound that you smother with Vaseline and hope that it keeps it moist enough to not stick to the diaper. Have you ever skinned your knee open? Imagine the feeling of peeling a gauze bandage off of it when it gets stuck. Now imagine someone pouring warm, acidic liquid all over it; because that’s what’s happening to this brand new, little person every time they urinate. Then that wetness gets to just sit there. You ever wear a moist Band-Aid over a cut?

Every time our new baby wet his diaper we immediately had to change him because it hurt him so badly. And when he would poop, well, that was a whole different ball of wax! Cleaning poop off of a penis and a set of testicles (especially when it’s a learning experience with a less than one week old) is one thing, but having to do it while your child is screaming bloody murder in your face because he has feces covering his raw, sensitive glans is quite another.

Fast forward a few years and now he is almost five. We are constantly reminding him to clean himself and have had to teach him to be sure to tug on his “foreskin” (basically just the remaining bit of skin that was leftover) and pull it away from the glans because it is constantly trying to reattach itself. As our son has gotten older, we have had issues with the “foreskin” trying to reconnect and also teaching him how to keep himself clean.

So when we got pregnant with our second child, I was in a different spot with the medical side of birth. I had not had a good experience with my first delivery and therefore spent a lot of time reading more than just baby books and fear-mongering websites. I started to look into the facts about birth, the facts about induction, and even the facts about circumcision. We found out that we were having another boy and the decision of circumcision came up after a prompting from our care provider.

Like I have already stated, my husband was not into researching everything pregnancy like I was and so it wasn’t something that he was concerned with. He had automatically assumed that because we had circumcised the first boy that of course we would be doing the same with the second. All those complications involved with the first baby? Yeah, those weren’t necessarily complications at all! They were just snags that happened when you leave the glans open and raw like that. Those issues we had with our first baby in the first several weeks we were all learning how to be a family were totally “normal” and were all listed in our handy little info packet that was sent home with us.

In reading up about circumcision I was very surprised to learn that, with the exception of Israel, the United States has the highest rate of circumcision. Most countries don’t practice it, in fact many have had the procedure banned. In some cases, circumcisions are botched, leaving men with noticeable scarring or sexual dysfunctions – and that is in mild cases: baby boys sometimes die from the complications of circumcision.

I also took the time to learn about the many functions of the foreskin and how having one intact would benefit my child. It might be tough to think of it like this, but the foreskin can easily be likened to an eyelid or a pair of lips. One of its main functions is to protect the sensitive skin underneath and to keep that area clean and moist.

Along with keeping the area underneath clean and moist, the foreskin is actually adhered to the glans and won’t even start to detach until around age three! So all that stuff we had heard before about it being “cleaner” to cut that part off was total BS! It’s attached! That means when your baby has one of those really big poo-splosions and craps up the back of his onesie, you won’t have to also deal with carefully and calmly wiping poop off of a swollen and painful wound. With a baby who is NOT circumcised the foreskin does a fantastic job of keeping everything covered, so you don’t have to worry about it getting inside at all! You just clean it off like a finger (likely how you’ll clean up your own finger after checking for poop) and go about trying to remove said onesie without resorting to scissors.

Then there came the whole deal with him not only looking different from his Daddy, but also looking different from his older brother. Well, when you really get down to it, they’re already going to look different in so many more obvious ways, does it really matter? For instance, our oldest boy has green eyes and his younger brother ended up with blue ones. His older brother has light brown hair while his head is covered in pale, blonde locks. They are different heights, different weights, and have vastly different personalities, so why in the world would anyone be worried about their penises looking the same, which they probably wouldn’t anyway.

circumcision decision

I was asked about what we would do when he was teased about his foreskin in the locker room at school and I honestly had to laugh at that one. First of all, adolescent boys are going to tease one another about SOMETHING, so for me to be worried about that NOW seems a bit pointless. Secondly, the circumcision rate in America is going down every year, so chances are he will not be the only boy with foreskin. And lastly, because I will explain to him why we left him intact when he is old enough to understand, he will be able to educate his friends and tell them how when he’s older, having a foreskin will make sex feel better for both himself and his partner, allow him to masturbate without needing lotion, and add girth to his penis. What adolescent boy wouldn’t want that?

And while we’re on the topic of sex we may as well just get it all out there right now: “Anteater”, “turtleneck”, “Water Snake”; the list of horrible, sex-shaming nicknames goes on. It’s a disgrace that we would alter a baby’s body so drastically just to make it more aesthetically pleasing for ourselves. Yet if someone wanted to start trimming the labia from the genitals of baby girls I am positive that people would be totally up in arms. Has it ever occurred to anyone that the basic function should override the supposed aesthetics?

I have also been asked about what I will say to my oldest son if he should ever ask me why I decided to have his foreskin removed and not his brother. Well, I plan on telling him the truth. I thought that I had read all of the right information and, at the time, I thought I was doing what was in his best interest. However, if I am truly honest with myself, reading about the procedure made my stomach turn. That feeling was human instinct and I plum ignored it. I thought I knew what I was doing and I was wrong. I felt in my heart that going through with the procedure was a bad idea but did not feel like it was truly up to me to make that decision.

And truth be told, it wasn’t. It wasn’t up to me and it shouldn’t be up to the Daddy either “just because he has a penis”.

So, okay, they say that circumcision is “cleaner” and “healthier” and will keep your child from “being made fun of.” Well let’s just say you believe all of that (which is fine, and it might be what your care provider has told you); where does it say that this procedure HAS to be done within the first week of your child’s new life outside of the womb? Isn’t there already enough going on? Chances are you’ve got a birth you’re healing from, other children to care for, breastfeeding (which can be quite stressful for some) to learn, and you’re probably hungry and sleep deprived. WHY in the WORLD would you want to add in “caring for an open wound”?

Where does it say that the offer to be circumcised will expire after the first two days? Why can’t it just be left up to the person whose penis status is being questioned to decide? A lot of people will get a child’s foreskin removed because of the possible risk of infection. But what about tonsils? Appendix? TOENAILS? All of these things can become infected yet we make no mention about having them removed at birth. Many people will research more about their newest cell phone upgrade than they will about their own pregnancy and labor, and even fewer will research about circumcision.

brothers

If I were to wish one thing for you, it would be for you to read, read, read about circumcision. Don’t just read about it in the US, check out what they say about circumcision in other countries, where it is seen as a barbaric practice. Or do your baby a solid and watch the procedure being done on YouTube. Arm yourself with knowledge and if anything, wait until the child is old enough to be given proper pain management for such a painful procedure. Even better, leave them intact and allow them to decide it for themselves.

It makes me sad when I think about what I have taken from my oldest son by having him circumcised, but I feel like I have all the opportunity in the world to help make it better by passing on what I have learned to others. Hopefully, with the correct information, they will make better choices than I did. I have looked into the information on foreskin restoration so that I may pass it on to my son should he be interested in it one day.

Having circumcised one child does not mean that you have to circumcise them all. Even if you have FIVE boys that were circumcised you can TOTALLY leave the next intact! None of our children will be exactly like the next. Even if their genitals don’t match Daddy’s or each other’s they will always be brothers and that is what’s important. I leave you with a quote that has always resonated with me about our decisions regarding circumcision:

forgiveyourself

Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you learned it.” – Anonymous

Photography Credit: http://earthmamaphotography.com

Further reading:
http://www.thewholenetwork.org/index.html

http://www.cirp.org/library/

http://www.catholicsagainstcircumcision.org/

http://www.doctorsopposingcircumcision.org/

http://www.jewsagainstcircumcision.org/

http://www.mothersagainstcirc.org/

http://circumcisionresources.org/

http://uncutting.tumblr.com/compilation

http://www.publichealthinafrica.org/index.php/jphia/article/view/jphia.2011.e4/html_9

http://www.noharmm.org/anatomy.htm

http://www.icgi.org/2010/04/infant-circumcision-causes-100-deaths-each-year-in-us/

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/moral-landscapes/201109/myths-about-circumcision-you-likely-believe

Breastmilk Popsicle! Great for Teething!

Breastmilk Popsicle! Great for Teething!

“My daughter, Violet, would always get jealous watching her older brothers munch on popsicles. So I made her some boobsicles! I froze some breastmilk in one of those tiny bottles that came with my breast pump, used clothespin to hold a lollipop stick in place, and voila! She absolutely LOVED it!” ~Jessica Campbell

Balance in Motherhood…A Mother vs. the World

Balance in Motherhood…A Mother vs. the World

motherhood balance

I was in emotional turmoil today. After texting with my sister who has no children (yet) about how hard her life is, I started thinking about all I would do if I was single or had no children. I mean, seriously, I could sleep in, work out, go back to school, go to the coffee shop and read for hours on end, accomplish all the non mommy things I’ve always wanted to. Dangit, poor ol’ me.

I need more balance at least, right?! The world (social media, TV, movies, friends, family, strangers, etc) tells me I need to do everything and I need recognition damnit for all I am and do! I will humbly admit that this is actually a daily struggle for me.

The mother and the business woman in me are always at battle, fighting for a chance to win over the other. I feel that being a mother is so important and there are too many distractions to pull me away from my children. The other part of me feels I need these outlets. I need to use my talents in other ways as well.

I will admit, it’s my downfall. It’s how Satan brings me down to an awful place of misery. There is much more support and claim to be a business woman than to be a mother in our world. An epiphany hit! Motherhood vs. The World.

Then, I snapped out of it and realized that my search for finding ‘balance’ as a mother is not only frustrating, but impossible. This is MOTHERHOOD. There is no such thing as balance. Finding the joy in small things and finding happiness in our situations is doable. Balance? Pffft. More like sacrifice.

I decided (and hope I will remember) that I will no longer go insane ‘trying to find’ myself, or do all things in moderation or find this elusive balance. That only leads to a lot of frustration and resentment. Instead I will find ways to enjoy my days the way my life is.

Yes, I will always strive to accomplish things, but today is all we have…all we are guaranteed. Yesterday is over and tomorrow may or may not come. We can’t live in tomorrow. So do things that make you happy TODAY. Find joy in THIS day. Will it be balanced? Ha! Probably not and that is freakin’ OK!

I won’t let the world win and take over the joy I can have in being a mother to five amazing children I have been blessed to raise. The world can’t give me that. Motherhood wins.

One of Those Hard Motherhood Days…Needing a Reminder

One of Those Hard Motherhood Days…Needing a Reminder

I just had one of those days. You know, where you feel like you are doing it all wrong, someone is constantly getting hurt, two of them are screaming at you at the same time throughout the day while the others need you too. All while trying to clean, cook, realizing it is 1:00 pm and I haven’t eaten yet (Oh…that’s why I feel like I am a flame spitting dragon!) and the day JUST. WONT. END.!!!!

One of those days. Can you relate? So this post is for me. And for you. A reminder that we are not perfect, but we are not supposed to be. That we are great enough and on a life long journey of motherhood.

cat and dog

http://www.justquotes.org

“During my professional career as a doctor of medicine, I was occasionally asked why I chose to do that difficult work. I responded with my opinion that the highest and noblest work in this life is that of a mother. Since that option was not available to me, I thought that caring for the sick might come close. I tried to care for my patients as compassionately and competently as Mother cared for me.

Many years ago the First Presidency issued a statement that has had a profound and lasting influence upon me. “Motherhood,” they wrote, “is near to divinity. It is the highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind. It places her who honors its holy calling and service next to the angels.

Because mothers are essential to God’s great plan of happiness, their sacred work is opposed by Satan, who would destroy the family and demean the worth of women.” Russell M. Nelson, “Our Sacred Duty to Honor Women,” Ensign, May 1999, 38

10 Tips: Transition From 1 to 2 Kids.

10 Tips: Transition From 1 to 2 Kids.

All of our children are 20 months apart (except 2 and 3 are 28 months apart b/c baby 3 was my VBA2C baby and I took more time). It’s hard. So hard. Here are some things in hindsight that helped (and wished I would have known beforehand).

1. Let go of expectations. If you EXPECT both children to nap at the same time, when they don’t, you will get so frustrated. If you don’t expect it, you will be (more) OK that they don’t and when they DO it will be wonderful.

2. Be open to change. For example, what might work for a few months with sleeping arrangements, may change and that’s OK. Your older one may be going through a growth spurt or your younger one teething. (I suggest The No Cry Sleep Solution for sleeping ‘issues’).

3. Your older child, who has been your baby, will all of a sudden seem huge compared to your baby. Don’t forget they are still a baby too. You now will be holding your new baby…a lot. Don’t forget to snuggle your other baby as well.

4. Have things just for your older child to do. Also, when your younger child starts crawling, take your toddler’s activities up to the table. That way the little one won’t be frustrating the older child by knocking over their action figures, knocking down their castle or crumbling their art work!

5. Encourage them to be friends. Around the time your younger child is 18 months to 2 years, you may notice them starting to really be able to play together.

6. Babywear. Buy a sling or wrap that you like and wear your baby. This lets you and baby bond while you have your hands free to take care of your toddler/other child.

7. Strollers are OK too! So it TV. Yep, I heard a mom once say she gives her self a 6 month ‘TV is OK’ post partum allowance. Nick Jr. is great!

8. Take breaks. Yes, you…the mommy. You need breaks too. Take a bath when hubby gets home, go read a book, have a girl’s night or date night, or whatever else you like.

9. Speaking of date night…don’t forget your husband! You two still need time! Even if it’s super late, it is worth is.

10. Ask for and accept help! This is so important and hardly done. Women (like me) have a hard time asking for help. Family, friends and church members WANT to have the opportunity to serve and help. Let them. Tell them exactly what you need (meals, driving older kids to and from school, help with the toddler so you can nap with baby, help with both so you can shower, etc.)

Transitioning from zero to one or 1 to two or three to four kids can be easy or challenging depending on many factors. Do what will help and don’t forget to ask for help! If you have any other tips that have helped you, please share in the comments.

*Thank you Katelyn Demidow and Shannon L for your pictures

Gratitude

Gratitude

Definition of Gratitude: Thankfulness.

This time of year we hear and read a lot about being grateful. Living in our modern societies, our perception of what we should be grateful for is highly skewed. As I pondered being grateful on this Thanksgiving, I thought of the last 2 years of my life, what we went through and where we are now. It is through hard times…the struggles…that we learn deep gratitude.

I am grateful for…

A large roof that shelters my family. Space for my children to run and play endless games of tag and hide and seek. For those tiny hiding spots that are so clever and just the right size for growing toddlers.

Our pantry being full of nutritious food and not so healthy treats. For a loud dining room with a table full of laughter at silly knock-knock jokes and stories being told from mom and dad’s childhood. For full bellies.

Having weight to lose for it means I am not deprived.

The innocence my children rightfully possess. Many children do not have this privilege.

The ability to use my body to go on walks, clean my home, hug my children, hold my husband’s hand in moments when we can’t even hear each other speak over the children’s screams, talking or laughter.

A vehicle to take us from here to there, that is large enough to allow our family to travel together.

My mistakes and wrong doings, because I learn from them, become more humble and can be forgiven and strive to do better.

My opportunities to serve, to give what I have and to uplift others, because really it uplifts me too.

Hate and criticism that comes my way as it strengthens me and forces me to be stronger in my beliefs and values.

A thinking mind, for an education and the freedom to make choices.

An intact marriage. For the love I give and receive with my spouse through hard times and through great times.

I am grateful that I have so many things to be thankful for that writing them all out would be too much for a little blog of many on the internet. I urge you to think about the simple things we take for granted that really we should be incredibly thankful for. Whenever you are down, start writing a list of your blessings (you can start with running water or that you can write), because you will shortly find out you have many. Many more than your worries.

“If you can solve your problem with a check, you don’t really have a problem.” ~My Dad

“There is always, always, always something to be thankful for.” ~Author unknown

 

 

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