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Monday, March 31, 2014

In the Thick of It: A Stoy of Motherhood Survival.


Hello, my beautiful readers! This is the article in full that I wrote for my sister-in-laws blog,  
If you haven"t read it on her blog, now you can see it in full length here. Enjoy the ride!!
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I have seen a toe get chopped off.
I have had someone flip my eyelid inside out.
I have seen gums scraped away from teeth.
I have been head butted in the mouth.
I have witnessed someone attempt to fly only to slam into a wall with disappointment.
I have bandaged bloody wounds.
I have wrestled people into the bathtub.
I have been vomited on.
I have seen a patient receive too much morphine and almost die.

What am I? A nurse? A nurse at a loony bin?

Nope.

I am a mom.
A mother to four children, ages 10, 8, 6 and 3.
All of those things happened with my children. I saw a quote that says, “having a two year old is like using a blender without a lid.” I think having a child of any age is like that.

This is the thing though.
I also have perspective.
I know kids grow up.
I know that it happens quite quickly. 
I don't have any babies anymore and sometimes that makes me sad.
Sarah mention in a post that she was sick of seeing moms of five post pictures of their perfect houses, etc, but I also know why moms of five kids don’t often talk about the pitfalls and disasters of motherhood. It is because no matter how neck deep you feel in the beautiful {or ugly} chaos that comes from having tiny kids, is that it doesn’t last.

Tiny is fleeting.

Even though it feels like forever.

 I remember when my oldest daughter was born.
Life was great until she was one. Then we moved to an isolated location where I knew no one.
I remember being alone a lot. 
I remember when one single day felt like it was at least a week long. 
I remember boredom and loneliness.

But I want to offer you hope.

You won’t always be changing diapers and cleaning up vomit.
You won’t always be cleaning up crayon on the walls.
You won’t always suffer sleepless nights.
You won't always be worried about your child trying to swallow small items they find on the floor.
You won’t always dread travel with an unpredictable pint sized human.
Your child won’t always cry at the most inopportune of moments.

 Kids grow up and eventually there are other things to occupy your mind with. Sure kid number three peed the bed for the fourth night in a row, but your oldest daughter is also being chased around the school yard by two boys that have a crush on her and she doesn’t know how to tell one that she likes him more than the other.

Sure your forth child threw the biggest temper tantrum you have ever seen, but your other child just won a major school sporting event. You never dreamed you could be filled with so much pride.

Sure your daughter just cut half her toe off, but then you pass by a bedroom that your other three kids are in and you over hear them saying a prayer asking God to help their baby sister get better. Their unity and faith is overwhelming and comforting to you.

I think one reason moms with young children get frustrated is because we find ourselves in less than ideal situations quite often and we can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Let me assure you, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

 I adopted this mantra long ago when I felt myself despairing that I would never sleep through the night again.

“This too shall pass.”

I found it so comforting knowing that I was not in a permanent situation even though it felt written-in-stone-kind of permanent.

When you find yourself despairing your post pregnancy body, your sleepless nights, your messy house, your half dyed hair that you are hoping passes for the ombre style, your blown out diapers, your child who loves to go wild at all the wrong moments, say this and see if it helps. Say it and believe it.

“This too shall pass.”

Because along with the all the bad,

I have seen more love than I ever knew could exist.
I have cried for some unexplained reason while watching my children participate in a talent show.
I was filled with pride as my son made his first touch down.
I was just as nervous as my daughter was as she took second place in her school’s talent show.
I have conspired with my husband about how to keep boys away from my oldest daughter and convinced said husband that it was still okay for her to  wear a bathing suit while swimming and that a wet suit wasn’t necessary to keep her fully covered.
I have dried tears when a friend said something hurtful to my daughter at school.
I have witnessed the most sacred and tender moments with my children and between my children.
My house is rarely clean, but it is filled with love and hope.

When you feel overwhelmed, remember: Tiny is fleeting. This too shall pass.

Good Luck out there, while you are in the thick of it!
Amy 
 amyscraftbucket.blogspot.com

The Vital Role of Wife and Mother

“Beware of the subtle ways Satan employs to take you from the plan of God and true happiness. One of Satan’s most effective approaches is to demean the role of wife and mother in the home. This is an attack at the very heart of God’s plan to foster love between husband and wife and to nurture children in an atmosphere of understanding, peace, appreciation, and support. Much of the violence that is rampant in the world today is the harvest of weakened homes. Government and social plans will not effectively correct that, nor can the best efforts of schools and churches fully compensate for the absence of the tender care of a compassionate mother and wife in the home.” Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “The Joy of Living the Great Plan of Happiness,” Ensign, Nov. 1996, 74.

For another great read check this site out:


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Real Stories From Real Moms!

The best thing about talking to other moms is the shared experiences and stories. You know the kind that make you laugh and cry and sigh immense styles of relief when you realize that you are not a lone in your struggles.

Well, my sister-in-law Sarah, of "Better of Wed" is uniting the moms of the world by sharing real life stories every week. I feel honored to be the first to kick of this exciting new adventure.
You can find my article here, I think I will title it,
 "In the Thick of It!"

Here is an excert:
"I have seen a toe get chopped off.
I have had someone flip my eyelid inside out.
I have seen gums scraped away from teeth.
I have been head butted in the mouth.
I have witnessed someone attempt to fly only to slam into a wall with disappointment.
I have bandaged bloody wounds.
I have wrestled people into the bathtub.
I have been vomited on.
I have seen a patient receive too much morphine and almost die.
What am I? A nurse? A nurse at a loony bin?
Nope.
I am a mom". 
 
Visit Better of Wed to read more. I hope you will!
 
xoxo,
 Amy

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Just A Mom

"Wow, that sure is a lot of food you have here. How long will it last you?"
"About a week, maybe a week and a half."
"You must have a big family."
"My husband and I have 4 children."
"Four! What does he do?"
"He is a teacher at the high school."
"Well I assume you don't work."
"No. I just stay at home."

This is a conversation I had a t the grocery store this week. No clerk has ever commented on the amount of groceries I buy. Ever. In fact this was a relatively light shopping trip comparatively.
But it bugged me.

"No, I just stay at home." 

Saying that stings. Every. Time.
I always want to to qualify my position by saying, but I am also a photographer. Or I also make and sell crafts to help make ends meet. But it just feels fake.

Every time I fill out a form and it asks my occupation, I cringe inwardly. "Housewife." Yuck. Why does that bug me? I have started putting things down instead like "Child Development Specialist" or "Life Facilitator."


I don't know why it bugs me. I chose to stay home. I wanted to be a stay at home mom. I quit my job as a teacher because it was important to me to raise my children. I wanted to be there for every minute of every moment. And I am so happy with my decision.

My dad died when I was nine. This taught me an invaluable lesson.

You don't get unlimited time.

I want as much time as I can get.
 I will go back to work later.
So why, if I am happy with my decision, do I feel bad when I say I am just a mom? Do I feel like I am not contributing to society? Do I feel unintelligent? Do I feel like I have no ambition? Do I feel like I am wasting my talents?
 I don't feel this way.
Does Society?
 Maybe.

To answer my questions:
Do I feel like I am not contributing to society? I feel like the best way I can contribute to society right now is by raising respectful children who know how to work and have a strong moral sense. They our the future of our society.
Do I feel unintelligent? Not a bit. I have to inform myself on so many issues. From politics, to education to sleep techniques to food health, vaccinations, gardening, etc. I feel like I am a quite intelligent lady.  Being a mother has stretched my talents and abilities and capabilities in ways that never ever would have happened.
 Do I feel like I have no ambition? I have plenty of ambition. It is just that my goals have changed.
Do I feel like I am wasting my talents? No, in fact I feel like I have developed an arsenal of new talents.
 .

I found this quote today.

“Beware of the subtle ways Satan employs to take you from the plan of God and true happiness. 
One of Satan’s most effective approaches is to demean the role of wife and mother in the home. 
This is an attack at the very heart of God’s plan to foster love between husband and wife and to nurture children in an atmosphere of understanding, peace, appreciation, and support.
 Much of the violence that is rampant in the world today is the harvest of weakened homes. Government and social plans will not effectively correct that, nor can the best efforts of schools and churches fully compensate for the absence of the tender care of a compassionate mother and wife in the home.”  
Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “The Joy of Living the Great Plan of Happiness,” Ensign, Nov. 1996, 74.


 I also found this:
source
 What is a stay-at-home Mom's worth?


I think what I need to remember is that society doesn't always place value on the correct things.
I think it also means that I need to have faith in my own conviction and not wait to be validated by someone else.
 I made this decision for me and I need to remember that I wasn't trying to impress anyone when I made the decision.
 I need to remember that woman are hard on themselves in general. We always want to be prettier or younger or thinner or smarter or craftier or whatever. We need to be more accepting of ourselves. When we can accept ourselves for who we are we can be more accepting of others. Why? Because we are no longer comparing our bests to any body else's best.

Tied Ribbon: Motherhood Printable
Source

Now please don't take this to mean that I think less of working moms. I don't. We all have our own choices to make and I respect that. We all do what we need to do. We all do what works for us. I make no judgements. I think all moms are wonderful and we are in dire need of support from one another.
 Lots of support and no judgment.

  I was talking to a friends about this. She happens to be a working mom and she said, "Wow, I thought people always looked down on me for not staying home with my kids."
 Sad, right?
We moms need to support each other.
All moms are awesome.
Thomas S. Monson says,
 “Mother, who willingly made that personal journey into the valley of the shadow of death to give us birth, 
deserves our undying gratitude.”

Moms are important and we need to think of ourselves that way. 

I had the flu right before Christmas. I was scheduled to do a million things and I simply could not get out of bed. It takes a lot to get me off of my feet, but this flu knocked me for a loop.
My husband had to pick up the slack, bless his heart and did his best to help with all the things I had committed to do. After three days of my illness my husband said, "Man when you are sick, it feels like a government shut down. Nothing runs the way it is supposed to!"

To me that was a huge compliment. Mothers move mountains. Often on a daily basis.


I want to share this story I found because I think it is beautiful.

"The work of a mother is hard, too often unheralded work. Please know that it is worth it then, now, and forever."

"One young mother wrote to me recently that she felt like the world expected her to teach her children reading, writing, interior design, Latin, calculus, and the Internet—all before the baby said something terribly ordinary, like “goo goo.” She worried because she felt she didn’t measure up or somehow wasn’t going to be able to be equal to the task, the mental investment, the spiritual and emotional exertion, the long-night, long-day, stretched-to-the-limit demands that sometimes are required in trying to be and wanting to be the mother God hopes she will be.

But one thing, she said, keeps her going. I quote: “Through the thick and the thin of this, and through the occasional tears of it all, I know deep down inside I am doing God’s work. I know that my motherhood is an eternal partnership with Him.”

Mothers, cherish that role that is so uniquely yours and for which heaven itself sends angels to watch over you and your little ones. Yours is the work of salvation, and therefore you will be magnified, compensated, made more than you are, better than you are, and better than you have ever been. And if, for whatever reason, you are making this courageous effort alone, without your husband at your side, then our prayers will be all the greater for you. Know that in faith things will be made right in spite of you, or more correctly, because of you. We thank all of you, and tell you there is nothing more important in this world than participating so directly in the work and glory of God.

May I say to mothers collectively, in the name of the Lord, you are magnificent. You are doing terrifically well. The very fact that you have been given such a responsibility is everlasting evidence of the trust your Father in Heaven has in you. He is blessing you and He will bless you, even—no, especially—when your days and your nights may be the most challenging. Rely on Him. Rely on Him heavily. Rely on Him forever. And “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope.”
By Jeffrey R. Holland. Source


I am not Just a mom. You are not just a mom.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

How to Host A Construction Themed Birthday Party!

How to Host a construction Themed Birthday Party! 

My little nephew turned 4 this week and his mother simply out did herself on the party scene! I can't tell you enough how much fun the kids had at this party! I know this party was a success because all 15 boys and 5 girls had a blast! Totally kid approved!
Construction Themed Birthday Party
Let me walk you through it!

Let's start with the Construction themed invitation invitation. You can get something like this on etsy.com from Fancy that Studio. Look for a deal that comes with construction party signs! We got it in the mail about two weeks prior to the party.
How to host a construction themed birthday party
 Now let's move onto the decor. Do you need some Construction themed birthday party designs? Why yes, yes you do. You can find them on etsy.com. Don't forget to hand lots of "caution tape" on EVERYTHING! She also had a real tractor parked in her back yard which you will see pictures of shortly. That is something that won't work for everyone, but hey, if you have the connections- use them!
How to host a construction themed birthday party
How to host a construction themed birthday party
How to host a construction themed birthday party
How to host a construction themed birthday party

How to host a construction themed birthday party

So in decoration summary: Lots of construction signs (she even had one on the bathroom door that said "porta-potty!"), lots of Tonka Trucks, cones of ever shape and size, caution tape and plastic construction hats.

Let's  move onto the entertainment! For a group of four year old's the fun couldn't have been any better.
She created an obstacle course. It was awesome. I will explain it, then show you the pictures! You can adjust it to what works for you.
1. Weave through the construction cones.
2. High knees through the tires.
3. Go through the tunnel.
4. Walk across the bridge.
5. Go under the caution tape.
6. Run up the stairs. (not one of the kids tripped)
7. Cross the finish line.
The weave

Through the tires
How to host a construction themed birthday party



Go through the tunnel

Across the bridge

Under the caution tape and up the stairs
How to host a construction themed birthday party
 Cross the finish line
The kids did this for 40 minutes straight. Over and over again! No one got hurt or tripped or fell, it was a ll just good fun.

Next on the list, a real live Tonka Truck and make shift wrecking ball! This is another thing that kept the kids entertained forEVER! they would run back and forth between the obstacle course and this wrecking ball!
How to host a construction themed birthday party

 Timber!!!!
In other entertainment:
A sand box full of trucks and...
A hammer table! She filled two cups up with gold tees and let the kids hammer them into some foam board with plastic hammers! They LOVED this. My little boy always wants to hammer "stuff!"
How to host a construction themed birthday party


Now for the cake and cup cakes!

How to host a construction themed birthday party


How to host a construction themed birthday party

Party Favors:
Orange and black bags full of goodies that said, "Thanks for making my birthday party loads of fun!"

I had to share this because it was AWESOME! What a great way to make life special! I was so impressed! I would never be able to do all the same things that my sister-in-law did for this party, but there is a lot I could do.

I hope this gives you inspiration for your own party!
XOXO,
 Amy

Thursday, January 23, 2014

DIY: Conversation Shirt!

                                                                                                                       DIY: Conversation Shirt
I hate spending money.


Bwuaahahahaha!
Ok. you got me.
I LOVE spending money.
But only on the things I really want to buy using the money I have saved. I am the wife of a teacher so I gotta be careful about how I spend our funds. Frugality is key. The philosophy for our family of six, "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without." I heard that from an old college friend and I loved it!
DIY: COnversation T-shirt
I love these shirts! They make me happy every time I see them!

One of the things we save money on is pajamas. Our sleep wear usually consists of over sized t-shirts and cut off sweat pants. Nothing fancy.

So when we have pajama themed pancake breakfasts at out church, I get a little stressed out because no way are our p.j.'s acceptable to wear anywhere but between our sheets in the confines of our own home!

What to do? What to do?

Run to Walmart, buy a $3 dollars shirt and a $3 dollar pair of polka-dot legging and create my own "presentable" jammies.

Here is what you need to make your own DIY: Conversation Shirts!
Shirt
Freezer paper
Puffy Paints
Exacto Knife (you can use scissors if you can be really precise)
Hot Iron
Small Paint brush
DIY: Conversation T-shirts

Directions for creating your own DIY: Conversations Shirt
This really is quite easy. I don't like to do hard crafts. I promise you can do it.
First, on your computer, type the word you would like on your shirt in you desired font.

Second, Print it out and trace it on the non shiny side of the wax paper.

Third, cut it out to create a template. I used my exacto knife.

Fourth, Iron the shiny side of the wax paper to your shirt. You should be able to read your word. If not, then you did it wrong. Please start again ant number one.

Fifth, paint on your desired color of puffy paint. Remove the wax paper before before your paint is completely dry. If you fail to do this, pieces of your wax paper may become permanently stuck to your puffy painted word. I won't tell you how I know this to be true, but, you should trust me on this.

Once your shirt is completely dry, you are ready to enjoy your shirt!

Notes:
If you will notice on my above shirt, I used both parts of the template because I got tired of cutting out the words. 

The thicker the font the better. Swirly fonts are hard to cut.

This also got me thinking...this style of  DIY:Conversation T-shirts opens up so many possibilities! This of all the simple shirts that you could are sold for so much money on etsy. Like the cute little birthday shirts that have the child's age on it. You could totally do that. Scroll down to see what I mean.
DIY: Conversation T-Shirt

 There wasn't any reference for this, but you could easily do it with puffy paint.Think how fun this would be to do for a slumber party or a birthday party with kids old enough to do their own cutting. Otherwise it would just be too much work for you!
 
$14.99 at Target and you could make one way cuter and even add a boy for a girl.

From: Pricelesskids for $16.00. Of course, buy it if you don't want to make it!
or this is fun too: Your last name with a decal.
Ok. You get the idea. Endless possibilities. Lots of fun!

Happy Crafting!
xoxo,
 Amy

Monday, December 16, 2013

Why You Shouldn't Spray Paint Your Door

It's been one of those days...


There are so many reasons why you should never spray paint your front door. So, so many.

Let me explain.
I think I am having a mid life crisis.
 That is strange in and of itself because I am only 35 29.
What led to this crisis you may or may not have asked? Well, today I am not pregnant. Again.
After almost 10 months of trying. Yeah, boo-hoo. Everyone has his or her own sob story, I know. Remember I am just trying to give you an insight into my crisis. Had I attended my exercise class today, all of the madness that was to ensue today might have been avoided because I would have got a fix of endorphins. But alas, it is canceled until after Christmas.
So madness ensued.


Since I was not pregnant, I needed a change. I considered making throw pillows for my couch. I have the fabric and have been wanting to do this for some time. But instead I decided to paint the front door.
 I painted it black.
With spray paint.
Why? Because I had black spray paint in my laundry room. Had I had a quart of black chalk paint, there would be no need for this post.

Something I will never be accused of is being a perfectionist. Good enough has always been, well, good enough for me.

I began by taping off my door frame to protect all the places I didn’t want painted. This part of the job went quickly enough. I taped plastic sandwich bags around the hardware and taped computer paper to the small window and called it good.

I began to spray. My three year old helped.
At first I thought, “Hey, this ain’t half bad.”
Then I realized we were standing in a cloud of black mist.

That black mist settled on my white tile floor like a soft blanket of new fallen snow. Maybe a more accurate description would be "like new fallen ash."  It also stands to reason that that gentle mist also covered my nearby carpet and furniture (though I can’t see it.)

I quickly retrieved my Swiffer Mop and Clorox wipes and irritably cleaned the mess.

Then I blew my nose. You guessed it. Black.

But all in all, the door looks good. At least it looks good enough. My friend, Ashley confirmed this for me. Another plus, it took less than 45 minutes. (unless you count cleaning up the black mist- in that case it took 2 hours)
Then other problems arose. Have you read that book, “If you give a mouse a cookie?” Here is my adaptation:

If you spray paint your front door you re going to realize that you also need to paint the trim.

When you paint the trim you are going to realize that you really want new hardware to make your door look just right.

When you get the new hardware you are going to want a new red chevron print throw rug to place in front of the door.

When you get your trendy throw rug you are going to realize that you want to trim your door frame with a fresh cut garland because it is Christmastime and you spent too much time on Pinterest going on virtual “Christmas Home Tours.”

When you remember that it is Christmas, you will remember that you have spent all of your money already and that is why you used the spray paint that just happened to already be in your laundry room.

Once you realize this, you will agree with yourself that for now, simply painting your door black is good enough. You can get to the rest next year.

In summary, if you are going to spray paint your door, take it off the hinges and do it outside. And be prepared to want to make over your whole entryway. And maybe you should just make a pillow instead.

Happy Crafting and Merry Christmas,
Xoxo,
 Amy

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Free Printables: Christmas Subway Art

Merry Christmas! It actually feels like Christmas here in the desert because it is actually COLD! There is even snow on our mountains! Last year at this time we were enjoying weather in the 70's.
I just wanted to let you know something...
I have found a new creative love!
 Designing subway art and the like on my photoshop elements! It is a great artistic outlet because there is no cost! I can create and create and not spend a dime on supplies!

I wanted to give you a gift of free printables. I don't know how to create a download I could Google it, but right now I am feeling a bit too lazy to do so.

Instead you will just have to right click and save this little picture. It is a hi high resolution 8x10 and I hope you enjoy it!


 I got the chalk board background from We Lived Happily Ever After.
She has tons of designs and fonts and fun stuff that she offers for free.
I honestly can't remember where I got the fonts but I have a link to them on my Font Pinterest Board.
You can find all the fonts and link that I used to add them to my computer on that beautiful little board!


I made this one for my friend, Ginger to use in a lesson that she is going to give at her church. I love the colors on this and I think it is something that you could leave up all year!

Anyhoo,
 Merry Christmas!
xoxo,
 Amy