How We Plan Our Summer as a Homeschool Family

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Anyone else hit summer and look for ways to have some structure but not over-structure? Me. I am anyone else. Homeschool ends, and then I feel overwhelmed – “What do I do for summer?!” I want my children to feel like they are more relaxed, and to be able to differentiate from homeschool. We will not do any formal full lessons and I will give them time to be bored because boredom is not a bad thing. I do not want the summer to pass and also feel like we have done nothing.

I have three children, 12, 7 and 4. I included them in the planning and set specific goals for each day. Now these goals will not rule our whole schedule as vacations, summer camps and other events will definitely happen but we will have a loose plan for each day. I am not sure about you but by breakfast each day my kids are asking “what are we doing today?” and they are typically not satisfied with “nothing.”

Here is what our summer schedule looks like for the months of July and August. Mondays are zoo mornings (we get a membership to the local one each year), Tuesdays are pool afternoons (we have a small pop up one otherwise it would be dedicated water play outside). Wednesdays are mornings the the museum (again we have a membership to the local children’s museum but we will also explore our other museums as well). Thursdays we will visit the library and a park nearby hosts picnics in the park with family entertainment for free. Fridays are our adventure day, we will be checking a new local park or two (we will also blog and rate our experience for those local to Erie County Pennsylvania).

Using the Notability app on my iPhone I created these fun color coded calendars (I also use similar ones for our homeschool year), I then took advantage of the $0.99 magnet deal on the Shutterfly app to create magnets as a reminder for the fridge.

This helps us have an intentional and focused summer not being limited by what we plan, but if we feel like we have nothing to do it helps to have a plan already! Let me know your tricks to keep summer fun and easy for your kiddos.

x. earnest mom

I Am THAT Mom.

I am also human, and working on myself one step at a time.

As I prepare to write this, I earnestly feel gutted. Today, I was THAT mom. The mom that I have seen a million times; trying to keep it together as she can feel the entire façade of “everything is perfect” start to crumble and slip away. At first it was hard, but as I realized that I am human I was forced to give myself some grace.

Let’s set the stage for you. Thunderstorms kept us indoors. So movie and popcorn it is, until the popcorn maker got knocked over spilling popcorn every where and cracking the side panel. It was an accident, stay chill mama – accidents happen and its just a popcorn machine. Then children kept climbing the counter, literally I was taking children down from the countertops. Things started to calm until the hall closet upstairs was completely dissected from its contents while I was cleaning the popcorn machine. By then, the window to prepare dinner was closed, my oldest needed to go to karate and this mama was waving her white flag. It was enough.

My vehicle was parked across the street at my mother in laws and since my youngest two usually refuse pants and shoes, I needed to move the car to my driveway to save them from crossing the street shoeless (I have learned to pick my battles, shoes make it to the car in case they’re needed but I do not fight them on – in these cases I prefer peace to the fight). I called all three to the kitchen and said “get your shoes ready and stay RIGHT HERE, I am bring the car over.” They get busy putting their shoes on and I hot footed it across the street. All of the sudden, as I open the driver door there is my middle little. She startled me, then I realized she had ran across the street unassisted and that her 3 year old brother is likely right behind her. In my fear, my frustration I yelled at her. Ouch, it hurts my heart to even write that as I have been really working on my volume and tone with my children, but I was scared. Scared she could have been hurt, scared my youngest would soon be doing the same or is elsewhere outside completely unsupervised. I yelled, right at her “you scared me, and what about brother?! IS he safe?! I told you to stay in the house as I ran across the street!! Why didn’t you stay???” Ugh. We ran back to the house, and my oldest and youngest were standing right where I had asked them to stay only three minutes before.

Now I tell you, I have seen this mom around, so many times. Tired, worried, stressed, overwhelmed, scared, angry, frustrated, and yelling at her kid. Until this moment, I had always viewed the “yelling” mom as such a villain – and to all the moms I have judged before, I earnestly apologize. This is so HARD. Not that I condone yelling at children, however when I was scared, overwhelmed and worried for the safety of my children, that panic kicked in and naturally my voice elevated.

As soon as I saw all three of my children safe (my oldest is 11, so legally he can stay 3 minutes with his siblings as I drive up to get them, in case you are worried lol); I knelt down, cried and apologized instantly for yelling. I asked for my middle little’s forgiveness, I explained how scared I was but that yelling was not appropriate and I am working hard not to yell anymore. Then something surprising happened, she apologized for not listening and saw how scary that was for me. I was taken aback. I did not expect her to mirror my actions, to recognize and acknowledge her mistake and my feelings. It was messy, it was hard, but even in my mama-meltdown epic failure moments, these brilliant amazing little humans are still learning forgiveness, empathy and owning their own mistakes.

Yes, I am THAT mom. I am the mom that struggles with keeping my temper, sometimes doesn’t get food to the table on time (by the way we ordered in tonight), allows too much screen time, gives in to some demands to avoid the fight, and yells when I do not mean to. I am also THAT mom who forgives quickly, loves fully, asks for forgiveness and apologizes to show them I make mistakes too, and would protect my children at all costs. I cry in the bathroom, laugh at the dinner table and hug with everything I have got. I am 100% that mom and proud.

x. earnest mom.

Enjoy the Wow, Earnest Advice from Daniel Tiger

I am not sure about you but two main shows watched in the earnest home are Mister Roger’s Neighborhood and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, at least once a day. I have to admit, watching Mister Rogers with my children strikes such a nostalgic cord especially when our family values line up so perfectly with his. Needless to say, we are big big fans. A current song that is sung here is “Groo-own ups come back,” since separation anxiety is alive and well with our littlest one. If you watch Daniel Tiger, you know the tune. 🙂 Matter of fact, you may have sung it out loud just now – no worries, I did too. I get it.

Well this weekend came to a chaotic end with the craziness that is caused by the dreaded Spring Forward time change. The earnest littles did not fall asleep until 1.5 hours passed their normal bedtime, which is something we rarely have to deal with. Our kids are typically in bed by 8 and sleeping by 8:30, I truly cannot complain about my children and their sleep since they go down and stay down from 10-11 hours…”hashtag blessed,” and I know it!

This weekend was something different, something we were not quite prepared for. The struggle, the exhaustion only amplified by the time change. Earnest Dad and I have this unspoken agreement where we alternate who gets up with kids while the other gets to snooze a little longer. This Sunday morning was my day and 5:04 am my alarm clock toddler came-a-calling. (Which was actually 4:04 am real time lol). I was exhausted, but somehow we pulled them together and made it to church with ten minutes to spare! It was intense and busy – but it worked out.

Before church, I sat on the couch in the dark at 5:30 am hoping my little guy and I could nap a little before church; when he started singing and calling out “Mama, Dada” just to hear his voice echo, I knew we were up for good. Trying to keep us from waking the whole household I turned on the trusty show that is, Daniel Tiger. As I am snuggled up with my squishy little guy and wishing he would take a snooze so I could catch some Z’s Daniel Tiger threw this song at me. “Enjoy the wow that’s happening now.” Instantly my mama heart was convicted – it was true, I needed to enjoy the wow that was happening now. In comparison, Daniel Tiger’s ice treat was melting while he was wishing he could try all the other ice flavors and he was missing the chance to enjoy the flavor he currently had. Where, here I was sitting with my precious last baby whilst wishing for a moment of extra rest.

It is all about perspective mamas, it makes all the difference and I hear that all the time but it is in these moments when I need to hear it again and again. Trying to see the day is so imperative versus trying to seize the day, or wishing and hoping for different days ahead. I do not want to miss one single delicious moment with my children especially while I still have one home with me. Our last few hours of the day when all of us have eaten dinner together in the crazy tailspin that happens from full little bellies; the early dark hours of the morning that give way to the coziest snuggles; the laughter that comes when I catch splashes from the bathtub; the songs being sung in our loudest voices as we drive; and the sleepy prayers we say together before we say goodnight…please Lord let me hold on to these moments just a little bit longer.

Maybe take a moment today to breathe and then look at the small blessings before you; I am slowly learning that not everything has to be perfect before I can enjoy it!

x. earnest mom.

Earnestly Seeing the Moment. The Overwhelming Moments of a SAHM.

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Let me set the scene, it is after dinner and usually the dishes wait until after the kids go to bed…or sometimes until the following morning. Anyway, it is after dinner, we have full bellies, family conversations have ended and next we watch a show or two then start bedtime routines. We head into the TV room, earnest dad kicks up his feet the in recliner and I am in my usual corner of the sectional. All of the sudden I cannot breathe – all three earnest littles are on top of me. Literally two on my lap and another snuggled so close next to me it almost hurts! To be honest, I get overwhelmed.

I am the type of person who likes her own space, I am a snuggler but after being home with the kids all day while earnest dad works – my love tank is full. I am ready for the littles to be all over daddy and let this mama breathe. I look over to earnest dad, reclined, relaxed and maybe even dozing a bit and I get overwhelmed.

There are times in the day, when the kids are running and screaming, fighting and crying, trying to pull me away from cooking dinner to “watch this” or they are too quiet and in a massive panic I rush in to see what is going on. In these moments I am desperate for earnest dad to walk through the door so I can pee alone or at least without children crying and banging down the door. Again, I find myself feeling overwhelmed.

That chaotic hour between home from school and dinner time, when I have to focus of chopping, boiling, tossing and cooking (food not my kids lol) are sometimes the craziest moments of the day. I have to be mom, tutor, playmate, personal chef, or heaven forbid the business phone rings and I have to toss all my hats off to wear the self employed secretary and scheduling hat. I am trying to keep it all together and sound professional, I get overwhelmed.

A few nights ago, kiddos all tucked up in bed and earnest dad working on his reports I was able to sit with my book and some tea, then I started reflecting on my day. It is such an incredible, blessed, exhausting, confidence testing, love never ending, over the top kind of ride, this wild ride that is motherhood. As I sat in my peace, my quiet, my still I start to already miss those squishy little feet tucked under my thigh, the warmth of the toddler and preschool bodies resting heavily on my lap and the arms of love intertwined on my arm as my nine year old lays his head on my shoulder. I got overwhelmed, I missed them and my love for then made me want to cry. My perspective shifted and I remembered the line from the brilliant Lisa Jo Baker’s latest book The Middle Matters,

“I am not asking you to seize the day, just to make sure you actually see it.” – The Middle Matters

So many times I allow the sense of overwhelm take over and I cannot wait to get out of the moments I am in. I cannot wait until, the kids are settled, sleeping, older, quieter or even gone to school. I realize I waste so much of my current moments getting sucked into wishing for different times and I completely forget to see the precious and delicious moments I am currently in.

As we get older we look back on the ‘good ol’times’ with nostalgia and desire to go back. Right now, today I am in the good old days I will look back on, (Hopefully when I am surrounded by my grandchildren and reminding myself they get to go home with their parents, lol). Nonetheless I needed to get out of the rut of longing for a different time and see the moments I am in, before I miss them altogether.

I have the amazing privilege to stay home with my little ones and I have started to make that effort to start earnestly seeing the moments laid before me. It is okay to feel a bit overwhelmed from time to time, but I am working diligently to stop wishing for something different and start finding joy in the moment I am in. Being present is one of the best gifts I can give my children and I know I have a lot more I can give.

x. earnest mom.

Head Lice Bugging You? It Earnestly Bugs Me.

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Please note, I am not selling or promoting any specific products for profit – I only recommend what I use because I am sure of it’s quality and effectiveness. Also the recipe included is not certified to treat head lice, it only helps with prevention.

When I was in the 7th grade I got head lice so bad that my mother (bless her heart) cut my long hair above my ears with kitchen shears. I cried, I remember holding my ponytail recently separated from my body through blurry sobs. In 7th grade I knew not to share hats, brushes, sweaters or lay next to friends for worry I may get head lice – but I got it anyway. So I showed up one day after all the dreaded “Head Lice Memos” went home, with a boy’s haircut (we went to a pro once I was all cleaned up from lice). I was mortified, I had such bad head lice that I still cringe at the nick names I received from the whole experience, ‘lice queen, lice hotel,’ and other creative names I do not care to mention. My 7th grade self is still petrified of getting head lice, and now that I have a long haired daughter starting school – I have worries, naturally.

Before my 7th grade experience, I got head lice for the first time, in Kindy; I remember sitting to get my bum length hair french braided and sprayed before school. I can still taste the mist of that choking aerosol spray we used to help prevent any louse wanting to get to my scalp. Of course, I ended up getting lice and my first experience with that nasty, stinky shampoo and painful nit catching comb. God bless my mother, she had 4 girls and head lice was quite an event in our house.

I know when I was in school there was a lot of myth and misinformation about lice, and today I still hear the same stuff. Here are some facts, head lice are:

  • 1 of the top 3 reasons kids miss school
  • Extremely common! Between 6-12 million U.S. kids 3-11 years old get head lice each year
  • Not dangerous, but are contagious (and SO annoying)
  • NOT signs of unwashed or unclean hair – they thrive in clean hair
  • Unable to jump, fly or swim
  • Unable to live on your pets
  • Unable to live in your environment (couch, carpet, furniture, pillow, sheets, mattress, car, movie theater, airplane)

Now, I also know that there are A TON of sprays and solutions out there that promise prevention and they are CRAZY expensive so I am going to share my recipe that is super easy and effective, but also will not break the bank. I will also share the prevention tips I follow and so far so good while my littles have attended PreK, VBS and play dates!

Lice Prevention Spray

Recipe:

  • 4 oz Distilled Water
  • 1 tsp alcohol free witch hazel
  • 8 drops dōTERRA Tea Tree Essential Oil
  • 5 drops dōTERRA Lavender EO
  • 5 drops dōTERRA Rosemary EO (optional)
  • 4 oz glass spray bottle (I recycled this one from Urban Oreganics Rose Water Spray)
  • Shake well and spray on wet or dry hair before and after styling.
  • I use this daily with my kiddos, lice can attach to any hair that is 2 inches or longer so if you have young lads with longer hair they can use the spray too!

    Witch hazel – Since head lice do not like clean hair, my kids wash their hair every two/three days, a very small amount of witch hazel can help reduce oil build up

    Tea Tree Essential Oil (melaleuca) – anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties make it effective for preventing lice, treating dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis. It can clear the follicles and allow your hair to breathe; also moisturizes the scalp while preventing buildup of excess oil on the scalp.

    Lavender Essential Oil – has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, which can prevent head lice and improve overall scalp health. Lavender is also known for properties that can generate the growth of cells and reduce stress.

    Rosemary Essential Oil – can counter hair loss by stimulating blood circulation in the scalp, which, in turn, promotes hair growth. Its high nutritional value and anti-inflammatory properties make it an excellent ingredient for nourishing the hair follicles and soothing the scalp. It is also known to aid in lice prevention.

    Other oils that are good for preventing head lice – eucalyptus, peppermint and neem.

    Lice Prevention Tips:

    • Weekly lice checks, not sure what to look for? Google human lice/louse/nits
      Wash hair infrequently
      Style longer hair in braids or ponytails
      Use above spray daily before going to school/activities
      Encourage children not to share combs, brushes, hats or shirts
      Keep on the look out for frequent scalp itchiness or complaining of tickling feeling on scalp/hair

    Good luck mamas! If your kiddos end up getting head lice take a moment, breathe and do not panic. There are several ways to treat, kill and clean lice from heads and home. It can be quite a task but worth the work of preventing re-infestation; some natural and OTC treatments may not work as some are resistant; if necessary feel free to call and see your child’s practitioner.

    Please know, and I speak from experience, that parental reaction can have long lasting effects and staying calm, reassuring and supporting to your child who has lice is worth it’s weight in gold.

    You’ve got this!

    x. earnest mom

    It’s Happy Here. An Earnest Anecdote.

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    “It’s happy here!” My oldest earnest little cried out amongst the laughter at the dinner table. As we all laughed together trying our best “dad” jokes, my heart leapt when I heard those words.

    As a mom, I am constantly bombarded by the world, social media, parenting books telling me who and what I should be. That is all well and good I know, I do glean what works in our earnest home; but there are times I cannot help but look to those picture perfect Pinterest-Insta-Worthy pictures and compare.

    Maybe if we did more crafts.

    Maybe if we did more alphabet practicing.

    Maybe if we played more sports.

    Maybe if we ate more organic.

    Maybe if I was more, more, more!

    It is sometimes overwhelming to try and be more than I could ever be and in those moments, those self-doubt enemy of my peace moments, I need to tell myself “I am ENOUGH.” And when I cannot voice it to myself, the Lord does through my kids.

    “It’s happy here.” Just three words but oh, the weight they carry. My children do not look to me and think “I wish you were more (fill in blank).” No, they run to me with huge open arms, squeeze me so tight sometimes I lose my breathe. It is incredible how they see the world – happy. They love me, as I am, whether my hair is combed or not, whether there are boogers on my shirt or not, whether I am perfect or not. Which I will tell you reader, the latter I am most definitely not.

    “It’s happy here” is now my mama-motto. (Seriously, I had vinyl stickers made up and stuck to my kitchen door!) Remembering no matter what, in our home, or wherever we are together, it is happy here.

    I do not know what it is in your home that will make you want to shout out “It’s happy here!” as my eldest did, but I charge you to find it. Seek it. Welcome that happiness with open arms, do not let the “picture perfect” ideals take away the happy time you have together. These sweet, sticky and delicious summers fly by in a flash. Find your happy, and keep it there. Sometimes, just ten minutes of happy a day can change the entire year; that is 3,600 minutes of happy in one year. You got this mamas, one day at a time, let’s look around and find moments that cry out “it’s happy here.”

    x. em.

    Me & My Earnest Mouth

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    I am a mom, I am a blogger, I am a sister and I am a friend; and in all of those roles, I am a sharer.

    There is a huge trend today where us mamas feel judged, or overwhelmed by advice and tips in the mama world and to be honest – I get it. We are so quick to put up the “advice not welcome here sign” and stop lending an ear to generations of wisdom that maybe we miss the intent of the advisor. I am a sharer, big time. When I see a fellow mama in need of help, asking for help or simply seeking mutual supports in different aspects of motherhood I cannot help my earnest mouth and I excitedly share my experiences and what I have learned along the way.

    When I was brand spanking new to the mama world, I was one of the first of my close friends and the very first on both sides of our immediate family to have a baby and to be honest, I was totally clueless. I did not know what to ask, where to look or what to do! I sought advice but was left short; I read books, I googled all the baby and new mom articles. I overwhelmed myself in written media and wished I had found a tangible example in my little village. Do not get me wrong, my mama and mother-in-love helped a lot – but no offense their children were grown and advice was slightly antiquated.

    From that experience I made sure to add mamas more experienced than I to my village, plus pick their brains for tips and advice relevant to my life. I love when someone notices me and my children and have the thought to want to share their sage wisdom with me – do I take in all advice as absolutes, no. However I do sift through to find the gems that can work in my own life while raising my wild and amazing littles.

    Sometimes, I feel maybe today we are too quick to stamp down or hush those around us who are only seeking to help – and while some of the advice may have been best left at the door, this verbal interaction is what makes the village of motherhood. Mind you I still hear the occasional rub rum on teething gums (I am sure as more of a joke than advice) but I glean so much from listening to other mama’s birth stories, sleep training tips and so on. What may work for one family may not for another but that is what makes us all unique and successful in our own paths.

    I am very conscious when offering advice to fellow moms, I also work hard to read body language when I am chatting. However I always follow up with, this is just what worked for us and what works for one may not for another, but sharing is what I do! I share my experiences, tips and help I have found along the way in hopes another mama would not feel so underprepared and overwhelmed when needing to seek it all alone. Storytelling helps us all get through life and share ourselves with one another even if there are tips laced through the storyline.

    Me and my earnest mouth come from a place of love, understanding, accepting and a true desire to help lift the mamas around me. I would only hope that articles, chats and interaction from me would only express the love and hopes to help that I have for others and never put down another mama. In this vast world of social media, perfect Pinterest examples, ideal Instagram images and fantasy Facebook posts – they are OVERWHELMING. We are the most connected we have ever been in history yet, it feels so lonely.

    Mamas, let’s not be quick to push away or hurry through the conversations that we are having, lets get out there, find (or create) our villages and be encouraged to share your stories. Stories and experiences help us see likeness in others, visiting and listening help us connect. Let’s do more of that and less scrolling, trust me it will feel less lonely. Listen to the advice (and take only what you need), be willing to share yours – it may take a village to raise our children, but it also takes a village to support their mamas.

    x. earnest mom.

    Earnest Bedtimes + the 5 Stages of Grief.

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    A slightly comical look at our bedtime routine, remember what may work for one family may not for another. Glean what you may and enjoy!

    Typically these two things are not correlated, well not formally but I have come to discover that every single night my children (particularly my darling sweet middle child) experience ALL five stages of grief at bedtime. Here is a typical night at the earnest household, where both earnest dad and I are usually home as we try our best to have dinner as a family and visit together before bedtime.

    Stage one: Denial.

    Picture it: dinner is done, the kiddos are finishing homework, or chores; then we like to enjoy a show on Netflix before bedtime starts. So we are usually all snuggled up in the living room together and around 7:20 pm I announce “5 minutes and it is time to start potty and brushing teeth.” The reaction: my 9 year old instantly bolts from the couch in disbelief to check the clock in the kitchen; my 4 year old laments, “whaaaaat?! We have just had dinner, it is not time for bedtime yet.” And my 16 month old yells out “teeeeeeth” (he is just excited to brush his teeth). This first stage usually last about 2-3 minutes before the next stage hits.

    Stage two: Anger.

    Earnest dad or I typically reply to the confusion, “yes, we have about five minutes and then we need to start brushing teeth and going to bed.” My 9 year old, “ugh, why can’t I stay up????” And he may or may not be stomping or dropping to the floor. My 4 year old, “what?! Bedtime?! No!!!” Followed by her loud, tear-filled cry and hugs. My 16 month old, “teeeeth.” He is still excited to brush his teeth.

    Stage three: Bargaining.

    My 9 year old calms and slyly sits down next to me and asks the following in a hushed voice, “mom, can I stay up just a little bit later tonight? Please? Just a little.” My 4 year old, wiping tears and calming down, “wait” sniffle, sniffle, “can we watch just one more episode?” And my 16 month old, he has gotten up walked to the bathroom and is waiting for someone to open the door to hand him his toothbrush.

    Stage four: Depression.

    Here we get full on tears, and earnest dad and I stay firm. “Okay guys, time is up let’s go potty and get our teeth brushed.” All kids sadly get up, turn off the TV and head to the bathroom where the chaos of toothpaste, toothbrushes, potty time scheduling and a quick diaper change for the littlest happens. Then boom, we are all walking upstairs together and this is where the final stage sets in.

    Stage five: Acceptance.

    Kids are calm, I am usually with our 4 year old daughter and earnest dad takes the boys to their room. I tuck her in, we read a book, say prayers, give kisses and back scratches and, as I wind up her musical unicorn jewelry box she turns to me and says: “mama, what we doing tomorrow?” We review the plans for the next day and as I walk out of her room I get one final “night mama, I love you.” As I close her door I hear the same events taking place in the boys’ room. Their love tanks are full and, my earnest heart is overflowing.

    By 8:00 pm all three are in bed, where they stay all night. And since realizing this routine they experience every night before bed, I am able to know just what to expect. There is so much joy in that, I find our bedtimes even in the 5 stages are smooth and fun. By the time we are heading upstairs the tears have turned to giggles, the cries have turned to ‘I love you’s’ and the one goal earnest dad and I try to meet every night in our marriage is being met with our children: never go to bed angry.

    I know I am comparing parts of our night with the stages of grief, but when you are little and every day is the ‘best day ever,’ why would you want it to end? I am so blessed by this predictable, earnest little event we have every night; it is in this routine we all find the comfort we need to sleep peacefully in our earnest little home. Let me know what your bedtime routine looks like? What works for you, and do your children experience any of the 5 Stages of Grief before bed??

    x. earnest mom.

    Motherhood: A wild and incredibly blessed ride!

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    Wild and blessed, two words that can describe exactly where I am right now.

    I am always shocked when I hear the words: ” I do not know how you do it” or “how do you get anything done in a day?” Honestly, I never feel like I hit the mark, I rarely feel like I have gotten anything done in a day and sometimes the only gage I have that I’ve accomplished something is by my husband’s reaction when he come in the door.

    Seriously, as a stay at home mom to an 8, 4 and 1 year old my time feels like it is spent assessing risk factors from wild toddler antics, throwing snacks out like candy at a parade and refereeing disputes over claims of “bad words being said, walking passed someone too fast or slow, and simply not agreeing on the next show to watch on Netflix.” And yes, my children watch Netflix, I mean yeah, I could totally parent without screen time – I could also churn my own butter but let’s not get too crazy now.

    Friends have told me how I seem to have it all together and that my kids are so lucky. I am here to tell you, looks are deceiving. There are days when I get up before my children, make the coffee and have laundry and dishes running before 9:00 am. Those days are rare. To be honest that happened once last week. The rest of the week looked more like me walking out of the bathroom to my two oldest using a half a stick of butter in each hand from the fridge to butter their toast because there was not any softened butter available. No kidding, this was last Wednesday and I chose to look at the fact that not only did they make their own snack, but they did as a team! Yay, MOM WIN!!! Another day I turn around from loading the dishwasher to my one year old eating a burnt waffle he took from the garbage. Perfection?! NO WAY, but like I said I am wildly blessed by this.

    In my days as a stay at home mom I have learned to let go and let live. My children are growing so fast, right before my eyes and if I do not stop all of my busyness I will miss on theirs. My house is not always tidy, some days my sink of full of dishes and there have even been times that we have run out of clean laundry; but my kids are loved, happy, fed and safe. Those four elements are a language of love for this mama’s heart, and perspective is everything. My home may be messy but we have a place to live, my sink may have dishes but we have food to eat and laundry may be dirty but we have clothes to wear. My kids may be loud but they have a voice, they may be busy but their have a love of life to live. Pretty soon, in a blink, my kids will be on their own; the house will be perfectly clean and too quiet, and I will miss these wild and blessed days.

    I know that I am in no way a perfect mom, but I know I have been made perfectly by God to grow these tiny humans He has given me. I hope that when I fall short I can give them an opportunity to see humility and compassion; when I make mistakes I can help them learn to forgive; and when I hold them, they feel what true love is. I am mothering the best way I know how, I know that the best of me as imperfect as I am is exactly what they need. By this mere fact, I am able to forgive myself the moments when they eat from the trash or use way too much butter, and find joy no matter what. This is us, this is our little life and our little home is massive in love, for truly we are wildly blessed.

    Mamas, no matter what season you are in, please know you are perfect just as you are. I love the saying “to the world you are just a mom, but to your children you are the world.” Our little ones have this amazing God-given power to love us mamas unconditionally, let us too start loving ourselves unconditionally too. Doing our best everyday is the best we can for them, and even when we totally fail, guess what?! They will be right there, still loving us.

    You are seen, you are loved and you are everything to those little eyes that look to you every morning. You are just what your family needs. Be wild and blessed, the days are long but the years are short.

    x. earnest mom.

    Review + Giveaway: Stewie BOOM! And Princess Penelope: Snowflakes, Handprints and Playdates.

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    April is National Autism Awareness month and this month I really wanted to focus on being inclusive, and gaining more understanding and sensitivity with my earnest littles about Autism Spectrum Disorder.

    Many children that have Autism can go undiagnosed for a long time and the spectrum is so broad that even a diagnosis is not the full answer. I wanted to be sure we learned that no matter the behavior we see, every child deserves a friend. I found this exact message in Stewie BOOM! and Princess Penelope: Snowflakes, Handprints and Playdates by Christine Bronstein.

    This book highlights what it means to play with someone new, making friends, understanding differences and every character is completely relatable for adults and kids. Following the story there are some stellar tips on reaching out to new friends, being accepting of differences and starting a conversation about Autism with kids.

    When asked what her inspiration was to write Stewie BOOM! And Princess Penelope: Snowflakes, Handprints and Playdates; Christine said:

    It is a book I wish I had when my kids were younger.  One of my children had some special needs and I know how isolating it can be.  Too many families with children with ASD are struggling with isolation and bullying and these are two things that are actually solvable if we all work together to embrace these families and children into our communities.

    This book speaks to me on so many levels and would be the perfect addition to any home or classroom library to help open dialogue on all of the points that Christine listed above.

    GIVEAWAY: Want to win a book of your own?! Comment below if you have been or plan to be involved with Autism Awareness this month (or longer!!). Examples could be you did a community walk, changed your Facebook frame, bought cookies that will benefit the Autism society, or maybe simply talking to your children about what the spectrum is and how we can be more kind, outgoing and accepting. Please share your plans, ideas and activities below! Giveaway now CLOSED. The winner has been announced here in the comments and on earnest mom’s Instagram (@earnestmomblog), be sure to be following to find out if you have won!

    x. earnest mom.