Saturday, May 5, 2018

Seasons Change, I Changed, & Reminders From a 5 Year Old

So as February began to come to close I started realizing some things.

My attitude and mood most days was landing me promptly on my butt in the land of bitter and sour.  When my wake up started out there, it was hard to climb out of that.  Most days I was hovering near that close edge, that line of in-between.  The one where even the simplest thing could make thoughts and attitudes sway way to quickly. 

I have come to understand that I do not like all aspects that come with motherhood.  I do love my kids and what they bring to our family and my life.  But there are just some aspects I don't like.  I had been under the impression for too long that by not liking the aspects meant that I was not good a being a mom. 

I have been given this job, this job of of being a mom.  Just like with other areas of life, we like certain things and we dislike other things.  This is a part of who we are.  And just because we may not like a part of something of the bigger picture, doesn't mean a whole we love it any less.

I knew some things needed to change and those changes first had to start with me.  I tend to get too inside my head and loose sight of what is in front of me.  I tell myself something over and over, it becomes so real to me, but in the grand scheme of things, it is just not the case.

I am my own worse critic.  Truly, I am.  I see all the mistakes, failures, expectations not met, dreams fall flat, and so on.  Sometimes those things, well those things become my inner voice...good or bad, that is what seems to happen.  And then I compare me to what I see on the outside of others around me.

I have lost sight of me...Liz.  I have lost sight of Liz.  My purpose, my value, my worth.  Who I am, where I am supposed to, is it all enough, am I enough, what are my strengths (yes, I know there are weaknesses too, but I tend to focus all to much on those lately.). 

Most days I feel like I can't even put two thoughts together let along get two words into a conversation before something pulls my attention away.  I haven't gotten my fingers to the keys to write often.  I get ideas of what to write or post about, but by the time I can actually get to it, the moment has passed and it seems to late.  Even then, I sometimes still go back and try to play catch up on ideas and posts because it doesn't feel right to let them blow away in the wind.

I add on stress load after stress load onto myself.  And then it becomes that everything feels like a stress load.  Oh, and if I have to lay something down I feel so much guilt from it.

Add in the seemingly long Winter weather already and the need for green and warm breezes.

All these things have added up.  I knew it was time to take a step in a different direction and really begin to dig down deep.  Dig deep and begin to release.  Not an easy task sometimes.

But with the help of taking the Abundant Mama Program, I began to build a toolbox to help me work through all this and more.  The course was three weeks long.  I will tell you that it is just what I needed to help reset my direction, perspective, and it has given me so much more.

I am going to begin to share about it all, along with hopefully much more in other areas of life from creative projects, adventures, day to day life, and whatever else this new season brings.

My son helped me remember the other day that there are some things we are good at and some things we aren't.  We are always learning, no matter our age.  We need to keep trying and despite the hard things and the mistakes, we can still focus on the good parts too.

All this from a 5 year old.  Sometimes, we just need to have a long talk with a kiddo to be reminded of the important things. 

Friday, May 4, 2018

Letter of the Week ~ X


 Recognize upper and lower case letter
  • Color sheet with the lower case letter on it (my oldest knows all the letters in their Capital form)
Activity
  • Letter Hunt: Throughout the week search for the letter of the week
  • Word Hunt: How many words can you come up with that start with the letter of the week? What around you starts with the letter of the week?
Adventure
  • Where can you go that starts with the letter of the week?
    • I will be honest, I was not able to come up with a place to visit that started with the letter X.  But maybe near you there is a fun adventure place waiting for you to try out.
Art
  • X-Ray
    • Trace your kiddo's arm and hand onto black paper
    • Glue on q tips on the fingers and wrist area
You can see more curriculum ideas on my post about our 2017/2018 curriculum by Clicking Here.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Letter of the Week ~ Y


Recognize upper and lower case letter
  • Color sheet with the lower case letter on it (my oldest knows all the letters in their Capital form)
Activity
  • Letter Hunt: Throughout the week search for the letter of the week
  • Word Hunt: How many words can you come up with that start with the letter of the week? What around you starts with the letter of the week?
Adventure
  • Where can you go that starts with the letter of the week?
    • Yard~ go play outside in the yard.  I know, it sounds simple, but we are finally getting snow away and we can play more longer outside in the warm sun and not be in snow.
Art
  • Yellow Collage
    • My oldest's favorite color is yellow, so we collected yellow things and added them to a paper.
    • You could cut out a y letter shape and glue on to the letter
    • Or you could put the items in between two pieces of contact paper, squish it together, hang up in the window for a stain glass.
You can see more curriculum ideas on my post about our 2017/2018 curriculum by Clicking Here.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Letter of the Week ~ V


Recognize upper and lower case letter
  • Color sheet with the lower case letter on it (my oldest knows all the letters in their Capital form)
Activity
  • Letter Hunt: Throughout the week search for the letter of the week
  • Word Hunt: How many words can you come up with that start with the letter of the week? What around you starts with the letter of the week?
Adventure
  • Where can you go that starts with the letter of the week?
    • Vacation!  I add this because even if it's a stay-cation, you can still create a mini vacation.  I also know that it's Spring Break time and people are traveling more.
    • Visit someplace new
Art
  • Volcano
    • Cut out brown bottom part of volcano from paper
    • Add lava colors out the top and down the sides...for added fun, use glue and add glitter or glitter glue
    • Using cotton balls blue above to look like cloud of smoke
You can see more curriculum ideas on my post about our 2017/2018 curriculum by Clicking Here.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Letter of the Week ~ W


Recognize upper and lower case letter
  • Color sheet with the lower case letter on it (my oldest knows all the letters in their Capital form)
Activity
  • Letter Hunt: Throughout the week search for the letter of the week
  • Word Hunt: How many words can you come up with that start with the letter of the week? What around you starts with the letter of the week?
Adventure
  • Where can you go that starts with the letter of the week?
    • Walks ~ finally getting into more Spring like weather, so we are going on more walks again
Art
  • Watermelon
    • Using have a sheet of paper, draw outlines of a giant watermelon slice
    • Let the kiddos color it in, add seeds by cutting out seed shapes from black paper
You can see more curriculum ideas on my post about our 2017/2018 curriculum by Clicking Here.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Letter of the Week ~ F


Recognize upper and lower case letter
  • Color sheet with the lower case letter on it (my oldest knows all the letters in their Capital form)
Activity
  • Letter Hunt: Throughout the week search for the letter of the week
  • Word Hunt: How many words can you come up with that start with the letter of the week? What around you starts with the letter of the week?
Adventure
  • Where can you go that starts with the letter of the week?
    • Farm
    • Forests
    • Fort Building
Art
  • Flower Gardens
    • Give a blank piece of paper and have the kiddos draw a flower garden
    • Make flowers using coffee filters and using pipe cleaners for the stems
    You can see more curriculum ideas on my post about our 2017/2018 curriculum by Clicking Here.

    Thursday, April 5, 2018

    A Change, A Catalyst, A Step Forward

     
    7 years ago I found myself at a spot that I never thought I would be.  We wanted to start a family.  I found out just before Christmas 2010 that I was pregnant.  At the end of January we lost our daughter, 17 weeks into the pregnancy. 

    No sooner had we found out and started dreaming on being a family of three, names, nursery stuff, went maternity shopping with my mom, even received a few baby items at Christmas, found out we were due within one day of my brother and sister in law...we found no heart beat and the doctor told me our baby had expired.

    Those words, that day, will forever will be imprinted in my mind, in my heart.  So will the following Friday, my birthday.  For every birthday card I opened, I opened a sympathy card.  The next day, we had a service and burial for our daughter.

    I turned to writing.  Just in a journal, but it was my outlet, my way of trying to work through all that was happening.  From that came My Infant Loss.  A site I created filled with resources I found helpful throughout my journey and my writings on the blog part.

    From it all, Samantha has been a catalyst for many things.  Samantha's Dragonfly was created from it and has since been passed onto 100s of other people.  She taught me a lot about life, a lot about death, a lot about my husband, my marriage, friendship, and myself. 

    As time went by, I wrote less and less on the site.  Then, I got pregnant again and had our first son in 2013.  After that, I didn't go back to the site and moved my writings over to here, My Mama Side.  It seemed to a better fit for the direction my path was heading.

    Some of what I learned had gotten placed far back after having one son and even more so after having our second son.  After my second son I faced high anxiety and post-partum depression.  My doctor (not the one we had when we were pregnant with Samantha) said it was no wonder.  With all that we had been through with pregnancies, c-sections, being a mom of two little kiddos, and all the other twists and turns life sends your way, it all made sense to her.  She said it was okay.

    Even up until more recent, I haven't felt much myself.  The one I knew deep down.  Always hard on myself and it starting to rub off on those around me.  I was frustrated with myself and impatient, so I began to get impatient with those around me as well.  The constant louder volume led to more raised voices and yelling at times.  Any little trip up I felt I faced led me to eating my emotions and inner self negative talk, never feeling good enough. 

    I have tried many things since the Fall.  Attempting to take the things I make creatively and sell them, even creating websites and Facebook pages to go with them.  Starting a group on Facebook for other moms and us to build connections through meeting up a different places around the city.  Reading books on specific topics in relation to what I was thinking and feeling.  Trying to figure out other's perception of me to figure out myself better.  Spending money when I probably shouldn't have.  Stepping out and joining a focus group of a favorite author of mine.  Being a part of a book launch team.

    If I am to be honest....it all has flopped.  I closed down those businesses I tried to get going.  I closed down the mom's group on Facebook after repeatedly posting activities and meet ups only to find that it was just my kiddos and I that would show up.  The  books, while good, I can't remember a whole lot from them...partially because it would take me so long to read one and partially because it was only dealing with the surface of things.  I wasn't looking truly at what was right in front of me.  The focus group has been hit or miss, a great experience to go through and got to help create some cool things (like Flirt Alert).  But I realized that I didn't really have much value added into the group most of the time.  Oh, and the book launch?  Great book, but the only reason I am guessing that I was a part of that was because the more people on the team, the more the book would get out there and noticed.

    From it all, I learned I needed to work on my prayer and quiet time.  But it still wasn't enough.  I was in a spot, that I don't know how I got to, where most days I couldn't wait for bedtime to come, that I needed to be out of the house with the kids, all things led to battles and negative behaviors seemed to be growing as quickly as the yelling was increasing.  It felt like so much was just unraveling and I didn't know where to start or how to get things back to an overall peace.

    I realized that so much of it and the dynamics stemmed from me.  The lack of sleep, strong emotions, carrying my own load and the load of everyone around me, striving for the unrealistic perfect, bad eating habits, and an entirely too long Winter all added to the constant spiral I was in.

    But how do you get out?  I have been creating a mental bucket list.  Things I want to do, classes I want to take, places to visit, sights to see, etc.  Do you have a bucket list?  What is on yours?

    One of the things that has been on my bucket list for awhile and kept being put on the, well, someday list, was a class called "The Abundant Mama Project" by Shawn Fink.  I have started her book "Savoring Slow" and liked what I read, but have not actually managed to finish it yet.  I have followed her on her blog through email and Facebook.  Her class has been something I wanted to sign up for. 

    With all that I have had going on and through my mind, I decided that someday needed to happen sooner.  I signed up for the class at the end of February.  I am so glad that I have and going forward I will write more about it.  I would highly recommend signing up for it, but at the end of March, she retired the program.  But hopefully something is in the works so that going forward, the lessons are still accessible to other moms, in a different format. 

    I learned a lot about myself going through the class, remember some of the stuff I learned after we lost Samantha, and found me.  I found the me that I know, the one that deep down had gotten left behind, forgotten about, the one God made me to be.

    Through it all, things have changed and a newer perspective is emerging.  There is more peace within me and more peace around me.  No life isn't calm and sure there is stuff that still needs work, but things are changing and going more smoothly (usually).

    I mentioned that Samantha was a catalyst earlier.  While going through the Abundant Mama Project, I found this come back to me again.  You see, the My Infant Loss side of stuff was coming due for renewal.  I had some decisions to make about what direction to go with it and what direction I wanted to go in.  For nearly 5 years I had been renewing the site without thought, just because I felt I should.

    She is my daughter, always will be and I love her and nothing will change that.  A part of me had thought that by giving up the site I was giving up on her.  With a new perspective, I understand and realize that she is the reason for the site, the site is not her and letting go of the site doesn't mean I am letting go of her.  I can set the site down and take a step forward on this path using what I know from it, what I learned and give myself a firmer footing on the ground. 

    Laying down some of the load that I have been carrying has been a blessing beyond words and they are the stepping stones that make up my life.  Working through the Abundant Mama Project is the beginning of the work I needed to move forward, instead of treading water.  I am not sure where this will all lead,  and I do know there is more I need to continue to do, but I do feel a peacefulness within me that I haven't felt for a very, very long time.

    Friday, March 30, 2018

    Letter of the Week ~ L


    Recognize upper and lower case letter
    • Color sheet with the lower case letter on it (my oldest knows all the letters in their Capital form)
    Activity
    • Letter Hunt: Throughout the week search for the letter of the week
    • Word Hunt: How many words can you come up with that start with the letter of the week? What around you starts with the letter of the week?
    Adventure
    • Where can you go that starts with the letter of the week?
      • Library ~ so many to choose from, such a great resource, go for a story time or to just explore and maybe find some new books to read
    Art
    • Ladybugs
      • Using coffee filters color on them using washable markers.  You can do read, or think outside the box and make other colors or tie dyed.
      • Spritz with water until colors start to run.
      • Let dry and add details the black head, the line down the middle and black spots.  Add google eyes too if you have them for a little more fun.
    You can see more curriculum ideas on my post about our 2017/2018 curriculum by Clicking Here.

    Wednesday, March 28, 2018

    Mom ~ A Mix of Motherhood and Love


     
    When the quiet is defining and you get lost in your thoughts, listening to your heart and your inner you...

    My youngest, still asleep. My oldest, playing in his room.

    I stand in relative quiet in the kitchen. The only sounds I can hear...the fridge, the clock, the birds, and the cars

    Outside is snowing

    I listen and watch the birds

    Looking around the house are pops of Spring color.

    I get to thinking and listening to my heart...

    I am a mom...motherhood is hard, messy, and imperfect, but has a lot of fun, adventure, and wonderful moments too.  My personality has a hard time with the messy and imperfect side of things.

    Through it all, I still love my kids and I wouldn't trade what I have for anything.  I am blessed to be able to stay home with my kiddos.  To watch them grow, to learn, to be the awesome kids that they are.

    A friend of mine once said, "there are two parts to being a mom...Motherhood and the love for your kids".  You can watch her video on it over on YouTube at https://youtu.be/s8bnP1S-XPo

    Here's my take away from it and what got me thinking more on this whole parenting thing.

    Your love for you kids will never, ever change.  No matter how tough things get, no matter their age, no matter the life season you are in...it will not change the love you have for your kids.

    Motherhood~ all the ups, downs, and in-between, the good days the tough days, the simple days the busy days, the positive behaviors the negative, the successes and wins, the mistakes and failures, the discipline, the smiles the tears ~ all of that and more ~ the day to day.

    Two parts with an easy line in between that gets blurred sometimes, especially when you add in emotions, energy, sleep (or lack there of), and more. We moms know that we love our kids and we know that sometimes we don't like parts of motherhood.  Though, most of us will not say anything about the parts we don't like. On the surface it feels like if there is some aspect of motherhood we dislike than it is a reflection on our love for our kids.  But deep down and in reality, that is not the case.  Motherhood and our love for our kids can be separated into two parts.  And it is okay to not like motherhood at times sometimes.

    We love our kids.  We always have, always will, always do.  We may not love some of their choices, behaviors, aspects of motherhood, but our love for our kids will still be there.  If we can find a way to recognize these two pieces of being a mom, we can attempt to separate them into the areas they are for what they are. 

    Easy?  No, not always.  But with time and practice, we can begin to recognize the difference.  We can learn to accept that motherhood isn't always something that we like, but through it all we love our kids.   Our love remains strong, we learn more about our kids, and we can connect more deeply.  But also we can lay down some of the weight on our shoulders.

    Life is messy and imperfect.  There are going to be days that run smoothly and days that run rough, and days that run somewhere in between.  We may not like some parts of motherhood some days, but love it later or look back on it fondly or accept it as something we don't like.  And that is okay.  All of it.

    Through it all, we love our children for who they are and who they are becoming.  They are forever a part of us, no matter how old they are.

    You got this mama!

    Tuesday, March 27, 2018

    Been a Bit Too Long



    Hi All!

    It's Spring here in Minnesota and has been for about a week.  But now it is starting to feel more like it.  The robins have returned, the weather says 50 this weekend, if there isn't mud and puddles everywhere it is potholes. 

    It is a great time of year!

    I know I have been a bit M.I.A. for the past few months.  I have lots of ideas to write on, but when I could get my fingers to the keys the time had passed by too far.  Generally, I try to write what is currently going on, going through, etc.  So, if too much time goes by, I don't write it out.

    Lots has happened behind the scenes and lots to share. 

    My homeschool letter of the week lessons have been posting as I decided to write out the ones to come yet and catch up on the ones I missed.  I realized I put too much weight into trying to get something letter of the week posted about.  We still are doing letter of the week, but it doesn't always involve an art project or an activity or adventure.  It was great, in theory, when I came up with the lesson ideas back in September.  But as the year went by, I realized that even my art loving kiddo, didn't enjoy doing a letter of the week art project.  Nor did we know what to do with them all when done (times 2 projects, if my youngest decided to join in).  We have now look at what the letter focus is and just utilize learning about it throughout the week.  It is a great car ride activity to play I Spy using specific things that start with the letter or even just see how many words we can think of.  For now, it works and it works best for where we are at. 

    I have recently finished a class, Abundant Mama Program, which has left me with a lot more to share about, along with some ideas for others to try out.  It was a great, much needed, self care, perspective changer for me.

    Some of you know about my previous blog, My Infant Loss.  As the website is coming due for renewal I have begun to take a different phase and direction with it.  I am laying it down, as a stepping stone of sorts, and taking the next step on this journey.  It has been moved over to www.myinfantloss.wordpress.com, for now at least.  I have no plans on adding anything more to it going forward.  I will also be closing down the Facebook group that goes along with it.

    In the next weeks I am going to be posting fun things, creative projects, changes, happenings in the moment, digging in deep and tugging at the heart a little, and connecting with the moment.

    Thanks for sticking around and I hope you continue on this journey along with me!