my family is cooler than your family

he knew exactly what he was doing

I don't have to convince you that children are a gift. An amazing gift from God that He has intrusted us with.  My heart breaks when I see a child unloved, unnoticed and unknown.  Every child was hand selected for his or her mother. Every child needs, wants and deserves love. Every. One. Of. Them. I am daily overwhelmed with the blessing my child is to me. Sometimes it's a good overwhelming, and sometimes it's just overwhelming.  But I don't doubt for a second that this is the child that God created and trusted me to raise.

In a women's bible study I am doing, we talked about our children this week. The speaker said something that really hit home with me.

No matter how insignificant or unqualified I feel, God knew what He was doing.

Wooooow. That's right. On those days where I feel like screaming at the sky and asking what in the world He was thinking by making ME a mother, He knew. He knew exactly what He was doing.

When He created this spunky, strong willed baby who at 6 months thinks she's a toddler, He knew. He knew exactly what He was doing.

And when she is in middle school and comes home crying with a broken heart, and I feel helpless. He knew. He knew exactly what He was doing.

So mama, stop doubting yourself.  Never doubt your child.  Get to know them and learn why God placed this tiny human with you.  I think you'll be amazed at what you discover!

{"Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him" - Psalm 127:3}

Because, He knew exactly what He was doing.

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how do you do it?

Living far away from family isn't easy when raising a baby. I get e-mails from girls asking "how do you do it?". How do you start a family when you have no family near? Munchkin's grandparents live in Alaska & Oklahoma, so we've learned first hand how hard this can be. Well, here are some of my tips for starting your family when you feel "alone".

There will always be an excuse to wait to start a family. Always. Whether you live close to family or far away. Maybe you want to learn a new hobby, maybe you want to run that half marathon, or travel the world with your husband. All are great dreams to achieve.  But get realistic. Are you really that crafty {I am NOT} and you want kids before you get crafty? Are you actually going to have the time off work, resources, etc. to travel?

Children are by far one of the GREATEST blessing you will ever receive. I say, if you are ready...go for it. If you never achieve those other things, then so be it. I promise you will re-think your priorities when you are holding a little one in your arms.

Technology is key. Skype, Skype, Skype. Our daughter is 6 months old and reacts to her grandparents on skype.  She loves it! When she started crawling, she was skyping with her grandma and she got to experience a wonderful first! Luckily, our parents are all good with technology, or at least try their best to be. Grandmas both have iPhones, making it very easy to stay connected and send pictures and videos almost daily. It takes an effort from everyone if you want to stay involved in the baby's life!

Make family. You don't have to share the same blood with people to call them family.  Some of the people that we are closest to and consider family, are not blood relatives. So if you are struggling with being far from family, make some family of your own right where you live. Trade off the kids for date nights so you and the hubby can still spend quality time together.

Rely on each other. This is very important for us.  I count on my husband way more than I might if I had family right down the street. Since I can't just drop the kiddo off at grandmas for the day so I can a breather, I count on hubby for this.  I try to take a break at least once a week to get away.

How do you do it? Any tips you might have? Need help or encouragement when you have family far away? Feel free to e-mail me!!

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mommy confessions

I just recently went on a 2 week vacation with our family and closest friends. It was amazing. We had a blast, and I had 25 other people to love on my daughter. She fit right in and quickly became the life of the party. But then vacation ended and we came home.

That's when it hit me. I'm a-l-o-n-e.  Baby Daddy gets up and goes to work...and I'm alone.  I'm completely hands on again and have no one to help.  I can't go take a nap, or hang out with the girls...I have a child that needs my undivided attention.  And due to her getting 24/7 in her face attention, that's what she wanted after we got back. She screamed if I walked away to eat, do dishes or even pee.

After a few days of this, I thought I was going to lose my mind.  There are those days when I think I could have 8 kids and life would be a breeze, and then there are days I want to send this one back! Well, I reached my breaking point.  I put her down for her nap, and lost it emotionally and mentally.  I wasn't sure I could do it.  Then all the feelings of guilt rushed over me.

"Moms aren't supposed to feel this way"

"I am supposed to appear to be perfect"

"I'm a mom, I can handle it all on my own"

"I can't take a break, because my child relies on me"

Then I started worrying something was really wrong with me. Am I getting post-partum depression? Am I not the mom I thought I was? Am I doing something WRONG?

The first step: admitting there is a problem. Ok, check! I have a problem!

Then I realized....NO. No, I'm not doing anything wrong.  All those fears and feeling of guilt are ridiculous.  I can't do it all on my own, and that's ok.  It's ok to be overwhelmed.  It's ok to ask for help. And most importantly for me, it's ok to take a BREAK. My daughter turned 5 months old this week and I've been separated from her a handful of times.

Hubby and I are working to get me more "me time" so I can keep my head on straight and not go crazy.  It's already helped me immensely.  It's not easy living thousands of miles away from all of our family, and sometimes it hits hard.  But that doesn't mean I'm alone, and I'm not doing this thing by myself.

Lesson learned. To be the best mom I can be, I have to have a break and be the best ME I can be.

my man

My husband and the amazing father of my baby girl.  Today he turns the big 3-0! I love him so much and my life is absolutely perfect with him. He's the man of my dreams and the greatest blessing I could have ever imagined! Even though he's turning 30 today, and is technically "old" he's still a kid inside and a blast to be with.  Life is never dull in our house!

Happy Birthday baby, I love you!!

alaska vacation

It's hard to do a "brief recap" of family vacation this year.  Wow, it was amazing.  I'm so blessed to have married into one of the greatest families I've ever met, and get to vacation with 4 awesome families every year.  Since my in-laws moved to Alaska last summer, we did vacation up there! Here are a few of the highlights of the trip. Whale Watching -- Stinking amazing.  It was so cool to be out on a boat and see the beauty of Alaska. To see animals in the wild and experience it's true beauty.

Family Time -- By far, the best part of the trip for me. Living so far from family, we don't get much time with them and trips like this I try to soak in as much as possible.  I really love spending time with my sisters. I don't like the term "in-laws" because of the negative that comes with it, and there is no negative here! These girls are my sisters. Reagan, one of the coolest girls I've ever known. A young woman with her head on straight, full of life and a blast to be around. It's a blessing to be her big sis.  And Cayce...the sister I always wanted. We are only 6 weeks apart in age, which makes us practically twins and not only is she my sister, but my friend. I could go to her with anything, and I know we will always be there for each other through everything.  What an awesome group of people!!

Our Getaway -- The first night away from the munchkin.  Hubs and I decided since we haven't had this chance, now would be a good opportunity.  We booked a night away at the Alyeska Resort which was beautiful, and had a blast together. We slept in without a kiddo waking us. We talked about life, our marriage, what is ahead for us and how blessed we are. We loved and laughed. We sang Disney songs in the car.  All the normal things that married people do right? It was a blast.

Extra hands -- A huge thank you to everyone who held, played with, changed diapers, fed bottles and just simply loved on my little girl. I was able to do things I enjoy doing, like sitting on the couch, baking and just enjoying family.

Lots and lots of BABIES!!! -- I might have baby fever again already :)

It was a very relaxing, wonderful and fun trip. A huge thank you to my incredible in-laws who made it all possible and opened up their home to us!! You guys are awesome and we appreciate everything! Thanks for loving on my girl!