This Beautiful Inheritance

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

30 Weeks Along!

I felt like it was time for a pregnancy update. And I realized that I did a 30 week update when I was pregnant with Selah so I thought it would be neat to compare the two.

First of all, here's me --

No, I still cannot believe I'm housing a little boy and I don't think it will fully sink in until I hold him in my arms. Even typing masculine pronouns feels funny to me. Everything about this is new and strange but also exciting.

Size of baby: A head of cabbage. This sounds big to me!

Maternity clothes: Um yes. Also, my belly is about to fall out of the few medium T-shirts I have and I'm about to graduate to my husband's larges. Also, sadly my wedding ring won't go on about half the time...

Movement: All day, err' day. Boy doesn't stop. And I'm concerned about what this means... Also starting to feel lots of sweet hiccups.

Sleep: I am surprisingly sleeping pretty well. I've gotten accustomed to sleeping on my side and if I don't drink too much before bed I can make it through the night without getting up to pee. :) Also it helps that my four-year-old no longer gets in my bed!! Praise the Lord.

What I miss: Feeling cute. Being able to bend over easily. Being able to buckle my shoes...

Cravings: None. I don't believe in them.

Symptoms: Some leg cramps. I was having some heart palpitations during this pregnancy which I visited the cardiologist for, but I have since cut out all caffeine and they've almost completely gone away.

What I'm looking forward to: Seeing what this little guy looks like. I'm so curious if he'll be a combination of my girls, if he'll have dark or light hair, etc. Can't wait to see. :)

I visited the doc yesterday for my 30-week appointment and everything looked great. I am so thankful to be healthy and have a healthy baby so far once again. I am anxious to meet this little guy but also a little nervous about the dynamics of our family changing so drastically. I am thankful though that my girls are old enough to do many things for themselves and be a help with the baby. I cannot wait to see them with him and watch them love on their new brother!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Welcome to The Selah Bear Show!

Well, you may or may not have heard by now, but my Selah officially has her own YouTube channel. This is something we have wanted to do for months (years?), but I finally quit waiting 'til I had time to learn what I was doing and just started videoing! So we still have much to learn. I'm just videoing her with my iPhone and I'm far from technically savvy... but she is adorable, and I'm running with that.

Both my girls are obsessed with YouTube. They LOVE watching what I think are frankly annoying, obnoxious videos where people open toys and play with them and eat weird things and make Barbies talk to each other. They can watch this stuff for hours! And I would catch Selah all the time sitting around pretending to make videos and talking to the imaginary camera. I knew I needed to start documenting it. Somewhere along the way she started calling her pretend videos "The Selah Bear Show." (Selah Bear has been her nickname since she was a baby.) So we just stuck with that when I decide to finally record her and publish it.

Like I said, Mama has a lot to learn. I know virtually nothing about video and editing, but this girl, I do believe, has star-quality. I, for one, LOVE watching her videos (over and over again), and from the feedback I've gotten from some of you, you do too! Here is her newest video. Show it to your kids because, believe it or not, they love this kind of thing. And please comment, like, share and subscribe. Yes, subscribe because she is keeping up with how many subscribers she has. Her goal is 100! :-)

To visit her channel on YouTube, watch past videos, and subscribe, click here.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Seeking Truth in a World of Gray

I am a member of the Tommy Nelson Mommies for Thomas Nelson, Inc. As a member of this group, I receive products for my use and to review at no charge to me. I receive no monetary compensation for my participation. All opinions are my own.

This year I have been reading through the Bible with a group of friends and meeting every couple of weeks to discuss it. I'm not going to lie. Reading through some parts of the Old Testament is brutal... so much bloodshed... so many barbaric practices. Thankfully, our reading has been broken up by alternating between Old and New Testament books. So every time I start to feel a little disillusioned, I get to read about Jesus and how He made a new way and fulfills all the law. As difficult as some parts of it has been, it's been so GOOD reading the full scope of God's story. Everything is there for a reason. Some details and stories take a little digging to unearth their purpose, but usually with study and dialogue with friends, we're able to find it.

I recently read something from one of my kids' devotional books that helped and stuck with me. It talked about how we must study what's TRUE in order to know what is a LIE. Here's the excerpt from I AM: 40 Reasons to Trust God.
There are so many lies in the world. Opinions, beliefs, perceptions and propaganda. Subtly, it can all work its way into our minds until we slowly conform to the mold of the culture. It's just like when Satan asked Eve in Genesis... "Did God really say...?" He presents half-truths and twists them so that black and white give way to gray. But THAT is exactly why we must study what's true! We won't know what's a lie until we know for sure what's not. Even some widely held beliefs and clich├ęs Christians throw around can't be backed by the true Word of God. But we won't know that unless we read it.
I am really enjoying going through I AM: 40 Reasons to Trust God with my girls. This devotional book includes Bible stories, devotions and prayers about the names of God. Most of us know some of the names of God... "Jehovah" and "Immanuel" are examples of ones that are well known. But there are so many more! Each devotion in this book tells a Bible story and explains one of the names of God. For example, the excerpt above was focused on the name of God -- "El Emeth." Ever heard of it? I hadn't until I read this devotion. It means "God of Truth." I am learning just as much as my girls as we go through these readings together. Each name and story gives us one more reason why we can trust God. In the midst of a gray, shifting, and sometimes conniving culture, God is steady and true. And there are at least 40 reasons we can trust Him!
Of course, I'm giving away one copy of I AM: 40 Reasons to Trust God. To enter to win, leave a comment on this post telling where you're reading right now in the Word of God or where you're going to start! Then enter via Rafflecopter below.

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Thursday, March 24, 2016

8 Simple Tools for Raising Great Kids {Review + Giveaway}

I received the book "8 Simple Tools" as well as a copy to give away from Moody Publishers at no charge to me in exchange for my review here. All opinions are my own.

Anyone who's a parent will tell you it's the hardest job in the world. Of course parts of parenting are harder than others. It's quite easy for me to Instagram my kids. It's easy to laugh with them when they're silly. It's easy to kiss and hug them good night. Other parts are more difficult -- like discipline, instruction, and getting on their level.

I recently read the book 8 Simple Tools for Raising Great Kids by Dr. Todd Cartmell. Dr. Cartmell is a licensed clinical psychologist and father of two grown sons who has worked with children and families for more than 20 years and authored several parenting books. I'll be honest -- I don't read a lot of parenting books. (I don't read nearly as much as I should, period.) But this book appealed to me because I could tell it was an easy read, divided into short, achievable sections.

To give you a summary, the book discusses the following 8 tools: Talking, Listening, Influencing, Connecting, Teaching, Encouraging, Correcting, and Leading. Dr. Cartmell explains simple ways to do a better job in each of these areas to help us raise great kids. In some of the areas, I felt I was doing pretty well, and in some, I was very convicted.

For example, I feel  I do a good job of listening and connecting. I ask my kids questions about their days, milk them for every last detail, and provide lots of physical touch and affection. When I get angry though, I know I raise my voice too much. My tone is not loving, and I lash out with my words more than I'd like to admit. This book didn't condemn me because it concedes that none of us are perfect, but it challenged me to do better. Here are some of my favorite tidbits from the book.

If I want my kids to talk respectfully when they are mad, then I must do the same.

I want my child to copy my communication style, not me copy theirs.

Initiate conversations with your kids. Don't wait for them.

Your kids don't just have a negative behavior to stop, they have an important lesson to learn. Teach the lesson.

When you get into your child's world, you are showing them that what is important to them is important to you.

When you sense a tantrum coming, make an emphatic comment to show you understand, then engage the child in mutual problem solving.

Be on the lookout for positive behavior in your kids and point it out constantly.

Your words show your kids who you think they are and who they think they can become. Repeated thousands of times, your words can literally change the trajectory of your kids' lives.

The book also teaches the Family Respect Rule. It suggests you print it out, display it in your house, and discuss it regularly. This is the rule:

 Everyone in our family should treat everyone else in our family respectfully. All the time.

My kids do not treat each other or us parents respectfully all the time. But reading that rule convicted ME more than anything. I am often disrespectful to them in the way I yell or get an attitude when they disobey, and even more often than that, I am disrespectful to their daddy. This is the number one thing from the book I want to work on. Dr. Cartmell promises, "When you follow the Family Respect Rule and teach it to your kids, your family will never be the same."

Like I said, parenting is hard and sometimes I feel like I'm getting it all wrong. It's been said there is no instruction manual for parenting, but this book is pretty close. My copy has a lot of underlining and notes in the margins which I intend to refer back to very often. I need all the help in this parenting gig I can get!

I am giving away one copy of 8 Simple Tools to a lucky reader. To enter to win, leave a comment telling me which parenting areas you think you do well in and where you think you need to improve. Then enter via the Rafflecopter box below. Happy parenting. :-)

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Monday, March 21, 2016

Balancing Food Battles

I was hired by The Women Bloggers to participate in this #GerberLilBeanies campaign led by Kendal King Group on behalf of Nestle. All opinions are my own.

"Everything is a balance." This has long been my parenting motto. I may not be the craftiest mom but I'm intentional to spend time with my kids. And I may lose my temper sometimes but I try to make up for it with lots of hugs and affection. There are a hundred other ways in which I try to balance this mom role, understanding I can't do it all, but I can do my best.

This applies to the food we eat in our home too. In the last year or so, I really grew in my desire to feed my kids whole, unprocessed foods. I have mom friends who are rock stars at this and they inspired me to do better. I spent many months scouring Pinterest for whole food supper recipes and spent many hours cooking and baking from scratch. It felt very fulfilling... until I served up two plastic plates full of homemade goodness, laid them on the bar, and watched identical meltdowns ensue before my eyes. Whether it was homemade soup with garden vegetables, eggplant parmesan, or a fresh slice of salmon, my little darlings weren't touching it. And they sure didn't care that I had spent hours preparing it! I pleaded with them, I yelled, I cried. They did the same. The whole ordeal stressed me to the max and it repeated itself night after night.

When recently venting to my mom about how stressful mealtime had become, she gave me some sage advice. "You have to stop worrying about this so much," she said. "Feed them what they'll eat. And stop comparing yourself to others. They're kids, and they're going to be fine."

It was like she let me off the hook. From that day a few weeks ago, I have stopped stressing so much about feeding my kids whole foods. I do the best that I can... and I let them be kids. I will say -- I have been so much happier since then.

Here's what this means for us: I've been having more taco and spaghetti nights. And yes, I even use store-bought shells and sauce. I make poppyseed chicken and don't stress that the cream-of-chicken came in a can. (I'm thankful my kids will at least eat these things. I know some kids who won't!)

We also make a lot of beans because that is something healthy my kids love. (And they're cheap!)

But I do attempt to feed them as healthy of snacks as possible: raw carrots, berries, nuts, and now Lil' Beanies. If you've never heard of Lil' Beanies it's because they're brand new from Gerber. You may recognize them as coming in a can similar to Lil' Crunchies, but the Beanies are made with navy beans and rice flour. (I mentioned my kids love beans, right?) They contain 2g of protein and 1g of fiber per serving so they're not just an empty snack or filler. Plus they contain no GMOs, no preservatives, and no artificial colors or flavors. Yes, you may find them in the baby/toddler aisle at Walmart, but believe me, they're delicious for all ages. Selah and I may or may not have eaten 2 1/2 cans while making the video below!

I have found that feeding my kids healthy snacks is sometimes easier than meals.

So what about you? Do you stress over getting your kids to eat healthy? What battles do you pick or leave alone?

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Becoming a #BoyMom! {And Name Reveal!}

In case you haven't heard by now, we found out last week we are having a BOY! I was in total shock and I think I will continue to be until the day he's born. It still feels weird every time I use the word "he" or "him." But it's also very exciting! Every day since our ultrasound I have gotten a little more excited about adding some blue to our family. It will be so different, and I feel like I know nothing about boys, but I'll figure it out. We all will.

I bought a few baby boy clothes from the other day, as well as a bunch of used stuff from a friend, and while I will always love girls' clothes, buying collars and button-ups and hats is a fun change.

I also bought a new (used) baby bed this week so the prepare-for-baby stage is officially here. Over the next couple months we plan to turn Selah's room into the baby's room and move her in with her sister. My parents have graciously agreed to buy the girls bunk beds and they are PUMPED about that. Selah is promising me she is actually going to go to sleep in her own bed when this happens. I'm hopeful but I'll believe it when I see it.

And for those of you who are wondering, our sweet boy's name is going to be.......... Ezra Tyler. Ezra is a Biblical name we have always loved and Tyler, of course, is his daddy's name. I'm really excited to use another Biblical name for our third baby and one I think goes really well with our girls'.

Little Ezra is kicking like crazy in my belly now. It took 'til about 19 weeks for me to really feel him but now he never stops. And sweet Selah kisses him through my belly and talks to him all the time. It's not uncommon for her to walk in the room unprompted and give him a kiss and whisper, "I love you Ezra." :) I can't wait to watch my girls form a relationship with their brother.

I feel very blessed to have another healthy baby growing inside me. I also feel completely unprepared to raise an adventurous boy who I hope will be a Godly and respectful man. But I am excited about the challenge!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Not So Good Night with my Little Loves

I am a member of the Tommy Nelson Mommies for Thomas Nelson, Inc. As a member of this group, I receive products for my use and to review at no charge to me. I receive no monetary compensation for my participation. All opinions are my own.

If I told you I sent the girls Valentine's gifts yesterday and they exchanged cards with their friends and we spent the night together making nachos for supper and chocolate covered chocolate chip cookie dough hearts for dessert... it would sound like a fantastic, quality-time kind of day.

Except it wasn't. It was mostly awful.

I could have posted any one of the above pictures on Instagram and made you think we had a perfect day. But it would have been a lie, so I didn't. I'm not sure what was wrong other than I was on the last leg of another 48-hour solo parenting stretch, so I was exhausted, lonely, bored and irritable. And the girls have been extra whiny, argumentative and disobedient lately. There was a lot of yelling going all three ways, and my best efforts to make the day special still seemed to fall short.

This is real life, isn't it? It looks pretty in pictures, but behind the scenes it's not. At least not always.

The night ended with all three of us on the couch crying. Together.

Eden looked up at me with tears dripping from her big brown eyes and through them said, "I'm glad it's Valentine's Day." She snuggled into me a little closer. "This is what it's all about."

She brought a needed smile to my face. In her own way, she was telling me in spite of the rough day, snuggling with her mama was just what she needed. It's what I needed too.

I told Selah to go get the new book we'd gotten in the mail, Good Night, Little Love, and we read it together to end the night on a little better note. In the book, Mommy Bunny is sharing with her "little love" all the reasons she loves him as she puts him to bed. Again, Eden looks up at me through tears and chokes out, "You're my BIG love!" She gets so cheesy and emotional when she's tired. :) But it was sweet and needed and prompted me to assure my girls no matter how upset Mommy may get, I love them more than anything and I am so thankful they are my daughters and my two special Valentines.

I finally got everyone to bed and got some quiet time to regroup. Thank goodness the Lord's mercies are new every morning... because yesterday, we all blew it. Here's to hoping we have a better Valentine's Day today. :)

I'm giving away a copy of Good Night, Little Love to one reader. This book is perfect for Valentine's Day or any day as it will reassure your kids of your unconditional love for them and help wind them down for sleep. The book is also embellished with red foil and glitter hearts so it's festive and pretty! To enter to win, just leave a comment on this post telling how you celebrate Valentine's with your kids and then enter via the Rafflecopter box below.

And in case you missed it, be sure to check out my post from earlier this week, Teaching Our Children Not to Awaken Love Until the Time is Right. It's getting a lot of attention!

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