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The Wonder of it All

Christmas has always had a special place in my heart. I know – that statement gets thrown around like a bad cliché. But it’s true; this special day and the days that lead up to it have always left me breathless. It goes beyond the twinkling lights, festive packages, and family gatherings — it’s found in the season’s meaningfulness and the renewal of one’s spirit.

That fact has proven even truer since becoming a mom. I’m tough on my boys, that’s a fact. Too tough at times. I am hard and very much the epitome of a “momma bear”. But they are my world. My three reasons for getting over myself (or attempting to, anyway) and facing the challenges of adulthood and parenthood, alike. My kids have given Christmas a completely new magic for me as well. Sure, I love watching their eyes light up at the sight of a Christmas display. I love that they tell me about the cool, new toys that Santa may bring. I love how they think of others and what cheerful, giving hearts they have. However, I think the most magical thing to me of all where they are concerned is the one thing about Jesus’ mother, Mary, that I can relate to.

I cannot relate to the period of time in which she lived or the every-day struggles she faced in that era. I can’t relate to her being pregnant before marriage and the scorn she may have received because, while I have been an unwed mother, I did not face the criticism that she likely did. I don’t know what it must have felt like to ride upon a donkey nine months pregnant. I cannot fathom what it had to be to know she was carrying the King of Kings in her belly and how humbled and terrified she must have felt.

And, while I do not (and hopefully will never know) what it feels to know that my child will face very distinctive struggles, I do know what it is to be scared for them. The comparison is bold if not completely asinine, I know. Obviously, I will never know the grief of watching my child grow to be the sacrifice of a world so undeserving. I’ll never know the pained pride of watching that child so diligently and humbly pick up that burden. I will never know the angst, knowing that my child could die for something ultimately, by human account and motherly standpoint, so worthless.

But I do know the love that filled my heart the moment my eyes caught their first glimpse of my children. I know the pain I feel when they are sick, hurt, or sad. I know the disappointment that floods my soul when they require discipline, as children do. I have felt their pride in every accomplishment they have achieved and their discouragement when they feel less due to failure. I have looked into their eyes knowing that I would die for them, kill for them, and give it all up for them. I am their mother. They are my children. For them I would walk the world.

Unfortunately, that is where my relatability to Mary ends. I envy her gift and feel sorrow for her pain.

My heart swells with sadness but also with gratitude when I think of the sacrifice that was born to die. I look at the faces of my own babies and wonder how on earth she gathered the strength to give such a priceless gift. I wonder what I would have done had I been in her place. Would I have been so selfless? I assure you, I would not have been. And I choke up when I think of her watching her baby crawl out of her arms and walk into a fate created by man.

To think of how it could have been. To consider the “what if”. It’s heart wrenching. It is bittersweet. It is humbling. It is hard.

My boys drive me to the brink. I have yelled over the Christmas tree and dared them to open gifts. I have rushed them through the aisles of Target, Walmart, and the mall, citing “running late” as a reason not to slow my pace. I have been unforgiving and harsh and not always consistent. However, today I am humbled. Today I remember. I tonight, amidst the chaos, clutter, and Christmas gift wrapping I will hug my children and love them a little harder. I will be grateful that I am not in the place of Mary; that my children have received a gift that is irreplaceable and glorious. The gift we celebrate this season is not wrapped, battery operated, or expensive. It isn’t the newest tech or biggest display. The gift was given in the form of a baby, born into the humblest of origins, to a world who didn’t deserve such a kindness.

If I do nothing else right in my walk as a mother, I hope I teach my kids the beauty of this sacrifice and the strength that was born out of it. I hope my little ones will one day cling to the knowledge that they are never alone. My wish is that they will celebrate the birth of our Savior every day of their lives – not just at Christmastime. I hope they become good, strong men who walk the walk and talk the talk in ways I have never succeeded. Above all, I hope they grow to know how precious they are to me and how grateful I am for my own three gifts.

By: My Gabe

Merry Christmas to y’all. Until next year, friends!

-Sarah

Blog, Boy mom, Children, Christmas, Confessions, Family, Heirlooms, Holidays, Home, Home decor, Home life, Humor, Hustle, Life, Lifestyle, Mom blog, Mom hustle, Mom Life, Motherhood, New Post, Parenting, Relatable, Writing

Elf on the Shelf? Hell to the No.

Okay, guys. I’m going to go ahead and preface by saying I’m no Scrooge and I am not bashing any of you parents who have gone the Elf on the Shelf route.  I think the actual little Elf, itself, is precious and I understand that the idea behind it is less so teaching kids proper behavior and more so good, festive fun.  This post is mostly targeted at myself and my inability to properly “mom”.  With that said…

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Mother of three boys and ruler of utter chaos, here.  I know most of you have 2+ children, are rulers of your own chaotic kingdoms, and are still able to fulfill your Elf Shelf duties.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t envious of those time-management skills.  And while I love my boys and the insanity they bring (that’s a lie.  I am not a fan of the madness), I am the queen of absentmindedness.  Case in point:

I struggle to remember what needs to be put on my grocery list.  If I remember what needs to be written down, I forget to remember to put it in my purse.  And if I remember to put it in my bag, the list will, inevitably, somehow get left behind in my car.  And if, IF, that list actually makes it’s way into the grocery store, a breeze will steal it away in a last-ditch effort to give my attempt at organization the ultimate middle finger.

I left my phone at home Friday.  Actually, I thought I’d left it on the roof of my car and lost it to the great outdoors.  However, my husband was kind enough to send me a picture of it via messenger of it sitting on the bathtub.  Because that’s CLEARLY where it belongs.  (FACE. PALM.)  Once I finally retrieved it, I realized I’d forgotten my wallet at the office.  With my debit card, checkbook, and license in it.  And also, my Burt’s Bees which, obviously, is infinitely more important than say, MY LICENSE.

I forgot to take my keys out of the front door last night after I’d unlocked it to get my heathens inside.  After a frantic thirty minutes of searching for the “lost” keys the next morning, I found them on my way out said front door to search my vehicle.  Y’all.  I can’t make this crap up.

So do you guys really think I need to attempt to remember to move an elf every damned day of my life?  No?  I didn’t think so.

seriously?!  this would be part of their christmas gifts.  have y’all priced foil lately?!

Listen, I’m from a generation where we didn’t need a rogue North Pole spy to remind us to behave — especially during the holidays.  We fully relied on, and were totally okay with, being told once that Santa, an old man who knew our every flippin’ move, could see us 24/7.  We didn’t need to see that Christmas-y creepiness to believe it — our parents took full advantage of our fear and innocence stupidity.  Nothing was ever moved, there were no elaborate schemes, and mom didn’t have to bold-faced lie to us with an outrageous story-line about why an Elf had or hadn’t been moved because THERE WAS NO FREAKING ELF NARC.

As a product of the eighties, I distinctly remember belting Alvin & the Chipmunk’s version of, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” on my Fisher-Price cassette player every day of my existence when I was a kid.  Yes, even then I was that obnoxious person who played Christmas songs on loop all year ’round.  There was no doubt in my mind that I risked “losing it all” if I didn’t get my act together.  My parents didn’t have to waste precious hours of sleep and ungodly amounts of aluminum foil to keep us in check.  The simple white-lie of Santa’s existence was enough to go on.

And I get it.  These days, kids literally (think they) need elaborate plots and twists and turns.  Most of these kids have everything on demand — and I’m not even talking about the bratty ones.  No, today is very much an on-demand kind of life.  So maybe the purest form of Christmas magic is simply fading into the background.  I remember the excitement of driving around neighborhoods just to look at lights and decorations.  These days?  That simple kind of happiness just doesn’t exist.  I can’t even say that my kids are ovely-excited at the prospect of light searching.  Sure, they love the festive twinkling of lights that only come once a year.  But does it thrill them?  Not the way it did when we were kids.  Now, if there aren’t a couple of inflated Nutcrackers in addition to the lights, it’s just… “meh”.

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I guess I’m just too old-fashioned, and too absent-minded, to fully appreciate the newness that is Elf on the Shelf.  Or, perhaps, I’m just stuck on the simpler magic.  The things that left me breathless.  The things that, growing up, I couldn’t wait to share with my own little ones.

I suppose, though, that traditions are fine but are sometimes meant to be broken or bent.  Not only that, traditions are best when they’re made or reinvented with the ones you love.  Rest assured, there is no hate for the Elf and his (or her) antics, and if y’all could package up some extra energy and Ginko Biloba and send it my way, that’d be swell.  😉

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Fangirl Friday – Lexie Too Designs

Happy Black Friday, y’all (is that even a thing?)!  I’m super excited to share with you guys a new series that I’m calling FanGirl Fridays.  No, this isn’t about Jason Momoa or Captain America (although I know some of you would be all. over. that).  In this series, I am going to be showcasing female entrepreneurs, near and far, and the businesses and products that they have helped pave new roads for their dreams and goals.

First up, I have Jessica with Lexie Too Designs.  Jessica is a Louisiana native and single, working mom.  The idea behind Lexie Too is so cool and inspiring and I am so excited to introduce her to you guys.  So without further ado, I turn the mic erm, blog, over to Jess.

**At the end of this post is a link to her Facebook page.  Please check her out!  If you like what you see, follow and share!**

1) Hey, Jessica! Thanks so much for joining us today!
Thank you for having me.

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2) So today you’re going to tell us about your business, Lexie Two Designs. How did this get its start?
I started this as a fundraiser for my daughter’s cheer. She was accepted to University Academy. Sports can be expensive lol. So in June we came up with making a few colors of faux druzy studs. They sold out really fast! I added a few more colors and it just grew from there. A few weeks into June a wonderful friend of mine gave me a nudge to turn it into an LLC.

3) What is the best thing to you, personally, about Lexie Two? Has this changed anything for you and, if so, how?
I love creating new pieces. I spend alot of time finding new materials to work with and in different ways. Helping people find what they are looking for and at an affordable rate. I’ve been a single mom for 13 years. I wanted to make something beautiful that all women could afford. I am incredibly grateful for Lexie Two Designs. It has truly been a blessing for our family.

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4) If you weren’t doing this today, what would you be doing?
I would still be looking for my passion & trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Now I’ve found it.

5) I’ve looked at your designs, and they’re stunning! What is your favorite thing about putting art into everyday items?
I like to find the beauty in everything. Have you ever seen a woman’s face light up with a compliment on something as small as her earrings?

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6) How has sharing your creativity with others changed you?
I am more open to others & their likes & dislikes. Some friends and I have bonded over discussing LTD and its operations.

7) These days, everyone has so much going on and dreams/goals become lost in the busyness. How would you encourage other women to stay goal oriented?
Find out why you are doing this. What’s your motivation and what do you want out of it? Find your brand. The look, logo & feel of your company should match your mission. Write it all down! And then the most important….do it scared. If your dreams don’t scare you they aren’t big enough, right?

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8 ) Thanks so much for sharing with us today! Anything else you’d like to add?
Just to all women, know your worth & add tax. Never settle for a life less than what you want & deserve. Make it happen you’ll never regret it.

Lexie Too Designs

Anything else you guys want to know?  Hit me with your questions and I’ll pass them along!  Hit her link directly above to check out all of her new designs — and don’t forget to follow!

Interested in being featured on FanGirl Fridays?  Shoot me an email or message me at Memoirs of a SAHM.

Blog, Family, Holidays, Kids, Mom blog, Mom Life, Motherhood, Parenting, summer, vacation

While in Biloxi

I’ve been MIA for awhile because, well, life has been unusually hectic. Our schedules could be likened to the Twister sequel, so I haven’t had much time to update much of anything. If you follow me on Instagram, you likely know where we vacationed over the weekend. If not, this past Wednesday we decided enough was enough and that we all needed a change of scenery. We didn’t have much room in our budget for a huge vacation, but we still wanted to do something that all of us would enjoy. A beach trip sounded like the ticket and, with that, off to Biloxi we went.

The boys had a blast on the beach and they love “camping out” in hotels. Mason did surprisingly well even though he did battle “travelers tummy”. Luckily, we found a Walmart near our hotel for a remedy and that seemed to fix his tummy woes.

 

 

We hit up some great new-to-us restaurants (Slap Ya Mommas BBQ) and some family favorites (lookin’ at you, Waffle House) and took in the sights over the pier. Evan even found a train & Lego museum just outside of Biloxi in Gulfport and the boys were in love.

 

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After a long but enjoyable couple of days, we headed back home for The Boot. It was a nice, much needed break and the little guys can’t stop asking when we’re going back.

Family vacay for the win!

Hit me up with all of your family adventures below! I’d love to hear from you.

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My Favorite Gifts for Kiddos

I’m a mom of three boys — invites to kids’ birthday parties come with the territory. Ditto on my own boys’ parties. There’s not a month that we don’t have at least one shindig to attend, and I’m totally fine with that. I need the socializing as much as my kids do, and what better place to connect with other mom friends than at a place where there’s guiltless cake and probably wine of some sort? (I’m in the south — don’t judge.)

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Because I’ve got three kids with ages ranging from 6 months to 8 years, I’ve definitely got my favorite “go-to” gifts for other kids. I try to stray from trendy items because:

A) Often times, they already have those toys, or

B) I’m not 100% sure what he or she is into.

Look, we all want our kids to enjoy themselves. And it is totally fine for our littles to be drawn to the latest, greatest, & loudest. But coming from a mom whose children are surrounded by loud toy guns, trucks, video games, and Legos (if you think Legos can’t be loud, then clearly you’ve never been around a boy with Legos), sometimes I prefer to give other kids fun activities (with minimal mess) and their moms a much-deserved break from all things battery operated.

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The things I’ve got in store for you today still allow kids to be kids, but it also provides an opportunity for fun family experiences. I hope you find something cool for your little guy or gal’s next birthday party adventure!

  1. Zoo passesgift1
  2. Fun subscription boxes

    *The above boxes are from Kiwi & Co. I am not affiliated with nor am I receiving any sort of compensation from Kiwi & Co.

  3. Movie passes with enough for drink/snack
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    Image found here: https://www.etsy.com/market/movie_ticket
  4. Age appropriate arts & crafts sets.

    *Brit+Co Metal Stamp Necklace Kit

    *Discovery Kids Crane Tower Set

  5. Board games

    *The Oregon Trail

    *Where in the World is Carmen San Diego

    Speak Out: Kids vs. Parents

I also love incorporating books of some sort into my gift, especially for little ones. What are some of your go-to gifts for kids? I’m always game to add to my list of ideas.

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30.

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Today, I am thirty.

….sooo…. why do I feel no different today than I did yesterday, at 29?

Probably because my kids went to bed squabbling and woke up squabbling.  Thanks for keeping it real, kids.  You da real MVP.

But I digress.  Today isn’t just that huge of a deal for me.  It is what it is.  My best friend made a valid point this morning — 40 will probably be my epic meltdown birthday.  So, there’s that.  Ten additional years to prepare for being a complete basket case.  She also told me to party like a rockstar — little did she know that I woke up laying in puke that wasn’t my own (thanks, Mason!) and to an unwelcome foot down my pants (thanks, Connor!).  So while I’ll likely not party like a rockstar, I certainly woke up like one.  Same difference, right?

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I’m pretty sure my body is just in shock that I’ve made it thirty years through three c-sections, a slew of super-stupid life choices, and a nearly completely pickled liver.  The “dirty thirty” birthday bonanza will probably hit me like a semi-truck later when I’m kicking children out of the bathroom so I can just take a damn shower.  So for now, I’m going to leave you with thirty things about myself that, like ’em or not, have made me who I am today.

  1. I was born May 30th, 1988 at 8:15 AM.  I only know the time because my sweet mother has hammered that into my memory for, oh, thirty years.
  2. I have three siblings (two brothers and a sister), all of whom I am extremely proud of.  No, their accomplishments are not my own.  But they make me proud to be their sister.
  3. I have always rooted for the underdog.  That hasn’t always worked out in my favor.
  4. I am a momma to three beautiful and slightly deranged little boys.  They are my reasons to get up every morning — largely because they wake me up at the buttcrack of dawn every. damn. day.
  5. I love Diet Coke and would drink it by the case if I didn’t think it would kill me on the spot.
  6. When I was growing up, I wanted to be a writer.  …that clearly didn’t pan out.
  7. I also wanted to be a pilot and an interior designer.  I don’t mean to brag, but I chauffeur my kids around like nobody’s business and I can feng shui the hell out of some Legos.
  8. My most favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird.
  9. love murder-mysteries in any form — except for in real life.  Don’t nobody got time for that.
    • Murder, She Wrote is my JAM.
  10. I love to explore and would pack my family up to become adventurers if given the chance.
  11. Ireland is on the top of my “Places to Go” bucketlist.
  12. I talk with my hands.
  13. I’m a hugger (comes with that Southern territory — sorry, not sorry).
  14. Daisies are my favorite flower with tulips following at a close second.
  15. I love all things history, emphasis on Early American and European history.
  16. I am fascinated by the lives of people from the past.  I think I romanticise it all and get it in my head that they lived these super intriguing lives when, in reality, they were probably pretty ordinary for the times.
  17. I romanticise a lot of things, come to think of it.
  18. I was a single mom for two years.  Not a very long time at all by most standards, but it taught me a lot and helped me really appreciate life and, more importantly, my son’s life.  On a more serious note, he truly did save me from myself.
  19. I met my husband through my ex-brother-in-law via Facebook.  Truth be told, I only met Evan to shut Jake up.  Little did I know…
  20. My abhorrent punctuation skills aside, my favorite subject in school was English.
  21. I plan on taking the leap one day and writing a book.  God bless the editor that is assigned to that hot mess!
  22. I am terrified of deep water.
  23. I wish I were a bit bolder.
  24. Sometimes I feel altogether useless as an adult and parent.  But don’t we all?
  25. I really love deep conversations.  I know that’s not a super popular thing these days, so I have to censor myself lest I become a real buzz kill.
  26. My mouth is absolutely horrid.  Seriously, I don’t even realize I swear half the time.  I’m working on it.
  27. One day I hope to explore an old house and find a secret passageway.  That would be the equivalent of finding gold for me.
  28. I have no idea what I’m doing most days.
  29. Writing this list made me realize how little I really know about myself, which is oddly scary.
  30. And finally, I hope to lose minimally thirty pounds by the end of the year.  Not just for myself, but for my kids as well.

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So there you have it.  If you made it through that somewhat redundant list, then bless your heart.  I’m off to celebrate the morning at IHOP with my kiddos, because prying sticky pancake off of my four-year-old is the best thing EVAH.

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A SAHM’s take on her three-ring-circus and the three Converse
 wearing monkeys who live there.

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Education, Holidays, Kids, Mom blog, Mom Life, Motherhood, Parenting, Teacher Appreciation, Uncategorized, Writing

And Chances Are, If You Give a Teacher Some Appreciation…,

…she’ll want some pencils to go with it.  

All too often these days, our educators are ignored, bullied, and passed over.  They are the forgotten link in our kids’ success stories.  To be in such full view, they are certainly kept behind the scenes.  I really, really hate that.

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All my life, I grew up loving school (with a few years exceptions, of course).  All my life, I had amazing teachers.  I also had amazing parents who never blamed my teachers for my own shortcomings, and they never let me not accept my own blame.  My parents, my very first teachers, taught me to love and respect the people who would shape my mind for many years to come.  My aunt, a teacher for many years, unknowingly taught me to admire and listen to those who had lived a life before my own.  As is such, I have the utmost respect for quality education and the fine women (and men!) who provide it to my own little ones.

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As most of you know, Gabe has had some learning struggles along his admittedly short school path. I am glad to say that we’ve had some, for lack of a better term, crappy teachers. I am thankful for them because those women gave me the sight to see what AMAZING teachers he has also been exposed to. Women (and men!) who have fought tooth and nail for my stubborn, hard-learning little guy. They have loved and fussed, held up and nailed down my Gabe in a way that I so appreciate. Their sticktoitiveness and gumption have made more of a difference in Gabe’s life (and that of my own!) than I’m afraid they’ll never fully know.

Connor began his first year of “big boy school” this year.  He has loved everything about this new experience and is so eager to learn.  While he will not face the struggles that our Gabe faces, he will one day fight his own battles.  I am so hopeful that he will have awesome relationships with his teachers in the same way his big brother has been blessed with.  So far he, himself, has gotten to know and love the people who surround him at school, and I am so happy that he will get to spend his days in a learning environment where little guys are not only taught but lifted up, as well.

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I have grown to not only respect these people but also treasure them. They are special people with some of the most enlightened souls I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. In addition to their own very busy, hectic lives, they choose to take on my, what some would call “hard” (hell, what I would sometimes call hard), kiddos with the gusto that I cannot fathom. And not just mine, but countless others. Today, in the world we live in, so many parents place blame where blame is not called for. Our teachers catch the brunt of lazy parenting and, by due course, ill-behaved children. It is unfair, hard work. But they attend to it with grace and their own brand of stubbornness and make their way home with heads, and red pens, held high.

A simple thank you seems insufficient but for now, that is all I have. So thank you, ladies. Thank you so much for reaching out to my boys. Thank you for your time, your patience, your encouragement, and most of all, your care. From the bottom of my heart, I am eternally grateful for all you have done.

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To all you other teachers out there whom we’ve not yet met, apologies and thanks in advance. I am sure we will encounter our fair share of even more mediocre individuals attempting to pass as teachers, but I do so look forward to meeting you nurturers. The soul seekers. The up-lifting, no-nonsense, believe in you-ers. The mind shapers. The EDUCATORS.

Happy Teacher’s Appreciation Week. You are SO needed.

*I originally posted this on my very first blog about a year ago.  You can find it here.