Out of the Closet

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Overwhelmed! With LOTS of laundry!!!! And piles of mess!

We are between homes right now so we are living out of suitcases. Elias, my sweet Elias, or Conner, my sweet Conner (we still aren’t sure which one or both), decided it would be fun to throw all of the boys clothes out of their suitcase and all over the bedroom. Fun.

I was not pleased! And to top it off, they have WAY too many clothes!!!

It is time to minimize.

I’ve read and heard so many positives of having less clothes. I mean really. We do laundry at least 2-3 times a week and there are only 7 days in a week. So Monday, while I was waiting for my husband to get home for our appointment, I made a plan and went for it.

I searched what others suggested as far as how many clothes a person and kid needs. I used two sources. One was from Living On A Dime and the other was The Purposeful Mom.

Then I made my own plan. Here is what I decided was best for our family:

Kids
7 casual, can get messy shirt
4 nice shirts
5 long sleeve
3 jeans/casual pants
2 nice pants
5 shorts (we live in Texas and they go outside a lot!)
3 pjs
2 jackets at most (maybe a super heavy for traveling to cold places and a lighter one for Texas lol)

Adults
7 short sleeve nice
7 short sleeve button up (especially good when I’m a nursing mom)
7 three-quarter sleeve
7 long sleeve nice
7 tanks
7 casual dresses
4 church dresses
7 skirts (probably could do less but I have a lot and they are all so different lol… I know! I still have room to learn)
3 capris
3 shorts
3 pants

And away I went. The boys clothes turned out to be the easiest part. Although it wasn’t super easy to clean their clothes out, since they have a lot of cute clothes that were given to them, but I did it! And the suitcase looked soooo much better!

Don’t worry, the clothes are being donated to a good friend who is about to have a baby boy!!!

Three days later and I am already loving the downsizing A LOT!! After I do laundry, the clean clothes often get stacked on top, especially right now when we are living out of suitcases. With the same clothes being on top the bottom clothes rarely get worn. Anyways, this is the drive behind cleaning out the clothes!

Today it was easy! Conner has 7 casual shirts and made deciding much easier!

Now to my clothes :-/ NOT easy.

But I wear that… Sometimes.

It will fit again someday.

Yes I do need 3 different solid black short sleeve shirts!

So I started with short sleeve shirts. Decided to split up short sleeve shirts and short sleeve button ups so I could keep more haha. Defeats the purpose I know, but I was thinking of having another baby and breast-feeding. Button ups can be convenient, although I think I have the art of nursing in almost anything down by now.

It. Was. Hard.

So after I put a few in the donate pile and started feeling overwhelmed, I said to myself, “That’s a good start!” I continued on in this same manner as I went through the rest of my closet.

Now I’m on a new quest. I’m setting out to try to wear everything I have left, to prove that I do in fact wear it. And if I don’t, it goes in the donate pile.

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For me my husband’s was easy ;-). I’ve been wanting to clean some of that out for a while lol.

But wives, be careful. I made sure to keep it out for him first and told him what I was doing to give him a “say” in some of what stayed. He was sad to see some go and kept more than I wanted, but I told him, “That was a good start!”

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Our closets are “lighter” which makes choosing easier and quicker! I’m very happy and we were able to make a great clothing donation.

Have you cleaned out your closet before and found peacefulness?

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Living Room Ministry

Living room in a holiday apartment in Germany,...

Oftentimes, as moms, it is easy to take out frustration and anger on our children. This could be a result of things going on in our life, unrelated to the children, or it could be a result of things they do, both intentionally and accidentally.

 

As Conner gets older, I see more and more how quickly he picks up things my husband and I do and say. He is learning with every minute. How I react to things, whether with patience or out of anger, he is watching and learning. Wow! What powerful pressure that puts on us as parents. Now, we will all make mistakes, and I believe it is just as important how we respond to those mistakes.

 

Moms may wonder what their ministry is in life. What am I called to do? Who should I minister to? I believe the answer is clear: our children! We are called to raise and train our children to make an impact for Christ in this world. I am only one, yet I can make a huge change in the world through my children.

 

Now, I am NOT saying we cannot still minister to others. If that is what you hear, then you are missing the point.

 

So what is my point? Our children are watching! What are they seeing? My most important ministry happens daily in my living room. My boys are looking to me to see how I react.

 

I have to choose how I respond when they accidentally slam their head into my noise. I have to choose how I respond when they deliberately disobey me. It is a choice. I choose if I allow my anger to get the best of me.

 

I used to let my anger control me, but over the years God has changed me for the better. I am a new person, but must make that choice still. It is easy to allow myself to get upset and respond out of lack of control, but with God’s strength and knowing my children are learning how to respond based on my response, I choose to wait and think through my responses.

 

Watching my children mock me is so sweet, but I want to know I am setting the best example of what to mock. My sons are also looking at my husband as an example of how to be the best possible husband, father, hard worker, and servant.

 

As parents, it is our responsibility to set the example of how to respond in situations, on how to serve others, and how to live our everyday lives.

 

God, show me how to make the right decisions. I pray Your Spirit will keep me in check and remind me they are always watching. If I make a mistake, help me teach my children how to apologize and ask for forgiveness. Thank You for blessing me with these sweet boys, and for trusting me to train them to go in the right direction. Amen.

How has God changed you to set a better example for your children? Do you have some great advice in this area?

 

Touchy Topic: Attachment Parenting

Not long after becoming a mom, I discovered attachment parenting. I have grown to love this parenting style; it suits me well!

I remember, as a new mom, people would say, “Don’t spoil the baby.” This was in regards to holding the baby too much, or responding when the baby would cry, etc. I HATED this! How in world can you spoil a BABY?!?!?

To me, it only made sense that a baby must cry to communicate. How else does he tell me he is hungry or needs to be changed? I did my best to make sure he was taken care of and didn’t need to cry, but sometimes things happen and he needed to communicate that he was unhappy.

So many people offered advice and strict rules that needed to be set to keep things in order.

You must feed your baby every 3 hours. No more. No less.

Lay your baby down at the exact same time everyday for naps and evening.

Baby needs to cry-it-out in order to learn that you are in charge.

These rules did not fit my parenting style. They did not work for me or my husband. Attachment parenting seemed to lead in the direction my heart was going.

What is Attachment Parenting? (according to Dr. Sears)

  • Birth Bonding – Skin-to-skin contact immediately (or as soon as possible) after birth, and rooming in if you are at the hospital.
  • Breastfeeding
  • Babywearing – I love having my baby close, and this allows me to get things done when the baby is fussy and wants to be held. Personally, I use the ring slings when they are smaller and for quick trips, like walks and grocery shopping, and I use the Ergo as they get bigger.
  • Bedding Close to Baby – This is probably the most controversial of all of the attachment parenting choices. Co-sleeping can be done directly in your own bed, or by making your bed “bigger” with a crib or beds made specifically for this.
  • Belief in the Language Value of Your Baby’s Cry – Babies cry to communicate, not to manipulate. Learn to listen to the cries and take care of the needs of your baby.
  • Beware of Baby Trainers (Baby Wise, Cry-It-Out, etc.) – AP teaches to watch your baby and his cues instead of a clock or some rules.
  • Balance – Don’t lose yourself in AP, but learn when AP is necessary, and when you need to make time for yourself.

Benefits of Attachment Parenting

  • Giving
  • Shaping – Studies have shown that babies who are a result of AP turn out to be caring, compassionate, connected, careful and confident, and the parents are confident too.
  • Sensitivity
  • Promotes Independence
  • Baby Cries Less
  • Improves Development
  • Babies Are Smarter
  • Reduces the Risk of SIDS

James and I have enjoyed many benefits of AP. We strongly believe it is why our children are so happy and feel such a close connection with both myself and my husband. Our children also sleep great and know they are welcome to snuggle anytime.

You can find more information at www. attachmentparenting.org, but I prefer Dr. Sears website. It is easier to navigate!

Do you use the attachment parenting style? How well has it worked for you?

All Grown Up Still Playing House

On many occasions since James and I have been married, we have made comments to each other about how we feel like we are just playing house. This isn’t everyday, but there are times where he will just look at me and say, “I love playing house with you!”

Since having kids, this has faded some.

Reality sets in most days. Laundry, dishes, cleaning, cooking, disciplining. Life.

But there are moments we sit around with our friends, and we are all 20 again. We are kids raising kids. Well, at least we feel like that’s the case.

Now more than ever, I understand that as I get older, I am still 22 in my head. I can already see myself never wanting to let that go. I know I’m still very young, but I can see that I am still me.

To my children, I am Mom. To me, I am Tiffany, young, successful, sexy, fun! And I LOVE playing house still!

Some may say I need to grow up, but I never want to let go of the “playing house” feeling.

It is so refreshing to have those moments. The other night I walked into my closet and I realized… this is MY closet. MY house. MY mess ;-). MY husband. MY kids.

How in the world? I am still only a child in my parents house. I am still only a teenager in high school. I am still only 20 and in college.

How cool!! I have a house! I’ve always wanted my own house. I have a husband! I’ve always wanted a husband to love. I have children! I’ve always dreamed of having kids.

Do you remembering being a kid and longing for all those things? I do! And now I have them! How cool!

Don’t get me wrong, I have my moments (too often unfortunately!) where all I can do is yell “UGH THIS HOUSE!!!” The mess the kids make, the laundry, the dishes, everything just gets to me. I dream of being back in my OWN bed in my parents house all ALONE! Sigh.

BUT… I LOVE playing house! In my moments of frustration and dreaming of a way out, I remind myself of how all I am doing is playing house. I can do and be who I want.

I want to be a GREAT wife! I want to be an AWESOME mom! I want to be ME! So I will continue to play house and I will make those things happen. I won’t be perfect. Ever.

Do you enjoy “playing house?” What do you do to keep your head on straight?

Ringing in the New Year with Goals

I have a love/hate relationship with a new year. Love: the fresh start, the idea of endings and new beginnings, and of course a reason to celebrate and throw a party!!! Hate: my kids are getting older… and I guess I am too! Time is going much faster now that I am a “grownup.”

New Year’s eve/day forces people to meditate on the last year, learn from mistakes, and contemplate the changes they want to see in their lives. It’s a wonderful reminder to leave the past behind and look to the future.

To me, Mondays are the same way. Every Monday is a new start for me. If my week didn’t go as planned last week… well, there is always Monday to make a change. This may seem silly to some, but it’s my fresh start. Not as big as the New Year tradition maybe, but still a chance to make a change.

Oftentimes people mock those that make New Year’s resolutions, and I tend to prefer making goals for the new year; however, I think those that choose to do nothing will get nothing new in the year to come. If you aim for nothing you are bound to hit it!

I am going to be real honest with you and let you in on my goals for the new year. Having said that, these goals will take time. They will not blossom overnight. You cannot expect to wake up tomorrow and suddenly have a whole new life. There is nothing magical about January 1st. Some of these goals have already snuck in to our lives recently, but my goal is to make them second nature.

Here we go.

Husband

  • Make his lunches more regularly! Wives: Do you make your husband’s lunch? I haven’t been great at this, but what a difference it makes to him when I do! Men LOVE to be taken care of by their wives. What a sweet way to show him you appreciate how hard he is working for your family by preparing him a healthy, hearty lunch to keep him going. And why not add a sweet note in it or a scripture verse to motivate him?
  • More SEX! Yeah I said it! What husband wouldn’t agree? Be creative! Change it up! I know it is not always easy, especially if you co-sleep, but it can be done! My goal: every other night, but at most, no longer than 3 day gaps!

My Sons

  • Get in the floor with them more! Schedule more play time WITH them in my day!
  • Read to them more. Ok… so, I am NOT a reader and this has been HARD for me!!! Schedule times to read each day.
  • More outings with the boys. Schedule park time, museum time (esp now that we have a membership!), library, etc.

Family

  • Always have a menu planned and have healthier options on the table. I have started menu planning, but sometimes I get off and this just messes me up and causes us to make unwise choices at dinner or by eating out.
  • Make Saturdays family days! Go out for picnics, tents in the backyard, walks around the neighborhood. Plan these events each month and make it a casual day with a lot of relaxation! This needs to be our day of rest since we work at the church all day on Sundays.
  • Get to bed earlier! Get into bed and have devotionals and read together as a family more.

Me (it’s important ladies! We need to make time to take care of us for our families.)

  • At least 15 minutes of workout a day. P90x, Mom’s Bootcamp, a walk, stationary bike ride, just something for at least 15 minutes!
  • Schedule to keep the house in order (especially to avoid my husband having to help any when he gets home). Monday: Clean kitchen, toys, and dining room. Tuesday: Vacuum, clean all floors, and change out Scentsy. Wednesday: Bathrooms. Thursday: LiveOps (so no time to clean). Friday: Clean bedroom, dust, change out Scentsy, and menu plan.
  • Blog at least once every other day.

Wow that’s a lot huh?!? Again, many of these things I have already been implementing, just want to get more steady with them. I would rather make goals and miss some of them, than to not make any and miss them all.

Make sure to write down your goals for the New Year and refer to them often. The more you see them, the more you will stick to them.

I also wanted to tell each of you how thankful I am that you are joining me in this journey. I am learning so much and I hope you are getting something too. Thank you for reading and for your comments! I love reading your thoughts!

What goals are you making for the next year? What are you thankful for from this last year?