(important) Things I do With my Kids EVERY Day.

Homeschooling, Mama Mama

Lately I’ve been asked a lot about curriculum, and where I get my ideas for home school activities. I’ve been asked about how our typical day goes here in our household-schoolhouse, so I am here to put all other Mommy’s minds to rest…

We don’t follow a strict curriculum. 

We don’t have a strict schedule. 

We just wing it. Every single day.

The way I see it, the more you are out and about doing things and taking in your surroundings, the more ideas can come together. So we try to do just that.

However, each day there are certain things I make sure to accomplish with my children, not just because my kids enjoy these activities, but I feel they are the most important for their growth, learning, and over-all maturing as tiny humans.

#1: We read. Some days, especially rainy days, my eyes grow sleepy with the amount of books we read together. Some days, after I have read my max, I suggest Parker “reads” to his sister. There are certain books he has memorized and it’s good practice for him as well. Ava enjoys the time with big brother too.

#2: We do chores. Allowing the kids to “help” with miscellaneous projects and chores around the house may mean that things get done in three times the amount of time it should take, but it’s so important for the kids to feel involved, needed, and doing chores gives them a very basic work ethic. The majority of our chores involve the animals, so that adds to the excitement for all of us. The chickens, bunny, goats, and dogs all need fed and cared for daily so Mama’s helpers are never empty-handed. When it comes to indoor chores, both my kids have found areas inside the house that they prefer. Ava loves helping in the kitchen; putting away groceries, and organizing cabinets are her specialty. Parker enjoys real organization, usually with his toys, or Daddy’s tools.

#3: We eat together. Frequently. Sharing meals is especially important to me. It’s that time during the day when you can all sit and actually be present together. I am, and always have been one of those women who eat all day long, and I am raising my children to have the same good habits with food as well. I enjoy making healthy family meals, so I hope all our kids grow to not only have appreciation for that, but will take my love for healthy food and apply it to their lives as they grow as well.

#4: We snuggle, kiss, hug, and tell each-other we love each other. Sometimes Daddy gets a bit overwhelmed with how lovey his son is especially, but I don’t care. I adore the fact that our family is so loving towards each other. Sure, it may be a tad embarrassing when the kids insist on pulling up my shirt, and my maternity pants down so they can kiss baby brother in my belly while we are grocery shopping, but there’s no way I could ever stop them. Having lost loved ones, I feel it is necessary to never waste a moment to tell someone you love them. And I am thankful my children are learning to do the same.

#5: I scold or discipline. There’s no way around it. When you have an almost 2 year old, and an almost 4 year old, there will be chaos as well as tragedy and tears. I grew up with firm parents, yet they were not overly strict, there was a good balance. However, I was raised to know respect, and good manners, and I expect my children to learn the same. So when they do wrong, we discuss it. Sometimes I raise my voice more than I like, and sometimes I cry as well. However, I refuse to be the parent that lets their kids get away with anything and everything, because those children grow up to be teenagers as well as adults, and they are our future.

#6: We get outside time. This is the Oregon coast, so you never know what the weather will be, and though we’ve been lucky this winter, usually the rain is too atrocious to even think about spending time outside. Lately, we’ve been loving the sunshine, even when the air is brisk and cool, we can bundle and get fresh air. The kids and I have been the beach a few times the last week, and have been feeling overwhelmingly blessed by the lack of wind! Fresh air is needed for keeping their little, growing brains functioning. Fresh air is needed for Mama and clearing her mind. Fresh air is good for immune health, mood, and so much more. It’s a wonderful thing, being able to raise our children on our eight acres that also happens to be within minutes from a quiet beach and having space to explore.

#7: We have “school” time. Though each day the schedule may vary, we do sit down and work on school work. Every day we do something, some days we do much more than others. At the preschool stage, I let my son guide me a bit more than I lead him. It’s important he doesn’t lose interest so I let him tell me how long he wants to focus on school work. When we need a break, we take one. If we don’t accomplish much, we go back to that lesson again. I have a weekly theme each week, and we will do projects based on that theme. Most weeks, we also add in things we’ve learned in the past and do reviews as well. I had a full school-years worth of themes planned out, but have rearranged as needed.

#8: We have REAL conversations. We use REAL facts, and REAL (even sometimes slightly uncomfortable) words. In this day and age, there are nicknames and slang terms for everything. We are very realistic with our children. After all, this is real life. Both Mommy and Daddy are/have been involved in the health care and/or fitness fields and the human body is no joke to us. We use the correct terms, and its actually quite fascinating how fast our nearly four year old picks up things we talk about with him. He could tell you the longest muscle in the body and talk to you about what bones he saw in an x-ray. We don’t use funny cover-up names for private parts, and just the other day Parker drew a picture of him and Daddy, stick figures of course, but they both had penises. (Insert blushing cheeks here…but also very proud Mom for him being anatomically correct.) When we talk about plants, and animals around our house, we make sure we share the correct info with our kids so they learn as we explore. If Parker has a question we aren’t entirely sure of an answer, we look it up and find the right answer.

#9: I let the kids entertain themselves. Not only does this give me a small mental break, or chance to pee without them, but it’s important for the kids to use their imaginations and try to problem solve without supervision and being able to ask for help the second they need it. They learn to get creative. Sometimes they learn what failure feels like. All important things.

#10: We pray and talk about the bible. I cannot express how deeply my children have changed my life. My husband and I both were raised christian, but becoming a mom has only encouraged my heart to grow with the Lord, and for that, I am thankful every day. Ava’s favorite book for her Grandpa Stacy to read when we go visit, is a toddler bible. We pray at bedtime, and we try to throughout the day as well. Teaching the kids to have a relationship with God, helps me do the same.

Whew! 

Seems like such a long list, and after reading through all nine bullets, there’s no wonder I am tired by the end of the day. It’s 100% worth it. My babies deserve as much as I can possibly give them, and I want to be the Mama that gives them unlimited memories as well as work towards raising them to be the best tiny humans they can possibly be.

stay at home mom

Advertisements

Behind my fit Pregnancies

Mama Mama, Workin' Out

I have always been active. As a kid and teenager I played sports, was involved with horses, loved hiking and climbing trees, and just about anything that kept my body busy. Over the last ten years, I have dedicated my life to being healthy and active, and at the age of 20, I decided to make my love for fitness official when I went to school for personal training.

That was almost 9 years ago now, and as the time goes by I continue to adapt, adjust, and advocate my passion.

I’ve done one-on-one training, group bootcamp classes, trained and coached myself for a bikini competition, coached youth sports, and have learned to keep my body healthy as I go from a long-distance runner to a strong mama who isn’t afraid to lift more than her kids.

Long story short, fitness is a part of who I am. Fitness is a part of my past, as it is a huge part of the future I plan for myself and my children.

During the last five of those 10 years, I have been pregnant three times. Currently, I am 21+ weeks pregnant with my third, and have continued to not only maintain a healthy and active lifestyle, but that has kept me very consistent with my composition and athletic abilities between each pregnancy.

(When I say “athletic abilities” I also mean I am able to move my body as it’s MADE to be moved. Nothing heroic or olympian by any means.)

When I got pregnant with my first, I was mostly still a runner, but did plenty of light weight and body weight exercises to maintain balance. I was right around 110 pounds, and 14% body fat. I continued to walk/jog and do lighter workouts throughout the pregnancy. Parker was born 10 weeks early, and no one knows why to this day.

With my second pregnancy, I was actually pregnant while on stage at a bikini competition where I was 111 pounds, and 11% body fat. Obviously my body was nourished as it should be, or I wouldn’t have gotten pregnant. I lifted heavy throughout this whole pregnancy as well as walked and hiked. I was the strongest and leanest I’ve ever been when I got pregnant with my second. I stopped lifting heavy (and continued to lift lighter weights) ONLY about a month before our daughter was born. She was 38+ weeks and a healthy baby. Labor was quick and as perfect as it gets.

I began this pregnancy at 111 pounds, and 13% body fat. This pregnancy has been the hardest on me physically, as I have had a million more stresses, adjustments in our personal lives, and with having the two kiddos at home full time…one in which I am home-schooling. My body aches more, and it begs me for more frequent workouts or at least more activity. Not only is my body feeling the changes, but my stress levels could use the workouts as well. I also know, if I were to get in even small, less intense workouts, I would have more energy to chase after my two kiddos, the two goats, the two dogs, and make sure the chicks, chickens and bunny all get the attention they deserve as well. Energy is very much needed. 

Regardless, I have still been able to get in 1, maybe 2 workouts a week, as well as a walk or so. With the weather changing, and me being the constantly cold woman I am, our Bob isn’t getting in as many outings as we would all like. Though I am very blessed and thankful for the ability to be even as active as I am now, there are days I have a hard time with either feeling like I need more so I don’t lash out and allow stress to win, or there are people who make it worse by telling me to “don’t over-do it”, “lifting weights isn’t safe during pregnancy” or “go eat a pizza, you are pregnant” and it makes me crazy.

The reality is, my body is used to exercise, and God made our bodies (yes…even as women) with the ability to move and be fit. And most importantly, I know my body.

Here’s the thing: Who wouldn’t want to reap the benefits of exercise during pregnancy anyways?!

  1. Squats help prevent back and pelvic pain, as well as increase and strengthen pelvic floor muscles.
  2. Walking, swimming, and/or light impact activities help keep yours and baby’s weight in check, while also helping to prevent gestational diabetes, regulating blood pressure, and kicking stress to the curb. Walking for me also helps loosen up any aches and discomforts pregnancy might be creating.
  3. According to Ina May Gaskins, you should squat 300 times a day for a quicker birth.
  4. More energy!
  5. Upper body weight/strength training helps improve posture that may be thrown off because of your already changing body and baby belly.
  6. And, once baby is born, you bounce back and heal so much faster! And then, the greatest benefit of all is allowing your littles to witness their mama in action living a fit lifestyle so that they too grow a passion for the same.

For me personally, I will always recommend an active lifestyle. Even during pregnancy. Obviously each woman and each pregnancy is different, so finding ways to adjust to fit your needs is important. Because of my background, I am confident that I can use my body appropriately and safely while exercising. Having good form, knowledge of lifts, and knowing my body’s limits is all crucial…but not something I worry about. No, it’s not a fad, or an attempt for attention. It’s a lifestyle, one that began ten years ago, and only continues to adapt, adjust and one I’ll continue to advocate.

1503519_316124611911316_567556288566327170_n

A few weeks before my first was born, and 7 months post first pregnancy. 

8 months preg 8 months post

8 months pregnant with baby #2, and 8 months post baby #2

thumbnail_87ebb15ba53b5cc7e281813dcf1a66d9_1510261555689thumbnail_FB_IMG_1495375417038_1496957376488

thumbnail_FB_IMG_1495375483973_1496957376748

5 weeks pregnant with baby #2

thumbnail_FB_IMG_1495375651564_1496957376980

Working out with lighter weights a couple weeks before Ava was born.

 

 

 

A Third Tiny Little Poppy Seed

Mama Mama

As you know, our family has been discussing the idea of a third baby for the last eight months. Before our second, Avaley, had her first birthday we decided it wasn’t time. (My husband actually decided, he was certain he was not ready. Which is quite alright, I don’t think I was ready either.) And after our positive test a few months ago that didn’t hold, we made plans to wait until the end of summer and then decide if or when we should have another baby.

Well, here we are, not quite at the end of July, a couple months ahead of schedule and we found out over a week ago that without any planning, God decided we were ready for that third baby!

When life gives you lemons…or a tiny little poppy seed…you fill your heart with so much love that any nerves, confusion, and stress just melts away.

The nerves. Emotionally, maternally, I have wanted another baby for a while. Logically, sometimes I think I am crazy.

I had given myself goals, that I hadn’t fully accomplished. We are not fully living in our house, and wont be for months still. My husbands schedule at work is beyond inconsistent and makes it so he doesn’t get to join us for dinners or many important family times. We have a big house, but the layout isn’t ideal for three children so now we have to get even more creative with space. Do we need a bigger car? Holy cow, I do not want to take progesterone shots again! And how in the world am I ever going to grocery shop with three babies!? Some days getting by with two that are so close in age and still young is challenging enough.

First thing’s first. For me, I need to stay sane and feel healthy. 

My goal was to get back into tip-top shape before getting pregnant again so that not only can the pregnancy also be active and healthy, and labor be smooth, but I can bounce back like I did after both my others. I wasn’t quite where I wanted to be, but I know my body can still gain strength even during this time. I lifted all the way through my second pregnancy and Ava’s birth was perfect.

Not a horrible starting point.

11472

Fit pregnancy here I come!

As far as getting creative goes, I’m good at that. And thankfully, so are many many others on Pinterest.

We are in fact going to need a new vehicle in the near future, but not only because of a third baby, it’s just about time. Not sure how we are going to pull that one off though.

The shots. Dreaded and hated and literally the one thing that makes me angry about being pregnant. I already know the midwives are going to strongly suggest them, which means I will have a little time to research and try to come up with an alternative, but when it comes down to it, a healthy and to term baby is important.

Everything else, the day-to-day, we will figure it out. A little time, a little prayer, and a lot of love. We will find what works for us, there’s no doubt.

There’s only a million and a half things going on right now, but you know what?!

We are having a third baby. Another blessing. And we are super excited about that!

**Note: I am not sure exactly how far along I am. I wont see the midwife for another ten days.** 

 

 

 

Thrown Together, Better Than Nothing Workout

Workin' Out

Sometimes being a fit, stay-at-home mama with a husband who has a crazy work schedule means being flexible and creating the mindset that not every workout will go as planned, but dinkin’ around and exercising as you can is better than nothing at all.

I used to get agrevated and let it ruin my day if I couldn’t get in my “planned” workout.

These days, I am happy to get in a last minute-thrown together-makes-no-sense-but-it-feels-good workout.

I am, however, far from perfect, and those days where I REALLY need a planned, structured workout without interuptions still exist.

Usually the kiddos are crawling up my leg or chasing the bunny in the other room, while I squeeze in exercises between checking on them and making sure the bunny isn’t cornered and being tortured. (Note that no animals are ever harmed in our household. We love our bunny) But yesterday Javin had the kids outside with him. I knew I had a million projects to do to help out around the house but I threw a few ideas together and came up with is routine:

Photo_2017-05-03_09-43-00_AM

Banded squat hold with high pull

Photo_2017-05-03_09-44-57_AM

Raised bridge knee drives with leg lifts

Photo_2017-05-03_09-41-07_AM

Banded rdl with db curl

Photo_2017-05-03_09-42-08_AM

Bosu side plank with lateral leg lift

It was a nice total body routine that after a few rounds felt like it served its purpose.

Photo_2017-05-03_09-47-13_AM

Again, I’m just thankful for the ability to live a fit lifestyle. And I’m even more thankful I get to share it with my family and especially my kiddos.

2df6347f1bd7e72609c613d3bccc7fd2