(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.


Seems like such a long list, and after reading through all ten 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


Message 2 my Kids #63

Mama Mama

I threw away the “flower” you picked me today before you left with Grammy. I’m sorry, but if I kept every beautiful weed bloom, we would be living in a wilty jungle. I still love you and your kind heart. 

To Have or Not to Have? The 3rd Baby Dilemma.

Mama Mama


Javin and I knew we would have kids together long before we were even married, we talked about it like it was destined to happen. Maybe it was. We could agree that sooner or later, we would bring into the world some pretty amazing, tiny, human beings. Where we disagreed was he wanted to have four kids, and I wanted to have two.

Fast-forward to after we had our first born, Parker, and even though his birth was a bit rocky, we knew we couldn’t quit with just one. Having one preemie wasn’t reason enough to keep us from fulfilling our want of having a complete family.


We took the correct precautions apparently with my second pregnancy and our daughter, Avaley, was born right on time, in a tub, with absolutely no medical intervention. It was a beautiful birth. The kind of birth you can sit back and say, “That was it, it doesn’t get any better than that.”

The last year and a half has been challenging to say the least. We have been in constant transition, and it’s taken a toll on the whole family. Going from one baby, to a toddler and a baby was huge. But to step it up a notch, we weren’t in our own home, we didn’t have our own belongings, and “adjusting” basically meant being thrown into utter chaos. We were so blessed to have such great family that supported us, as we were able to save money while living with my father-in-law for a year while house hunting. Adjusting to new schedules, and everyone sharing one bathroom, and finding a bedtime routine that didn’t keep the whole house up, was without a doubt a struggle some days. There were days the kids and I could hardly keep it together.

There were days I lost it.

There were days I opened a wine bottle a little earlier than usual.

There were days I knew I was done having kids.

My husband and I had been talking about what we should do about babies, and our prevention of baby making since I stopped breastfeeding and my cycle began again. I never got back on birth control after getting off it to get pregnant with my son. We decided together that we didn’t want to use any unnatural form of anything since my body felt so pure, and clean. Between babies, we used condoms and were extra careful until we were ready to try again. At this point, we both had been questioning whether or not he should get a vasectomy… but there was this tiny little flicker of doubt in me that was enough for me to not hurry that decision.

Heaven forbid, what if something happened to one of our children after we shut off the baby  making machine?

What if we up and decided we do want another?

Even on those days I KNEW I was done, we weren’t having any more children, I knew I couldn’t handle it… I couldn’t find it in me to feel comfortable with making that decision for my husband to get fixed quite yet.

Months passed, and stressful days came and went. That’s motherhood right? Geez, actually, that’s just life!

After we had a combined birthday party for Parker’s 3rd birthday and Ava’s 1st, we revisited the topic, and the maternal, emotional side of me actually came right out and said “I think I want to have another baby.” And I think my husband thought I was joking. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I wasn’t joking, but it’s how I felt at that time.

After opening up to those emotions, I haven’t been able to turn off the curiosity of the matter.

The truth is, I was also going through an identity crisis during this time. Motherhood changed who I was, at least who I thought I was. I wasn’t sure who I was supposed to be moving forward. I felt as though being a mom was the ONLY thing I ever KNEW I wanted to be when I “grew up”. Nothing else ever stuck, I always seemed to change my mind with what I wanted as far as a career went, but being mommy was always on the list. Maybe I was meant to be mommy, and nothing more. That still didn’t feel right, because I felt I needed to do my part to provide for our family, and I wasn’t sure I was doing enough. And being mommy, my kids come first, and I’ve always planned to homeschool and raise our children so working full time didn’t feel right either. I was being torn in two directions:

  • Do I consider another baby and focus my attention and time on homeschooling and being the best damn mom I can be?
  • Do I drop this craziness and continue to work when I can to help financially with what I can?

I probably made 3 or 4 pros and cons lists and it didn’t matter, nothing helped calm my ever-busy mind.

So I began to pray about it.

I asked for guidance.

I asked God to point me in the right direction.

Now, two months ago, we were all enjoying a lunch together on one of Daddy’s days off, and I could not get enough jalapeno hot sauce on my quesadilla. Javin piped up with “Are you pregnant!?” Being as the one thing I craved during both my pregnancies was spicy, it seemed a legit question. “No way, I’ll be starting my period here soon.” I replied.

The days that followed I started thinking:

I had been overly emotional the week prior. More so than usual. I had been craving spicy foods on more than just that occasion. Was I pregnant?!

I checked the calendar and sure enough, I was supposed to start my period. So I got a pregnancy test, and guess what, it was positive. Literally the biggest cloud of emotions came over me. I became nervous, scared shitless, excited, overwhelmed, and confused all at once. How did this happen? We were always so careful!

Instantly I began thinking up baby names and ways to convert the kid’s bedroom to fit three littles. I called and made an appointment to see my midwife. Javin and I were looking at options for bigger cars. Though unplanned, this pregnancy was going to be a blessing.

We didn’t want to tell anyone because it was so early still, and good thing, because a few days later I began spotting, and something told me it wasn’t going to stop there. I started my period, the pregnancy didn’t hold.

I cried.

A lot.

For at one point thinking I KNEW I didn’t want any more babies, this sure was hard on me.

I decided to start training again to keep busy, and to help with bringing in a little more money. Only a couple days a week for a couple hours each day. It’s doable with the kids right now.

So here we were again, wondering what we should do about this baby situation. More like here I am again, wondering about this whole baby situation.

If we decide to ever have another we would like it to be fairly soon because we want our kids all close in age. Also, the sooner we are done having babies, the sooner Javin and I get to enjoy our time as a young, married couple. If we decide to not have another baby we should most definitely so something more permanent as far as “birth control” goes because we don’t want an unplanned pregnancy years from now and have a newborn right when Parker is starting to become more involved and active in community events and sports. That’s just the way we see it.

So how do we decide?!

I have done a number of google and Pinterest searches on “2 vs. 3 kids”, or “Should we have another baby?” and most posts whether for or against having more children both make good points. I connect with both to some level. I have asked fellow moms of three children if it’s that much more of a challenge, or if it’s a scary transition. They’ve given good, honest feedback.

My Pros:

  • There’s an emotional connection to why I want to have another baby. Something was triggered along our way of getting to this point that I can’t seem to turn off. It’s purely a feeling that says I’m not sure I’m done yet.
  • Parker keeps asking for a baby brother. It’s a daily thing.
  • Though I stress now, and RIGHT NOW things are challenging, I can see our family with three kids in the future. I can see us all around a big dining room table, and I can see us all outside doing what we love most.

My Cons:

  • Financially, I’m not sure we could afford the pregnancy/birth. With my second babe, my midwife recommended I take 17 weekly progesterone shots because it was believed to help hold the pregnancy to term. We have no way of telling why my first child was premature, or if the shots helped with the second. All we know is I took the shots, and my second was fully cooked. We were double covered with insurance while taking those shots, so we didn’t have to pay for them. Now, we are on different insurance and Javin makes more, so we are not eligible for supplemental insurance which means there’s a good chance those shots (all $20,400 of them) would be on us to pay. TWENTY THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS. Just for the shots. Which by the way, were a huge pain in the ass, literally. They hurt.
  • Finances continued: We are in the middle of a huge construction process with our house which is continually adding up.
  • We have so many projects going on.
  • There would be a lot of adjusting. The kids would all share a bedroom for a long time. We would need a bigger car at some point. My “work” schedule would become basically non-existent for at least another couple years.
  • Hands to help. I would have to find someone other than family that could potentially be baby-sitter/childcare in case I do need to work part time, or even if Javin and I just want time for ourselves. We live within a five minute drive to my mother-in-law’s, and she takes the kids often, whether it’s just to play or because I am with a client. But she also works, and still has two of her own in school.
  • I finally feel like I’ve gotten my body back, and I love being able to work on fitness goals. Though I worked out during both pregnancies, there’s nothing quite like being able to challenge yourself without hesitation or concern for someone other than yourself.
  • We are almost done potty training the most stubborn boy in the world. We will begin working with his sister soon. We have one needy, mama’s girl who is teething, and a big brother who fights her for attention. We ruined Parker’s good sleep habits when we all had to start sharing one bedroom and/or the camp trailer, so we will be starting that over, along with Ava once we move into our house. THESE MILESTONES are what scares me most. Doing all this again, with one more.
  • I don’t think my husband is even questioning it. He would have been very excited had we ended up being pregnant again, but I also think there was a little weight lifted off his shoulders when it didn’t hold.

Balancing the scale, or potentially complicating things even more:

Will I regret not having another baby?

We have two healthy children. A boy and a girl. Most people would stop there.

Everything is made for a family of four.

When will we ever NOT have projects? Never. The lifestyle we want will always require work, building, adapting, growing, learning.

We need a new car anyway, so might as well consider a slightly larger version while we are at it. (Our dogs go everywhere with us just about, so 3 kids, 2 dogs means we need a bit more room)

I will continue to challenge myself physically, even through another pregnancy, as well as after. I would get my body back again. That’s just who I am.

The milestones go by so fast. The needy, clingy, dependent years fly by. And they are a fraction of time compared to what follows.

So, in conclusion, is it enough to allow emotions to solely decide whether or not we make such a big life decision? Or do we allow this to be the one and only logical decision we make for our family?






Not Herself Anymore

Mama Mama

She once considered herself successful, social, sexy, and even unafraid. The memories from those days are hazy, as time has played it’s part and so much has changed since then.

Life’s beautiful intervention, only God knew she needed, included two bundles of love who call her “Mama.” They are wild, and test her every limit and stretch her patience thin and challenge her every single day.

They bring her the greatest of happiness.

They bring her to tears.

They excite her.

They scare her.

They bring out the best and the worst in her.

Every ounce of thought, prayer, concern, and good wishes are for them. All her energy is focused on them. They need her. Constantly.

It’s exhausting sometimes.

There are times the days just seem to mesh together in one long jumble of never-ending hours where she finds herself in a darkness she can’t escape. During these times, she doesn’t get much time for herself and she questions who she is anymore. Where has she gone?! 

Her time isn’t hers.

Her body isn’t hers.

Her focus isn’t hers.

Hell! Her bed isn’t hers. 

And on those days of darkness, where there is no end or rest in sight, she will remember:

They give her a purpose and responsibility so true, she could never deny.

She’s not herself anymore.
She’s something more.


Lord, I pray you help guide me through my darkest moments to remember my strengths, and to find peace with you. When my littles seem impossible, I will count my blessings. When days have gone and I haven’t had time for me alone, I will remember my children are being molded by me, and to stay positive. Amen.