Jesus and Wine Kind of Morning

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Let’s Get Real

So, it has been a complete #jesusandwine kind of morning around here. That’s right, not just a fleeting moment, but a whole entire morning. How is it that by 8:00 every morning my house can look like a tornado rolled through town? When my control freak self kicks in, I sing the Let it Go song in my head. Yes, really. I have to be reminded that it’s ok if my house is a disaster. One day, when they’re all grown up and gone, it will be clean, and I’m sure then I will want it chaotic and messy again.

Also, as a friend and I were discussing this morning, how do these kids find every cord in the house? Every. Single. Cord. And where does it go? Their mouth. My morning has consisted of lots of cords in mouths. And of course, our nap time tribulations have continued into today, which meant going down for a nap was not only an ordeal, but we also woke baby brother up with our banging, jumping, and screaming. Might I add, this baby brother of ours is apparently going through a total sleep regression, as he has woken up the past few nights. Not just woken up. Woken up and stayed up for two hours until he feels ready to go back to sleep.

I know so many of you can relate. Please never take my stories about my kids as being ungrateful. They are my two greatest blessings, and I am so very thankful for them, but this is all about being honest and not painting a perfect, unrealistic picture of parenthood, so real is what you get.

There’s More

So naturally the way that my morning went, you can imagine how well our attempted devotion time went. I’m going to tell you about the devotion so that you can try it with your child. I’m sure your kids will listen and participate better than mine, so it can still be successful! I honestly kind of just randomly had this idea in my head and wanted to try it out not knowing if it would be a complete fail or not, and to my surprise, it did work!

Story Time

We started by reading the bible story about Joseph’s Colorful coat from one of our favorite bible story books. Well, I read while they did everything but listen, but that’s ok. Sometimes that’s just the way it goes. I was still reading to them which is the important thing.

If I’m being honest, there wasn’t much of a discussion after story time today. Look at previous paragraphs and you can imagine why, however, this would be a great story to talk about jealousy and forgiveness with your child. In toddler terms, it would be great to talk to them about not wanting a toy their sibling or friend has and taking it from them. Also I know that when James makes bad choices we make him apologize, and I always make sure to tell him “it’s ok” or “I forgive you”, and I encourage him to say, “it’s ok” when I apologize to him. Yes, I apologize to my two year old on a regular basis. They learn from what they see!

Project Time

After we read the story, project time began. Again, if I’m being honest, I pretty much did this craft by myself because James wanted to paint his hands and the table, and my chunky monkey Weston was only concerned about his cheetos. With that being said, it can easily be completed be a toddler.

I have seen in the past where people will use marker on a coffee filter and then drip water on it to make the colors run together. Since I refuse to let my kids use markers at this point (we’re in a rental house, and I don’t trust them), I thought maybe, just maybe the DO-A-DOT Paint Markers we have would have the same effect as the markers, and they did! These are a staple in our house! James loves them and thinks he’s painting every time he uses them. They are much less messy than regular paint, and not as easy to draw all over the place with like markers.

I used all different colors and made sure there was not much white left on the coffee filter. You want it covered in color, aka, you’re making Joseph’s colorful coat. I then took a medicine syringe, as that’s what we have plenty of around here, and filled a small cup with a little bit of water. You could also use a toothbrush or a medicine dropper to sprinkle the water. It does not take much water at all. You don’t it soaked, you just want enough water for the colors to start to bleed together, so just start putting little drops of water all over the coffee filter. Fill in those small white spots! Be sure to put something under your filter while you’re doing this. I put it on a piece of construction paper and then put a cookie sheet under the paper.

Now, it’s time to sit back and let it dry! It really doesn’t take too long, but I’m sure you could set it outside to dry quicker or use a hair dryer. Since my kids were so uninterested, I just let it dry on the counter. Once it was dry, I cut the coffee filter into the shape of a coat. It really looks more like a dress, but some of you more artistic people could probably make it look more like a coat. Plus, it was in biblical time, so I feel like I get a pass on that one.

Last, I used tape to put it on a black piece of construction paper to really make it pop. I haven’t tried glue, but I wouldn’t use it. I would imagine with the coffee filter being so thin, you’d be able to see the glue lines through the coat.  Then, I took a white crayon and wrote, “Joseph’s Colorful Coat” so that my husband would know what it was when he saw it on the fridge after work.


Really though, don’t make fun of my coat. It should be a little more boxy, but it’s the idea that matters! Also, the great thing about this craft is that you could use the same concept for so many different things – you could make a cross, an Easter egg, etc. I may just have to try those myself!

Cheers to hoping your morning is going a little more smoothly than mine, and prayers for a more relaxed afternoon!

I Have a Confession

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I Have a Confession

Ok y’all, confession time. My mouth has gotten me in a lot of trouble over the years. I think if you were to ask my parents who their most difficult child was, it would definitely be me. Don’t get me wrong, overall, I feel like I was a pretty good child; however, nine times out of ten, no make that ten times out of ten, I was in trouble for having a smart mouth. I talked back, I mouthed off, and I always had to have the last word. Sorry mom and dad.

Really, I get it now, and I. Am. Sorry. Those payback children will do that to you. I can already tell you, sweet baby James is my payback child. My family already calls him, “Little Casey”. I’m sure my parents will have a great time over the years sitting back and watching him give me a run for my money.

If I’m really getting honest, my mouth still gets me in trouble sometimes. I still sometimes forget to bite my tongue, and I still like to have the last word every now and then – sorry husband. I would like to think I am not the only one that sometimes struggles with saying the wrong things.

When I was younger, it was always easy to fall into those gossiping conversations that also led my mouth to get me in trouble. Thankfully with that one, the older I get, the easier it has become to avoid gossiping situations. There’s something to that whole wisdom comes with age thing. If only I could go back and take some things I’ve said back. I have always admired those few people that have entered my life that I can honestly say I have never heard them say a bad word about anyone. Those people are so few and far between, but they truly are special.

God Wink

In high school, I had the most awesome youth minister. Lucky for me, the older I became, the closer we became, and now I get to call her friend. I was even blessed enough to not only teach with her, but also to teach her sweet boys.

In high school, she told us about this book. The jest of the book is that coincidences are not coincidences at all, but they are a wink from God. Let me tell you, I have never looked at a coincidence the same. Isn’t it so much more moving to think of them that way? It truly has changed my perspective throughout the years.

This morning, I experienced my own little God wink. As the Lenten season is quickly approaching, I have been trying to decide what I would like to do. I think a common misconception with Lent is that you have to give up something, however, that’s not true. You can also choose to do something instead. Over the past several years, I have always tried to do something as opposed to giving something up, simply because it seems to mean more to me personally.

I Hear You, God

As I read today’s Proverbs 31 Ministries devotion, I noticed at the bottom that it had a little blurb about Lent, so I decided to do some investigating. If you don’t read Proverbs 31 Devotions, you should download the free app and start. They are great!

After investigating, I found that one of the Proverbs 31 team members is leading a 40 day Lenten devotion. And get this, it is about using your words wisely. Ok God, I hear ya! You’re certainly talking to me this morning because heaven knows I could use some reinforcement in that area. Check out this website to get more information on the Lenten journey she is leading.

There is a book that goes along with the journey, but she is quick to tell you that you do not have to have the book to participate. Thanks to my brother-in-law always getting me my beloved Amazon gift card for Christmas, I jumped on over and ordered the Kindle edition so that I can be fully prepared for the 40 days of learning to make good choices with my mouth!

Doing it Together

The verse that immediately came to mind was this: My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. (James 1:19) Hopefully I can reflect on this verse and and remember it when my mouth wants to get the best of me.

We parents need to support each other not only with the hard parenting moments that call for #jesusandwine, but also in our daily walks that help us become better spouses, better parents, better friends, and to my parents – better children. The best part of this is that there is a community of people doing it together, which always seems to hold me a little more accountable. Let me know if you’d like to join me in this process! I’d like to think I didn’t just make a mouthy confession that no one else struggles with. If so, don’t tell me! I’ll just sit back and keep being Mom of the Year with my quick mouth.

 

 

 

He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands

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Jesus Time

Happy Sunday! Today, I am turning my #jesusandwine into some Jesus and coffee and having a little bit of me time at Starbucks while the boys nap. We all need a little me time every now and then to stay sane, and I admit, I am not the best about making it happen. Can we say mom guilt? But after church this morning, I knew I needed to get some in!

I went and enjoyed some much desired time at adoration. Our church in Houston has had 24 hour adoration since 1981. I know if you aren’t Catholic that might not mean much to you, but trust me, that is pretty amazing. I am so glad I finally had the opportunity to enjoy that special time and spend some time in prayer and reflection, especially before this Lenten season begins. Curious as to what Eucharistic Adoration is? Here is a great link explaining it, should you be interested

Remain Devoted

Today, I am going to share a super quick and easy devotion I did with my boys this week. Remember, it doesn’t always have to be fancy. The message is the most important part of the devotion time, and although my kids are still a little too young to fully understand, if I remain devoted to doing this time with them, I know one day it will click and be a beautiful thing.

It’s kind of like taking them to church at this age. Do they get it? No. Do they behave? Mine sure don’t. Do I get anything out of it? Not usually. Is it stressful? Oh my heavens, yes!! However, I know that we still have to take them regardless of how much time is spent in the atrium, outside, or in the cry room. One day, it will click, and one day, we will be happy we spent that time taking them while they were young.

He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands

We started devotion time by reading this book because well, I always have to incorporate a book. It’s just second nature. Y’all, this book is amazing. I know everyone already knows the words to the book because it is simply the song, however, the illustrations in this book are beautiful! They truly resonated with me and made the words that much more powerful.

Once we read the book, I followed my own devotional tips from my previous post, and incorporated some music. Hello YouTube! I sure do love you, and so do my boys. We danced and sang to a few different versions of the song before our very simple craft began.

Seriously y’all. I can’t even believe I’m telling you what we did next because it is seriously pretty boring and so simple, however, remember, it is the message that you get across to your little one. I simply Googled, “He’s got the whole world in his hands coloring sheets”, clicked on “images”, found this one that I liked, enlarged it, clicked print, and cut it out. So. Simple. I gave James and Weston blue and green crayons, and let them go! Of course, Weston just ate the crayons, but that’s ok, we’ll get there.

I then cut out the picture, glued it onto blue construction paper, and wrote “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” in my favorite black sharpie and hung our newest project on the fridge. James is always so proud of his work and loves to show daddy when he gets home from work. I love that he already has a since of pride in his work and hope he always does. What an important lesson to learn in itself!

The Message

Now, although the devotion was so quick and so easy, don’t forget to discuss the importance behind it to your little one. Discuss the world and how God created it. With little ones, they are still figuring out what the world is, so you can explain the trees, the animals, and the people. Then remind them who God is, where he is, and that they can pray to Him. It’s also a great lesson to remind them that God not only loves them, but God loves everyone and everything no matter our differences. He has all of us in his hands. One reason I loved the picture I printed out so much is because the hands were visibly holding the world. That gave me the opportunity to explain that those were God’s hands, and he is always holding us.

James and I not only discussed the message, but I also incorporated his colors into the lesson, as well as a discussion about the world (land, water, etc.) Always incorporate various subjects into one lesson if you can. Get those kiddos connecting the dots and thinking critically about how one subject can relate to the next!

Enrich the Lesson

As always, for your older ones you can go more in depth with the message as well as the craft. When I was teaching at a Catholic school and teaching religion class, I loved to use the website, www.catholicicing.com. They have great ideas! It was no doubt they had this amazing craft that would work great for your older kids with this lesson.

I hope you and yours enjoy this lesson like we did! Remember to always make it work for your family. What works for mine might not always be what works for yours. Take the ideas and run with them. Now, go enjoy your Sunday Funday, and enjoy some Jesus and maybe an afternoon toddy.

Transitioning to a Toddler Bed

Big boy bed, here we come!

Last week, it was time for James to take a nap. He got very mad at me, shocker. Remember those TERRORble two’s I was discussing in my previous post? I can’t even remember why he was mad, as that’s a norm around here. He wouldn’t calm down. He wouldn’t let me rock him or rub his back, He just screamed. I decided to leave him in his crib to calm down and knew I’d go back in there a few minutes, and he would probably be a little more reasonable.

Well, I never got that chance. Within a minute or two, I heard a door open. Since Weston was asleep, nor can he walk, and my mom was sitting on the couch, I knew it was James. But how?! I had just put him in his bed. I know I’m going crazy and have mommy brain ALL THE TIME, but I’m not that bad, right? I seriously looked back at the baby monitor to make sure I put that kid in his bed. Yep, sure did. He was so angry he climbed out of his crib (shocked we made it this long before it happened! – almost two and a half), and he opened the door and said, “momma!” Oh lawd. Here we go. Just when you think you’re figuring it all out, you have to go and transition to a toddler bed.

Don’t Fight Those Instincts

After this fun little #jesusandwine moment, Chad and I decided it was probably time for a big boy bed. So while my mom and I took the boys to see her family for the weekend, Chad was going to convert the crib to a toddler bed. I was second guessing our choice since he only climbed out that day (once at nap and once at bedtime) while he was mad, again a shocker I know. Well, just remember, don’t second guess those parental instincts. God gave them to you for a reason.

While we were visiting family, the boys slept in pack n plays. James was sleeping in the room with my mom, which had a queen size bed in it. I put him to bed, and he crawled out once and opened the door. I figured he was going to do it again, but it was quiet and he never came out, so I figured he went to sleep. A couple of hours passed, and I went to check on him as we always do before we go to bed. I looked in the pack n play, and he wasn’t there. Where is he?? I knew, again, I had definitely put him in there! It was a dark and unfamiliar room, so I was struggling to see where he was. Found him. That stinker had crawled out and was lying on his back. Arms and legs both spread open, in the queen size bed, dead asleep. THAT KID! Yep, definitely time for a big boy bed.

Let’s Do This

So, we came home on Sunday and Chad had the bed ready to go. We made a super, big deal about it to get him excited (and to hopefully avoid any panic for our child that doesn’t like change), and he was very excited! The first two nights in his bed he did great! But we all know that had to come to an end…

And So It Began…

This whole big boy bed stuff is for the birds. Hear me? FOR. THE. BIRDS. Pretty much every nap time and every bed time I find myself having a #jesusandwine moment.

He jumps. He plays. He kicks the wall. He screams and wakes brother up. He rocks. He reads. He strips. He unplugs things. He throws things. He does EVERYTHING you can imagine except for the one thing he is supposed to do… SLEEP! Help me. No, seriously, help me! Does anyone have suggestions for this brutal transition??

Thankfully, bed time seems to go a little better than nap time. Want to know why? Daddy is usually home. What is it with most children responding better to men than women? It is 100% unfair. He does get out of bed a few times at night and open the door and waltz his little self to the den, but after a few times of having Chad put him back in bed and telling him to lay down, he usually goes to sleep. But nap time? Nope, nope nope. Not happening. In fact, nap time just hasn’t been happening.

Some ask, “Well, do you think he’s just ready to not nap anymore?” Um no. Should we go anywhere after his missed nap time, he immediately falls asleep in the car. Or if nap time is just completely shot, he is such a joy to be around that day – insert eye roll. Even if he were, which I refuse to even think of that day, I wouldn’t allow it. Yeah, I know, just let me be naïve here and have some wishful thinking.

Killing This Mom Thing

Well, after a couple of times falling asleep in the car, I got a bright idea! Weston is asleep while James is supposed to be napping, so I clearly can’t take him for a joy ride, however, I can still put him in the car! He is an incredibly active two year old boy, so getting him to be still is hopeless, which means this is one reason as to why he won’t go to sleep. But when he is strapped in his car seat, get this… he can’t move! Ahhhhh, cue the angels singing voices.

So don’t you know sweet baby James and I took a trip to the car with a cup of milk and a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse DVD. Don’t worry, we stayed in the driveway, and I had Weston’s baby monitor with me the whole time. Ten minutes later, the kid is out. Thankfully, he is a pretty heavy sleeper, so I can pick him up and put him in his bed. Can we just discuss how excited I am that today he is at Mother’s Day Out? Call me a bad mom for saying that, but today, I don’t have to battle nap time. All the praise hands!

Now, I know this is not helping my naptime predicament. In fact, it is probably making it much worse. But sometimes, momma needs both kids to nap at the same time in order to maintain some type of sanity and to get anything done around the house. No judgments, please. I know this is the worst solution ever to my problem, but it is what it is for the time being, and I have had three peaceful nap days where I have managed to get a load of laundry finished.

Also, I am a complete advocate for doing what’s best for you and your child, and doing what works for y’all. You have to do you! That’s why there’s chocolate and vanilla, orange juice and apple juice. However, I would like to change this weeks’ car routine, so please, comment with your suggestions as to how to transition to a big boy bed. As I’m sure you can relate, I feel like I’ve read it all, and I keep having the same results… #jesusandwine.

Shape Activities

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Mom of the Year, Ha.

Nap time. Ahhh. Can you just revel in the peace with me for just a moment? Thanks. Nap time is to be all around respected, as when both kids are napping at the same time it is simply, the best.

We have been working super hard around here on shapes lately, and our two year old has been picking up on them quite quickly. I marvel at him every time he says a shape that I didn’t know he knew. For instance, today, he started busting out oval. What?? Yes, we have discussed an oval, but not gone into great depth about it. I tell you, toddlers are sponges. They soak it all up – the good, and sometimes the bad. Cue mom having a show on in the background that had someone saying shut up, which resulted in him saying shut up. Just go ahead and give me the Mom of the Year award right there. We had a discussion about the word afterwards, and knock on wood, it hasn’t been uttered again.

Pause. Previous discussed two year decided he needed to get out of his bed during nap time. Yes, I jinxed myself. It was too good to be true. More to come on that lovely big boy bed transition later. Stay posted for a post on that milestone.

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

Back to bed, and back to more on shapes. Fingers crossed it lasts this time. We have been having so much fun finding ways to learn our shapes around here, so I wanted to share some super easy ways to incorporate shapes into your learning routine. As previously stated in my post, Toddler Devotion Example, I am totally about using what you have at home. Please, do not reinvent the wheel, and do not put those kids in the car to go get these materials because we all know the struggles of putting them all in the car, buckling them in, getting them out of the car, and back to do it again just to get a couple of items.

Side note: my husband asked me to pick up a lottery ticket yesterday afternoon when I was leaving the zoo at 5:00. Just a lottery ticket. One item. Getting the kids in and out of the car for One. Item. An item that wasn’t a necessity. I ever so kindly reminded him of that struggle since my 30 pound child still doesn’t walk and my two year old child likes to run away. Let’s not even discuss Houston traffic at 5:00. Needless to say, I did not pick up that wanted lottery ticket. Every now and then, they need those kind reminders of the daily struggle, and we need to avoid situations that have us asking for more #jesusandwine.

With all that being said, if you don’t have the items I used lying around my house, use what you do have! Alter as needed, and remember, as long as your child is getting something out of the activity, you’re doing it perfectly! These activities are obviously more geared to my two year old, as the 14 month old isn’t quite ready to learn his shapes, no matter how smart I think he is, however, I totally believe it is great for them to listen and observe what is going on, as they’re sponges at that age too.

Shape Activities

  1. Get out the painter’s tape! This is such a fun and exciting game for them. Tape on the floor?! How rebellious. Painter’s tape is amazing because it leaves no sticky residue and is super easy to work with. The main three shapes we started out learning were circle, square and triangle. I created the shapes on the floor with the painter’s tape – large enough for my two year old to stand in. Little bit decided the circle was easy to take up off the floor, so we continued this activity when he went down for nap time.
    We started off by sorting shapes into the shapes created out of painter’s tape. Again, I used household items for him to sort
    with, i.e. Tupperware tops, shapes cut out of construction paper, toys, etc. Once he had sorted all of the shapes, I extended
    the activity by having him run to the shapes I called out. The kid has never ending energy, so he really enjoyed this. I continued
    by having him jump in certain shapes, spin in certain shapes, etc. Be creative!

  1. Every toddler needs some playdoh, and if you don’t have playdoh lying around, Google a recipe for homemade playdoh, and I’m sure you have all of the ingredients you need to make your own.We used toys with certain shapes and cookie cutters to cut the playdoh into the shapes we were talking about. You can see in
    the picture below the hodgepodge items we used to cut these shapes. Once the shapes were cut, I had him repeat each shape
    aloud with me while touching them. I think it’s so important for the child to not only verbally say the shape, but also touch it and
    look at it while they’re saying it. Get all of those learning styles in at one time!After he named all of the shapes a couple of times, repetitiveness is key, I had him point to the shape I named a few times.
    Last, I had him pick up the shapes I named.

  1. Construction paper and cardstock are some things we can’t live without around here. For this next activity, I simply drew a circle, triangle, and square in sharpie on the cardstock and labeled each. You could totally add more shapes should your child be ready. I then used different colors of construction paper to cut out a few circles, triangles, and squares. After they were cut out, the sorting began! Have your child sort the shapes and say out loud what each shape is.
    If your child is old enough, have them cut out the shapes themselves and put the glue on the shapes. This will help with their
    fine motor skill development. Have patience with this task, as if you are a control freak like me, it will be tough not to just do it
    yourself. Remind yourself it is benefitting them in the long run.

I mean, it’s just not a complete activity around here if you don’t eat something. Yummy construction paper.

  1. Don’t you just love sidewalk chalk? I do! The weather in Houston has to be one of my favorite things since we’ve moved here. 80 degrees in February? I’ll take it. Now, I know, I’ll be paying back for that comment come July.Take your sidewalk chalk and draw all of the shapes your child is learning in different colors. This will be great for those visual
    learners. Have your child perform similar activities as stated above with the painter’s tape activity: run to this shape, jump in
    that shape, dance in this shape, etc. The older toddlers could even practice drawing their shapes with the sidewalk chalk
    themselves.

Don’t Forget the Basics

The next activities seem mundane and simple, but they are so beneficial and altogether easier for you, so don’t think just because they aren’t “out of the box” means they aren’t worth doing.

  1. Have the Fisher Price Baby’s First Blocks set? Use it! For my oldest child’s first Christmas, some good friends of ours gave him this toy. She told me it was one of her children’s favorites, and it quickly became one of ours as well.
    This is great for my two year old and my 14 month old. The two year old gets to name the shapes, while the 14 month old gets
    to practice his fine motor skills by putting the shapes through the correct hole. The shapes are also different colors, so this is a
    great time to integrate colors into the activity as well.
  2. We love flashcards around here. These are the flashcards we use around our house, and James loves them! He always asks if we can do flashcards. While I was still working, my two year old went to daycare every day, and they used flashcards with him daily to teach him every day objects/animals. Let me tell you, they work. I know they may seem monotonous, boring, and not very creative, but they’re beneficial. If you use these with your child regularly to learn their shapes and colors, I promise you will see great results, just be patient.
  1. YouTube is one of my best friends. I know not everyone believes in screen time, but you know Mom of the Year over here uses it. I pull it up on our AppleTV and the boys love to sing and dance to it. There are so many toddler shapes songs out there. Find which ones your kids love and let them watch, sing, and dance to them. Eventually, they’ll start singing along.
  1. Again, this is a screen time activity, so if you don’t agree, just skip this one. I have downloaded free shape apps on my phone and my two year old loves them. Also, he rocks at them. I know screen time is up for debate, but you can’t deny that it’s amazing that at just two he can sort his shapes through these apps. It has also helped his fine motor skills, as he has to drag the correct shape to the correct section. Some of our favorite free apps are: Smart Shapes, Sorter, and Sorter 2.

9. The teacher in me just has to tell you to incorporate books in all activities! Our favorite shape book right now is an oldie but a
goodie, Brainy Baby, Shapes & Colors. Reading is so important and vital to your child becoming a good reader. The research
that has been done on language development and reading skills based off of how much a child is spoken directly to or read to
is truly amazing.

Share your Shape Activities

I hope this was beneficial to those of you working on shapes with your kids. If you have any shape ideas you’d like to share, I would certainly love to hear them! We are each others best resource. As we teach our kids, sharing is caring ;).

 

 

Books Everywhere

Let’s Throw Everything!
I’ve decided it’s just a natural instinct for a boy to think they have to throw EVERYTHING. I mean, yes boys, I’d love for you to throw every book off of your book shelf. #jesusandwine

Toddler Devotion Example

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Tips for Devotion Time

I am not even going to pretend that it’s easy to do a devotion with my wild boys. They are one and two, so needless to say, their attention span is SHORT. Did I mention they were boys? Yeah, I have decided after teaching for a few years, being married, and having two of my own, that means their attention span is even shorter.

With that being said, here are a few helpful tips I have found through trial and error that help get the devotion in and productive:

  1. Keep it short. As said before, their attentions spans can’t handle anything too in depth, so the shorter the better!
  2. Incorporate music. My boys absolutely love to dance and sing – singing and dancing to “Shake Your Booty” is their personal favorite. Also, remember this helps those kinesthetic and musical learners. Kids love to learn by moving, shaking, and singing! Singing will also help your toddler with language development, so that’s an added bonus.
  3. Do an art project. This is a little more difficult for the younger toddlers like my 14 month old but great for my two and a half year old. If you can, find a way to do a hands-on project that relates to the devotion. It extends the devotional time, while maintaining the child’s attention. It can also help with their fine motor skills. If you have a young toddler like me, I talk out loud so he can hear what my older child and I are doing, but I give him something else to play with – usually an activity to work on his fine motor skills as well.

Devotional Book

One of my sweet friends gave me a ton of books when I had my oldest son. She also happened to be my youth minister in high school, so there were plenty of religious books in the pile, which I loved! She has two boys close in age like mine, so I love getting her advice any time I can. Her boys are now in 5th and 6th grade and are little angel babies. I ask her if there is still hope for my boys to be as sweet as hers. She assures me there is, but on my Jesus and wine kind of days, I’m just not so sure.

Here is the book she gave me that we use all the time! It is pefect for little ones with short attention spans!

Example Devotional for Toddlers

To start our devotion, I read a story from the devotional book, which this time was about Peter, James, and John in the sailboat. Another reason this book is so great is because it has a CD that comes along with it, as each story has a song that is related to it. The song related to this story was, Peter, James, and John in a Sailboat. If you’re like me and don’t own a CD player, I pull up YouTube on my iPad or AppleTv and there ya go!

Once we read the short story, I pulled up the song on the iPad. YouTube can sing a lot better than me, so I let the music video take the lead from there. There are all different versions of each song, so that can be fun too. We found some that were a cartoon version and some that had dance motions to them!

After we watched a few of the songs and sang along, it was time to start our art project! This project was actually completed around Valentine’s Day, so I chose pink and red as my main colors, however, it is a totally appropriate craft to do anytime of year even though it uses hearts. Just change up the colors you use and it will look great!

After being a teacher and working with some amazing people who were willing to share all of their resources, I am a major believer in not reinventing the wheel and using the materials you already have, therefore, improvise! I used construction paper because that’s what I had on hand at home. This could also be done with felt, colored art foam sheets, etc.

Since we read about Jesus providing fish for Peter, James, and John, we decided to create a fish out of heart shapes! It is a total of five hearts: one, large heart for the body, a small heart for the fish lips, a small heart for the tail, and two small hearts put together for the fins. Once all of the hearts were glued together, I drew an eye on the fish with a sharpie. Had I had googly eyes at home, that would have been much cuter to use! I then let James take a blue crayon and color at the bottom as if the fish were swimming in the water. Last, I wrote a quote from the bible story we read on the art project to help remind us what we talked about.

He liked to pretend the fish was biting his finger and then scream, “ow!” and laugh. That one is all boy!

This was a super easy lesson, and it didn’t take long at all. It was pretty much fail proof minus the lovely moment of James trying to eat the glue…

But hey, that’s the reality around here. The little one was asleep during this time as well which, selfishly, makes things a little bit easier. This project had us talking about Jesus and didn’t have me asking for wine, so that’s a win in my book! I hope you and your little ones enjoy as much as we did!

Terrible Two’s

TERRORble Two’s

Boy oh boy, did whoever named the terrible two’s accurately do so. The only thing I would change would be the spelling. It should be the TERRORble two’s because at times, my two year old is a holy terror. Don’t get me wrong. I love him dearly and adore his strong personality that I know will get him far in life one day, but I simply cannot make up the things he chooses to throw down about. Yes, that’s right, THROW DOWN. Sometimes our entire day is just that, a throw down. And I’ve been told the three’s are worse. The only thought I have on that is, “How can that be possible?!” That’s a rhetorical question. If you know, please don’t tell me. I’d like to live naively for just a bit longer. If you do not follow #assholeparents on instagram, GO NOW. It is seriously amazing. It sums up my life in hysterical pictures and comments, that once again, you just can’t make up. Now, let’s just take a glimpse into a few terrible two moments, aka #jesusandwine moments, from today. Trust me, there will be many more documented in the future.

Let Me Throw Down

Before James goes to sleep (nap or bedtime), he likes to watch a little of his favorite, Mickey Mouse. It’s usually time to go to bed before the show is over, which James does not like. I can’t really blame him on this one. Who wants to go to sleep in the middle of their favorite show? Anyways, Chad and I so cleverly, at least we thought, figured out that if we fast forward to the end of the show, the fan favorite Hot Dog Dance, James thought Mickey Mouse too was going night night, and he would willingly go to his room. Well, all good things must come to an end, right? That end came this morning. James figured out what I was doing, and what do you think he did? Threw down of course. Stomping those footed pajama feet of his and screaming. It’s never too early for Jesus, but is it too early for wine?

And yes, he is two and I put him in footie pajamas for nap time. Want to know why? If I don’t, the beginning of nap time results in James stripping, including his diaper, going to the bathroom in his crib, and momma changing crib sheets for the 10th time this week. You my child always have the cleanest sheets in the house. Your Mac would be so jealous of how often your sheets are changed. I would google, “How to get your child to stop stripping,” but I’m thinking I might not get the best search results.

At Least We Have Manners

James goes to school two day’s a week. He screams every time I drop him off. I ask his teacher every time I pick him up if he behaved, and she always tells me yes, but she doesn’t elaborate. The former teacher in me doesn’t think she’s telling me the whole truth. I know there have been a few times that unless a student did something the parent really needed to know about, I probably fibbed a little bit as to their child’s everyday behavior.

My mom was in town last week and picked him up from school. His teacher told my mom that he was so sweet and had the best manners. My question to my mom was, “Why can’t he be like that at home?” Sweet that is. I’ll give him one thing, he is so mannerly. Chad and I always discuss how if our children misbehave, we want it to be at home as opposed to in public. Of course we want them to behave at home, but if they just cant manage to hold it together one more second, we’d rather them behave in public than in front of us. I told Chad the other day that James may be terrible at times, but he’s going to have manners while being terrible. Give me a moment to brag, please. The sweet little thing say’s ma’am and sir, thank you, you’re welcome, please, and my personal favorite, “ blesh”, aka, bless you. Please don’t let that baby figure out the words are actually bless you anytime soon.

The Silver Lining

After bath time this week, Chad was getting James dressed for bed, and I was getting Weston dressed for bed. I am always thankful when Chad’s there so we can tag team them. They may have been fighting over me and hanging on me all day long, but when Daddy walks through that door, it becomes a quick, “Who’s Momma?”

Weston has a canvas above his changing table that of course he has figured out how to kick off the wall with his feet. Naturally because why would we have one calm place where we don’t find something to mess up? Does that place exist?

So in due time, he did just that, kicked it off. It landed on my head. I must have made a loud comment because the next thing I heard was James screaming from the room next door, “You ok momma?” Oh, be still my heart. Those few seconds make those terrible two tantrums leave your mind and fall in love all over again. Until the next tantrum of course, which probably happened five minutes later.

The night came to an end as they always do, even though some days I feel like they’ll go on and on. At the end of the night, I said thank you Jesus for my boys and wished I had a bottle of Moscato chilled in the fridge.

Pots and Pans

 

Yes, please get out every bib and burp cloth while opening all of the “child proofed” cabinets and pulling all of the pots and pans out. Might I add, this is taking place while I vacuum the muffin crumbs you purposefully threw on the rug. #jesusandwine

Jesus and Wine

Staying Connected

I’m sure we all have those running group messages on our phones. You know, those messages that allow us to stay connected in those important relationships that, let’s face it, we just don’t get to enjoy as much as we’d like. I know I have several of these ongoing groups, and I’m so thankful for them. We each go on with our day-to-day activities, and many of us do this life we live without those important people geographically close to us. But those brief glimpses of each other’s lives allow us to enjoy one another and remember the times that initially brought us together.

One of those running group messages I have is with my friends from college. You spend four years of your life (maybe longer), day-in and day-out, with these people, your people. Then in no time, you all go your separate ways. There are few of us that live in close proximity, so these messages serve, in a way, as our life line to one another.

Another one of those group messages I have is with my sisters. My am I ever thankful for those two! Since my family just recently moved 600 miles away from them, I am once again, ever thankful for technology. They’re my sounding board for my various venture seeking ideas (these usually happen during nap time), the ones I can send 1,000 snapchats of my kids to and they’ll always love getting them, and two that I know are always a constant, no matter what season I’m in.

How it All Began

During one of our group messages, one of my sisters told me they thought I should just start a blog. I think they were trying to start an intervention because they were sick of me sharing new, weekly business ideas with them. Again, during nap time when I should be cleaning, my mind runs a little wild. Lucky them, they get to hear about it all. Little did they know, I’d take their little blogging advice. Thanks sisters!

With this blogging venture obviously comes technology. I have a love hate relationship with technology. It is ever changing our world both in good ways and bad ways. The bad: I spend way too much time on social media. Just ask my husband, and I worry about raising kids with technology and monitoring what they’re exposed to; however, my love for it comes in the fact that because of this tech world we live in, we have the opportunity to continue to share with those close to us through words, pictures, and videos. It can make us feel as if the distance isn’t quite so far, even if for just a moment.

My season of life right now is pretty simple in words. Wife and mom. Of course, also daughter, sister, friend, but those two words, wife and mom, sum up my everyday life. It’s a hard season, but it’s one that I wouldn’t change for the world.
Not too long ago, in this college friend running group message of ours, one of my friends said when they started having kids, they would need some parenting advice. My advice was simple: “Jesus and wine. Lots of Jesus. Lots of wine.” Side note: This is especially true during supper and bath time. At these times, you’ll need even more Jesus and want even more wine.

Let me stop you right there. Please keep reading. I know that not everyone chooses to drink, can drink, agrees with drinking, etc. Jesus and wine is an expression for a moment. That moment your child is taking off their diaper and saying, “Momma, I potty on floor”, or the moment when your child hasn’t adjusted to their new bed and after trying for an hour and a half to get them to nap in it you just give up, or the moment when your two year old takes the newly filled salt shaker and sprinkles a little salt in every room of the house. Those are Jesus and wine moments. When you think oh my goodness, I can’t make it one more minute in this day. I have T-minus 5 hours until bedtime when I can enjoy some Jesus and wine. So, please substitute whatever it is you dream of having at the end of the day when everyone is fed and tucked away fast asleep. Jesus and coffee. Jesus and a bubble bath. Jesus and Parenthood. And probably every parents favorite, Jesus and sleep. Anyways, off my soap box and back to the story.

This college friend of mine seeking future parenting advice responded saying that sounded like the great start to a memoir. She got me thinking, you know, the way those important people in your life make you do. I am definitely not starting a memoir for everyone’s sake, but I do want to document this season.

Jesus and Wine

Every day has ups and downs, smiles and frowns, laughs and cries (sometimes their cries, sometimes mine). Every day is busy. Every day comes to an end. Because of how wild each day is with these crazy, fun, and honestly, sometimes frustrating boys of mine, it’s easy to forget at the end of the day what made me want to pull my hair out that day and what made me laugh until I cried.

When people see me and how close in age my boys are to one another (15 months – yes, we know how it happens, thanks), I get many comments. Many unwarranted comments as we all know people these days have no filters; however, many people often tell me, while they’re witnessing one of those before mentioned tantrums, or me loading two kids two and under into our very heavy double stroller (imagine how graceful I look), “the days are long, but the years are short.” The days are in fact, very long, but as we just celebrated a second birthday and a first birthday, I am learning more than ever, the years are in fact just that. Short. And I don’t want to forget one day. Well ok, let’s be honest, maybe a day here and there wouldn’t be bad to forget.

This is a way to document those long days, happy days, and Jesus and wine moments. For me, for my husband, for my boys, our families, and for those important relationships we keep up with through group messaging. Hopefully, it will also be a way to provide entertainment, support, and a sigh of relief to another mom out there who faces the same challenges I do. My theory is, if someone else has googled it before you, i.e., how to get your child to stay in their bed, how to get your child to stay in time out, how to get your child to stop running in the street, etc., you can’t be the only one wondering if you’re doing this whole parenting thing wrong. I assure you, that one, you’re not alone, and two, you’re not doing it wrong. Just the simple fact that your googling it makes you at least a mediocre parent, right?

A long first post but a document as to how I got here. I hope you decide to join me on this exciting journey and find yourself relating to our crazy, circus-like, Jesus-loving adventure we call life. Now let me run, those wild boys are currently wrestling in our makeshift ball pit while trying to knock pictures off the wall. I know today I’ll need lots of Jesus, and maybe even a little wine. Continue reading “Jesus and Wine”