Fourth of July Parade Scavenger Hunt

Fourth of July Parade Scavenger Hunt

Looking for a fun way to entertain your child at a Fourth of July parade? Here’s a kid-friendly scavenger hunt to print out and take with you. Click here to open or save the scavenger hunt: Fourth of July Scavenger Hunt Printable

Be sure to check out the companion article (to run on July 3) about the Greeley Stampede Independence Day Parade: http://www.greeleymoms.com.

Have a happy and safe Independence Day!

–Melissa

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Worst Mother’s Day Ever? Let it Go!

Mother’s Day has come and gone yet again, and I am shocked at how a Hallmark holiday can wreak havoc on the emotions of women everywhere.

For some of you, this Mother’s Day may have been the best day ever. Maybe your family spoiled you from the moment you woke up until your head hit the pillow at night, showering you with love and gifts.

For others, maybe Mother’s Day was a huge disappointment. The one gift you wanted was forgotten, your family was distracted and you ended the day feeling frustrated and unappreciated.

For the rest of us, it was probably a nice day. The kids did something to make you feel special, and the world continued as normal with dishes, laundry and maybe even getting showered with vomit while you cuddled a sick child who loves you so dearly.

No matter how your Mother’s Day turned out, it’s over. Let it go. Say your thanks, make your peace and don’t let yourself get caught up in whining, complaining, husband-bashing and pouting which seems to be wide-spread following Mother’s Day.

I have a theory related to as to why so many of us end up feeling disappointed as the sun sets on Mother’s Day. As women, we tend to pride ourselves on planning activities and gifts for other people. We spend hours on Pinterest to find the perfect handmade craft for a friend or a spouse, and we have grand plans for celebrating every holiday from children’s birthdays to National Ice Cream Day and every holiday in between. When someone else, namely a husband, doesn’t put the same time and energy into planning our special day, it’s easy to be frustrated.

The second part of my post-Mother’s Day-pouting theory is also related to social media. It’s easy for us as moms to get wrapped up in the viral videos about having the world’s toughest job and to make ourselves out to be martyrs for carrying babies, giving birth and for all of the work which comes along with mothering children. These are all noble tasks, but they don’t entitle us to anything more than the love and respect of our families.

So forget Pinterest, forget playing the martyr card and look back on your Mother’s Day with some perspective. Life with kids hardly ever goes as planned, and Mother’s Day likely wasn’t exactly as you had planned or imagined, either. (One of my kids was sick. She literally soaked me in vomit. Soaked. Someone clearly forgot to tell her that Mother’s Day was supposed to be my day off.)

Have a little grace. The holiday is highly commercialized, and we shouldn’t let one measly little 24-hour period dictate how loved we feel by our families. We also shouldn’t use it as an excuse for bad behavior.

So whether you were spoiled or frustrated on Sunday, do what mothers do best: bust into a rendition of “Let It Go,” wash the vomit off of your favorite sweater, be thankful for your kids and family and consider dropping better hints for next year.

This post originally appeared on the Greeley Moms’ page last week, and I forgot to share it when it was more timely and relevant. Here is the link to the original posting: http://www.greeleytribune.com/news/feature3/11420024-113/kids-family-frustrated-holiday.

Marriage, Kids and Happiness: Changing the Statistics

Are you married with kids? Are you married and considering having kids? Do you want to be married with kids some day? If so, this post is for you. There are some startling statistics concerning marriage and happiness in couples who have kids, and we need to work hard to change them. Here is the link to my Thursday post for the Greeley Moms–please share it if you like it!

 

http://www.greeleytribune.com/news/feature3/11065425-113/kids-married-couples-spouse

 

In other news, we just found out we can lease back our house from the buyers until our new house is completed in the fall. This means no more packing and planning to move twice like we thought, and this also means regular blogging and WordPress reading can begin next week! Thanks for reading as always, especially since I’ve been so terrible at reading and commenting in the past two months.

A Mama’s Heart on Fire

The past few weeks I have been struggling immensely with finding peace, finding joy and finding my purpose.

Staying home with my girls is what I know I’m supposed to do and what I know is best for our family, and ninety percent of the time it’s where my heart is, too.

It’s on those other 10 percent of the days when I struggle, though, and it seems like I had a long string of those tough days thanks to sick babies and bitterly cold weather which left us all cooped up and on top of one another with a little too much togetherness.

Lots of prayers, tears and listening to God has given me an amazing clarity about it all, and this is the first of a series of blog posts about having a heart on fire for God even when you’re drowning in the deep end with taking care of your family and yourself.  (I hope all moms, stay at home and working, can find some encouragement because I think we are all in the deep end with our every day lives.)

Let me share this with you first, though.  I have never seen myself as someone who should share her spiritual journey.  Although I am passionate about serving my Lord, I feel like my journey isn’t one which will be the basis for a book on how to be close to God.  It is so hard for me to make time to read my Bible or complete a Bible study or do all of those “things” I feel like define a strong relationship with our God, and I don’t feel worthy to share anything about my spiritual life with others because I feel like I have so much growing left to do.

I am just an average mom who hates housework, isn’t very crafty, and has no shame about skipping a shower to snuggle a sick baby for a day or two.  But I love God and my family with all of my heart, and I want to find a way to be on fire for my God every single day.

Through my feelings of inadequacy and struggles, God has been whispering to me to try, to listen, to share my journey and my struggles and sit back and see what He can do.  So that’s what this new series, A Heart on Fire, will be about.

I’d love to have you join me on this journey.  We all need a little more hope and joy each day!

Words from a Joyful Mama’s Heart

I wish some days I was better at dwelling on the happy times with my family and kids–doesn’t it seem like the stresses and challenges get more of our attention than the cheerful moments? I know I am WAY more likely to fall on my knees in prayer and write a heart-felt blog post when I’m weary, but I know our God wants to hear from us often, not just when our hearts are aching for His love.

So after a relatively peaceful and happy weekend filled with minimal time outs, less snot and germs than the days before AND no one running away from me in a grocery store parking lot, I feel compelled to share this simple prayer of thanksgiving with you. My hope is to be able to find some encouragement by rereading this in the future on those days filled with tears and tantrums.  Here’s to focusing on the positives!

Dear Lord,

My heart is full today. I look around and see my healthy children, hear their joyful giggles, smell their sweet strawberry shampoo (and only an occasional poopy diaper) and feel their warm little fingers squeezing my hand.

You made them so perfectly in your image, and you felt compelled to share them with me. You knew just what I needed to teach me the depth of your love for me, and grateful cannot even begin to describe my feelings.

I don’t deserve these sweet children of yours, God. You gave them to me out of your love and mercy, and I pray you can work through all of us as you help me to raise them.

Their smiles light up the room and warm my heart. Their laughter echoes throughout our house and in my mind. Help me not to forget these precious sights and sounds.  Etch them on my heart so I can always remember the joy of small children on the days when I just don’t have the energy to keep going.

Remind me of the joy I feel today, and allow it to refresh and recharge my spirit for the days ahead.

Thank you, Lord, for showering me with blessings in such sweet, small packages.

Amen.

Men: 10 Things She Wants You to Know this Valentine’s Day

Husbands and dads, this post is for you.  The role of mom is a tough one. Whether we work outside of the home or stay home full time, it’s a hard job.  Here are a few things we’d like for you to know for Valentine’s Day but probably don’t tell you very often:

 

  1. We’d love an excuse to get dressed up for you.  Yoga pants and work clothes get pretty dull some days, and any chance to put on a cute dress and fix up a little bit is welcomed.
  2. Sometimes we are insecure about our looks after pregnancy and nursing and just time passing in general, and we love to hear you say that we are beautiful.  LOVE it.
  3. We miss those quiet nights of snuggling while watching a movie or getting dinner as just the two of us.  We love the kids and wouldn’t trade our lives for the world, but sometimes it is really nice to have an evening where things are like they used to be, even if it’s just for an hour or two.
  4. We greatly appreciate it when you make even the smallest effort to make plans for us.  We mamas tend to take a planning role all day long, and to have someone else say, “We’re going here to dinner tonight and I’ve already called this sitter,” is music to our ears.
  5. Your touch is the best.  Whether it’s a hand on the small of the back when you get home or brushing a wisp of hair out of our faces, the tiniest little gesture like that means you still see the girl you fell in love with underneath the tired mom we see in the mirror.
  6. All of those little things you do, like moving the trash cans to the curb every week, waking up early to shovel snow or proof reading yet another blog post, mean SO much.  We probably don’t say thank you often enough, but our lives are made so much easier by your servant heart for your family.
  7. Little gifts like flowers and chocolate are nice, but spending time together means more in the long run.  We’d rather have $50 concert tickets than $50 of flowers, especially if the concert can be a kids-free event.
  8. Even a small, thoughtful gesture like waking up early to make breakfast for the family is huge.  It shows that you are considerate and caring, and it warms our hearts.  The small things sometimes matter the most.
  9. Playing with and loving our children speaks volumes about you as a man.  We love to see you loving our babies and taking an active, team-player approach in raising kids.
  10. A man running a vacuum or doing the dishes is so sexy.  Thank you for not living in the 1950’s and being a part of all of the household activities which your father may or may not have done.  It shows your commitment to us and to the family.

 

So guys, I hope this little list can help you come up with a few Valentine’s Day ideas.  A little consideration, a little thought and a lot of love will most likely melt the heart of the woman in your life.  You still have 24 hours to make it happen!

This post was originally published on the Greeley Mom’s page of the Greeley Tribune website:

http://www.greeleytribune.com/news/feature3/10171183-113/love-family-kids-lives

Doing for the Least of These…

Tantrums?  Check.

Tears?  Check.

Scowls, grumbles and grouchiness?  Triple check.

And that’s only counting me, not my cranky and teething toddlers.  Put us all in the house again thanks to cold and snowy weather, and you’ve got a recipe for a full-blown meltdown times three.

Doesn’t that just make you want to be a stay-at-home mama?  Me either!

But I’m forgetting the pajama painting party, the pretending-to-go-to-the-dentist while we brush teeth, the snuggles and the kisses I’ve had all day long, too.

And I’m forgetting that by serving these sweet little people and doing the mundane things I do all day, I am brining glory to God.

A dear friend shared this poem with me, and I need to frame it somewhere so I can see it daily.  So if you are up with your kids in the middle of the night for the millionth night in a row, sighing at a mountain of dishes or sniffing out another poopy diaper and wondering what in the world you’ve been feeding your kids, this poem by Megan Breedlove on www.mannaformoms.com is for you.

Loving Jesus

I started my day early,

Before the room was light.

I lifted my son from his crib

And wished it was still night.

But as I held him close and said,

“Hi, Kenneth, precious one,”

I knew that as I greeted him,

I greeted too God’s Son.

When my daughter woke up later,

Calling, “Mommy! Mommy! Down!”

I picked her up and hugged her

In her worn Elmo nightgown.

I know she felt the closeness

That a mother’s touch affords.

I welcomed not just Ellie,

But so, too, the Lord of Lords.

That day, I mixed some formula

And opened jars of peas.

I fixed some “pizza butter” bread

When she grinned and said, “Pleeeeease.”

I heated up some leftovers;

I had to nuke them twice.

And when I fed my children,

I was feeding Jesus Christ.

I made some funny faces,

And “played puzzles” on the floor.

I dressed kitties, ran around outside,

And played with them some more.

We laughed and jumped and tickled,

Making memories to be stored.

When I spent time with my children,

I spent time with my Lord.

I wiped up sticky cereal

And washed the dishes clean.

I straightened, picked up, put away,

And dusted in between.

I did six loads of laundry

And folded it like new.

When I cleaned for my children,

I cleaned for my Savior, too.

When my children were both crying,

I held them in my arms.

I cuddled them and whispered

That I’d keep them safe from harm.

I told them how their Father saved them

With His perfect Lamb.

When I comforted my children,

I comforted I AM.

Later on that evening,

I put them in the bath.

I washed their little bodies

As they kicked around and splashed.

I dried them in soft towels

And put their jammies on.

When I had washed my children’s feet,

I’d washed the Holy One.

I cooked and cleaned and rearranged,

Made beds and taught and played.

I made sure that we had food to eat

And that we often prayed.

I died to self. I made a home

From ordinary things.

But when I served my children,

I served the King of Kings.

To some, I have done nothing,

But to two, I’ve done the world.

I made eternal difference

To my precious boy and girl,

And to the One who watches over

Every pathway that I’ve trod.

For when I’ve loved my precious children,

I’ve loved Almighty God.

Here is the link to the original post:

http://www.mannaformoms.com/encouragement/loving-jesus/#.UvFdLruPJes