We Have Aars http://wehaveaars.com You have your blog, we have Aars. Mon, 26 Jan 2015 03:24:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Order in the Ordinary http://wehaveaars.com/order-ordinary/ http://wehaveaars.com/order-ordinary/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 03:24:55 +0000 http://wehaveaars.com/?p=5549 Goodness gracious, I’m behind. The first month of the year has been a whirlwind. Isn’t it always, though? Every year, it feels like we snap our fingers and already it’s March. This year, I resolved to take things slower. And … Continued

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Goodness gracious, I’m behind.

The first month of the year has been a whirlwind. Isn’t it always, though?

Every year, it feels like we snap our fingers and already it’s March. This year, I resolved to take things slower.

And it’s working. Kind of.

I’ve been an organizing fool these past few weeks. There’s just something about the beginning of a new year. It makes me want to dig through every drawer in the house.

Seriously. It’s worse than nesting. I’m even looking at new paint colors.

I’ve always been that way (sorry, Michael). But it’s definitely getting worse as the years go by.

And I think I figured out why.

Order.

Organization is my desperate attempt at order. In an order-less world.

Have you ever attempted to find order in a house with little children? It’s humbling in every way.

And if you like order, like I do, then living with little ones will challenge every ounce of your being.

The thing is: I know it’s an illusion. I know order doesn’t really exist. It’s the same thing as control, really.

We spend our whole lives trying to hold the reins, when really, they aren’t ours to hold to begin with.

It’s a tough truth to swallow, isn’t it? And I’m not sure we ever really get it.

But you know what helps?

Utensil drawers. And sorting through underwear and socks.

Organizing shelves. Cleaning out junk drawers.

And baskets. Baskets for days. Baskets for everything!

Maybe I’m just kidding myself. Maybe it’s how I “cope.”

But I’ve been working through every room–organizing, child-proofing, purging, even re-decorating.

Because I figure, if I can’t have order…I can at least look at it. Right?

Nod with me. Riiiiiiiight.

So I guess you could say, I’ve been looking for order in the ordinary. And you know what?

It works. It really does.

Because when you find it in the ordinary, you stop chasing it in your life.

Which is truly how it should be.

I hope your January has been simply delightful. I have lots of projects in the works that I’m excited to share. And I haven’t even introduced you to Lucille, yet!

So many posts, so little time.

Here’s hoping you find a little order in your ordinary this week…

Order

 

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2015: New Years Resolutions http://wehaveaars.com/new-years-resolutions/ http://wehaveaars.com/new-years-resolutions/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 22:40:15 +0000 http://wehaveaars.com/?p=5515 I know, I know. I’m a little late to the party. But, to be fair, I’m just following through with my resolutions. And let me start off by saying, I used to hate resolutions. I just couldn’t stand the idea … Continued

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Do more of what makes you happy

I know, I know. I’m a little late to the party.

But, to be fair, I’m just following through with my resolutions.

And let me start off by saying, I used to hate resolutions.

I just couldn’t stand the idea of setting a hard and fast rule for myself that would surely be broken by week two. Because who wants to start their year feeling like a failure?

But a few years back I started lowering the stakes.  And then things finally started to make sense.

I started to change my resolutions into dreams, goals, and “things to work on.”

I think we all want to be better in life–better wives, better moms, better sisters, daughters, or friends.

Better people.

And I see resolutions as a road map to help us get there.

So every year, I set two or three of them.

And the key is this: There is no end goal. No failing. No measurement to say whether I “succeeded” or not…

Just me. Day in and day out. Trying to be better at this thing we call life.

And becoming a better person by trying.

So here goes, my resolutions for 2015:

 

1. Do more of what makes you happy

And let me emphasize the YOU.

Moms tend to put everyone else’s needs before our own–sometimes without even realizing it. I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve forgotten to eat a meal because I was too busy feeding my kids. But to be a good parent, we have to put ourselves first. Totally opposite of what our Mommy DNA tells us to do.  This past year, I lost my “happy” for the sake of my families’.

Spoiler alert: It didn’t work out so well.

So I’ve spent the last few weeks studying myself. Watching. Thinking. Noticing.

What are the things, outside of my family, that make me happy? It was hard at first. Because I’ve wrapped up so much of my happiness into my kids. But the harder I looked the more I found. I got to know myself again.

Musicals. Hot baths. Magazines. Vintage Trailers. And peanut butter-chocolate shakes. It’s a quirky list, but it’s mine. ALL MINE.

I’m slowly learning what makes ME happy. And by golly, those are the things I’ll do more of this year.

 

2. Be present

Sometimes I curse the very existence of smart phones. But I can’t just blame technology…

I spent this past year somewhere else entirely. I was either dwelling in the past, or worrying about the future. And in that very process, I missed the “todays.”

This year, I’ve committed to stop time traveling. I’ve committed to be present, with my thoughts and my actions. To see every moment before me, and stay there.

Two weeks in, and it’s already paying dividends.

 

3. Do your best

Notice I didn’t say “do your perfect.” 

Hi. My name is Allison. And I’m a perfection-a-holic. (That’s one step further than a perfectionist)

It’s funny. I’m well aware that life isn’t perfect, and that I can’t be either. But when it comes to the things I do? My responsibilities and tasks at hand? Good just isn’t good enough.

Except for the fact that IT IS. And thinking that “it’s not” has taken it’s toll–making me miss precious moments while trying to attain the impossible.

So this year I’m letting myself off the hook.

If the blog post isn’t perfect? I’m posting it.

If the party isn’t done? I’m having it.

And if things don’t work out just how I planned? I’m enjoying it anyways.

Because that’s life, folks.

And I refuse to miss it because I’m busy trying to make it something else.

 

Happy New Year, friends. I hope your 2015 is off to a fantastic start. Here’s to a year full of love, light, and dreams come true.

 

 

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Isaiah’s Baseball Party http://wehaveaars.com/isaiahs-baseball-party/ http://wehaveaars.com/isaiahs-baseball-party/#comments Mon, 05 Jan 2015 23:00:01 +0000 http://wehaveaars.com/?p=5517 I’m having a hard time getting back to all things “normal.” Please tell me I’m not the only one? Our Christmas tree is still up, and I have no plans to take it down. It’s my last desperate attempt to … Continued

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I’m having a hard time getting back to all things “normal.” Please tell me I’m not the only one?

Our Christmas tree is still up, and I have no plans to take it down. It’s my last desperate attempt to hold on to the holidays.

I’m avoiding real life, at all costs.

But I did want to share a few pictures from Isaiah’s birthday party before, you know, a year passed.

Man oh man, having a Christmas birthday is tough. I don’t think Isaiah knows any different, yet. But Geez-Louise, it’s hard on this Momma!

Let’s just say that December 25th is my Superbowl. We did a small birthday celebration on Christmas, and held his party a week later.

Sweet Isaiah wanted a baseball theme this year, so that’s just what he got.

We kept it small, just the main family and Godparents. We are so blessed to have all of our family members in town, so it gets pretty darn packed with “just us”.

We had peanuts, crackerjacks, hot dogs, baseball Oreos, cupcakes, and of course…a baseball cake.

The party may have been small, but I didn’t want to spare a detail for my boy. He’s worth every minute spent.

I snapped a few shots, but wish I had snapped more! The older he gets, the harder it is to capture the details before he digs in. ;)

Happy birthday party, Isaiah. I had such a fun time celebrating with you. Here’s to many, many more…

Love always,

Mommy

Baseball Party

baseball party

baseball party

baseball party

baseballparty5

baseball party

baseball party

(Happy to share sources upon request!)

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FOUR: Isaiah http://wehaveaars.com/four-isaiah/ http://wehaveaars.com/four-isaiah/#comments Tue, 30 Dec 2014 03:03:41 +0000 http://wehaveaars.com/?p=5507 I’m not gonna lie, little man. This one was hard on me. I think I wanted to hold on to your toddler-hood for as long as humanly possible. And four? Four is big kid. There’s just no denying it. No … Continued

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Isaiah is FOUR

I’m not gonna lie, little man. This one was hard on me.

I think I wanted to hold on to your toddler-hood for as long as humanly possible. And four?

Four is big kid. There’s just no denying it.

No more chubby legs or rubber band wrists. No more baby talk or wobbly steps. Just my big boy, wanting to do everything all by himself.

I know that my goal as a Mom should be to become completely uneccessary–to grow a child who becomes self-sufficient, independent, and confident.

But I’ve gotta confess: I want you to need me. I need you to need me. Because I’m your Mommy, and well…I need YOU.

In fact, just the other day I explained to your Daddy that you are actually a part of my heart–and it wouldn’t quite beat the same without you.

Isaiah, since the day you were born, you had a light about you. And I used to worry that it would dwindle with the years.

But you’ve proven quite the opposite.

Your light is brighter than ever, and boy do you let it shine.

There are so many things I want to remember about you…

The quirky little way your eyes expand when your mind is working.

The “bad guy” face you make when Daddy plays Thunderstruck in the car.

The way you call “Sammy baby” from down the hall.

And the creative excuses you come up with to explain yourself.

You’re holding onto a few words that melt my heart. Mostly because they remind me that my baby is still in there…somewhere.

Let’s see…

There’s the “famote control” that changes the channels on TV.

We still get the Christmas decorations down from the “ackit.”

And my favorite, your gentle acknowledgment that you understand what I tell you…

“Wight, Mommy. Wight.”

Isaiah, three was a tough year. On all of us. But particularly for you. You weathered some storms, not all of which were your own. And I want you to know, for whatever it’s worth, that you sailed through them beautifully.

I couldn’t be more proud of you.

Your Daddy and I had a conversation about you this morning–about how you’re a gift straight from God.

I know, I know…all babies are. But somehow, you have a direct line to him. You tell us things that come straight from above, every single day.

And most importantly. You listen to him.

Keep that quality, baby boy. Keep it close. It will serve you well, I promise.

Here’s to FOUR, sweet Isaiah. Let’s make it our best year yet. Deal?

Deal.

 

Love Always,

Mommy

 

P.S. I love you. More than all the stars. And don’t you ever forget it.

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Kids Christmas Star Painting http://wehaveaars.com/kids-christmas-star-painting/ http://wehaveaars.com/kids-christmas-star-painting/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 19:28:50 +0000 http://wehaveaars.com/?p=5495 Isaiah has REALLY enjoyed learning all about the Christmas Star this year. Actually, he’s rather obsessed. He and I have a Christmas song we share together. It’s a special one–one that I rocked him to when he was just days … Continued

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Christmas Star Painting

Isaiah has REALLY enjoyed learning all about the Christmas Star this year. Actually, he’s rather obsessed.

He and I have a Christmas song we share together. It’s a special one–one that I rocked him to when he was just days old (since he was born on Christmas).

It’s called “Follow That Star” by Cindy Morgan. Have you heard it? Definitely worth a download if you haven’t.

It talks about following that special star throughout our lives–letting it lead and guide us. Such a wonderful message for Advent, and every season that follows.

Isaiah has come to know that song as his own–and even insists that I put it on repeat for him as he falls asleep each night.

And when he started drawing Christmas Stars in his free time, I knew it was time for a project. ;)

I saw an adorable tutorial for snowflake art a while back, and fully intended on making some with the boys. And then it hit me, why not put our own little spin on it and make our very own Christmas Star?

A dear friend had recently given the boys their very own nativity set. So we set out to make the perfect backdrop.

This project was so stinkin’ easy. And Isaiah was so proud that he made it ALL BY HIMSELF.

It might be our favorite project together to date…

 

To make, you will need:

  • canvas (Size is up to you, we chose 16×16.)
  • blue paint (Again, specific shade is up to you. We chose Martha Stewart craft pain in “Slate Gray.” )
  • masking tape (or painter’s tape)
  • Paintbrush

 

I arranged the tape into the shape of a star like so. (Just make the shape of a cross, then add an “x” over the middle.)  You’ll also notice I angled the edges of each piece of tape…this really helped give it the twinkling look.

Christmas Star Painting

Then it was time to paint. I chose to use craft paint and a brush because we were going for a specific look. But you can definitely use finger paint if your kids are younger.

Christmas Star Painting

And P.S.This was Isaiah’s first time painting on areal canvas. He was on cloud nine!

While the paint is still wet, peel the tape and set the painting aside to dry. (The hardest part was the waiting!)

As soon as the canvas was dry, we arranged our Nativity in front of it. Isaiah was SO very proud. And of course, so was I.

Christmas Star painting

His first real painting. And how special that we’ll get to display it every year at Christmas, and remember the fun we had making it.

My heart skip a beat just thinking about it.

I love you, sweet Isaiah. You’re my Christmas baby, and you always will be. Thank you for being such a light in our lives.

Christmas Star Painting

 

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A Different Kind of Christmas Countdown http://wehaveaars.com/different-kind-christmas-countdown/ http://wehaveaars.com/different-kind-christmas-countdown/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 18:24:30 +0000 http://wehaveaars.com/?p=5469 December just arrived and already it’s halfway gone. We even bit the bullet and decorated early this year. Something we’ve never done before. But some years, you just need Christmas regardless of whether or not it’s here. And we’ve had … Continued

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Christmas Countdown

December just arrived and already it’s halfway gone.

We even bit the bullet and decorated early this year. Something we’ve never done before. But some years, you just need Christmas regardless of whether or not it’s here. And we’ve had one of those years.

I’ve never seen Isaiah so excited as he was on “decorating day.”

He’s my holiday kid, just like his Momma. He lives from holiday to holiday. So when the Super Bowl of them all comes along, he can hardly contain himself.

But then again, neither can I.

He was talking about a mile a minute–telling me what to put where, and how we should decorate every square inch of space. At one point, I just stopped to watch him.

The chatter. The excitement. The very essence of innocence.

It was precious, in the truest meaning of the word.

Christmas has never been so meaningful as when I’ve had my boys. And sometimes, glutton for punishment that I am, I stop to imagine what the holidays will be like without them–when they’re all grown up and gone.

The nature of time with our children is funny. It feels so long but really it’s so short.

Days feel like years, and years feel like days.

But if you do the simple math…

There’s one Christmas every year, and roughly eighteen years at home…

That’s eighteen Christmases. Or rather, eighteen chances.

To teach them the true meaning of Christmas. To show them how give and how to love. To remind them it’s not about what we are, or what we receive–but what we can offer of ourselves.

To teach them that we give at Christmas because we were first given to, on that blessed night in the manger.

And man, I want to get that right.

The hardest part, is realizing how many are already gone.

I have fourteen Christmases left with Isaiah at home. Seventeen with Sammy.

Time has never felt so short. Or so important.

That’s when I decided I needed a different kind of Christmas countdown. I wanted a visual reminder–a visual cue to make each moment count, because they’re already numbered whether I like it or not.

Christmas Countdown

Christmas Countdown

Each year, this handmade countdown will find a special place in my home. We’ll countdown the days to Christmas, and also the years–to remind me that every day is a gift–one that I’ll never get back. Because next year, my boys will be a little older, a little different, and a little harder to reach. Never the same as they are right now.

But for today? They’re mine. On loan from God to love and protect. And teach…

And I plan to do that well. This Christmas, and every one after.

Christmas Countdown

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Learning To Walk http://wehaveaars.com/learning-to-walk/ http://wehaveaars.com/learning-to-walk/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 03:03:41 +0000 http://wehaveaars.com/?p=5463 Samuel’s been learning to walk these days. I know, I know. He’s a bit late to the party at fifteen months. But Isaiah was a late walker and…can I be honest for a minute? I love it. There’s something about … Continued

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Learning to Walk

Samuel’s been learning to walk these days.

I know, I know. He’s a bit late to the party at fifteen months. But Isaiah was a late walker and…can I be honest for a minute?

I love it.

There’s something about walking that takes the baby out of your baby. More than any milestone, walking means the “toddler transition” has officially begun. And call me crazy, but I want my baby for as long as he’ll let me have him.

Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes…

Samuel LOVES to practice his walking.

His favorite pass time is waddling towards me from across the room–arms reaching out, grinning ear to ear, eyes wide with delight. And the second he gets to me, he falls gleefully into my arms.

In that moment my heart bursts with pride.

I mean, literally. It feels like my heart might burst right out of my chest. It hurts, even. But a good hurt.

Then he gently pushes me backward so he can do it all over again.

Learning to Walk

And the very best part is how he lingers in my arms–hugging my neck, and holding onto me with everything he has. It fills my heart with joy.

We play this game thousands of times a day. Walk, fall, hug, repeat.

And the thing that gets me every time, is his trust.

Think about it. It’s scary to take your first steps. It’s scary to lose your balance. It’s even scarier to fall. But he never doubts that I’ll be there. He never doubts I’ll catch him.

Sometimes I think we’re all “learning to walk” at times in our lives. Taking new jobs, starting relationships, having babies, facing new challenges…hard challenges. Starting over after divorce, battling addiction, or facing life after losing a loved one.

We are constantly stepping out on wobbly legs. And more often than not (tell me I’m not the only one?) we’re too scared to even begin. Too afraid to take a step. Because falling is scary for grown-ups, too.

But what if we could have the faith of a child? What if we could remember that someone’s there. Someone’s got us…

No matter what.

Think how much easier it would be. Think of the steps (no LEAPS) we could take, and the mountains we could climb.

I like to imagine God’s heart bursting with pride when we trust him, just like mine does with Samuel. I like to imagine his face beaming when we take our first steps, and courageously fall into his arms.

And oh, the joy he must feel we linger–hanging onto him with everything we have. Never to let go…

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Hiatus http://wehaveaars.com/hiatus/ http://wehaveaars.com/hiatus/#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 00:47:26 +0000 http://wehaveaars.com/?p=5408 Have you ever needed to take a break from what you “do”? What makes you YOU. Hit the pause button. Get away? But not away. Take a breather, but right where you are? That has been the essence of my … Continued

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Have you ever needed to take a break from what you “do”? What makes you YOU. Hit the pause button. Get away? But not away. Take a breather, but right where you are?

That has been the essence of my life these last few weeks…hence my lack of posts.

Sometimes I struggle with blogging.

I mean, I love it. It’s a part of me. It’s my self-care, what I do to survive.

I’m not myself without writing, or creating in some form or fashion.

But sometimes I feel like I am missing out on life, in my heart-felt efforts to write about it. Or capture it. Or memorize it.

Or cling to it.

They say when a photographer lives through a lens, they lose the memory. And I believe that to be true.

I just think the lens itself is interchangeable. Be it an actual camera, or be it life. Be it work or distractions. Finances, or long lost dreams.

Whatever “it” may be, it gets in the way sometimes, doesn’t it? Between us and life…

And whenever it does I take a hiatus from that very roadblock, challenging myself to “be present”.

To live life fully–not on the page, but in the flesh. To experience my loved ones–not on camera, but through sight. And sound. And memory-making.

To disregard the distractions–things that pull us away from the importance.

To detach from social media–and to understand, with a little distance, the illusion that it is.

Life is messy. But beautiful. Not perfect, but incomplete. And if we focus too much on what it is not, then we just might miss what it actually IS.

And I don’t want to miss it. Not now.

Not while pitter-patter feet still live in this house.

So excuse the silence. It’s not permanent, just a hiatus.

A much needed time for me to reset, and focus on living. And enjoying. And experiencing faces like these.

 Hiatus

Can’t recommend it enough, really.

 

 

 

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Candy Corn Popcorn Bags http://wehaveaars.com/candy-corn-popcorn-bags/ http://wehaveaars.com/candy-corn-popcorn-bags/#comments Tue, 07 Oct 2014 21:10:00 +0000 http://wehaveaars.com/?p=5376 Have you traded your microwave popcorn packs for brown bag popcorn yet? If not, you should! Martha Stewart turned me on to brown bag popcorn a few years ago. And ever since, it’s the only way we make it. Just … Continued

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Candy Corn Popcorn Bags

Have you traded your microwave popcorn packs for brown bag popcorn yet? If not, you should!

Martha Stewart turned me on to brown bag popcorn a few years ago. And ever since, it’s the only way we make it.

Just fill one brown paper bag with 1/4 cup of kernels,  crumple (pretty sure that’s the official term) the top to seal the bag and put in the microwave for one minute. You’ll have the best-tasting, fluffiest popcorn you’ve ever tasted.

Candy Corn Popcorn Bags

So simple, and SO much better for you.

I decided to add a fun twist to our brown bag tradition, just in time for Halloween…

Candy Corn Popcorn Bags!

Candy Corn Popcorn Bags

So easy to make they almost don’t need a tutorial…

You’ll need:

  • Tempera paint in yellow, orange, and white.
  • A medium sized paint brush
  • Brown paper bags (as many as you want to make)
  • Popcorn kernels
  • String
  • Gift tags (if desired)

Lay your paper bags side-by-side and paint one color stripe at a time (yellow on bottom, orange in the middle, and white on top). I kept each stripe the width of my paint brush, to make it easier.

Candy Corn Popcorn Bags

Let dry, and fill each bag with 1/4 kernels, then tie off with the string. And you’re done.

Aren’t they the cutest?

Candy Corn Popcorn Bags

Perfect for healthy Halloween treats, party favors, or even gifts for teachers and friends.

Candy Corn Popcorn Bags

Happy popping!

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Time-IN http://wehaveaars.com/time-in/ http://wehaveaars.com/time-in/#comments Mon, 06 Oct 2014 03:38:23 +0000 http://wehaveaars.com/?p=5306 Mommy needed a time-in tonight. No, not a time-out. A time-IN. Let me back up… We’re no stranger to time-outs around here. I can still remember the first time we implemented them. Sigh. Remember that moment? When your sweet, innocent … Continued

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Mommy needed a time-in tonight. No, not a time-out. A time-IN.

Let me back up…

We’re no stranger to time-outs around here.

I can still remember the first time we implemented them.

Sigh.

Remember that moment? When your sweet, innocent baby turned into a full-blown melt down toddler?

I remember thinking…What? You mean we have to discipline him? No one told me that part.

We chose the “time-out” method, which has been very effective for us. However…

The older Isaiah gets, the more his emotions evolve. And it’s super important to me that he learns how to handle those emotions to the best of his ability. Something, I’ll confess, that I’ve never really been good at. But I’m working on it.

So one day on a total whim, when Isaiah was having a particularly emotional moment, I implemented our very first “time-in.” I explained to him that it was the opposite of a time-out. That he wasn’t in trouble, but rather, it was personal time–time for him to let his emotions out…on his own time, in his own space.

He was a little reluctant at first, but once I talked him through it he decided to give it try.

And we’ve been doing time-in’s ever since.

Time In

It’s been so fruitful for him. For us, really.

But one thing I quickly realized…

Mom has to the lead the way.

You can teach a child to do, until you don’t. Am I right?

In other words…children learn according to what we do, not what we say.

And you know what that means? Lots of time-in’s for me. I mean…LOTS.

Let’s be honest. It’s almost impossible to keep cool 24/7 around your children. Show me the woman who can, and I’ll build her a statue. Bronzed.

I pretty much give myself a time-in once a day. And not silently, either. I publicly announce it…  “Mommy needs a time in!”

It may sound crazy. But I love it for so many reasons…

  1. It makes me a better Mom. Even just a few minutes alone allows me to regroup, calm down, and keep the cool I almost blew. Then I can react appropriately.
  2. It teaches Isaiah to recognize not only Mommy’s limits, but HIS OWN.  Which is so stinkin’ important in my book.
  3. It teaches our family to respect each other’s emotions and how they unfold.

I want my children to know that our emotions are vital to who we are–that they are not to be squashed or hidden, BUT there’s also a time and a place. I want my children to know that it’s okay to be sad, or angry, or upset. And I want my children to feel confident in their ability to navigate those feelings, in a safe and comforting environment.

The other day Isaiah gave himself a time-in. I almost cried.

It’s those little moments of victory, you know?

They are small, but mighty.

 And they deserve their own glass of wine. ;)

 

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