It is such a happy time in our family right now with a new baby on the way!
We are almost to the halfway mark! Elijah is excited as well, but I know that with a new baby means big changes for him in his life again. Over the last week or so we’ve been starting to see how our happy little boy is actually feeling some really big sad’s.
We have a bedtime routine with Elijah and it’s been in place since before Zach and I got married. It carried on into our marriage and Zach is just now apart of it. We always spend the last hour of the day together typically watching some corny cartoon Elijah likes on netflix and have a snack. Then we do the usual brush your teeth, feed the fish, get in bed. We have memorized a few verses that we always repeat and then pray.
This has been no issue up until the last week. We do all of the usual things but a few minutes after leaving his room he comes into ours crying.
“I miss my daddy, and I’m sad.”
“Every night when I go to bed I start thinking about him and I get sad.”
“I prayed to God to make me not sad, but I still am… why?”
So many questions began to fill my head and most of them are still unanswered.
Like, why now? Why all of the sudden is this bothering him so deeply, causing him anxiety and to not be able to go to sleep? Why is it only at night time? I started to think maybe it has something to do with the new baby coming, another huge life change.
In the last year and a half he lost relationship with his biological dad, gained a new dad in the household, and experienced gaining a grandma and then losing her to cancer in only a matter of 3 days. Then trying to sort through all of the emotions this brings on while starting a new school year, not to mention the background of abuse he has had. My mommy heart breaks for my son when I think about everything he has had to adjust to. I knew all of these things would always play a part in his life but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to watch your child have to walk through them.
After discussing each night and everyday we did find out a little more about his heart.
He is concerned that with the new baby he won’t get as much love. Bingo. It really does relate back to his dad and a lot of the loss he has experienced. The joy of a new baby is so exciting and fun but he is still learning to process how to grieve. In the back of his mind he thinks he is going to lose us in a sense when the baby gets here just like he lost his dad and his grandma and the security of the routine he had always known.
The hardest question to answer was , “I prayed to God and I’m still sad, why?” I explained to him the difference between “big sad” and “little sad”. We have these momentary sadnesses that can pop up at any moment like when we thought a friend was coming over and then we find out they can’t. We are sad, disappointed, let down… but it isn’t that big of a deal. Losing a parent is a big deal, I would consider it a “big sad”. The “big sad’s” in our lives take more time to heal. They take more prayer and more trust that God knows what is best for us. A big sad may never be completely healed, but our God never leaves us no matter how big the sad is.
So as a mom, what do I do?
We stand on who GOD is. The perfect Father. I reassure my son that he never did a thing to earn my love, just like we do nothing to earn God’s. He can never do anything to lose His love, nor mine. We remember when we are sad that, “The Joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10, and we pray that at bedtime. We admit this is a “big sad” in his life and lean on God even when it feels like maybe He doesn’t hear or answer us.
I learn so much from being a mom. Being a mom has humbled me and God has used it to show me how to listen and be discerning and gracious. Let me tell you it isn’t easy when you are pregnant and exhausted to sit in your little ones bed for 30 minutes to an hour dealing with deep rooted issues knowing that when you finally do get in bed, he is going to come in crying and needing you. But we do it. I cannot leave my son to struggle alone. I have to give him the tools and grace and assurance he needs to walk through the pain in life.
God the Father is the same with us. While he doesn’t always take away our negative situations, mainly because he allowed them there to begin with, He will never leave you to struggle through them alone either.
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I really hope you guys have enjoyed the summertime bucket list blogs so far!
Today is another totally free post! I have made a point time and time again to advise you to make. Your bucket list according to what your kids are interested in! It makes it so much more for them and for you as well! So let’s get started.
_MOM TIP #1 Get a library card
Most of you with school aged kids have seen the papers that come home where you are able to log your reading time each day. In our house we aim to read at least 20 minutes a day. Getting a library card has been one of the best things I have done! It has saved us so much money because of how many books we go through. Whether it be Elijah reading books to me or the other way around. We read simple stories we get from the library, we read chapter books, and we read the bible. It really doesn’t matter to me what we read as long as we are spending some time with each other each day! It is a way for us to connect and have fun! During the school year Elijah earned SO many rewards for all of his reading and most of them came in the form of food. Whataburger coupons, Pizza Hut, Papa Murphy’s, and Braum’s to name a few! We collected them up and use them when the budget was tight! So on this day we used the free ice cream from Braum’s coupons to get a little sweet treat!
_MOM TIP #2 Find free museums
Elijah has always loved anything to do with the military. Ever since he was a toddler he has been infatuated with the little plastic army men and setting them up for battles. I truly think it began because his biological dad was in the National Guard Reserves, so naturally he thought it was really cool. I have never discouraged his interest in this but more so encouraged it.
To serve in the military is a huge responsibility and a great honor. If you have served, or are serving currently, thank you.
He still finds great joy in all things military so I thought what better place to take him to than to The 45th Infantry Museum.
Museums are a fabulous way to spend your day, which is why I said to choose things that interest your child. If your kid doesn’t enjoy things about the military I wouldn’t take them to a museum that offers nothing but military artifacts! You will get worn out and frustrated super fast and the point is to have fun not to do something just to say you did it.
We walked in and signed our names in the book and asked the man at the front which way we should start. We walked through and I have to say for someone who has grown up interested in history it was very neat. I am the kind of person who gets distracted easily but the information and all of the artillery and guns were fascinating to look at.
It was interesting to read about the different wars.
To know that the things we were looking at were legitimately used by men who served was very cool. We took our time and Elijah had fun telling me what guns were AK-47’s and which ones were used for certain battles. His knowledge about these things blew me away! He has my dad to thank for that.
_MOM TIP #3 Avoid unnecessary expenses
We finished up inside in the gift store which is the only place we spent money. I bought Elijah another collection of plastic army men for $10 which isn’t a bad price at all. This was an optional expense so you could easily avoid the gift shop if you need to! Outside they have big tanks and various forms of transportation. By the time we got out there we had just enough time to walk around and look at them before it started to rain on us! Overall it was a short afternoon and we both really enjoyed our time here!
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We are trying to keep our kids entertained this summer without breaking the bank, right?
In my last Summer Bucket List post we talked about how boredom kicks in way too fast once we hit summer break and all we really want Is our kids to be thankful for their break and have fun! When you have a tight budget this can be something that seems nearly impossible, so in this specific blog I am going to talk about one of the cheaper days we had so far.
One of the best things ever I remember as a kid
was doing things with my friends. I loved that my parents were really involved in my life and activities and always welcomed having our friends over to the house! They were so willing to pick them up and take them with us to do whatever it was we were doing. I remember countless times when my parents would LOAD up the suburban with our friends to take them to the lake or pick them up for church events. I remember late night taco bell runs when I was still unable to drive. Most of my memories are very simple but I hold them so close to my heart. I know that growing up with parents who were willing to lose some sleep and have a messy house made a tremendous impact on me and how I want my kids to grow up. With that in mind, I like to try and include Elijah’s friends in our activities!
_MOM TIP #1
Choose a friend who wont drive you to insanity! Don’t hate me because I speak the truth. Some kids just don’t play well together!
We decided to bring along Landen, who you will see in a lot of these posts because Elijah and him get along so well! We wanted to do three things on this day. Our itinerary looked something like this: Go to the park, have a picnic, and get snow-cones! You guys, local parks get overlooked so often! We think kids need some super extravagant play place when in all reality most kids can have fun anywhere, especially if you bring along a friend they enjoy spending time with!
_MOM TIP #2
Go buy an outdoor blanket from Wal Mart! The brand is mainstays and it cost around $10. It is a padded quilt that folds up and zips so it’s easy to carry and doesn’t take up a ton of room.
We live in Midwest City so we decided to go to Joe B. Barnes. Regional Park on Reno and Douglas. I love this park because there are plenty of things for them to do and I can sit back and relax because it’s small enough to see them as they run around. They also have a dog park on one side so you can bring your doggies along as well! The walking trail really isn’t too bad either, but today was more about the kids! So first we set out our picnic under some shade and ate it because two 8 year old boys are ALWAYS hungry! Our lunch was simple too! Sandwiches, apple sauce packs, fruit, gatorades, and some bubble gum! No need to go buy McDonald’s or pizza when you’ve already spent money on groceries!
_MOM TIP #3
Take advantage of the fact that your child has a friend with them and take something with you FOR YOU to enjoy while they play. I took a book! But you could color or listen to an audiobook or journal. Or maybe you just want to sit quietly. But PUT DOWN YOUR PHONE! Unless it’s for pictures of course!
After lunch they ran off with the soccer ball and I got to sit in the shade and read. They played for a couple of hours and decided they were in DESPERATE need for a snow-cone. So that’s what we ended with! This park has a snow-cone stand available right near the play area so that’s super convenient. I sent them up with their money and they joined me back on the blanket to enjoy it and cool off. The boys were hot, sweaty, and stinky when we left but we had a virtually free (besides the $5 on snow-cones) fun day! And even I got to relax!
Just remember as you’re planning your bucket list the most important thing is making memories. It doesn’t have to be expensive or something extremely out of the ordinary. Most kids will just appreciate it that you want to spend time doing things that they enjoy!
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A Gay Mormon.
I am a huge reader.
I love reading anything and everything. This last year I went on a journey to read a lot of biographies and non-fiction books. I have made my way through a lot of books and I am so excited to begin to share some of my experiences in my literature journey with you! I decided to start with a book I most recently finished called, “Saving Alex: When I was 15 I Told My Mormon Parents I Was Gay And That’s When My Nightmare Began.” This book is a biography written by Alex Cooper herself and Joanna Brooks.
I am sure by now you guys have noticed a pattern in some of the books I’ve posted about reading this year. A lot of them have been centered around the LGBTQ community, the bible, and stories of people who identify as LGBTQ or did at one point. Unfortunately, this post isn’t going to be amazingly controversial and I am not going to spit my opinions or beliefs on the topic, it’s truly about Alex’s journey and her story told in this book. So if you are looking for a conversation about my views, I would be glad to build a relationship with you outside of social media.
Now, on to the book.
Alex grew up in a normal mormon family. They attended church and believed that they would all get to heaven if they followed Gods plan. Gods plan for a mormon woman looks something like marry a missionary, lead a good life, have children and teach them how to also follow Gods plan and then when you die you will get to be with your family in heaven for all eternity. This is an extremely basic idea of how it’s supposed to go. But for Alex, she realized this idea of being with her family in heaven forever wasn’t a reality at all. She wouldn’t be able to marry a missionary because Alex liked girls.
She made the mistake of sneaking out to go with some friends out of town one weekend where she came into full realization of her sexual attraction to girls. She then made the mistake of blurting it out to her mom upon returning home. Her mom then lost ALL of her cool and proceeded to kick Alex out of their house, all while her dad sat silent. Alex went to a family friends house for a few weeks until her parents decided the best place for her to go would be to her grandparents house in Utah. Little did Alex know she was going to Utah, but she was definitely NOT being sent to stay with her grandparents.
She was sent to stay with a mormon family down the street from them who had guaranteed to be able to fix Alex and get her back on Gods plan.
In her months staying here
Alex fought suicidal thoughts, end even had a failed attempt. She had been abandoned by her parents, left with complete strangers, and would be there until she was no longer gay or could convince them that she wasn’t. She was no doubt emotionally and physically abused and neglected. Some of the things they had her do were forms of torture. Everyone in the town was under the impression that any kids sent to this family were troubled and when Alex had made desperate attempts for help, she was completely ignored and got a good beating afterwards. Once she was FINALLY allowed to go to public school upon some good beahavior, she made a few alliances who were able to help her escape and get free. It was an extremely long and emotional process all through legal means, but she did get free.
I really recommend this book for a fresh perspective on not only the inside life of someone who identifies LGBTQ but also how religion affects our behaviors and beliefs.
I truly believe there are obvious areas of deceit all through this entire book and I believe that someone with a heart after GOD’s will be able to see them. She gives some breathtaking statistics about kids who identify as LGBTQ and how many of them are suicidal, have drug addiction, are homeless or kicked out. A lot of teens even turn to prostitution and illegal things to be able to make money to survive after they are kicked out. This is not to say that the LGBTQ community or people who identify as that are all bound to be criminals, so don’t put words in my mouth. It is to point out that we have an entire community of people, young kids, who are hurting. Who are left abandoned by their own family members. They are made to feel inadequate and less than and often times their lives are so lonely they would rather not live. This is not okay with me.
No person should ever feel so alone and dirty and unwanted that they want to end their life.
So my challenge,
Read a book that might make you feel uncomfortable. Go into a conversation with someone different than you simply to hear THEIR story. Learn something about a culture or people who you feel you can’t or don’t relate to. At the end of the day we are all human and we all share the same emotions. You can relate on some level, and we need to learn to be willing to shut up and listen every once in awhile.
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Kids cannot WAIT to get out of school it seems like.
About a month before the 2018/2019 school year was over Elijah began asking me every single day, ”Mom, how many days left of school?” I’m sure I’m not the only parent who has experienced this! Please GOD don’t let me be the only one who had to check her attitude every morning and answer him politely.
I get it! I remember the last month of school was dreadful! All you could think about was going to the lake, staying up late and sleeping in. I remember daydreaming of ice cream and vacation and all of the things. What got even more exciting was when there was only a WEEK left! The classroom suddenly became more bearable and the air was fresher simply because you knew you wouldn’t be stuck in there much longer. The best day of all was the last one when you got to watch a movie, have extra recess, and clean off the desks with that foam cleaner! Then the bell would ring and… SUMMER HAD FINALLY ARRIVED!
But I am sure that just like that countdown began so early, so did your kids boredom.
One of the most frustrating things for me to hear is “Mom, I’m bored. What can I do?” Which usually comes up after his 30 minutes of video game time is up. What can you do? How about go get messy outside or play with the 8 trillion legos you have that I am constantly stepping on. It drives me insane! So this summer I decided to save him the boredom and save me my sanity.
Summer Bucket List 2019!
I stole this idea from our pastors wife but edited it some to things specifically for Elijah and I! All kids have different interests and all families have different budgets! So far we have made a pretty good dent in our list. We first had an “Adventure Day” where we packed snacks in our backpacks and put on our ball caps to go out adventuring.
We drove a little over an hour to the Arbuckle Wilderness!
I had never been but it was a blast! Their website had a $2 off coupon per admission so that saved a few dollars, and we bought 3 cups of animal food and a bag of fish food! The grand total here was $36.76, not too bad in my opinion! We drove with our windows down and fed the animals as they came up to our car. We saw PLENTY of llamas, donkeys, and alpacas! But we also got to see bison, zebra, deer, rams, geese, and we will never forget the camels! Beware of the camels! They are aggressive!! Also, the rams might scratch the paint on your car like they so lovingly did to mine. And the donkeys might also decide to follow your car or not move their heads out of the way of your side mirrors. Whoops. After we drove through which took about an hour to an hour and a half we parked and went to walk around the outside area they have where we fed the fish and saw some kangaroos. There honestly wasn’t much to do or see in the walk around area but it was included in admission and we bought the fish food so why not!?
After we left there we headed to Arbuckle Fried Pies –
because who doesn’t love pie?
For $11.77 we got 3 pies! Peach, apple, and a broccoli/chicken one. I am pregnant after all! I needed to make sure to have some kind of substance… even if it was fried! They were all delicious! Highly recommend. We next headed back toward the city but stopped in Pauls Valley at The Toy & Action Figure Museum. It looks like a tiny place because it is located on a cute old downtown street in the middle of town! We headed in and it cost us $12.00 total! I don’t really care about action figures but if you like comics or that sort of thing you could spend HOURS in here. The walls are filled with pictures and toys and all sorts of collectibles. Pictures don’t do it justice! Even though I went here specifically for Elijah I still enjoyed looking at it all. They also had a play area with a lot of action figures and toys and costumes kids could play with or dress up in! This pregnant momma had a nice little rest for about 30 minutes while Elijah set up action figures and battled them. I was exhausted and honestly could have taken a nap on that bench!
We’ve done a few other things on our bucket list, but I will save those for another blog post! Follow along on instagram and facebook if you wanna see what we get in to before I write about it!
And create a bucket list of your own!
There is nothing like getting out and exploring with your kids! These are priceless memories they will cherish forever, and you’ll be thankful you set aside your phone to enjoy your children.
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