I See You: To Stay at Home Mamas, and Moms Everywhere

Hey Mama.

I see you over there. You’re a stay at home mom. Some days you feel like you have the absolute, hands down, best job in the world. Approximately 2.5 seconds after you feel that, two tiny people are whining to be fed, while another one needs help wiping after going to the bathroom.

I see you over there. I see the work that you put in and how you feel proud, unsure, and like you’re messing it up all at the same time. The littlest accomplishments make your heart sore, while sometime you look back on the day and think, “What did I actually get done!?”.

I see you over there. Spending your days raising your children is amazing. But it’s also long and hard. How many hours are in each day? How long are they going to nap? When was the last time I went to the bathroom alone? You can calculate that by putting in the age of your oldest child. Five you say? Ok. Five years ago you went to the bathroom alone.

I see you over there. You want the best for your kids. You love helping them grow and learn. You love getting to be the one that gets to take care of them. You also feel like there are times when you just want everyone to stop touching you, stop needing you, maybe be a little more independent. Then you instantly take it all back and snuggle them all…hard.

I see you over there. You have so much passion for your kids. For helping them learn to use their gifts. To help them grow in their passions. You also have other passions. Sometimes those passions get pushed to the back burner. Sometime they are the ones that you are hustling to complete at naps or bedtime. Sometimes you make it work, and sometimes those passions wait for another season.

I see you over there. You are praying for your kids. Praying for their spiritual growth and their walk with the Lord. You are doing your best. Sometimes it’s hard to set aside that quiet time for yourself. To reconnect with the Lord. To dwell and dive into His word. The Lord is so faithful, and  you keep trying, because you know they are watching.

I see you over there. What you do is important. Sometimes you aren’t sure how to answer people’s question of what you do, or what your job is.  You are raising and loving children, and that’s hard to sum up.

I see you over there. You are important. What you are doing is important. You won’t get it all right, but you’re given new grace each day. You are loved and you are enough. I see you.


How To Take Pictures of Kids… That Don’t Suck

Now that I’ve totally pulled you in with that catchy title…here’s my number one tip! Just keep snapping! Just pull out that little tune that, Dory, in Finding Nemo keeps repeating to the front of your mind and instead of thinking “Just keep swimming,” think, “Just keep snapping”. But seriously, take lots of pictures and something good is bound to happen! All of my photos were shot using a Cannon Rebel T3i in raw. I also took some with a regular lens and others with a macro lens. Other than taking pictures like a mad person, here are a few other tips from a very armature photographer who has a husband that knows how to use photoshop and gives me pointers from time to time!

  1. Use natural lighting. I try as much as I can to take pictures outside, or in a very bright room close to a window. Just make sure you position yourself in a way that you aren’t creating too many weird shadows if possible.
  2. Shoot in raw. This will allow you to easily edit photos. You can virtually erase shadows, increase contrast, sharpness, highlights and so on.
  3. Have fun! You may think that your photo shoot with your kids is turning out all wrong. No one is cooperating, everyone is crying, and someone is probably picking his or her nose. Right? Read that first paragraph again. Got it? Yup, that’s right, just keep snapping! Even if everything is turning out wrong, snap away! The pictures where no one is cooperating can sometimes be the very best pictures, and years from now, could create some very funny memories.

So there you have it, short and sweet. In today’s Pinterest perfect world, it is sometimes easy to put a lot of pressure on ourselves to take the perfect picture and capture every moment. I capture a lot of moments on my phone, which is great because I don’t have to lug around a larger camera and worry about it getting damaged while trying to play with the kids. It’s nice though, from time to time, to get out our nice camera and capture some shots of the kids. When I do take the time for this, I don’t want there to be so much pressure that I stress about it the whole time. In following these simple tips, I hope you too can capture some wonderful memories, without all the stress!

Take some times to looks through these photos and read my suggestions for how to edit your photos. Remember, I’m an amateur, so this may not be the text book way, but for this mama, it works!

These photos were taken in a room with lots of natural lighting. While editing these photos, instead of increasing the clarity like I usually do, I turned it down. This created a nice soft glow on the lights and gave the whole photo a soft, lovely feel.

These photos were taken by my sister-in-law and then I edited them. I increased the contrast to really bring out the colors in these photos. She also knows the beauty of just keep snapping! They didn’t cooperate for all of them, but in taking enough pictures, we still got some great shots!

With these shots you get a chance to see exactly what I did in the editing process.I play around with most photos until they look how I want them to! Notice that in the first picture I’m trying to capture the small details of tiny baby feet. In the second photo I’m capturing real life! Even though Reu is crying, this picture is an awesome photo, and one I’m sure we’ll enjoy looking back on! I usually go up on shadows and white, and then play around with the highlights, contrast, and clarity to get the type of look I want.

Happy Snapping!


Gracie of Chincoteague: Our Family Vacation to Chincoteague

Misty of Chincoteague. Little girls everywhere have read this book and imagined someday going to see the wild horses of Chincoteague. Gracie, and myself if we’re being honest, are no exception!  This year we wanted to take a vacation to the beach. Gracie very specifically had asked to go to the beach, and I’m not one to argue with a beach trip! Dustin did some researching and found that Chincoteague and Assateague looked to be a nice, family friend beach location to visit. Once that was decided, a trip to the library soon followed!

We checked out Misty of Chincoteague, read it over the next couple of weeks, and Gracie’s excitement grew. She was excited to hopefully see the wild horses and play on the beaches of Assateague. Lillie was excited too…but that excitement came with a three year old attention span and minor attention to the details of the trip!

We recently returned from our family vacation to Chincoteague and Assateague Islands, and I’m already treasuring the memories we made. It was a short two and half day stay, but seemed just the right amount of time for our family of littles. We went to the beach and enjoyed playing in the sand and waves, finding ocean creatures (we even saw dolphins!), and relaxing. We explored the island of Assateague and saw the wild ponies from a distance, climbed a light house, and started off on a trek that we almost immediately turned around on because of all the mosquitoes! We enjoyed our hotel on Chincoteague and swam in the pool, ate ice cream every day at Island Creamery, played at the park, saw a pony show, and watched the girls take a loop three times around on a pony for $7 each…it was worth it!

We had a great time on the islands and hope to go back in the future, and maybe even camp on Assateague! Enjoy these photos of our family explorations. We would highly recommend this trip!

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Aaptiv Workout Review

Summer is just around the corner! With the arrival of summer comes warm weather. With warm weather comes pool days, and with pool days comes the showing off of areas that have been covered up by loose and oh so comfy winter layers. That’s right, swimsuit season is upon us! Putting on a swimsuit can test anyone’s confidence. Even if you are totally comfortable in your body, (which I hope you are, because you’re beautiful!), you probably still have a bit of that fight or flight reaction ready to jump into gear as you step out feeling more exposed than usual! Now how about those people that have had babies recently!? Five months ago, five years ago, or 15 years ago, how ever long it’s been, having babies has most likely changed your body one way or another! Not only have our bodies changed to bring these miracles into the world, but our whole mindset about self-care often changes too. It can be hard to squeeze in time to take care of yourself and get in a workout when you feel like you barely have time to go to the bathroom in peace some days!

My third child was born 5 months ago, so I was super excited when Nicole from Aaptiv reached out to me to try a free trial of the Aaptiv app. Aaptiv is an on-demand audio fitness that combines the guidance of a trainer with a perfect playlist as you work out. They’ve even added a new section specifically for mother’s to be and have broken it down into your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd trimester.  My favorite section these days? Under the maternity programs they also have stroller workouts! Anyone else have an adorable five month old that hates sleeping in their crib for longer than 45 minutes? That’s where a stroller, Aaptiv, and a beautiful summer day can take a not so awesome situation, and help this mama stay sane!

While the girl’s play outside, I can push the little one in the stroller and complete different workouts that are targeted, concise, and perfect for completing with baby. The Aaptiv personal trainer explains things well and keeps things moving, while the music is enjoyed by all in listening distance!

We have a beach vacation right around the corner, so this couldn’t have come at a better time. I get to squeeze in some great workouts, AND keep the baby happy. It’s a win win, mamas! There is a large variety of options from quick seven minute workout, to marathon training, walking, meditation, you name it, they have a trainer and a playlist! I’ve really been enjoying my free trial of the Aaptiv cardio personal trainer app!

Want to try it out for yourself? Check out their page and try a free week trial!

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Reu’s pretty worn out from the stroller workout too… 😉


10 Ways I’m Rocking Motherhood

I was nominated by Amy from As Told By Amy to participate in the #rockingmotherhood tag. Thanks, Amy! You are rocking it too, mama! So here are some ways I think I’m rocking motherhood these days. Feel free to share yours in the comments!


1. I say I’m sorry

There are times when I know I’ve messed up. I don’t try to act like I’m always right and I never make mistakes. I let the kids know I’m sorry and apologize.

2. I laugh and try not to take myself too SERIOUSLY

When you’re in a season of life with three littles five and under, you try to find humor in the chaos!

3.We read together

We have always loved reading to our kids, even from a young age. It gives us some great opportunities to cuddle up and slow down!

4. We Pray together

It has always been part of our bedtime routine to say prayers with the kids. I also try to pray with them when they may be having a rough time, are nervous about something new, or fearful. I want them to know they can talk with God anytime, anywhere,  no matter how they are feeling!

5. I say I love you often

Someday they may tire of me saying it, but I want them to know they are loved!

6. Get outdoors and explore

This has been harder with the cold weather and a newborn, but if the weather allows, we make an effort to get outside and enjoy God’s creation.

7. I take interest in things they like

There are times I may not truly be interested in something they want to show me or do, but if it’s important to them, it’s important that I take the time for them to share that with me.

8. My husband and I set boundaries for our children

It’s important to set boundaries and kids usually function so much better with those boundaries.

9. My husband and I work as a team

We try to give our kids the same message, set the same boundaries, and back each other up!

10. I enjoy my kids

Life can get crazy and mom life can be tiring, but when I choose to enjoy them and this season, I can more easily see the gifts that they are!

I’d like to nominate a mama #rockingmotherhood with 6 littles! One of them being a cute little newborn baby girl!  Go check out Rebekah at Faithful With the Little.



Reu’s Birth Story

It’s been a few weeks since I posted in this space. I’m a sucker for reading birth stories, so today I thought I would get back in the writing groove and share our boy’s birth story with you!

Irregular contractions started the afternoon of January 5th. I knew it could be awhile, but I thought that it for sure meant the process had started. With both Gracie and Lillian, once contractions got going, that was the real deal. This little dude decided to change things up for me a bit! Contractions continued here and there through the night and some into Friday morning, but I was still able to sleep and then Friday morning they stopped.

Sunday morning things started again and this time they were more regular. So of course I thought, “Yay! This is it!”  I wasn’t sure how quickly things would progress and I was nervous not to have the midwife at our home in time, so we asked her to come to our home about mid day. Since our return from Uganda we have been staying with Dustin’s parents in their basement living area until we are able to build in the Spring. So Mimi and Pap took the girl’s to church, the midwife arrived, and I was all set for this to be the day our boy was born. Long story short, after 12ish hours of regular contractions, not terribly painful, but regular, things just kind of slowed down and pretty much stopped. The midwife went home and I was more emotionally exhausted than physically exhausted. When was this kid going to actually be born!? He was still a few days before his due date, but both my girl’s were born around 39 weeks, so I was getting impatient and tired of all this teasing! I was trying to get things going with walking when I could, sitting on the exercise ball, going to the chiropractor, but I knew he was only going to come when he was ready!

Tuesday morning things picked up again. I didn’t want to get my hopes up, but then again, it was hard not to. It was now his due date, and third times a charm, right? This time contractions kept coming steady, and they seemed to be increasing in intensity. I didn’t want to call the midwife to come too early this time, but as she lives farther away, I asked her to hang out somewhere close  and I would let her know if things continued and picked up. Around three we decided to ask her to head to the house. She arrived and Mimi Steiner took the girl’s to the library and out to eat with Pap.

I continued with pacing around the living room and stopping to brace against the couch for contractions. I also spent quite a lot of time on the exercise ball. Any swaying motion seemed to help. I’ve always felt very in control during my contractions. They hurt, but I feel capable of handling them. I was having a bit of anxiety already just thinking about pushing, as this has always been the most painful part for me. We had the birth tub all set up and ready to go for when I felt that I wanted to get in. As I had a midwife at home this time, I had no idea how much I was dilated or effaced and she said it was totally up to me as to when I wanted to get in the water. I knew it could speed things up or slow things down, but I was actually a little worried it would speed things up too much! With Gracie, once I got into the water I transitioned very quickly and dilated the rest of the way rapidly. I was ready for this little guy to be born, but not as sure I was ready to actually push him out!

As I contemplated what to do, I felt like Jesus gave me the assurance that it was going to be ok and just get in the water! So I did! A little before six I got into the water. At first I didn’t have a contraction for awhile and I was afraid things had slowed down. I was holding Dustin’s hand, on my knees in the water and leaning on the edge of the tub. As my first contraction in the water started, all of a sudden I jumped and gasped, scaring Dustin in the process! My water had broken with that first contraction in the water! Now I was ready for thing to really get moving. About a half hour passed of contractions, but I felt absolutely zero urge to push! I had expected that I would feel the urge to push almost immediately as I did with Lillian after my water broke. With each contraction and no urge to push I felt a bit anxious, but tried to remain as relaxed as I could and just breath. The midwife reminded me to just listen to my body and not to worry if I didn’t feel like I had to push yet.

All of sudden, things changed! I went from absolutely zero urge to push, to this baby’s head is on it’s way out! It was a pretty intense pressure and pain and as I was on my knees in the water my body automatically tightened up, instead of relaxing and allowing more room for him to come out! I was trying to balance between pushing and not pushing too much so I didn’t tear. I had my hand down by his head with the first contraction and after the first contraction his head and little hands were out. He decided he wanted to have his hands by his face when he was born. Then with the next contraction I was bracing myself on the side of the tub and trying to relax my legs a little bit. The rest of him slid on out into the water and the midwife told me to reach down and pick him up! I picked up my perfect little babe and had him resting on my chest. Time of birth was 6:29 pm.  He gave out a little cry when he first came out of the water, but then he calmed down as he laid on my chest. He tried to lift his head some and look around a bit…and he was so cheesy! If you don’t know what that means, it means he was covered in a good thick layer of vernix! He also had some good bruising on his nose, as he must have dropped very quickly at the end!

We waited to cut the cord and he nursed awhile while we were still in the tub. Eventually I delivered the placenta. For some reason, I hate having to deliver the placenta afterwards. Obviously it’s necessary, but I’m all like “Really? I just pushed out a human being, and now you’re asking me to push again!?” Of course it’s not as bad as the actually pushing of the baby, but it still feels like so much work!

After the cord was cut and the placenta delivered, we got out of the tub and all situated in the rocking chair to nurse awhile. Big sister’s were back from their outing and were pretty excited to meet him. They came down to peek at him and already started kissing his smooshy face.  The girl’s went to bed upstairs and I had some more time snuggling and nursing. I eventually got up to shower and get all cleaned up. The midwife weighed him in at 7 lbs 8 oz. My biggest baby yet!

Reu Benjamin Steiner is a sweet addition to our family as the little brother. He has perfectly chubby, kissable cheeks, and a full head of light brown/blonde hair. His name can be found in the genealogy of Jesus and means shepherd or friend. We are so happy that our little boy is here!


To Santa or not to Santa?

The weather has turned cold, snow has fallen, lights have been hung, and presents wrapped. Christmas is almost here! While none of these things are themselves the true meaning of Christmas, they are traditions and reminders that we will soon be celebrating Christ’s birth.

So where does Santa fit into the mix in your family? We’ve never really pushed Santa or tried to say that he is real, and if you’re naughty he might not bring you presents! Though there are days when I think that might be helpful! But we’ve still taken the girls to Christmas activities where they’ve gotten excited to see Santa. To sit on his lap and tell him what they want for Christmas. We’ve never stressed that Santa’s real, and just let the girl’s enjoy meeting him.

So far this Christmas season the girl’s have already had the chance to see Santa twice. The first time Gracie made sure we understood Santa wasn’t actually real. We agreed it was just for fun (and then I told her not to say that too loud, just in case there were other kid’s that thought he was real, and whose parents may not appreciate us ruining the secret!)

The other day we happened to be eating out with friends and another Santa was there giving out stuffed animals. This Santa was pretty engaging. He asked the girl’s if they’d been good, and wanted to know what they wanted for Christmas. He told them to leave him milk and cookies on Christmas Eve! Gracie walked away from that Santa convinced that she will be getting a bunny at some point and insistent that we must leave out milk and cookies!

So where does your family fall on the Santa spectrum? Are you really careful to keep the magic of Santa alive and well? Do you make sure they know Santa isn’t real? Do you fall somewhere in between?

I think the girl’s understand Santa isn’t actually real,but we still have fun visiting him. This year it looks like we’ll be leaving out some milk and cookies…which this pregnant mama is perfectly ok with!

Every Monday I host a link party specifically for moms to share encouraging posts. I would love for you to link up your posts on motherhood below and connect with some other mamas.  Join us with #mamasharesmonday as we share our moments of motherhood.  

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A Few of My Favorite Things

We’ve been through most the rush of the post Thanksgiving buying spree, but we still have Cyber Monday, and then in all honesty…almost another month until Christmas. While I don’t think Christmas should be so focused on the gift-buying and rather the celebration of Jesus’s birth, I do enjoy picking out a few special things for loved ones. It is especially meaningful when I can give them something that I know they are going to love, and the gift contributes in another way. Whether it is buying from a small business, a business that gives back, or a business that is environmentally friendly and uses all natural products, these are a few of the things I look for most when shopping.

So far I have done 100% of my shopping online. At almost 8 months pregnant with two small children, I’d say this is totally acceptable! But even if you’re not pregnant and wrangling small children, shopping online, from the comfort of your own home, in your pjs, on the couch, warm beverage in hand, is definitely the way to go!

Here are a few of my favorite places to shop and many still have deals running through tomorrow!


Organic 100% Lash Mascara

Root is my favorite place to buy all things makeup! Natural and organic beauty products that work! I especially love this mascara!

New Eve Jewelry 


I love the message behind each piece of New Eve Jewelry. Each piece is made with re-purposed materials and serves as a reminder that new life can always be found in Jesus. I’m crushing on this Mustard Seed necklace…*hint, hint* to anyone that still needs to buy me a Christmas gift!

NS Pottery

Dipped Coffee Mug with Raw Clay Bottom

Natalie always makes the cutest and top quality products. We went to high school together and it’s always to fun to see what new products she is offering and support her beautiful work!

Oh Tiny Gifts

PREORDER WOMEN'S Be The Light T-shirt -White with Copper Shimmer Print

Of course I’m adding my own little shop! I have deal running through tomorrow for when you purchase any necklace you can get $2 off with code GIVEANDGET! Remember that $10 of each purchase will go back to the women of Smile Africa! Sale items are still up for grabs too!

Young Living Essential Oils

I have loved using Young Living essential oils and products, and they’ll be making their way into a few of my Christmas gifts! I love using and sharing a product that I can stand behind and feel good about using on my own family. If you are interested in a kit you can click here to become a part of my team and help support my family while supporting your own! If you just want to chat oils and see what they’re all about, feel free to e-mail me at moriahsteiner10@gmail.com.

So there you have it! A few of my favorite places to shop and places I have bought gifts for others (and myself!) or have on my wish list! What are some of your favorite places to buy gifts? I’ve seen many people share their favorite small businesses or link their own over posts on Facebook. Feel free to do the same here and share with others!


Every Monday I host a link party specifically for moms to share encouraging posts. I would love for you to link up your posts on motherhood below and connect with some other mamas.  Join us with #mamasharesmonday as we share our moments of motherhood.  

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Perseverance for Kids

Little feet twitch and kick and hot tears threaten to pour down round cheeks. Gracie loves reading, correction…Gracie loves when I read to her, but she is not a fan of reading herself. We have spent many hours over her almost five years of life reading books together. Now that Gracie has mastered her alphabet, letter sounds, and some sight words, I have started incorporating reading practice into our home school days. Gracie is not a fan. If she has the word memorized and can breeze through it, no problem, but heaven forbid that we have to take the time to sound it out!


I am learning some techniques that work well for her personality. She loves interaction and movement, so activities like a sight word jump are particularly good for her. I place sight word card on the floor, say one, and ask her to jump to it. She loves it, and asks to do it again! Great! But when it comes to sitting and trying to concentrate on one things, then we run into a problem.

I  want to help her love reading and find ways to learn that work best with her personality type. I also want to help her learn that working through something hard is worth it! It doesn’t help us learn if we get frustrated and decide we can just give up on something. When learning something new, we have to persevere and dedicate time and attention to it. It doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy the learning process, but it will often mean we have to make that conscious effort to choose joy in the process. For an almost five-year-old this is HARD! But just because it’s hard, doesn’t mean that it’s not worthwhile.

So we sit and we read. I encourage, try to be patient, and give her space to get her wiggles out when she needs. She perseveres, she guesses, she wiggles and gets frustrated and then we try again. She figures it out and we’re both proud and ready to move on!

Some days I totally want to take the easy route! I want to say, OK, no reading practice, or OK, I’ll just tell you the word! And some days I totally do! But the other days, we persevere. We do the activities that she finds most fun, AND we do the activities that she doesn’t find as fun. We work through it and reward for jobs well done.

My husband and I have discussed with each other, and with Gracie, that it isn’t just about learning to read. It’s about not giving up when something gets hard. It’s about using the beautiful, strong, and smart brain that God has given her to persevere and figure something difficult out. It’s about finding joy even in a difficult process, and rejoicing together when the goal is accomplished! It doesn’t just have to apply to school work, but can apply to the work that our heavenly Father has for us.

Being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. Colossians 1:11-12

Perseverance is hard when you’re almost five and it’s hard when you’re 28. Good news is, we don’t have to persevere alone, and that’s something we can rejoice in and share with our children!


Every Monday I host a link party specifically for moms to share encouraging posts. I would love for you to link up your posts on motherhood below and connect with some other mamas.  Join us with #mamasharesmonday as we share our moments of motherhood.  

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Dear Baby Boy

Dear Baby Boy,

First off, it sounds a little strange to write, boy. We are super excited for your entrance into our family, but I should warn you, you’ve got two older sisters that have the whole bossiness thing down pretty well! But I also want to tell you that they are pretty wonderful and you will be very, very loved…and possible smothered at times!

In about two more months we will get to meet you! To hold you, kiss you, love on you and in general ohh and ahh and thank God for the gift of you. You are already so loved.

I can already tell that you are going to be active! Neither of your older siblings were great sleepers for awhile, and I have a feeling, you may just follow suit! You like to kick and tumble, and I’m almost certain that at times you are in there dancing and performing the worm! You are active, strong, and responsive.

It’s fun to imagine what you will be like. What you will look like. How you will interact with us. We can imagine now, but it won’t be long before we get to experience you. To learn about you. To nurture you. To help you grow in the love of Jesus and try to foster and encourage the good gifts that He has given you to use for His glory.

Baby Boy. It won’t be long until we won’t remember a time without you as the little brother. You are loved. You are cherished. You are prayed for.

Dear Baby Boy, we love you


Every Monday, Keri, and I host a link party specifically for moms to share encouraging posts. We would love for you to link up your posts on motherhood below and connect with some other mamas.  Join us with #mamasharesmonday as we share our moments of motherhood.  

Follow along with Moriah
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Follow along with Keri
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