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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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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Shake It Up // Have Fun and Get Moving With Your Kids

You know how your kids can be absolutely adorable and hilarious and drive you crazy all at the same time? I feel like that makes up a good portion of my day! The balancing act of setting boundaries and disciplining, all while trying not to smile and laugh at something outrageously cute that just took place happens quite often in our house.

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There are days that I realize that I just need to give them the space to be ridiculous, wild, and somewhat chaotic. Dance parties are definitely our number one go to choice to shake the wild out a bit. And then there are days where you just want peace and quiet and all you want to do is dial the crazy down a notch or two.

It’s ok to have the days where quiet and calm is needed. Maybe you can enlist your husband, mom, or a friend to give you that coveted quiet time. But there are also days where we need to embrace the chaos. Relish the messes. Get down with our kids on the floor and follow wherever the crazy may lead.

Sometimes embracing the wild may mean actually planning to embrace it! Planning activities with the kids that you know they’ll love and give them a chance to explore and move. This might mean setting aside the dishes until later, or as often happens in our household, letting them wash the dishes with you, aka washing all the dishes you already cleaned and getting them dirty again!

Check out my Pinterest board here, created for when you need a little time for being ridiculous and having fun with each other! Shake it up, get moving and have fun!

What are some ways you and your kids like to have fun and enjoy time just being silly together?

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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
Blog // Instagram // Facebook // Pinterest // Twitter

Follow along with Keri
Blog // Instagram // Facebook // Pinterest // Twitter

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Praying for Our Kids // Intentional Prayer & Scripture

I have been trying to become more intentional with my prayer time and the time I spend reading the Bible. I’m realizing what works for me. That pacing around the room or getting outside and taking a walk while muttering under my breath, is a surprisingly effective way for me to concentrate on my prayers and feel connected to God. That with pen in hand for underlying and making bold stars is the best way for me to read my Bible and start remembering what I am reading. So in practicing these two things, I have been working to pray certain Bible verses over the girls when I pray.

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I’ve read some great blog posts on Bible verses to use when praying for your children. You can find a few great reads in the links below.

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Daily prayer prompts

25 Verses To Pray Over Your Child

Prayers for specific needs

How to pray for your children

As for me, these are a few that I have been using lately and have been laid on my heart.

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I want them to find their confidence in the Lord and know that He will provide them with the strength to do the right thing. To also know that they do not do these good works on their own. That these good works are from God and that He will help see them to completion in His time.matthew5-16

I pray that they would not be fearful of letting their light for Christ shine bright! That they would use their gifts and talents to glorify Christ and work to build His kingdom and not their own.

 

 

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