I'm not the same mom I used to be

Today was another busy day of all things at home. Homeschool, meals, laundry, reading stories, outdoor play. We even ventured out for a quick trip to the chiropractor. The nightly routine of dinner, baths, and bedtime stories are the standard here in our home. But tonight after dinner, I was on my own for the bedtime routine with all three boys. Jonah had a commitment to attend to, so it was just me. 

Somewhere between the last bites of dinner and the boys getting dressed after baths, things went downhill. 

I was juggling a hungry baby, washing two boys, quieting two boys so baby could nurse, rocking baby to keep him nursing and not distracted, reprimanding two boys who were arguing...and so it went. I just lost my patience. 

" I can't do this God, I can't do all the things how I used to be able to do them!"

And in the quiet of my heart I heard Him say, "Why yes Carrie, you're right, you can't do them the way you used to, because you are NOT who you used to be." 

It was a small, quiet revelation to me. 

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You see I have been walking through these past months thinking I'd roll right back to how things were before Theodore was born. Plus add in caring for him. No big deal, right? 

Wrong. It's different now. I'm different now. And that is good. Sure I still fail at times with being impatient, angry, short tempered, quick to speak...but I'm also different in how I mother. I've heard it said that love multiplies, it doesn't divide with each child, and I know this to be true. 

Bringing a new baby home really does change everything, and in the process God has again been using this little boy to change me. I'm learning how to mother to three boys. How to run our home caring for those three. How to homeschool with two this year. How to plan my days with more laundry, more attention divided, more love all around. I'm learning to see more of God's grace, because I certainly fail pretty hard at getting all the things done. I'm not supermom, I'm just me, a  work in progress. 

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And back to the night we had. After realizing that I'm not the same person I was, that I am different now than I was a year ago, I felt a freedom and weight off my heart. There is freedom in letting go of your own expectations. I had set up a list somewhere in my mind that I thought I needed to accomplish to be a "successful" mom. It was my, before-three-boys, list. Realizing that list is different now, and in fact probably just needs to be scratched out is freeing. I have given that list to the Lord. I let Him take over that part of my heart that felt so weighted. He's going to help me in this new role. Wearing these new shoes that feel a little stiff, this motherhood role. 

As I flicked off the lights to the boys room, I paused and sang a song to them (Aleksandr requested) before heading downstairs. It was this one- the very one I sang early this morning to the Lord as I prayed with Him. How appropriate it felt to share it with the boys. This mama that has to continually ask for forgiveness from her boys for her failings, and from her Father for those same failings. What a lovely reminder that God is at work to make us beautiful for Him, in His own time, not ours. 

In His Time

In His Time In His time, in His time, He makes all things beautiful, in His time, Lord, please show me everyday, As You're teaching me Your way, That You do just what You say, in Your time.

In Your time, in Your time, You make all things beautiful, in Your time. Lord, my life to You I bring, May each song I have to sing, Be to You a lovely thing, in Your time.

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baby boy, newborn, monthly, portraits, atlanta, photography, boy mom, third child, son, baby

Our (classical) homeschool curriculum

Years ago when I had only one little toddler at home, I was surprised at how excited I was to teach him. It just came naturally, since he was a baby.  

Over the years I've realized that as a mom we teach our kids from the moment they are born. Introducing them to the world around us whether we realize it or not! 

I remember thinking back when Oliver, our firstborn, was a baby that he had never seen a leaf. I picked one up and showed him on a walk one day, delighting in the fact that there was so much more to show him!  

I think that was probably the beginning of me "teaching" him. And I loved it! I never thought I'd be a teacher of any sort, but it's been so much fun to teach Oliver in those early days and on into preschool, kindergarten, first, and now second grade. 

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As we get ready to gear up for another school year, (where did the summer go? oh yes, a new baby!) I wanted to share what we will be using this year for second grade (Oliver) and kindergarten (Aleksandr).

I remember when we first started homeschooling. I was overwhelmed with all the choices. Kindergarten with Oliver was an introduction into the world of curriculum choices. I was a little overwhelmed to say the least. 

Since then, I have to say the Lord has graciously led us to the classical route. We enrolled Oliver in Classical Conversations last year, and even though it wasn't my first choice at the time, I had a peace about pursuing it, trusting the Lord had opened the door for us to try it. Now, we are starting our second year with CC and I can say it's a whole lot easier this year planning for school! We love CC and it's been a really good fit for our family at this point. When I chose curriculum this year, I had the foundation of CC to springboard off of. That, as well as using some of the same choices we had last year that were winners! Here's my plan for the year. 

Binders!

I know, terribly exciting! But I am excited about these 3" binders for each boy. I am keeping their attendance, daily schedule and worksheets in each one. I know that at the end of the year I will be so happy to have it all in one place. I also won't have to look back to figure out our attendance and what we did exactly...somehow that seems to happen when you don't keep it in one place. Not that I would know that...

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Planning

I love looking through halfahundredacrewood's website for some helps when I'm planning. She has great printable templates for record keeping (like this handy attendance log below) and daily planning. I printed some for each boy's book.

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Handwriting

This year we are so excited to start cursive! Oliver has been excited about cursive since last year. After reading up on when to start, for us it seems like now is the best time. I actually wished I had started with cursive instead of manuscript (or print). I'm using Script-n-Scribe by Brandy Ferrell over at halfahundredacrewood.com I am actually using this for both boys so I'm excited to see how it goes for a brand new writer and one with a little more experience. 

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Math

I've used Math-u-See for the past couple years and I love the manipulative set that comes with it. Oliver loves building with the blocks and has done so well with their workbooks. I'm using Beta for Oliver, and starting Aleksandr with Primer. 

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Science

In Classical Conversations we cover science in 3 areas, in 12 week increments. The first 12 weeks is about the human body. I picked up this human body kit and coloring book second hand (consignment, and the coloring book was given to us). We will be building this little kit, and I'm also planning to do a lap book with both boys. Planning being the key word, as we have a newborn at home! I've never done lap books before and I found these which has an elementary and preschool level lap book, for both boys.

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Phonics

For our phonics this year for Oliver, I am trying a new curriculum. All About Reading was something I kept hearing great things about from other mama's. And since reading has been slow going, I wanted a complete phonics and reading set that would easily help me teach him. This one looks like a lot of fun, with lots of hands on magnet tiles, cards, a workbook and readers. I'm excited for us to jump in, and I plan to have Aleksandr sit in on it too, to see how much he can learn from it. 

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History

We already cover a history timeline each week in CC, as well as history sentences and geography. Last year I added in these books to enrich our history. The four volumes of The Story of the World are wonderful to read aloud to tie into whatever history we are covering each week in CC. Plus, Half hundred Acre Woods offers daily planning pages that include the page numbers for SOTW that relate to each week! I also picked up this fun maze book for Oliver, since we are learning all the states and capitals in geography this year. He can't wait to draw in it!

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Reading (for kindergarten)

This year, along with All About Reading, I'll be taking Aleksandr through this book. It's his first year learning how to read, and I liked how easy the daily lessons were in this book when Oliver went through it. I'm excited to watch Aleksandr grow in the world of reading!

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Bible, Art and Music

We will also have Bible, art and some music mixed into our daily routine. CC covers a 12 week series of artists, and Oliver and Jonah will be learning guitar together. Jonah also teaches Bible to the boys, which is always fun to listen in on. He's a wonderful teacher. I'm so thankful we can homeschool! I think each year I become more excited than the boys about a new year. It always feels like a fresh start after the end of a school year and full summer. In our school space I painted some scriptures that I'd like to memorize with the boys. As we deal with heart issues like anger, mean words, selfishness ect. I am looking for scripture that can speak into specific areas. These three are a start for us to look at regularly and hide in our hearts. You can see more of my scripture paintings over at my shop here if you'd like some prints for your own home! 

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I can hardly believe it's already that time of year again, for school to start! But I'm excited to watch our boys grow and learn, and to learn alongside them. Keeping this in mind as we kick off our school year (next week): Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. (Proverbs 16:3)

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packing my hospital bag for the third baby

The last time we had a newborn was about 5 years ago. It's amazing how different the baby market is now, than what it offered back then. In a lot of ways I felt like a first time mom this time as I created a registry, shopped for my hospital bag and prepared for our little boy to arrive. 

I knew I was going to have a c-section this time, so it was a little different preparing my bag. Now we are at home and have passed week 6 with our little Theodore. Goodness what a joy! 

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birth, hospital, newborn, its the everyday, lifestyle, baby boy, must haves, packing

But as I pull out newborn items, and use products (some for the first time) that I didn't use with our other two boys, I wanted to create a list of things that have really helped me this time around. I think for my own sake really, because if we have another baby I'd like to remember what we actually found as necessary. Hint: you don't need much.  

I'll start with my hospital bag for this post, but I'd like to follow up with our must have baby items with a third baby. 

When I created my list, I scoured Pinterest for some ideas for a c-section delivery. I found some very helpful ideas and used some from a few different sites. So here's my go to list for packing your bag (keep in mind this is for c-section, but a lot could apply for a natural delivery). 

1. Nursing pads  I think they may actually have nursing pads if you ask for them, but I brought a few just in case. My milk seemed to come in faster with each baby, so I was thankful I had some on hand that I liked. 

2. Burts Bees facial wipes these were super helpful when I couldn't get up that first 24 hours or so after he was delivered. My face felt gross, and it was quick way to make me feel a little fresher without the help of soap and water! 

3. Gas x pills sounds embarrassing to pack (as well as the next item) but were so helpful! Especially with a c-section. You are having a major surgery, and air somehow finds a way to become trapped in the weirdest places. I had gas pains in my shoulder and neck! Taking this simple little pill will relieve some pain for you in a big way. 

4Colace I know this is not so lovely to talk about, but be sure to include this in your bag. Especially with c-sections. You'll want to start taking it earlier than later, as everything slows way down with surgery. I started this right away and was so very thankful I did! It helped a lot. And thats enough about that.

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5. Ginger tea and Ginger brew  after delivery I was on a liquid diet for 24 hours. Hot liquids are encouraged to help move everything along, and having something that will settle any nausea was wonderful. I love Traditional Medicinal teas, and the ginger is really soothing. We also packed some natural ginger ale (the Ginger brew) and both my husband and I loved it mixed with cran grape juice! The bubbles felt good in my belly too! Also you can pick them both up at Kroger, our local grocery store here in Georgia. 

6Prenatals I brought my own prenatal vitamins, because I wanted to take what I was familiar with. I love my New Chapter ones, and they even have a Post Natal one that I'm using now. They are whole food based with organic ingredients, plus an extra blend just for breastfeeding! The hospital gives you a multi vitamin usually but I know how my body feels taking these, and I opted to bring my own. 

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7. A few of newborn outfits and onesies. With our first son I made the mistake of bringing baby clothes that were 0-3 in size. Um, those do NOT fit a typical newborn (7-8 lbs). I learned quickly that they have to be labeled "N" for newborn. I'd bring some in each size though since you never know how big baby will be! I brought about 3 or 4 outfits. The sooner you dress them, be prepared for possible blow outs or wet diapers leaking through those little clothes! 

8. Swaddles I had read that some mom's did not take swaddles and didn't need them at the hospital. Um, nope. We spent many hours awake because Theodore kept kicking out of his swaddled blankets from the hospital. I had wished we'd brought our trusty swaddles from home! They have velcro straps that helped him stay swaddled and sleeping! I linked to a brand that I really like, and that stays swaddled. Really though, ones with velcro are great in general. 

9. A robe  and a pretty night gown once you are out of your amazing looking hospital gown, it's so nice to feel pretty in a comfortable night gown and robe. I always try to get up and walk as soon as I possibly can, because it helps healing go that much faster. Having a pretty robe to keep myself modest was a need. I'd even bring 2 or 3 night gowns, if you will be there for 3-4 days (c-section). It's so much better than pants, since the nurses need to check you regularly and make sure the top is easy access for breast feeding. I picked up a gown at motherhood maternity (linked above) and it was made for nursing and so very comfortable!

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I really wanted to make a nice even list of 10, but these 9 things were the ones I really remembered as being helpful. Of course you can add the essentials like your own toiletries, your pillow, slippers, change of clothes, camera, phone and chargers etc. Being our third time here I knew we didn't want to take too much stuff. 

You should have seen us with the first two babies. We actually had a cart for all our gear. Ahem. 

I hope this list is helpful for you mama who is having your first, your second, your fifth. Wherever you are in this journey of motherhood. What a fun and blessed one it is isn't it? 

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Wonderfully made, the birth of our rainbow baby

Well, here we are. On the other side of waiting. What do you do when you come to the end of a very long waiting season? For the past three years we were waiting. For a positive pregnancy test. For a heartbeat. For a baby to keep growing. For a hope to remain. For God to hold us. For God to answer our hearts desire. For the next prenatal appointment. For nausea to end. For sleep to come. For labor to start. For our son's first cry. 

And here we are. 

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Almost six weeks of holding, nursing, smelling, touching this new little life that God has graciously given us. And aside from the crazy hormones of postpartum, my heart feels like it's grown and healed in these weeks more than it has in the past few years. I am in awe each day and night that we have three sons. After so many months of wondering and waiting I am still in awe that he's here. 

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birth, itstheeveryday, photography, lifestyle, motherhood, gift, baby, newborn, hospital, rainbow baby, son
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birth, itstheeveryday, photography, lifestyle, motherhood, gift, baby, newborn, hospital, rainbow baby, son

This morning as I was editing photos from his first couple weeks, I'm reminded of a few verses that are on my heart. 

Psalm 145:4
"One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts." 

Oh God, how I want to cry this out. Your works are MIGHTY. Even in the waiting, You are working, and I am so grateful for this. I want this verse to be what others see in my heart. 

Psalm 139:13-14
"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well."

I can't help but look at all the little parts of our Theodore and see how he was made in secret. All those months of feeling him, I couldn't see or know how God was forming him. And he is made fearfully and wonderfully by a Creator we pray he seeks with all his heart. I pray we share the love of Christ in a very real and big way in his life and his brothers. 

What a wonderful reward children are from the Lord. My heart is full. 

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