A Year in Review: Why I’m Holding Onto 2020

A Year in Review: Why I’m Holding Onto 2020

Everyone has talked and posted about how awful 2020 has been. Most have had the perspective that this year has been so hard with many trials and tribulations, that they just want it to be over. Many have lost loved ones, lost their jobs, had to close their small businesses, and had to make very difficult decisions for themselves or their family. The year has tested us all. So many of us are wishing 2020 a speedy farewell!

But not me. I’m holding on to 2020 in these final hours as much as I can.

For me, 2020 was life changing. We started the year out with the first anniversary of losing a sweet babe, but being very hopeful and anxious with only a few months left until our rainbow baby was due.

March 13, 2020 was a completely normal day. I was teaching and prepping my classroom for my last week of work before the baby was to be born. I had just gotten all of my students on the bus when all of the adults were running and buzzing with the news that the governor was closing schools across the state due to the pandemic. I don’t think the pandemic felt real until that afternoon. I had the mindset that I had one more week at school before maternity leave. One more week with my beloved students and now I had received news that I wouldn’t even get to tell them goodbye. This was it.

In the back of my mind I knew this was also going to be my last day as a teacher in that third grade classroom. Although I hadn’t made an official decision about whether I would return to work after my maternity leave was up, I subconsciously knew this was it.

The whole thing left me very pregnant and very emotional. Pregnancy after loss had enough fears in itself but now on top of worrying about whether I was going to deliver a healthy baby, I also had to worry about Covid-19 and all that brought with it. Changes were being made at the hospital daily. The news was reporting each day about the rise in cases. Having a baby during a pandemic was completely unexpected, nerve racking, terrifying, but also so worth it.

Less than a month later we welcomed our sweet rainbow baby into the world and into a very small bubble. Over the next few months, we decided to homeschool our kids. Our oldest son moved to his moms to attend school there which was another huge transition for us. And I quit my job to be a stay at home mama.

So. Many. Changes.

My feelings this year? Ugh. Emotional roller coaster. Every day it seems there’s something new to worry about. If I didn’t have anxiety before the pandemic, I definitely do now! The constant worrying about what decisions to make and how to protect my family. The constant pressure to do things that I wasn’t comfortable doing. Wanting to do what’s best for us and having to deal with the consequences of saying no to people. The stigma in our town that Covid “couldn’t come here” or that “it’s all a bunch of bull.”… When I’m over here praying to God each night that the virus stays away from us. It was a lot.

And on top of my feelings and fears of Covid, there was a lot of disappointment. I was heartbroken that my five year old wouldn’t be able to experience a true year of kindergarten. I was devastated that my kids couldn’t visit us in the hospital when we had baby Beau. I was sad that my daughters had to abruptly leave school and couldn’t see their friends anymore. I was disappointed that our son missed his last year of playing rec league baseball and our daughter missed out on her first year of softball. I was terrified every day, every time we went out, and with every request from a family member to come over that we would contract the virus and get really sick.

However…. above my fears I realized this year has been the biggest blessing.

My kids have been healthier than ever. They have grown closer to each other. I haven’t missed a single snuggle, kiss, laugh, or cry.

In what would normally be a very busy time of running kids back and forth to practices, rushing off to school in the mornings, getting home late, grabbing quick dinners, cramming for tests and exams, arguing over homework…. everything that was completely normal and now is nonexistent is everything I didn’t realize we needed a break from.

It’s funny how life can give us unexpected miracles right when we need them. Things we had begun to take for granted had suddenly become special. And things we were super rigid on as parents seemed like not that big of a deal.

We let the kids stay up late and sleep in. We let them have Snapchat so they could connect with their friends. They ate all the snacks and drank some soda and laughed and played and enjoyed life. Even if it was different and anything but normal.

I have been able to breastfeed Beau with no pumping or having to drop him off at daycare listening to him cry for me when I leave. I’ve rocked him to sleep for every nap time and he has fallen asleep in my arms every night. No snotty noses or coughs from being in a classroom with germs. There’s been less schedules and more lazy afternoons. We spent weekends on our boat going on adventures and fishing, enjoying the great outdoors. We went on vacations anyway even when we were told to stay home. We. Enjoyed. Time. Together.

Our kids are healthy and safe, and while they might be missing their friends or some of the “normalcy” we used to know, they have made the absolute best of it and are still enjoying life. So while most of the country is kissing 2020 goodbye tonight, I’ll be whispering a “thank you” for giving me the one thing I didn’t know I needed more of… time.

Xoxo,

MK

2020 Holiday Gift Guide

2020 Holiday Gift Guide

It’s the holidays!!!! That means holiday shopping and gift giving. Well I have 6 kids to buy for so I’m here to share ideas and deals that I found this year!

Teens and tweens – I have an 18 year old, a 13 year old, and a 10 year old daughter. Beauty products are my go-to! I have some really picky daughters when it comes to clothes and their style. So beauty and skincare products are always a win in my house!

Links:

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser click here.

CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Cream click here.

Makeup Blenders click here.

NYX Ultimate Shadow Palette click here.

NYX Highlight & Contour Palette click here.


Ok so next up are my favorite clothing items! Whether it’s your sister, your teen daughter, or maybe just yourself.. these are cute and comfy!

Womens mid-rise skinny jeans click here.

Black fleece Crewneck click here.

Riders Jean jacket click here.

Black leggings click here.

Waffle knit Crewneck pullover sweater click here.

Black puffer vest click here.


And here are some BOY clothes because y’all know I’m a boy mama!

Boys Dino hoodie and pants set click here.

Boys raglan tee click here.

Baby boy onesie and pants set click here.

Long sleeve striped onesies click here.

Cloud pajamas click here.

Plaid boys zip up sweatshirt click here.


Last but not least.. the kids favorite things! Toys! Here are some great toy gift ideas for your littles and older kiddos! My thirteen year old daughter’s most wanted gift was paint sets! We actually splurged and got her some more expensive sets from Amazon but I found this cool inexpensive set at Walmart! My ten year old daughter wanted AirPods (ha!) and our budget didn’t quite allow for the Apple version so we found these on clearance at Walmart that will hopefully work just as good!

Horse ride on walker click here.

Stacking toy click here.

Boys bike click here.

Art set click here.

Wireless earbuds click here.

3-pack caterpillar construction toys click here.


So there you have it! My favorite gift choices for our kids this Christmas! Now to wrap everything!

Happy holidays!

Xoxo,

MK

Christmas Advent Calendar for the Whole Family

Christmas Advent Calendar for the Whole Family

We’ve been home for months now. We are halfway through our first year of homeschooling and I think the kids are in a slump. No one has any motivation and the weather is getting colder. We aren’t getting as much fresh air. But the holidays are among us and with them comes a little excitement!

I decided to do an advent calendar this year and I let the kids help decide what we will be doing each day! It’s a fun way to get them involved and frankly, get the tween and teen off their phones for a little bit.

So here’s the full list of things we will do for the next 24 days!

Make paper snowflakes

Make a gingerbread house

Watch National Lampoons Christmas Vacation

Making Christmas cards for the nursing home

Print Christmas coloring pages

Wrap gifts

Gather canned goods for needy families

Go see Christmas lights

Make gingerbread house flower pots

Watch Elf

Family game night

Make Christmas cookies

Watch a Christmas movie we haven’t seen

Decorate outside

Watch The Santa Claus

Take Christmas pictures

Make a handprint wreath

Make ornaments via Pinterest

Christmas scavenger hunt

Visit Santa

Go ice skating

Create dollar tree foam Christmas trees and decorate

Get in pajamas and watch The Polar Express

Make cookies for Santa!

Open gifts and enjoy time together!

Also I have attached the image we used to print for our “Countdown to Christmas” board as well as the Christmas lightbulb printable!

Find a cute spot in your house – maybe it’s on a bulletin board or on the fridge! Make a visual so the kids can see it and have something to look forward to every day!

Link to the downloadable svg file – click here:

https://www.thelatestfind.com/2015/12/christmas-countdown-free-printable-and.html?m=1

I hope these ideas bring your family joy! Happy Holidays!!!!

Xoxo,

MK

Yes I have 4 kids and yes my house is clean!

Yes I have 4 kids and yes my house is clean!

I’m not superwoman. I’m not a miracle worker. I’m just a mom who likes a clean home… and likes the value it brings in raising our kids!

I’m not going to lie.. there are days and times when it’s NOT the neatest. Muddy footprints. Dog hair. Spilled milk. Pencil marks on the wall. You name it.. our kids have probably done it.

So when I say I’m a mom who likes a clean home… I do… but I work my butt off cleaning up after everyone on a daily basis. (And have come up with a whole bunch of life hacks along the way!)

Here’s how I do it. I’m giving you all the secrets!

1. Make the kids help. (And hubby too!)

One day when our kids are married their spouses are going to thank me for training them so well! The truth is I can’t maintain this house all on my own! It’s a team effort. Unloading and loading and washing dishes are a daily chore for our kiddos. Laundry? Uh yea they do their own! And from time to time they vacuum and sweep for me!

2. Set expectations in your household.

All humans who live in my home know how I like my house. They know if they track muddy prints in I’m not going to be happy. They also know if I walk by their room and see dirty clothes all over the floor, I’m definitely going to stop and say something about it. They know better than to leave dirty dishes on the table. Once you set these expectations and don’t let them get away with failing to uphold them, life will be a whole lot easier. Think about how much of this you don’t have to worry about because they will just do it… without you having to ask!

3. Do something each day.

I was getting overwhelmed on the weekends trying to do everything in one day or sometimes just a few hours. It’s so hard when your weekdays are busy with work and after school activities. I was waiting to do it all on the weekends which most working mamas probably do! For me, it’s much easier to break my household chores up and do a little bit every day! Find things that will help you accomplish this such as a Swiffer Wet Jet or by keeping your favorite multipurpose cleaner out in an easy to grab spot. My biggest challenge is keeping my floors clean. I chose that to be my daily priority. The Swiffer has made keeping the dog hair to a minimum and saves me a lot of time! It’s a quick and easy way to go over the floors in the evening either with the wet pads or dry pads. Pick something that’s feasible to do every day and commit to it!

4. Have a take-your-shoes-off at the door rule!

Hands down the easiest way to maintain clean floors is by making sure no one wears shoes in the house. Our home is definitely a no shoes zone! If you think about everywhere your shoes have been… public restrooms, mud puddles, stepping in dog poop… then you would jump on the opportunity to enforce this rule!

5. Declutter often.

Don’t let things pile up! Dedicate a weekend every few months to go through kids’ rooms and discard broken items or trash and donate toys and clothes that are no longer wanted! Do the same thing with the other closets such as the coat closet, linen closet, and YOUR closet! Recognize “clutter hot spots” in your house and rearrange or change things up to force you not to leave “stuff” laying there. For us, the kitchen bar always gets piled with random “stuff,” including mail, wallets, can coozies, pens, and the list goes on. I put a cute wire tray there with a basket in it for mail and a lamp beside it to deter my peeps from piling stuff up on an empty counter. Trust me it works!

Being neat and clean isn’t just me being seriously OCD! It’s teaching our kids how to be independent and responsible. It’s also teaching them how to give things up, because having an abundance of material items isn’t necessary to be happy. It teaches them compassion when they choose which of their old toys to donate to Goodwill. It teaches them teamwork. Have you ever seen THREE kids unload the dishwasher at one time? Our kids have it down to a science! It allows them to contribute to running our home. Acceptance. We aren’t just the mean ol’ parents fussing at them to do stuff. We value their hard work! They aren’t just spoiled rotten and lazy… which don’t get me wrong sometimes they are! But they are being taught to work hard for rewards. They are being taught that we work for what we have and that things don’t always come easy to us in life. We are teaching them that life is full of “I wants” but first we have to do the “I musts.”

I’ve read blogs where mamas believe in spending less time worrying about cleaning. That the dishes can wait because they are only going to be little once. And those mamas are completely right. It’s NOT always all about keeping things neat and tidy. There are times we say “screw it,” let’s enjoy staying outside a little later than normal because it’s a nice evening. Oh, we definitely do that too! But keeping a clean home is more than that. Our time with them as kids is going to go by so fast. And we will always, always make time to enjoy them. I’m also looking at the big picture. I’m thinking about teaching them these values. I’m thinking about what they will be like when they are raising their own families.

I am proud of how we are raising our big family. So yes, my house is clean and neat… even with four kids living here!

Xoxo,

MK