Ways Nursing Mom’s Can Boost Their Energy

I have three boys, each a wiry ball of energy! Just one of those bouncing super heros has more energy than I do but when you add them all together-wowee-that’s three times the energy! Triple Trouble! (Did I mention I have three boys? Three bouncing balls of energy? Three sticks of dynamite? Three-oh, I did? Well, okay, I’ll move on then.)

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So what do you do when your energetic kids are super revved about the day and your not so energetic self just wants to pull the covers over your head? I don’t know about you, but if I’ve had a rough night with the baby, I usually down a cup of coffee. It’s my go to- it’s most people’s go to. And it works. For a while, anyway. After about 3 to 4 hours, I start crashing–hard. Like head on collision crashing. Like 8 hours of sleep sounds better than 8,000 dollars crashing. Usually by that point, despite my delirious state, I still have enough brain power to know that I don’t want to risk a second cup otherwise it might transfer through the breastmilk and contribute to another rough night. But all is not lost! There are several other things that we nursing Moms can do to give us that extra boost.

Vitamin B12 and B6:
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These supplements are safe for baby and are not only great for upping your energy level but can also help ward off postpartum depression.

Water:
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I am terrible about keeping up with the recommended water intake  but on those rare days that I do drink enough, I always notice a boost in my energy and milk supply! Double win!

A Quality Vitamin and Probiotic:
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Not only do children generally have more energy than their parents, they also consume what little we do have! Even baby joins in, taking what he needs from our breast milk so that he can grow strong and yes, you guessed it, energetic. Taking a good vitamin/probiotic is super important. A lot of times, we have deficiencies due to poor diet or some other factor (like having three kids back to back). Thankfully, our body is going to take what baby needs whether we have enough to spare or not. But while good for baby, that can sometimes leave us depleted and wan thus the importance of taking a good vitamin!! I take Garden of Life’s Raw Probiotic/vitamin blend.

Honey:
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Many moons ago, before my little energy suckers were born, I used to work at a coffee shop. On the days that I opened, I had to be there very early–around 4:30 am. Instead of drinking coffee, I would put a TBSP of honey under my tongue and let it dissolve. It would give me instant energy. Definitely something to check out if you are trying to avoid caffeine or have reached your daily limit!

Nuts:
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Fatty snacks such as nuts or avocados tend to give nursing Mom’s a nice boost of energy and if eaten in moderation the fat won’t go to your hips!

Sunshine:
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Looking out the window won’t cut it. Put on your shoes and your kid’s shoes and go get you some vitamin D! It will give you some energy (if you don’t spend too much time out there) and might just help your kids sleep better tonight.

Get your Heart Rate Moving:
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Most people would recommend exercising to increase energy but who has time for that? Or rather, this Mama doesn’t want to do that! If you aren’t feeling the gym, turn on some music instead. Go grab your kids and have a dance off. I guarantee you that it will get the blood pumping and lift those tired eyes. Guilty music pleasure: Shake it Off by Taylor Swift. 😉

As always, don’t forget that our main source of energy can not be depleted or restored by external means. The Lord is the one that sustains our bodies. He is holding you, me–the whole universe together. Don’t forget to spend some time in prayer and ask him to give your body and soul what it needs to use the day for his glory and the good of your husband and children.

Well, I am off to bask in one of those rare moments that my child wants to sit still and cuddle. Adam, my four year old, just asked me, “Mommy do you want to come watch Caillou with me and cuddle?”

“Yes son, yes I do!”

Blessings!
Grace|HouseWife|BoyMom

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Reflections on Birth and the Gospel

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Lately I’ve been reflecting on Levi’s birth story and the gospel. Funny how pain drives us to our knees; figuratively speaking and literally. It has been my experience that the hard things of life uniquely shine light into dark areas otherwise left untouched. The more excruciating the pain, the clearer the gospel comes into focus and our desperate need therein. On my knees up against the hospital bed, 20 hours in, I can remember crying out to my husband, Bailey, “Talk about Jesus again. Tell me about the gospel.”  It was the only thing that made sense in my mind, broken with pain. Every second passed felt like a second frozen in time. Even though he was my third child to birth, the pain was unimaginably raw, tremendous, excruciating.  And yet, as so often is the case, it is in those painful moments, hours, days or whatever amount of time the Lord has allotted, that his glory is so clearly revealed, resonating inside of our souls. It is in the hour of desperate need that we are often viscerally confronted, comforted by the gospel.  I remember clutching my wooden cross as an especially long contraction began to swell. I was walking the halls with my dear Mom and precious Mother in law- both women, his hands and feet materialized. As my abdomen began to tighten beyond what I felt I could bear, I stopped and asked them to pray with me. I started to ask God to take the pain away, to stop this madness when I remembered the words of my wise husband. Earlier as we walked into the hospital unsettling the morning dew, he had taken the quiet moment to impart courage and prepare me for the hours ahead. He charged me to be intentional and specific in my prayers to the Lord. To pray for relief but more importantly to pray that I would suffer well and glorify God in my anguish. So, right there in the hallway, a stone’s throw from the nurses station, as my mind started to slip into the blinding reality of pain, those words came back to me and took root, grounding my mind. I began to pray that my suffering would point others to the Lord, that my tears would bring glory to his name, that this ushering in of life would point others to the one who ushers in and offers spiritual life to all mankind. I had always thought the saying “peace that passes understanding” to be overused and trite and yet in that moment, those words are exactly what I would use to describe the calm that settled down on me, around me. The peace and love of the Lord sifted through my soul physically warming my body. I felt the presence of God in a way that I don’t know that I have ever felt before or since. They say that when you get married and then again when you parent children, you experience the gospel in a more personal way, that you get a hands on glimpse into eternity. I would submit to you, as would scripture that birth is another one of those pictures that point us to Christ. The affliction and wonder of birth certainly offered me perspective into the eternal beauty and mystery that is Jesus, the cross, and his glorious resurrection. You see, labor is an affliction. It is a curse, a result of sin, original sin wrought by Eve. And yet it is also a wondrous thing, it is the beginning of a new precious life. The days my sons were born are simultaneously the worst and best days of my life. The day that Jesus died was simultaneously the worst day and best day of history. Worst because the sin of mankind culminated in the murder of the God-Man himself and best because this same man sacrificed himself for the very ones that nailed him to that cross. He sacrificed himself for you, for me.

I did not suffer well every frozen second of the 26 hours. But there were those blessed moments, almost portals that transcended time, transcended the numbing pain. I will never forget those glimpses of glory and will always treasure this palpable perspective that the Lord has gifted me, established in my heart. Just as I painfully suffered so as to bring one life into the world, on a much grander scale Jesus perfectly suffered the brutality of the cross so as to bring many to life. But make no mistake, his savage death is not the culmination of his suffering or the cause of his bloody sweat spent at Gethsemane. What is more jarring than any torment by man is the wrath of the Lord God poured out on him in retribution over the sin of mankind. Jesus took the destruction that we deserved and tasted bitter death. It was in this hideous suffering that far surpassed my guttural screams, that birthed many sons to glory, that lit up the entire universe. Six months later, I look into the light that is my son’s eyes and I remember. I remember the pain, the brokenness, but more importantly I remember the light that is God’s glory.   DSC_0325

Out of Creamer? Try These Coffee Hacks.

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Pretty much every time I scroll through my Facebook feed I will see at least one meme about coffee. Here’s a few that I thought were funny…

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In case you didn’t know, coffee is right up there with flour and sugar, an american staple. As a stay at home Mom, coffee is sometimes more than a staple. About once a month, I am convinced that my kids conspire together on how to keep me up all night. I get one down? Another wakes up. I get that one down and two more wake up and so on, all night long! Anyway, it’s on those mornings that coffee becomes more than a staple. It becomes my very best friend. Or “best best friend” as my 4 year old would put it.

So what do you do when you’ve had a rough night and you suddenly realize that you are out of creamer? Do you drink it black? I don’t know about you, but the more tired I am the more I crave a good cuppa. Here are some things I do to spruce up my coffee when I am out of creamer and haven’t had a chance to get to the store (or am avoiding it because, three boys!).

  1. If you happen to have a carton of heavy whipping cream (HWC) laying around, take heart, your coffee is about to get a makeover! I actually prefer HWC to commercial creamers because it can make a regular cup of coffee taste like a latte without all the effort. Just put in a couple teaspoonfuls (doesn’t take much!) or more if you’re feeling naughty, then add some sugar, maybe some spices such as cinnamon or nutmeg and viola! You have a gourmet cup of a joe to help soften the blow of your rough night.

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  2.  No heavy whipping cream? Ees all good. Pour about 1/4 a cup of whole milk (almond milk will work too) into a small jar and heat in the microwave for 15-30 second intervals until it reaches desired temperature (don’t heat to boiling or else the milk will curdle). Pour most (or all) of it into your coffee and then add a wee bit of sugar along with some hot chocolate mix. This recipe tastes similar to a mocha latte. If you want to make it even more decadent, skip the chocolate mix and instead add a few spoonfuls of coco powder to your mug along with a few teaspoons of sugar or stevia. Coco powder is actually rather bitter (but oh so smooth) in it’s natural form so a sweetener of some kind would definitely be wise. Oh! And while you’re at it, add a pinch of salt. Mmm.
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  3. If you don’t have any form of dairy to add to your coffee, all is not lost. Take a hike over to Pinterest and search “bullet proof coffee.” While not my personal favorite, many a Mom has raved about this interesting concoction.
  4. Another great option for when you are out of creamer is to simply head to your local coffee shop. Let someone else do the work for you! My favorite coffee shop is called Side Street Coffee, located in Kaufman, TX. I especially enjoy drinking their coffee because one, it tastes good and two, I know that my purchase will help support local coffee farmers in Honduras. Win-win! Here’s a picture of me and my family at Side Street Coffee:
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  5. Finally, if you’ve had a rough night, remember that while coffee is a great help and blessing from the Lord, it cannot fulfill you or truly prepare you for the day ahead. As with all things created, the Lord wants us to use them and enjoy them, yes, but ultimately the Lord desires us to let those things and experiences drive us to his throne. We were made to worship our creator and find fulfillment therin. Looking to created things for our strength will leave us wanting. So, while you drink your new creation this morning or spend time at your local coffee shop, be intentional and do yourself (and probably your husband and kids) a favor and take the time to talk to the Lord. Ask him for strength, for wisdom. Ask him for whatever it is you need, remembering that he loves you dearly.

    “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” -Matthew 7:11

Blessings!
Grace|Housewife|BoyMom

Keep Your Chin Up

​Hey there Mama. I know you’re exhausted. I am too. I mean come on, it’s 4 am! Who wouldn’t be exhausted?? I don’t know why your little angel won’t sleep but I’m pretty sure mine is working on a poop to rival all other poops. 
With this being the fourth time I have been woken up tonight, I was tempted to focus on and despair over the lack of sleep. Thoughts like “What if I turn into a Mombie?” and “If he doesn’t hurry up and poop his pants I may never sleep again” are fighting for front and center. But thankfully and definitely because of the grace of God, I am not completely overwhelmed by those thoughts or by this difficult night. Another thought has been knocking around in my head. And tonight isn’t the first time God has brought it to mind. It’s something the Lord has been showing and reminding me of over and over, tonight being no exception. It’s simple really…rather than thinking about what I don’t have (i.e. a good night’s sleep), I should meditate on what I do have and then find a way to use it for God’s glory right now.  
Tonight I have an opportunity to pray for others. I have the opportunity to bond with my baby through hardship. And I have the opportunity to encourage other Mama’s that also might be struggling to keep their hearts in the right place at this late hour. 
So, keep your chin up, tired Mama, not just because it’s what we do as Moms but because if your chin is up, then your eyes are too…put those weary eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith. 
Blessings! 

Grace 

xooxo

Ladies, Adorn Yourselves

((Operation Write Real Fast: I don’t have much time. My oldest just woke up from his nap. I’ve given him a snack but it’s only a matter of time before he wakes everyone else up!!))

 

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I wanted to share with you some thoughts I had this morning on 1 Peter 3. Verses 3 and 4 say, “Do not let your adorning be external-the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear-but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” There are two things that stood out to me regarding this passage.

 

|Observation Number One|

 

Based on the context before and immediately following these verses, the gentle and quiet spirit spoken of, is clearly referring to wives submitting to and respecting their husbands.

Context-Before (verses 1-2): “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.”
Context-After (verse 5): “For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands,”

 

((The baby has woken up but  the pacie has been utilized and I have administered a second snack. Operation -write real fast- is a go. I repeat it is a go!))

 

|Observation Number Two|

 

The act of adorning one’s self with something, whether in this case that be jewelry or a gentle spirit, requires intention and action. We must intentionally choose what we are going to adorn ourselves with and then take action to do so.

 

|Conclusion|

 

It is important that we be intentional in how we relate to and treat our husbands. The Lord desires us to respect and submit to their leadership—surprisingly, even if it is not godly leadership (as we see in verses 1 and 2)! So how do we give them respect and submit to their leadership (even if we don’t agree with their leadership)? By intentionally preparing and adorning our hearts for the day to come. By taking the time to pursue a quiet and gentle spirit.

One of the practical ways we can do that is by recognizing and confronting worldly beliefs that may have crept into our hearts.  i.e. sometimes I find myself having the attitude that women are superior and more competent—and thus I start acting as if I am the leader of our family, rather than my husband. These perspectives very much affect our daily interactions and will affect how well I am able to honor him.  So, if I take time in the morning (or at some point in the day) to examine my spiritual “face” as it were, I will recognize that this belief is opposed to scripture and can then apply the cleansing touch of God’s word. Facial cleanser are not bad! But as we ready ourselves for the day ahead, it is always going to be more valuable to pursue the heart by applying spiritual adornment. Why? Because our inner beauty affects our actions and attitude thus having great impact on others but our outward beauty usually only has great impact on how we feel about ourselves.

So, as you stand in front of the mirror tomorrow morning, maybe putting on some lip stick or blush, take the time to look into the mirror of your soul and adorn yourselves with a gentle and quiet spirit. Your heart matters. It is out of the overflow of the heart that the mouth speaks and your heart is what the Lord sees when he looks at you. 1 Samuel 16:7 says,

“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

Our hearts and the words and actions that flow out of that wellspring have incredible power…the power to give life or death, to bind or rescue. Our words can tear down our husband, undermining his leadership or they can be a great encouragement and catalyst in his own spiritual wellbeing and thus his leadership as head of the home.

One more thing…I want to remind you (and myself!!) that marriage is a picture of the gospel. The husband and wife each have very specific and separate roles to fill and when we try to avoid those roles or take over the other’s role it not only hurts the marital relationship but also mars the picture of the gospel that marriage was created to exemplify. So as you take the time to examine and  beautify your hearts, remember that ultimately it is for the glory of God and that you are taking part in the big picture of redemption that began and is being perfected in Christ!

 

((Okay so this was NOT the short pithy post I had planned and my kids are all DEFINITELY  awake now, but I hope and pray that the Lord will use it for good in your life and marriage. I know that this passage today has been very convicting to me and I am looking forward to better preparing for my days and interactions with my husband. ))

 

Blessings!
Grace|HouseWife|BoyMom

This is Life Right Now

And then there were five. In a week it will have been two months since the birth of our newest addition.

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If you don’t know me, you are probably wondering if the wee one is another boy or if he is a girl. Oh you caught that, huh? Yep, he is a boy! 😉 If you ever want to talk about boogers, wrestling, or how to get pee off of your bathroom floor I am your gal! It’s officially official, I am a boy Mom.  #TestosteroneEverywhere #Outnumbered 🙂

The transition from two to three has been interesting to say the least. On some days, it doesn’t feel very different or difficult. The baby sleeps like a dream, my older two eat halfway organic (Organic plastic ware counts, man!), and nobody beats up anybody. Sometimes I even have a couple of those days in a row. In fact, I might start feeling like Super Mom…but…those feelings are usually short lived. Eventually somebody decides it would be fun to make edible paint (not the kind you would find on pinterest. Noo, we’re talking halfway organic paint, i.e. plates thrown on floor and chewed up lunch smeared across the table kind of paint), turn the living room into a toy store (dump), and poop in their underwear in their bed in the middle of the night. Yes sometimes very suddenly, those Super Mom feelings morph into Hulk Smash feelings and I have to start doing some serious praying!

At times, amid the chaos or even in the middle of the peaceful moments, I find myself thinking, “Wow, this is life now” and not in a positive way. But really, what I should be saying and what I am trying to actively remember is, “This is life right now” Having three boys that are three years old and under is hard. Wiping sticky remnants of breakfast off the floor while holding a fussing 2 month old in the other arm? Yeah that’s hard. Not being able to calm my baby down because he has a bunch of poop that won’t come out–hard. BUT while this is life right now it won’t be how life is always. I am in a season of life. My children won’t stay little forever or proudly announce to all their friends “That’s my Mom!” These days that I have, that my children have are days that have been given to us by the Lord and rather than be conquered by the chaos that is three boys, I am trying to learn to embrace it and use my time and my life to teach them–and myself God’s truths, to live out and teach the gospel!

When things turn cray cray my initial course of action is to do whatever it takes to put an end to the situation as soon as possible, but sometimes it’s better to slowly work through why we decided to punch brother in the face and take the time to talk about how screaming “I dun lieke ewe” followed by a right hook is in fact a sin, a sin that separates us from God. Sometimes these sticky chaotic moments of life are actually the perfect moments to teach our littles about the Lord. They are opportunities to teach them unconditional love, patience, kindness, and self control to name a few. They are opportunities that we have right now and may not have later.
Life is made up of seasons, and in each season we have a unique opportunity to be faithful with what God has given us. So, rather than telling myself “This is life right now” as a way to mentally escape the madness I am going to remember this truth and use it as a catalyst to be faithful in the time, days, moments, and seasons I’ve been given. Rather than worrying about how much sleep we get or how hard it is to break up a toddler fist fight, we need to remember that this is the day the Lord has made,and rejoice and be glad in it. We must take the opportunity to train our children up in the way they should go because tomorrow might be the start of a new season or tomorrow our children might be at home with the Lord. Either way, rather than trying to keep my head down and just make it through, I am going to pray that the Lord helps me to fix my eyes on Jesus and train my children to do the same. I don’t know what season you are in, but I hope you will too.

Blessings!
Grace – Boymom

L

 

Jesus: A Drink That Matters

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Every week some controversy or “atrocity” goes viral and everyone and their mother has something to say about it. This week’s drama centers around Starbucks and their infamous Christmas cup.

 
Now, I could go into detail about the whole situation, but I have no reason to (and honestly just don’t care). Ultimately, Starbucks isn’t who I want to make an appeal to. Rather, I want to speak to the hearts of my fellow Christians.
 
The bottom line here is: we should not be fighting for something that Jesus would not fight for. We raise high what the Bible raises high and this aint it. It is our culture’s current trend to look for drama, for something to sensationalize. But as Christians, we are called to live quiet peaceable lives (1 Thessalonians 4:11)–lives that are centered around Jesus and the Gospel. Lives that light up our world, not the news feeds.
 
Romans 12:14-21 “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
 
Our mission is not to uphold our religious rights or to demand we be treated equally. Jesus actually calls us to lay down everything (our rights, freedoms, preferences, comforts, money, time etc) in service to him and to others.
 
Mark 10:45 “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
 
Philippians 3:8 “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”
 
Do not be fooled. Fighting for trivial things such as a particular cup is not fighting for Jesus or the gospel. Yes, you are making a stand and making a stir but while supposedly done in the name of Jesus it is certainly not for Jesus. Getting worked up over something like this generates attention but it points eyes and ears to you, rather than towards God. It sends the message that you are righteous and deserve to be treated as such. But reality is, Jesus is our righteousness, without him we are nothing. And demanding our way is not his way. The Bible doesn’t call you to raise yourself and your rights high, it calls you to raise Jesus high that all men might be drawn unto him.
 
So, as followers and ambassadors of Christ, let’s focus on our mission. To know God and to make him known. To glorify his name rather than ours. We are called to be the light of the world and raise Jesus high–not some paper cup. In the end, no matter the color of the cup or the words printed on it, a cup is a cup. It can’t save anyone and is nothing special. Sure, you can fill one with water and find that it will sustain your body as you drink it, but in a couple of hours you are going to be thirsty again and at some point in our lives, no matter how many cups we have touched or drank from, we will all experience death. BUT, as Christians, we have drank water from an eternal source, from Jesus himself. We have a hope that goes well beyond Starbucks. So stop being consumed with the affairs of the world and thus offering people a paper cup. Use the life and influence you have been given, use your words and passion to glorify God and offer people a drink that matters. Offer them Jesus. He is the only one that can sustain their soul…
 
John 4:13-14 “Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”
 
1 Peter 2:22-25 “[Jesus] committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”