Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Celebrate You!

When Ally asked me to help her out with a guest post while she is adjusting to life as a family of four I was honored. I love Ally's blog and all that Ally represents. I love her heart and I know you must love her too or you wouldn't be hanging out here at her little spot in blogland.
Before I dive into my post today I thought I would let y'all know a bit about who I am. I am Jamie from The Celebrating Momma. I am worshiper of Jesus, wife to Jake, and mommy to Jack. I am a dreamer, celebrator, optimistic, list maker, recovering procrastinator, iced coffee addict, crafty, and completely random kind of gal. Grab a cup of iced coffee or whatever you prefer and let's be friends.

It is no secret that I love to celebrate people. Hello, it is even in my blog name. Jamie is my name and celebrating is game. {are you picturing 4th grade cheerleaders doing that cheer? no, just me? okay then...moving on.} Celebrating life is my passion. I love to celebrate a good hair day, a perfectly baked chocolate chip cookie, a good cup of coffee, and anything else random I can think of to celebrate.

My most favorite thing in the world though is celebrating people. I love celebrating my friends, my family, complete strangers, or whoever God puts in my path. I love sending snail mail, handing fresh flowers to a stranger, buying a friend a cup of coffee, or just doing random little things to make people smile. I believe it is my calling. {If you email me your address I would love to send you random cards of encouragement or maybe a few other goodies every once in awhile.}

As much as I wish I could celebrate each and every one of you in a big way I just can't do that. I don't know all of you. I don't have access to all of you. I don't have the funds to truly celebrate each of you in a way that I so badly desire to do so. But I know someone that can!
Did you know that Jesus celebrates and sings because of you? I couldn't find the exact verse but I am almost positive that Jesus has dance parties every once in awhile as he cheers you on and celebrates you!!

There might not be a verse in the Bible about Jesus and his dance parties but there is one supporting my thoughts on the fact that he does celebrate you! Zephaniah 3:17 says "The Lord your God wins victory after victory and is always with you. He celebrates and sings because of you, and he will refresh your life with his love."

Did y'all catch that? He celebrates and sings because of you. It doesn't say He will only celebrate you when you look or act a certain way, when you do a certain number of good deeds, or when you finally come to a point that you never fail.  He celebrates because of you and then nothing else. It is not because you do something but because he loves you.

Oh how he loves you. He wants to refresh your life with his love. God knows that as women we love to be celebrated. He knows that there are going to be times in our life that we need to be refreshed. He knows our hearts and he wants to celebrate because of us.

You don't have to earn his celebration or his love. He wants to celebrate you for you. Trust him. Let him refresh your life with his love. Let him celebrate and sing because of you because He can celebrate you more than any human ever could.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Beyond Baby's First Year: 16 Month Schedule

In the past, I have shared some schedule basics and sample routines that Jase had been on during different stages throughout his first year. It proved to be very helpful for a lot of people, so I wanted to make sure I continued to update it as he grows. You can find the previous schedules in the links below.

You can find all the posts in the Baby's First Year series by visiting my "More Than a Mom" page and scrolling down to the "Baby's First Year" icon. 

I will be continuing a similar series through toddler hood including different transitions called, "Beyond Baby's First Year." You can find all the posts in this series by visiting my "More Than a Mom" page and scrolling down to the "Beyond Baby's First Year" icon.

16 Months - (Current Schedule) 

8:30am – Wake Up, Breakfast
10:00am - Snack (Some days) 
12 noon – Wake Up, Lunch
1/1:15pm - Nap
4pm - Wake Up, Snack
5/5:30pm – Dinner
8:00 pm - Begin Bedtime Routine  
8:30pm – Bedtime

* I had been told a lot of babies usually drop down to one nap shortly after their first birthday. Baby Sleep Site (one of my favorite resources), usually says it happens between 15-18 months so I kept that in mind. Jase hit a sleep regression stage around his first Birthday that I thought he may drop to one nap, but I am glad I didn't take it away because after a couple of weeks he wanted it back again.
*Around the 16 and a half month mark, he started choosing to only nap in the morning. He wouldn't fall asleep until 11 and then would sleep until 12:30, then refused to nap again in the afternoon. This was making for a very fussy toddler by 4pm. He was choosing his morning nap over his afternoon one. So I decided to keep him up through his morning nap and lay him down earlier in the afternoon. This transition was still a little hard as he could get a little fussy around noon, but I really needed him to take an afternoon nap vs a late morning one. I continued with the schedule and after a week or so he has adjusted pretty well to it. 
*Currently this nap is a pretty long one, which I know as he gets older it will shorten, but this has been a great schedule for us in giving me the entire morning to run errands or play with little man, and then an entire afternoon to get things done.
*He still gets milk with breakfast and before bedtime, but he doesn't drink it as much outside of that. He gets water all day long and is usually pretty content with that. 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Elyse {One Month}

I honestly cannot believe I am writing her one month update already! Time sure does go by so fast!

Elyse is such a sweet, laid back baby. She rarely cries and is rarely unhappy. She is starting to have a bit more of a fussy time in the evenings, normal of course, but it really hasn't been too bad at all. We have been blessed with such an easy baby during Jase's crazy busy toddler season.

There is just something so special about having a little girl. I feel so entirely blessed to be the mom of a daughter and I cannot wait to see how our relationship blossoms over the years.

Little miss is starting to be awake more and more which I love! I love being able to see her eyes open and interact with her as she takes in the world around her. Currently her last feeding is at 10pm and she is asleep by 10:30/11 and sleeps until 3-4am and usually stretches again to 7-8am. I have been a lot more flexible on the schedule trying to decide what works best for us with Jase, but now that she is a month old I'll be working with her a little more to get a bit more consistent throughout the day to see how it effects her nights. I am hoping it may even help her to be less fussy in the evenings. I have just been keeping her pretty close to me throughout the day with her reflux and projectile vomiting issues because having her out of my sight made me nervous. Thankfully she has been doing so much better so I have begun to have her take naps in the crib in her room. She sleeps better in there anyways since her noisy brother isn't in there to wake her.

Elyse does so good being tolerant of her big brother. He loves to pat (more like smack) her on the head and tell her "eh otay, eh otay" when she's crying and often gives (shoves) her pacifier in her mouth when she's upset. He insists on her always having her "bankie" and "dabi" (blanket and pacifier) near by. She is so sweet and doesn't even react. I am actually pretty sure she doesn't know what to do when the house is quiet and her brother isn't running around making lots of noise.

I am so blessed by this first month of being a mom of two, I cannot wait for many more to come.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Jase 22 Months

22 Months // 4.17.15

This month has been such a big month for you, peanut. You became a big brother! You have taken this big change like a champ. I am going to be honest, I was a bit worried at first. You aren't a fan of hospitals so when you came to visit you were a little hesitant. You didn't want to come near mommy in the hospital bed, which I understood. It was odd to see your mama with wires and all sorts of weird things. You admired your sister from a distance, but you mostly just wanted to play with the big window. Then you unfortunately got sick and we weren't able to see you for a couple days. When we brought sissy home you kept your distance and watched. You didn't really want mommy and became really attached to daddy. That hurt this mama heart a little, but it didn't last forever. You have warmed up more and more each day and you are pretty much a pro now. You instantly seem so much bigger to me now that we have your sister. It's like you grew up overnight and I can't believe it. 

You talk so much. I am sure anyone can guess where you get that from. You carry on full conversations with us, half of what we can understand and the other half we have no idea but it really is just the cutest thing. You love going to class at church and making new friends. You are such a character and extremely outgoing. I love watching your personality emerge more and more every day. You are doing so well at saying thank you and your welcome now, but when you say thank you you drag out the "thank" in a high pitched tone and I giggle every time. I love toddler talk. 

You are incredibly smart. We have started playing Sequence for Kids with you. We don't play by the game rules, but we pull out a card and have you find the animal on the board and you do such a good job. You know a lot of your animals and their sounds my particular favorite is the way you make the owl and monkey noises. And I adore the way you say elephant! This stage is so fun watching you learn and start to grasp different things, it is such a joy to watch.

You are becoming less and less of a baby every day and more and more a little boy. It's crazy watching you grow so quick before my eyes. I can't believe in just two short months you will be two. I guess it's time to start planning! 

Until next month. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Kicking Guilt to the Curb

I have re-written this post about five times now.. Trying to figure out how and where to start. Sometimes posts from the heart are so easy to write and other times it takes time.. It takes time to just quiet your mind and everything around you and let your heart speak.. Today is definitely one of those.
 I love being a Mama. I do! It's my calling in life. It's an anointing God has placed upon me and it's a job I know I'm good at. I know these things without a doubt and yet sometimes I still let the lies of the enemy bring me down by throwing guilt in my face or comparison.. Throwing at me the thieves of all joy.. It's something I have battled with ever since I became a Mama and it's suffocating at times by how awful I feel over the simplest things such as letting Evelynne cry herself to sleep because she won't let me cuddle her to sleep or getting frustrated with her because I'm so tired and I feel exhausted still from that morning when she woke up at 1am wide awake and her little sister keeping me up after that.. I see all of these pinterest worthy Mama's and instagram and facebook Mamas continually posting pictures of their daily activities with their children and it's so hard for me not to compare my motherhood to theirs..

With me not having a car our schedule sometimes just involves walks five times a day making it as exciting as possible and thank God for friends! And with all that being said I really feel like Jesus is always speaking to me through those times telling me
 "Heather, Think of all the good things you did today as a Mama and stop drowning yourself in the things that didn't meet YOUR expectations."
 Let me see here.. My daughter woke up to hugs and kisses. I fed her  a really good breakfast. Provided for her clean clothes to wear that day. did her hair. took her on a walk. Loved on her and gave her everything I had to give.

And Once I did that. Once I brought attention to all the things I did with my daughter I was joyful and the stuff I was bummed about that I didn't do with her didn't matter so much anymore.
 . Yes, I get frustrated with my beautiful daughters sometimes.. 9 times out of 10 it's mainly because I'm tired and exhausted and the other time is because I really think often times I'm raising a 13 year old in a 2 year old's body. She's so older minded and likes to try and out smart mama sometimes and boy if she doesn't get her way the whole neighborhood knows it. She's a leader and I love her for that and she is determined to get what she wants and I admire her about that.. I just need to continue to seek Jesus and His wisdom to show me and and continue to receive His wisdom in raising my darling strong willed precious girl.

 Truth is Mamas.. We have a huge job on our hands.. It's hard, crazy at times and sometimes exhaustion over runs it all. But there is seriously nothing more rewarding.

 I am a firm believer that raising a child is the most important job here on earth.. It's a ministry all in itself. It's where 24/7 you are always giving, always on call and you constantly have your guard up to protecting your precious child.. And I'm not saying it's the most important job to be prideful and I'm not saying it's the hardest job either.. But what we're doing while raising our children is we're raising the future. We're raising an opportunity to make a difference.

When we make a difference in the lives of our children or other peoples children and when we give them unconditional love, mercy and compassion and show them that Jesus difference in a Mama they will take that and share it with the world. And this is why the enemy tries so hard to take your mind off of the importance of Motherhood and plants thoughts of guilt and comparison. 
Because he wants your child to experience guilt and comparison as well. Mamas, even at a young age your children are still watching you. Even in the womb they feel you and get vibes on how your feeling. Satan is not only on a mission to steal your joy but also the joy of your husband and children.. Because he knows what your children carry. The very hope that is in Jesus Christ. The hope that saves, heals, brings life and condemns darkness. And all we need is just one with that hope to bring condemnation to hopelessness.

 I am learning this every day. In fact Jesus is showing me this in a new light as I'm writing it down. And I want to encourage you today that you are not alone and it's okay to feel frustrated, exhausted and even mad at times. In fact I sometimes believe that Jesus gave us this verse specifically for mama's at times:

come to me all who are weary - Google Search
 I deeply encourage you sisters to take this verse seriously and run with it. Jesus knows weariness better than anyone! And He gets you, He's got you and He wants to give you rest. And He'll do that. You just gotta go to Him. 

Will you let me encourage to today? If you are experiencing guilt for something such as getting frustrated with your kids, maybe you punished them or yelled at them out of anger or made them nap because you couldn't take anymore? 
 Maybe you feel bad for letting them cry themselves to sleep because sometimes you just have to do that.

Maybe you feel bad because you don't feel like you do enough things with you child. 
Or maybe your a new Mama and your just so tired and you don't know what your baby wants
. Or breastfeeding is difficult and you feel guilty for switching to formula. You know there is nothing wrong with that and it doesn't mean you love your baby any less.. Breast feeding is not for everyone and it seriously has nothing to do with love. It's just a way of supplying food for your baby. :)
No matter what your going through as a mama leave it at the feet of Jesus. Know who you are as a Mama and know that you are a good one who is anointed and gifted to raise little warriors. 
And remember that God is not calling perfect moms! Because there aren't any. Not even the ones on face- book, blogger and instagram.. And that's okay. We all need Jesus and I'll choose His perfection to cover me and my weakness. Because that's where He is strong and He wants to be your strength as well..

He knows you can't do this mom thing without Him because He knows you and your child better than you do and He wants to help you out.

So when your uncertain about something when it comes to your parenting, instead of all of a sudden feeling guilty about it or feeling like a horrible parent talk to Jesus about it. Ask Him His thoughts or if He has any ideas of a better way to do it..
 I Am With You  Scripture Bible Quote by TheLoveShopDigital on Etsy, $7.00
 I promise if you go to Him He'll guide you through this journey of Motherhood.  Always remember  Jesus is with you always, and instead of dwelling on the thought that you are a bad Mama because of the fewish things you have done that may not have even been a wrong decision but just a decision. 
 there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" Romans 8:1
Remember that you are not a bad mom.. But you are a pretty darn good one and Jesus makes you an even better one. :)  And always remember this!

Romans 8:1- the Greek meaning of "now" means "at this very moment" so right now and in a thousand years there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus!!!! Can I get an amen??

Hello there, I'm Heather Leigh and I blog over at "A beautiful Ministry" where I blog about my funny, exhausting and joyful lifestyle as a wife and Mama. 

I'm Married to a police officer and Pastor named Leon.But I often like to call him my "Preacher man" since he literally has the word of God written on his heart.

I'm the mama of two beautiful little girls Evelynne who's two years and Liya who's two months. Being a wife and mama and my most important work and ministry and I love them so very much and I love praising God in serving them and loving them.

My blog is about finding beauty in the every day Ministry of motherhood. I'd love for you to join me and be friends. :)

P.S Major shout out and congrats to Ally! Love you girl and major congrats on this new beautiful life! xoxo