Let your child get bored

In a world that is so fast-paced, we need to let our children become bored from time to time! Boredom actually allows the brain to recover from the overstimulated world that we live in.

So many parents think that it’s their responsibility to fill every moment of their child’s time with activities, extracurriculars or screens. We all know how it feels to see the moms on social media doing ALL the things— crafts, field trips, baking, sports, dance and so on. I’ve been there finding myself wondering, “am I doing enough?” And that’s one of the best parts about embracing and encouraging this unstructured time— no more guilt! We can let that go because boredom is actually GOOD for them!

Being bored teaches us that life isn’t all rainbows and fireworks because as adults, we all know know that IT IS NOT.

Unstructured down time encourages creativity, independent thinking, and problem solving skills. Allowing that open ended time gives our children the opportunity to explore their inner selves and the world around them, diving deep into their interests and discovering their unique skills and passions! We aren’t nurturing them by giving them a toy that makes all of the noise for them or plopping them in front of the TV OR keeping them so busy that they don’t get to spend any time with themselves.

When a child is bored, it allows their minds to wander. As stated above, it’s not our jobs to entertain our kids but rather give them tools to be imaginative and creative. If we spend our time filling up our children’s spare time, they’ll never learn to do it for themselves. Boredom is good for the brain!

“I think it’s necessary to let kids get bored once in a while— that’s how they learn to be creative.” – Kim Raver

Do you let your kid(s) get bored?

xxoo Kate

My Daily Affirmations

This year I wanted to make a list of daily affirmations. I don’t plan to look over this list every single day but I’d love to keep it handy for the reminder when I need to regroup. This list is very much tailored to me and what I feel that I need. I really encourage you to make your own list to keep near. If you see anything from my list that speaks to you, please add it to yours!

My Affirmations

I am allowed to do what is right for me.

I can’t do everything for everyone and that’s okay.

The best gift that I can give my children is a happy mom.

I deserve to be loved.

Put in the effort to achieve what I want.

God wants me to rest.

Slow down, breathe, relax your body.

I am in control of my thoughts, not my feelings.

I am allowed to feel my feelings and then work through them.

I am confident and empowered.

We are all just trying our best.

What I have to say is of value.

I have the ability to reach others.

I have enough, I am enough.

God’s in control, I am not.

I am blessed with everything that I need.


What is something that you would add to your list right now?

xxoo Kate

Physical Therapy for Your Hoo-Ha?!

I posted this photo recently to my Instagram and had my lovely followers try to guess where I was. I got a lot of responses saying “chiropractor, acupuncture, massage” and so on. They were all great guesses but no one got the correct answer. I was at my physical therapist’s office. What do I see a physical therapist for? *Drumroll*…. MY LADY BITS. Say what?! I know. I never knew it was a thing until I was given a referral by my gynecologist. I have a pelvic floor dysfunction and I haven’t really spoken out about it, which as most of you know, is rare for me because I’m quite an open book. I wasn’t comfortable addressing it because I was NOT in a good place as I didn’t even want to think about it. I’m doing SO much better so I want to share a little about my story. Before I do, what is a pelvic floor dysfunction you might ask? You can read about it here. Thankfully, my symptoms dont include incontinence or anything severe like that, I was just plain uncomfortable (spasms, achey, back pain) and knew something was off.

I first noticed something didn’t feel quite right after I had my first daughter in 2015. I had a kind of achey pressure that’s hard to explain. I think a lot of the issues I have even until this day have to do with the fact that I did NOT take care of myself after giving birth. When my daughter was born, she was immediately transported to the NICU and I demanded they let me go meet her there. I was discharged almost right away to head to the NICU and I really didn’t allow myself any time to heal.

After we had all finally settled in at home (thank the Lord) I kept noticing this really uncomfortable nagging feeling and I took a mirror down there far too soon! I remember FaceTiming my mom BAWLING (thanks postpartum hormones) because what I saw was not the beautiful flower I had remembered (HA!) I had a LONG labor with my daughter and it clearly did a number on me.

So, me being me, I made an appointment with my gynecologist right away and was like “PLEASE tell me things will get better!” She kind of laughed at me after my evaluation (I’m sure she’s seen it all) and nonchalantly said, “you’ve got a prolapse.” A prolapse is when things such as your bladder, rectum, uterus etc shift out of place. She then told me that if I really wanted to, I could see a physical therapist. I said YES because my initial reaction to the news was OMG my insides are falling out!! Little did I know, all women have some degree of prolapse after giving birth and it can take up to a year for things to go back into place. I didn’t know that at the time so I was a kind of a mess.

The physical therapist I saw did everything wrong. She had me do this weird thing where I inserted a wand attached to a handheld device into, well you know where and I was prompted to “kegel” and then it would rate my strength (who knew?!) She said my tone was good yet she kept having me do strength exercises anyways. I was in SO much pain and it was making things worse! I became super depressed and cried all the time because I was uncomfortable every single day.

Sex hurt, going to bathroom didn’t feel right, my nether regions ached every single evening and it straight up hurt if I was on my feet for too long. I decided to seek out other opinions because I was so unbelievably uncomfortable. I saw a urogynecologost who told little 20 year old me that I needed a hysterectomy (that’s a whole other story) and then I went to Mayo Clinic who told me “you’re fine, keep up with PT and come back for surgery if you want it.” All of the information they gave me was conflicting with the others and I couldn’t take the pain anymore. I quit PT because it was making things so much worse and I told my husband, “that’s it, we are having a second baby so I can have surgery and be done with this already.” This was obviously out of desperation and lack of proper education and resources. All I knew was that I wanted at least one more child so I felt the pressure of “now or never!”

We did indeed have a second child shortly after and I actually felt okay after having her. The achey feeling was still there on strenuous days but it didn’t seem to bother me as much as it did after I had my first baby. It still was irritating at times so I picked back up with physical therapy but with a different trainer. She was great but I ended up getting pregnant with baby #3 shortly after starting back so I didn’t really get to see true results. I should’ve kept going because my pregnancy was soooooo hard. I had symphis pubis dysfunction which caused such excruciating pain in the front of my pubic region that I couldn’t walk at times. I knew this was going to be our last little lovie.

Of course with each pregnancy a woman’s body takes another hit. I wanted to keep up with things because I did not want anything getting worse. I started seeing my amazing physical therapist again and it turned out that I had the opposite problem from what my first PT thought. The first woman had me working on strength exercises when I really needed to train my pelvic floor to RELAX. Your vagina is a muscle, and mine was TOO tense. Yes, that’s a thing, ha! It was actually causing extremely painful spasms. I have had great success in the relief of my symptoms with physical therapy.

I wanted to share my experiences with this and while this post only touches on a small part of my story, it’s opening up the window for more discussion. I felt so alone because when I was researching this condition after first finding out what was going on, it was extremely difficult to find information on the topic and especially in women my age. It was all very negative, isolating and depressing.

There are several things I’ve learned and I’d like to share them if you’re interested. Prolapses/pelvic floor dysfunctions can happen to women of any age whether you’ve had children or not. There are breathing techniques, exercises and most importantly hope surrounding this topic. I don’t want anyone to feel as alone as I did in dealing with this.

Some amazing accounts to follow on Instagram that have helped me are @the.vagina.whisperer, @mypelvicfloormuscles, @thesugarmag, @fourthtrimestercollective, @the.vulva.gallery, @postpartumstress, @bodyimage_therapist, @mikzazon, @myselflovesupply, and @mydearvagina

Here’s to being transparent and open and praising my body for doing it’s very best!

xxoo Kate

Gift guide for active toddlers

We all know what it’s like to get ants in our pants. Kids especially need to burn off their energy because they have so much of it. Some kids are just climbers, others could use a little help with coordination but nearly all kids just need to move. These gifts are perfect for just that!

1.Pikler Triangle I just found out about these within the last 2 years and they’ve fascinated me ever since! They’re perfect for climbers and can be used before your child can even walk. Additional attachments can be purchased like slides and more! I talk more about Pikler triangles here.

2.Toddler Slide If you decide against a Pikler and you want something a little more simple, you can’t go wrong with a slide. Kids love slides and no one says you can’t have one indoors!

3. DIY balance beam This year we’re asking Santa’s elves to make this beam and a Pikler for Christmas. I must say, the triangle is kind of complex to make but even I could make this balance beam! Balancing is a skill that must be mastered so why not make it fun?

4.Bilibo seats These versatile play objects are multi award winning and perfect for open ended play! The possibilities are nearly endless including rocking , hiding, spinning, standing on and more!

5.Balance board The balance boards were originally found in Waldorf schools but made their way into people’s homes. These are great for imaginative play, strength building and exercise. They can be used by children of all ages.

6.Mini trampoline It’s important for kids to stay active and this is the perfect pastime activity! My middle child loves to bounce and I’m here to tell you that this trampoline provides an exceptional energy-burning outlet for toddlers.

7.Gonge hilltops My girls got these for Christmas last year that they’ve been a hit ever since! They are one of the few things that get used every single day. Hilltops develop children’s ability to estimate distances and make them familiar with heights.

8.Pod swing These can be used indoors or outdoors but we plan to use it inside because my kiddos and I get some serious cabin fever (we have 8 months of snow). These hammock swings help develop a child‘s sense of balance and body awareness but at the same time can be used for relaxation.

9.Rock wall Our home is a child-centered zone. I want space for the kids to explore and have fun because why not?! Who says you can’t make a rock wall inside your house?

10.Bounce horse The only thing my oldest daughter wanted this year was a pony. She suggested a real one but we decided he or she would be too cold outside and too big to live inside so she decided to ask Santa for a “toy pony that she could ride on.”

11.Tunnel I don’t know what it is about tunnels but kids love them. They’re great for imaginative adventures. As a parent, I like these ones because they collapse down and store very easily!

12.Basketball hoop I’m going to be honest and say that we use the basketball hoop just as much as our girls do. There is something so satisfying about throwing a ball from across the living room and making it. Things get pretty heated between my husband and I but hey, the kids like it too. It’s a fun family activity!

13.Indoor play gym Also known as a Swedish wall, this play gym comes with it all- ropes, rings, climbing wall, ladder, ramp, swing. All of these features are great for climbing and coordination skills!

14.Sit n spin My girls love to spin… and spin and spin! They always end up smashing themselves off of things and getting hurt so with this sit n spin, at least they’re sitting down!

15.Indoor climbing dome These domes can be used outdoors but if you have the space, indoors too! They’re great for climbing and hours of fun!

xxoo Kate

Our Second Wedding Anniversary

In two days, Halloween, it will be our second wedding anniversary and ELEVEN year dating anniversary…. Wow, that doesn’t even seem real. I’m choosing to write this now because Halloween is all about the kids and I know I’ll be caught up in the hustle and bustle!

Our relationship was a rollercoaster for years. Extremely passionate but very unhealthy. How does that song go, “We’re like fire and gasoline?” – that was us. Roaring hot and utterly destructive.

I could go on and on and maybe someday I will but for now I’ll leave it at “we were very immature” and move on to the good stuff.

We are completely different people these days. I still have the hots for him don’t get me wrong, but our relationship is also filled with comfort. He’s my best friend and I love spending time with him. He’s cozy and has the biggest heart. I am beyond thankful that things worked out for us because most of the time, with relationships that start out like ours, they don’t… or they do and then you live your life in toxicity.

Finding God together was the best thing that ever happened to us. Some day I’ll elaborate on the change the has Lord made in our lives because it was and continues to be quite miraculous. Right now, I just want to give a big thank you to my husband TJ and an even bigger I LOVE YOU!

I’m thankful that I have someone to count down the minutes every day until he gets home from work. Sure, I enjoy his helping hand with the kids (HA) but I just really enjoy his presence.

I’m also really thankful that we were able to sneak off together this past weekend for a lunch date to eat some amazing sandwiches.

Happy almost second wedding (11 year dating) anniversary Travis!

xxoo Kate

Why You Should Continue to Date After You Get Married

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Do you remember feeling that spark* that everyone talks about? Your heart fluttering when you simply held hands? Your first kiss? Those moments were pretty special. Dating was exciting! It felt new, and fresh and getting to know the other person was just fun!

My husband TJ and I dated for 8 years before we got married. It was filled with many highs and many lows but there was always passion. That was one thing we were always good at. We shared all of our firsts together so of course we were excited to finally get married! Well fast forward a little bit, we are coming up on our second anniversary and let me tell you, marriage is work.

Add in to the mix purchasing our second home, expecting baby #3, work, bills, responsibility… Life happens fast and yet days seem to blur together. It’s easy to find yourself in the same, quite frankly, boring routine. Balancing and juggling all that life throws at you is hard, but that’s exactly why dating is so important for your marriage. Below the Lord of course, your marriage is the foundation for your family. If you two start to crumble, all the other components of your lives will likely follow.

Okay, I know, that title was total click-bait but this topic is important! By now I’m sure you’ve realized that when I say you should continue to date after marriage, I mean you should continue to date your spouse! We all know relationships go through seasons, but you never want to be so out of touch that you feel like you no longer click with or even know your partner anymore.

No matter what season your relationship is in, you should still continue to date.

For our relationship (married with kids), most of our “dating” needs to be done after the kids go to bed or be penciled into the calendar but if that’s what you need to do, do it! I’d even be lying if I said I was excited about every date we went on. Some days, I’m straight up tired and would rather take a nap (sorry babe) but I know that the quality time spent together is important.

Dating deepens your connection with your spouse whether it be mental, physical, spiritual, all three or more?! It keeps communication open which we all know is essential in any healthy relationship. It also provides a sense of security and keeps things fun. Who wouldn’t want that?

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Oh and just so you know, doing anything together while you’re both on your phone does not count! You have to be present and fully there. Why spend time together if you’re not going to actually be “there.” Look your spouse in the eyes, compliment each other, be playful, talk! Remember when your relationship was budding and you could talk for hours without stopping? Talk again, and spare yourselves, drop the boring talk about bills and responsibility. Get to know each other again. It’s easy for you to think “oh, we’ve been together for so long, I know everything there is to know,” but people change. New things excite them. Your spouse has dreams and things that make them tick – learn those things!

Date night will look different to each couple. It’s not a one size fits all type of thing. It also doesn’t have to be expensive which is where I hear a ton of people saying “we just don’t have the money to go out all the time.” You don’t even need to go out! One of my favorite dates is when my husband and I get a sitter for the kids, eat dinner at home just him and I, then we grab some junk food, throw pillows and blankets out and watch a show together in peace. Simple, cheap, and meaningful!

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My husband and I are guilty of not doing this as often as we should. We travel and are always doing activities and events with the kids but when it comes to just him and I, we slack. It’s my goal to spend just ONE day out of the month together, husband and wife. If you haven’t set aside any time to date your spouse, set some aside! There’s only happiness and love to gain!

Do you make time for date nights with your spouse? What are some of your favorites? Please share in the comments! I’m always open to new ideas.

xxoo Kate

 

What I Learned From Going Three Weeks Without a Phone

Some people probably read this post’s title and get anxiety. I’m with you!

Let me start by saying that my cellphone fast was not intentional. In fact, I was extremely unhappy about the situation. My untrustworthy iPhone was less than a year old and just decided not to turn on one day.

Great. I am a stay at home mom, full-time student, busy, planner, blogger, family-woman, how in the world was I going to be a productive human being without my phone?!

I was determined to be optimistic. I said to my husband trying to be strong (and also trying to convince myself I was going to be okay), “Psh, no big deal. I don’t need a phone. Technology is taking over the world anyways.”

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I meant what I said. Technology is everywhere. It’s too much. I want a more simple life. I wasn’t ready to give up my phone though. I guess I didn’t really have a say in the matter.

Oh, the cons…

I dropped my girls off at the sitter and drove off with no way for their care provider to reach me if anything bad were to happen. I was filled with anxiety. My mind was racing, I couldn’t wait to get to school so I could open my computer and have Facebook Messenger open JUST IN CASE.

When I was at home with the kids, I was terrified that I didn’t have a way to make an emergency phone call. What if one of my kids choked or had an unfortunate accident?

I wasn’t able to schedule, reschedule, or contact anyone or anything regarding appointments or meetings. For example, I had issues with my internet service one day and I couldn’t make a quick call to someone to get it back up and running. Another day, I wanted to call the doctor’s office to reschedule my appointment because my daughter’s were napping longer than expected but, there was no way to do so.

Even little things… I missed getting texts from my husband on his breaks at work asking how the kids and I were doing. I looked forward to “hearing” from him throughout the day but we rarely got a chance to speak because the chances of me sitting on my computer at home during his break times were very slim pickings.

I missed googling any random question that popped into my head, that instant gratification.

My husband was getting annoyed with me. Instead of greeting him with a warm “welcome home” after work, I was instead, demanding that he hand his phone over so I could try to call and make appointments before businesses closed!

The first week I was more of a mess than I’d like to admit. Seriously guys, I even missed my phone when I had to use the bathroom. I had resort back to my childhood days and read the labels on shampoo and lotion bottles.

Though in the beginning, I was faced with these serious cons to not having a phone, I was later met with a greater amount of pros.

I used to roll over in bed in the morning and grab my phone right away. I also used to lay on my phone until wee hours of the night. I didn’t have that problem (or option) anymore so I got a lot more sleep. For weeks, I had been praying/begging for rest and I was finally getting it.

After dropping off my girls with the sitter, I turned my serious “what if” anxiety into prayer. In the past, I chose to use my car rides for phone calls because it seemed like a good time to return messages. Even when I wasn’t talking on the phone, I was always seeing/hearing notifications pop up and I was constantly thinking about what I needed to do next. Being without my phone allowed me to have uninterrupted conversations with my good ol’ pal The Lord. I was able to listen to some uplifting music, do some Kegels, whatever I wanted! I loved being able to clear my mind on my way to and from school.

I spent more time looking at my children. I have never been one to sit and stare at my phone all day or ignore my kids but the quick “I’m just going to check the weather really quick,” always seemed to turn into a “and I just want to clear these other notifications really quick too.”

I was present with my family. My husband and I laid in bed and talked with each other at night rather than me silently scrolling through my social media accounts.

I was punctual. I didn’t have my phone to send a quick “I’m going to be a few minutes late,” text. Don’t lie, we’ve all done it. It’s convenient but when you don’t have that option, trust me, you’ll make a point to start getting ready a few minutes earlier than usual.

It was SO freaking nice not to have to answer to anyone. I didn’t have to answer any calls, or texts. We all have those people who get mad if you don’t answer your phone right away and I didn’t have to deal with a single one! If I wanted to talk someone, like my mom or dad, they were forced to stop by or I had to go visit. I loved it!

Before I found out that my insurance would cover a new phone for free, I looked into getting rid of my smart phone and just getting a phone to have in case of emergencies. Yes, I was willing to resort to a flip phone.

But since it was free of charge, I got my new iPhone sent to me a few of days ago. Since having it back, I’ve noticed that I don’t bother with it as much. If someone calls and I don’t answer right away, I don’t stress. I will return the call when it’s convenient for me. I don’t go on it while I’m with my children or spending time with family. I do still like to browse before bed but I don’t stay up as late as I used to. My favorite part? Even if I’m not using it… It’s there in case of an emergency. I love that peace of mind.

While I have a love/hate relationship with technology, I do enjoy having a phone and I really did miss mine while it was gone. I am thankful that I had this time to “reset” and my new phone will be spending much more time on the shelf so I can be present with my family, myself and God.

Like this fun date my hubby and I went on! Just him and I, nature, and our cameras. I love being able to take a step away from all technology (besides my camera in this case) from time to time. I really recommend cutting yourself off intentionally if you’ve never given it a go. It truly is refreshing.

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xxoo Kate