Friday, January 25, 2013

The Power of Moms

The Power of Moms

A little over a year ago, I discovered a little gem of an online community & support network.  I want to make sure you know about it because it has changed me in so many good ways!

This site is run by two amazing women who have put together a fabulous place for mothers to find tools, learn skills, and feel support.  I love that I feel validated during the hard moments of motherhood.  But I also feel safe because the site keeps an upbeat, positive message about motherhood.  When I am am tempted to travel a negative road and want to give up I know that the Power of Moms will steer me back to a place of hope and purpose!

The tag-line of their name is: "A gathering place for deliberate mothers."  I love the concept of being deliberate.  Thanks to the many articles that are posted on their site, I have shifted my attitude towards the daily grind of mothering (most days!).  I am slowly changing how I view my role.  It is an opportunity to grow and improve--not just endless trials I must survive.  I am slowly becoming deliberate in many parts of my parenting.  It feels so good to have purpose.  To choose how and why I want us to move through an experience instead of just surviving it!

Here's a short list of some of the resources that The Power of Moms offers:

Daily articles.  So uplifting!  They always end with a challenge that help you apply them to your life and make change.

Podcasts.  My favorite.  I listen on the go & make use of the empty spaces of my long drives to doctors offices! 

Mind Organization for Moms (M.O.M) program

The Power of Moms Mind Organization Program
One truth I have learned is that life never really slows down.  Next week?  Next month?  I always hope for that magical blissful time.  But the beauty is that life is packed full!  I have always been an organized person, but had never thought it possible to have peace of mind in the midst of such busy-ness!

The Mind Organization for Moms program has taught me a better way to direct the flow of information and thoughts that are flying around my head and my house!  It took me a little while to get it all flowing smoothly but now I feel like I'm not dropping balls all over the place.  I'm actually moving forward on projects and my priorities are defined so that I can make better choices about what I spend my time on (I can say "yes" and "no" to people with more confidence!)  My favorite part (besides no mountain of papers on my desk) is that it doesn't feel like one more thing to is simply the way I function and I can't imagine ever doing it differently.  The full program costs money but here's a free way to get started on the basics!

Free Programs from the Power of Moms

I love helping people get started so if you ever need to bounce questions around as your figuring it'd be fun for me!

Learning Circles

The Power of Moms Learning Circles ProgramA group of friends that meets once a month to discuss an assigned article.  Part girls night out (fun!), part book club & motherhood course, part support group.  This is the most meaningful girl-time I could have.  Through the monthly assignments I am slowly making real progress on myself and my mothering.  I have been part of a learning circle for almost a year now and I see the changes in me and my home and family!

The Power of Moms

If you sign up for a free account you get access to several things for free.  So go sign up.  Become the mother you dream of being and find joy in your busy, imperfect, beautiful family!

In interest of full disclosure I have decided to be an affiliate of the Power of Moms and I am super excited to start volunteering for them to help support other mothers.  Being an affiliate basically means that if you click on the buttons on my page before you purchase something on their site, they give me a small percentage of the purchase price.  My motivation is far from financial.  Its something I am passionate about and I hope it can change your life as much as mine!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

You Matter to Me!

As much as I love recording life through pictures, journal-ing, or ability to get pictures of my kids on the wall is nothing to brag about!

It usually takes my current 2 year old noticing that they are missing in the family pictures that we walk past every day to motivate me to get things up to date!  Sad, I know!

I improved when #4 was born.  I think I added one baby picture of her to our family arrangement by the time she was 6 months old.  Although she's coming up to 2 years old now and she still doesn't appear in the family pictures....gonna work on that this week!

Earlier this year, I found Alice (almost 5) taping a snapshot that she found on her wall.  It was a baby picture of Hayley with dad.  I used to print pictures for scrapbooking back when Hayley was younger so they are around!  I asked Alice if she knew that it was Hayley not her.  She said "Yes, but I like to pretend it's me!"

Knife to the heart!


Big old "F-" on that grade, Mom!!!

So I tried hard to compensate this Christmas.
I made these beautiful posters for each girl.  They are a collage of pictures from their growing up years.
They love them.
Each poster hangs above the appropriate bed.  I love how their eyes light up as we talk about how cute they were.
It's so important for them to know how precious their presence in our life is!

So anyways...I have to show off...
(from Paper Coterie: they sold coupons that were about 70% off last July...score!  Get on that mailing list!)

Then I was on a I created these journals for them.  

Hayley Journals: Front Cover

Hayley got the standard journal + a book to write her songs in.  
She's quite the song writer right now, and I don't want her to ever lose those songs!

Hayley Journals: Back Cover

This is a new idea that we're going to try out.  It's a pre-teen/teen journal.  I've heard this idea from a few parents and thought we'd give it a shot.  This is a journal for Hayley to pass back and forth with notes and conversations between Dad and/or Mom and herself.  We're hoping it helps to keep communication open as we embark on this exciting growing up time!

Maya Journal: front cover
Maya Journal: back cover

Maya will probably be the most consistent journal writer.
She's requested a pile of baby pictures (just loose 4x6s) for her birthday too!

Alice Journal: front cover
Alice Journal: back cover

When we ask Alice what her favorite Christmas present was--this journal is it.  Plus the pile of loose 4x6 baby/toddler pictures that we gave her.
The picture on the back cover is her absolute favorite picture in the world: Daddy happens to be her favorite person in the world.  And being silly is the #1 priority in her book!
She's so proud of her little smiling journal.  Takes it everywhere.  She can't write sentences independently yet but she finds things to mark, draw and copy in it.  I love that it makes her feel valued and important.

I thought I had learned long ago how important 'knowing their story' is in the life of a child.  But it was reinforced to me again this year.  I just don't think we can ever tell too many stories about the good times, or have too many pictures of our kids growing up!  What do you do to display stories in your life?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Capturing this moment: Family Pictures 2012

Why do we do it to ourselves?  Is it really worth it?  Family pictures again? 

I ask these questions of myself when the time rolls around each year.  The baby is guaranteed to not nap at the right time.  The older kids who are normally quite cooperative in public situations will decide that today is the day to experiment with hyperactivity.  Someone will refuse to wear the outfit that I have stressed over for weeks.  Someone else will fall and scrape their knee.  There will be tears over hair not looking right.  Fights.  Bribes and more bribes.  Threats.  Frustration.  Tension.  Smile!  

Yet we forge ahead...determined to capture this moment in our family!

A few months ago in October 2012, Ryan's sister, Rhonda was in town visiting.  She has a booming professional photography business in Los Angeles: Rhonda Harris Photography.  I have seen her work--follow her blog--and am always in awe.  But I hadn't had the pleasure of witnessing and benefiting from her talent first hand.  She was incredible!  You could tell that she loved what she did and didn't let the inevitable whims of children dampen her excitement and joy.  Her relaxed, fun attitude was contagious!  I normally worry every time a child doesn't cooperate and feel that it's my job to "fix" their mood (yeah, right!)  But not with Rhonda.  She knew just how to tweak poses to take the pressure off of a kid that was anxious and was happy to move on and come back when things weren't working.  It was almost fun!  Besides the results were amazing.

So, are annual family pictures worth it?  Yes!  Even the ones that weren't so fun are treasured masterpieces to me.  I love the millions of candid snapshots that we have crammed on computer hard drives.  But the annual family pictures are milestones to me.  Pictures that we will treasure and display forever that will help us to remember the good and happy parts of this episode of our family.

So enjoy...these are just a few...