4 Ways to Teach Your Kids Patience

What is it they always say – patience is a virtue?

I am the first to admit, my patience level is nearly nonexistent. While it has improved over the years, especially with the addition of children (God bless my kids for bringing me down a notch), I am always keeping myself in check. I’m like the Energizer Bunny always on the move and in a hurry, so don’t get in my way.

I am slowly starting to see my lack of patience in my children. Could it be my unfavorable characteristic is now reflected on them or general toddlerdom? We may never know, but what I do know is that I am constantly working towards self-improvement and providing my kids with the tools they need to be patient individuals.

Here are four ways to promote patience –

  1. Parents Practicing Patience – I’ve already admitted my faults, but we should lead by example as parents. My kids are my driving force to actively show what it means to be a mindful and patient person. If mommy can do it, they can do it too!
  2. Slow and Steady – I don’t know if this can be said for all toddlers, but my boys are always on the go. A moment of Zen is very rare and achieved when they are asleep at the end of the day. A great way to establish mindfulness and patience is to introduce activities like coloring, building with Legos, or baking cookies. We want to slow down the soul and enjoy the outcome of taking our time to complete the task at hand.
  3. Celebrate – What kid doesn’t love praise? When our kids practice patience let’s acknowledge them with a job well done. While we should tackle moments of impatience, complimenting them is of the upmost importance. A reward doesn’t hurt either. We have a mindfulness chart at home where my son fills the chart (with stickers) every time he shows patience. When all 12 slots are filled, he can then select a prize from the treasure chest.
  4. Start the Clock – A trick my parents used when I was a youngster – the egg timer. I have found my oldest responds well to the clock. He will sit there and wait for it to ding before he moves to the next activity. “We are going to park in five minutes,” “You can watch your iPad for two more minutes,” or “we will be home in 10 minutes,” are all examples of establishing expectations through time. It eases anxiety and helps when the anticipation of what’s to come.

The two most powerful warriors are patience and time. – Leo Tolstoy

Do you or your kids struggle with mindfulness? How do you address patience? Let me know in the comments below.

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3 Simple Ways to Raise Charitable Children

Over the weekend my family participated in the Charlotte Take Steps for Crohn’s and Colitis walk in support of The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. This is the second year we have taken part of this event with Team Christian B.

My two-year-old has had an active role in raising awareness for Crohn’s and Colitis for each year of his life and our newest addition is starting the trend as well. As a nonprofit employee, advocate, and volunteer, I understand and appreciate the work of the nonprofit, but especially the individuals who commit their time to various causes.

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As a parent who hopes to raise young men who care and respect others for who they are, it is important my children are exposed to various causes throughout their lifetime. These organizations are on the front lines working towards improving the health and wellness of citizens, the equality of individuals no matter their race, age, gender, etc. and I want my kids to be right there with them.

My fellow parents/guardians/role models, I challenge you to join me in creating a culture where becoming a catalyst of positive change is inherent in the younger generation.

Here are 3 simple ways we can raise charitable children:  

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1. Exposure – In this day and age, we have an overabundance of resources available at our fingertips to share with our kids about charitable work and how to give back to our communities. For most of us, we read to our kids before bed. Reading time is a wonderful opportunity to share stories of volunteerism, causes involving children (for example, The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation), or kids donating back to a cause. Along with reading, society is attached to it’s electronic devices, which means we can share videos from local charities with our kids. Videos and audio easily explain the work of the organization, but it truly takes hold of their focus.

2. Communication – How often we speak to our kids about giving back says a lot about our commitment to raising charitable children. The conversation needs to go beyond the initial exposure and into daily conversation. I’ve made it a point to talk to my son about doing what’s right for others, loving our friends, sharing what we have with others (I use giving his toys to children as an example he will understand). How are you talking about advocacy and awareness?

3. Take Action – Now my sons are two and two months, so their ways of giving back are limited, but they can participate in my charitable efforts. For example, joining me as we walked for a cure for Crohn’s and Colitis or attending an event through the nonprofit I work for, are simple ways of exposing and communicating causes with my kids. As they get older I will push them to research and find an organization that speaks to them. Once they make a connection I will encourage them to make a contribution to their selected cause such as donating a portion of their allowance, fundraising on behalf of the organization, volunteering their time, etc. There are so many ways to get them involved in one of the many, many causes out there.

Taking part in charity is something my kids will have been exposed to since the start of their lives. It’s important to me they will understand the importance of giving back and what it does for those in their communities and in their country. They will make a positive difference.

What’s in My Toddler’s Easter Basket – Hoppy Easter 2017

There are two things you should know about me; 1. I love most holidays and 2. I love to shower my loved ones with gifts. So, when the Easter Bunny asked me to step in this year and put together my son’s Easter basket, I hopped right on board!

My son is at a great age where he gets excited over gifts and celebrations, which means Easter 2017 is going to be a whole lot of FUN! I had a blast carefully picking out each stuffer for my son’s Easter basket.

Here’s a look at what goodies he will be receiving this year:

As I mentioned in my blog post, Toddler Favorites: Top 5 Netflix Movies and Shows, my son LOVES Disney’s Zootopia, so I wanted to make sure I included a few pieces from his favorite movie in his basket. I found this great action figure set of Nick, the Fox, and the characters from the ice cream parlor scene. In addition to this playset, I found a Zootopia Play Pack which includes crayons, coloring sheet, and stickers. The Play Pack is perfect to throw in the diaper bag and have on hand at restaurants or on-the-go.

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Zootopia Play Pack Grab & Go via         Dollar Tree

Spring is here and the sun is shining, quite brightly I might add, so I grabbed my son an adorable pair of mirrored sunglasses from Target. He’s always trying to steal my sunglasses, so now he can have a pair of his own.

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Toddler mirrored sunglasses via Target

Along with the sunglasses, the Target dollar section has adorable Easter items, perfect for any bunny. Of those items, I grabbed a blue bunny bubble wand and light up bunny baton. We are going to have countless hours of fun blowing bubbles outside and playing Troll Hunter with his light up wand.

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Bubble Wand via Target

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Bunny Baton via Target

My son has been mastering drinking from a cup without a lid, so I found the most adorable tribal cup from Target to add to his basket. It matches the plates and bowls we already have in stock. We will be practicing with water until we are spill-free for up to 10 days straight.

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Tribal Drinking Cup via Target

Finally, no Easter basket is complete without candy. My kid could care less about chocolate, it’s the only way we truly differ personality wise, so I grabbed him some gummy treats. Along with Zootopia, he’s a fan of both Mickey Mouse and Dory from Finding Dory. The gummy treats are accompanied by stickers. My son is obsessed with stickers and sticking them on everyone else except for himself.

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Disney Junior Gummies and Stickers via Dollar Tree

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Finding Dory Fish Gummies via   Dollar Tree

Easter 2017 is going to be exciting with a new baby and new home to celebrate in, but I want my son’s Easter basket to be an added piece of bliss on April 16th.  He deserves all of the hoppy-ness in the world.

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What are you putting in your kid’s Easter basket this year?

10 Ways I’m #RockingMotherhood

Motherhood cannot be perfected by a Nashville or Reyes filter like the life we often portray on Instagram. It’s messy and chaotic, but I personally wouldn’t have it any other way. I can’t remember what life was like prior to becoming a mother. I truly believe my life started when my son was placed in my arms. He and I were instantaneously bonded. Now I will admit life as a mother has brought forth many challenges, but I can confirm these obstacles have been well worth the stressful and anxiety ridden days.

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I want to send a shout-out over to Caitlin at Better with Babies for tagging me to participate in the #RockingMotherhood Challenge. Often as a mother, especially a young mom, I am often faced with the opinions (both appreciated as well as unwanted) of how I can be better, what I am “doing wrong,” etc. as a parent. I am going to take on this challenge and highlight the 10 ways that I think I am rocking this thing called motherhood.

Being the mom to an outgoing, fearless, loving, and stubborn two-year-old boy and soon-to-enter-this-world baby boy, my life is filled with constant surprises and unexpected adventure. I love being their mom; it’s my life’s work! Here are the 10 ways I am #RockingMotherhood.

The #RockingMotherhood Challenge is an opportunity for moms to encourage other moms by tagging them to highlight the 10 ways they are #RockingMotherhood.

  1. I Express Unconditional Love – The love I have for my boys is limitless. My sons, along with my husband, are my true loves. My boys have a strong hold on my heart. I would do anything for them, because as a wife and mother, I believe that is my responsibility.
  1. I Say I Love You ALL.THE.TIME. – Whenever there is an opportunity to say “I love you” to my sons, I say it! My kids will never have to question how much I love them. My two-year-old is constantly saying “I love you” and it just melts my heart.
  1. Family Comes First – No matter what’s going on in my life, if it’s a personal crisis, work, etc. my husband and my sons will always come first. There is nothing that I would ever put in front of them. They are my priority!
  1. I am Patient with My Son – I make a conscious effort to be patient with my son at all times. Whenever he has a moment of frustration or throws a toddler tantrum, I get down to his levels, talk him through what he is experiencing, and sooth him. There are a lot of feelings and emotions raging through such a small human being. He often doesn’t know how to handle what’s going on, and as a mother I’m suppose to guide and comfort him through it.
  1. I Play with My Son – Whether it’s reading the Pout Pout Fish 18 times a day, watching Troll Hunters and snuggling on the couch, holding a conversation on play cell phones, or building the tallest Lego structure, I take time to sit down and play with my son. I think it’s important to have that one-on-one time with my little guy!
  1. I Let Things Go – Before I had my son I was insanely particular about everything. If something was out of place, I would have an internal breakdown. Now as a mother, “I let it go,” as Elsa put it in Disney’s Frozen. My previous need for perfection is something I do not want to pass along to my sons. I want them to know it’s OK to make mistakes and not everything has to be perfect.
  1. My Son Has Manners – My two-year-old says please and thank you unprompted. I have a little gentleman on my hands. Whenever he asks for something he starts of his request with “please” and ends it with the sweetest “thank you.” I will take all of the credit!
  1. I Worry About Being a Good Parent – I worry about being a good parent all of the time, which in my mind means I am a good parent. I question if I am showing my son enough affection, am I teaching him the right things, am I responding to his needs appropriately, etc. My boys are my everything and I want to make sure I am doing my best as a parent to lead them down the right path, whatever that may be.
  1. I am Raising Good Men – As a mother it is my job to make sure my kids are working towards the greater good. The way I speak, react, and interact with my kids is all in hopes of raising decent human beings. They will be men who will care for others, be accepting of everyone, stand up for what is right, and show love and respect. We need to good men, and God-willing, I am doing my part to ensure that we do.
  1. I am a Certified Mama Bear – I self-identify as a mama bear. You may or may not see this as a good thing, but I wear the badge with pride. I am extremely protective of my boys and I will do everything in my power to protect my babies. Do you know the signs at the zoo that say “Please don’t mess with the caged animals”? Well they apply to my every day life as well. I should walk around with a sign that says, “Please don’t mess with my kids, because it will not turn out well for you.”

Hey moms, I’m tagging you to participate in the #RockingMotherhood Challenge:

  1. Brittney at Our Shouts of Joy
  2. Cacia at DIAMOM
  3. Jaclyn at Jaclyn Bree – Living the Rocky Life

 

#RockingMotherhood Guidelines

1.Thank the blogger that tagged you and link to their blog.

2.List 10 things you believe make you a good mother.

3.Tag some bloggers to join in the #RockingMotherhood Tag.

4.Grab the #RockingMotherhood badge and add it to your post or sidebar.

Hey moms! You’re #RockingMotherhood

Toddler Favorites: Top 5 Netflix Movies and Shows

Unlike most toddlers, my son enjoys sitting down and watching a full length movie. There are very few TV shows that grab his attention, but I will mention two here that he loves! He doesn’t want 15 minute clips, he wants a one-and-a-half-hour feature film; the whole enchilada (clearly I’m craving Mexican food #pregnancy)!

Like most American households, we love and utilize Netflix on a daily basis. My two-year-old can navigate through the app on his IPad better than I can on the TV. He has his select movies and Netflix original series that he defaults to watching every single day. I’m not exaggerating when I say EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I could probably act out every one of these movies and each episode of the shows word for word. Good thing he has good taste in his digital selections.

* Yes! My two-year-old son has an IPad and I’m OK with that. He uses it for much more than watching movies and shows. He plays educational games about shapes, colors, sizes, letters, numbers, and spelling. I’ve witnessed the benefits of using the IPad at a young age. * 

Here are my son’s top 5 Netflix movies and shows:

Disney’s Zootopia:

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Photo courtesy of movies.disney.com

This movie was one of the first movies my son watched all the way through. There are certain parts *SPOILER* such as Judy being scratched in the face by Gideon or when Nick goes back in time to relive his saddening experience with the boy scouts, that he is not a fan of. He is very empathetic child, and when he sees his favorite characters go through a hard time, it breaks him down.

When the opening credits start and he sees young Judy enter the screen, he squeals in delight, laughs, jumps up and down, and screams “JUDY!!!” When he’s not feeling well or when he just wants to sit down and relax, this is the movie he goes for.

I will say, as a parent, I enjoy watching this movie. There are plenty of jokes only understood by adults and the storyline is something I can get behind. I want my son to believe that he can do anything he puts his mind to, just like Judy who became the first bunny cop in Zootopia history. As his biggest advocate, I know he can!

Justin Time Go!:

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Photo courtesy of http://www.netflix.com

This Netflix original series is great for your little explorer. It follows a young boy named Justin and his two imaginary friends, Olive and Squidgy, who go back in history and travel the world. He goes to Alaska, Germany, the Polynesian Islands, and other far off destinations.

Each episode focuses on a particular lesson that kids face on day-to-day basis. For example, the importance of going to bed and getting a good nights sleep or facing your fears. If you have an older child, this is a great show for them to not only learn about the world, but to become more self-aware as they continue to develop and grow.

I think my son has a crush on the character Olive, because he often stops dead in his tracks when she comes on the screen. She is the voice of reason for Justin and it appears for my son as well. I often catch him mimicking Olive’s statements, i.e. “cuckoo clock”, “let’s go!”, or “be patient.” I love that this show encourages my son to step outside of his current vocabulary and phrase words together.

Dreamwork’s Troll Hunters:

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Photo courtesy of http://www.wikipedia.com

“JIM!!!!” is currently being screamed into my ear by my two-year-old. This Netflix original series created by Guillermo del Toro, is quite possibly my son’s favorite show to watch. It’s the story of a young boy, Jim and his friends, both troll and human, as they try to save two worlds from destruction.

You think “trolls? Geeze that must scare your son, right?” Well, you are wrong! My son often acts out the role of troll hunter, pointing his toy sword, a stick, light saber, whatever he can get his hands on, taking on the “baaaadddd guuuuuuuuyssss!” as he likes to put it. He can easily differentiate between the “good” trolls and the “bad” trolls.

We have watched this series as a family, because it’s great, about 7 or 8 times all the way through. I often catch jokes that I missed the time before as we re-watch and re-watch the series over and over again. This show gets two thumbs up from my entire clan.

Hotel Transylvania 2:

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Photo courtesy of http://www.sonypictures.com

Adam Sandler’s second installment of the Hotel Transylvania movie series is frequently observed in my household. Both Hotel Transylvania movies are cute and family-friendly. Even though it is rated PG for action, rude humor, and “scary” images, I don’t think it’s inappropriate for my son to watch.

As Dracula works towards bringing out the vampire in his grandson, who is half human and half monster, he learns the lesson of accepting his grandson for who he is. The movie really focuses on the importance of being true to yourself as well as the love of family.

My son often points at Dennis, the young boy, and says “you, you, you!” Which is my son’s terms, “you” is how he refers to himself. Dennis has curly red hair just like my son, so essentially in my toddler’s eyes they are the same person.

Pixar’s Finding Dory:

The pitter patter of small feet runs across the house as my son runs to his room to collect his stuffed Dory. He embraces the plush fish in both arms and gazes lovingly at the screen as the Pixar logo appears. His eyes light right up!

We are currently learning all of our animals, in particular sea life, so my son loves to watch all of the sea critters interact and come together at the aquarium within the movie. The beluga whale, played by Ty Burrell, cracks my son up! His little giggles echo throughout the house. It’s one of my favorite sounds in the world!

Even though my son is young, Finding Dory has encouraged us to talk to my son about holding our hands, staying close, and not running away. I mentioned earlier that he is extremely empathetic, so when Dory is separated from her family, his little heart breaks into a million pieces, but by the end of the movie he is whole again. We explain the sadness he is experiencing along with Dory, is what happens when we run away from mommy and daddy. So, when we ask if he is going to stay close to us and always hold our hand, he wildly shakes his head yes and says “Okay!” We just love Finding Dory and all that it offers our little one.

These are just 5 of the many wonderful selections Netflix has to offer in terms of show and movies for toddlers. My son likes what he likes and he always go right back to these 5 selections time after time.

5 Minute Mommy Makeup Routine

As parents, we all know time is precious. Seldom do we have the chance to use the bathroom in peace, let alone “put on our face” as my Nana would have said in her southern belle accent. During this pregnancy I have rarely had a desire to put on my makeup in the mornings, but I do it because I work and have to interact with individuals face-to-face on a daily basis. Trust me; it’s for the best!

My morning is timed out perfectly. From the moment I open my eyes to when I get my son up for the day, there is a set routine in place, down to the second. I have perfected my “natural yet non-exhausted” look (or at least I think so). Just 5 minutes of my morning is dedicated to putting on my makeup.

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While you may not use these products, you can take what you currently use or what is best suited for your skin, and trim down your application time to 5 minutes a day. Really, it’s just 5 minutes!

Quick! Grab the stopwatch!

What’s in my beauty bag:

Here’s how you can add those 30 minutes back to your sleep schedule without having to rush in the morning:

Step 1: Apply selected foundation on face along with selected concealer under the eyes
Step 2: Use your flat angled blending/foundation brush to blend in foundation and concealer (seriously blend in well!)
Step 3: Lightly apply eye brow pencil, filling in empty spaces
Step 4: Apply eye crayon/eye liner to lower lid (I typically avoid the upper lid)
Step 5: Apply one coat of mascara to the upper lashes and one coat to the lower lashes to avoid clumping as well as offer a natural look
Step 6: Use flat blending/blush brush to lightly apply blush to cheek bones
Step 7: Use contouring brush to apply brightening powder below the eyes, the bridge of the nose, and forehead
Step 8: Use round blending brush to lightly apply loose powder to face, making sure makeup is smoothed over and not flaky
Step 9: Moisturize your lips with select lip balm
Step 10: Voila! Take a step back, look in the mirror, and make sure all makeup is blended in well. You’ve done it!

In 10 simple steps I make myself look fresh faced and ready for the day, even though I could use an IV drip coffee and whole lot of prayer! Let me know if this process works for you.

You Got This Girl

Photo courtesy of loveyouandthem.com

You got this girl!

His Big Boy Room

We recently moved house. Please let me be the first to tell you, it’s not easy moving when you’re 7+ months pregnant, especially when your super particular and want to do everything on your own. If anyone is considering this, I am going to strongly advise against it.

OK, with that said, the purpose of this post is to highlight one of my favorite rooms in the house; my son’s “big boy” room. I know what you’re thinking, “Hannah he’s still in a crib, how can this be a big boy room?” Well, your observation is correct. Yes, he is still in a crib and I can easily transform his bed into a toddler right now if I wanted to, but he hasn’t expressed any interest in trying to climb out of the crib, so I’m OK just leaving it like that for right now. He can still have a “big boy” room even with a crib. He’s two for heavens sake.

When we moved out of our last home, we had to make a few improvements. We repainted the walls in our master bedroom, Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray. I loved this color so much, I decided I was going to use it in both of my boy’s rooms once we moved into our new place.  That is exactly what I did!

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Right when you enter this room, hanging just above the light switch is a framed copy of my mom’s family crest. Rorie is my mother’s maiden name, and I always said, boy or girl, my first born would be named Rorie. I love the uniqueness it adds to the room. “The surname Rorie appears to be patronymical in origin, and is believed to be associated with the Scots, meaning, ‘descendants of Ruairidh, (Red King).’”  How appropriate? He is my little ginger babe after all.

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The accent wall is all thanks to my mom, a.k.a. Oma, and the folks at Hobby Lobby. Let me tell you, Hobby Lobby is a dangerous place for someone’s wallet, especially when a grandmother and pregnant mom want to decorate the little one’s room to perfection. From the mountainscapes to the tribal inspiration, this wall sums up my child’s fearless personality. It makes me smile!

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Here’s Where You Can Order These Items Online:

Little Explorer MDF Wall Art

Rustic Oars Explore Wall Sign

Strong & Brave Tribal Wall Plaque

Move Mountains MDF Block

Abstract Mountains Wood Sign

Weathered Grey Wooden Wall Arrow

5” MDF Letter – R

Our reading chair is a well loved space in his room. Each night before bed, my son selects three books for us to read together. We snuggle up with his blanket (crocheted by Oma) and favorite companion, a stuffed Alligator named Anton (not pictured, because he’s probably being cuddled to death in the playroom somewhere). The chair was something I inherited from my Nana and she gave me the owl pillow on my 18th birthday. It would take a lot for me to part with these items, so when we moved, I thought these pieces would be great additions to his space. I think they fit in quite nicely.

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Above his dresser and changing table (yes, the changing table is reinforced to the reinforced dresser), we added these fabulous inspirational wall stickers, found at our local Target (i.e. the greatest place on earth). The booklet of wall decals consists of sayings, birds, trees, mountains, etc. I didn’t want to leave this wall blank, but I didn’t want there to be any temptation to reach out and pull on anything as well. There are so many wall decals available in the booklet that I will also being using some in baby no. 2’s room.

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Here’s Where You Can Order This Item Online:

Paper Riot Travel Often Large Playbook Wall Decals

I heard its terrible Feng shui to have mirror directly facing your bed, so the only true option in this room was to place it next to the crib, but not directly over it. I don’t want anything negative entering through a “mirror portal” and disrupting my kid’s life. I’m too paranoid and anxiety ridden for that. The tribal mirror and chevron arrow garland above his crib were also purchased at Hobby Lobby. These two pieces really tie in the overall theme of his room.

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Here’s Where You Can Order These Items Online:

Square Natural Wood Wall Mirror with Arrows

Gray Chevron Arrow Garland Wall Décor

Finally, these personalized Jones Soda Bottles with his ultrasound and one-year-old pictures are proudly displayed on the unreachable top shelf of his bookshelf. My uncle gave these to us as gifts, and I think they are so cool! This would be a great gift for family or favor at a birthday party.

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I wanted this room to be a special place for my son. A place for him to grow, develop, and unwind. A toddler’s “sanctuary.” The selected décor aligns with his bigger than life personality, and the personal touches make the room even more special. He may never know how much thought was put into the paint color or the organization of the accent wall, but I do. Let me take a moment to pat myself on the back. “Way to go Hannah; way to go” (she said to herself).

The Most Important Job: Raising Decent Human Beings

As parents we have a vision for how we hope our kids will turn out. We place all of our hopes and dreams into these little human beings and pray they will develop into decent individuals. As the mother of an outgoing two-year-old boy and soon to be newborn baby boy, I want to make sure my kids grow up to be positive catalysts for change in this crazy world.

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Photo courtesy of Access Consciousness Blog

My kids, God-willing, will be gentlemen. Now more than ever, we need men who are going to bring everyone up and not push them down. Men who see each individual as an equal, and don’t hold themselves superior to others. We need men who know how to love others the right way, instead of the wrong. As a mother, it is my job to make sure my kids work towards the greater good.

Here are just 5 of the hopes and dreams I put out into the world on a daily basis for my kids:

  1. I hope they will become caring individuals. I want both of my boys to express concern and kindness to every person and animal they meet (while also being aware of potential danger; I am a paranoid mama for heaven sake).
  2. I want my kids to be loving and accepting of everyone, no matter the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, religious affiliation, age, etc. They should not feel like they have the right to pass judgement on anyone. That’s not their privilege to have.
  3. My kids will stand up for what is right and never cower at an opportunity to make a positive difference. I truly believe they will make a difference in this world.
  4. As brothers, they will always love one another and champion for each other. These two little boys should always be the strongest advocates for one another and help guide each other in the right direction.
  5. Finally, they should be men who show love and respect to those they love. They should never, ever, put down the ones they care about or those who care about them. Their dad and I will let them know each and every day how much they are loved (more than they can probably handle) and together, he and I will be positive examples of how to love your partner.

As parents we have a very important job; we are tasked with raising our kids to be good people! I know, this can be a lot of pressure, but together, we can raise a generation of children who spread joy, love, and kindness. I don’t know about you, but I’m game for this undertaking. Put me in coach!!

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