Mom Life

Parenting Through Change

Sometimes this Mom gig is just so HARD.

Tonight I am weary. Not so much from physical activity as from mental and emotional activity and from biting my strong emotions and retorts back when my kiddos push my buttons.

I don’t even particularly like that quote ‘push my buttons’. It always reminds me of the little toy cash registers where you push a button and a drawer pops open and you involuntary jump every time no matter what. Then there’s the confusion of making change from dollars when numbers are not your strong suit and the whole phrase leaves me feeling anxious and depleted and defeated.

So let’s just say I felt like totally yelling today and totally crying and totally sulking.

One of the hardest things about selling our house and living in a camper is most definitely the stress it has placed on the boys. They love it here at the RV park and we have lots of fun, but the change is always hard.

Always always hard. No matter if it’s joyful change, planned change, or sudden change, it takes bodies time to adapt and become accustomed to new normal. This move is no exception.

Big life changes always come with a price and deciding if it’s what your willing to pay is just part of it.

But back to this whole mothering through change. It’s just not my favorite part of life but learning to embrace it and being OK with not being OK is high on my mindset shift.

As Brene Brown says

Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater then our level of self acceptance.

Drop back a few years to when we realized our style of parenting was not bringing the results we wanted. It just wasn’t working the way we thought it automatically should.

I wish I knew who to credit this t-shirt art to, but since I don’t, I will simply say ‘it’s awesome and true!’ Connection is vital to parenting.

We decided to take a connected parenting approach to raising our boys, we had no idea of the personal growth that would happen.

It is incredibly hard to allow my child to express emotions that I was never permitted to express.

(And here I will clarify this whole thing to say that I was raised in a Christian home and I absolutely have a high regard for my parents! I am so very grateful for their good influence and care in my life. I LOVe them! )

Ex: I was taught that being angry is sin.

And we were never permitted to become angry. In other words, we got angry, but absolutely NO angry outlet was tolerated.

It’s been a learning curve for me. To feel anger. and to see anger in my kids. To acknowledge it. And then to find a healthy way to release it.

Emotions are not sin just as anger is not sin.

What we do with our emotions, ourselves, and others in the heat of them surging through us is where the kicker lies.

Since I’m being honest here, I still struggle with panic when my boys get angry.

I want to control the situation immediately. Make the so called ‘bad emotions’ leave. Suffocate the feelings.

I want to push a button and create calm.

My blood pressure rises. I look around to see if anyone else is watching my kid have a traumatic big outburst of feelings. I think of how I was immediately silenced and think they have no right to have this big feeling if I wasn’t permitted to . I feel the fight in me rising, because I have feelings and emotions too and this is not comfortable for me.

Sometime I need to simply stop and write the words of how I feel in the moment to find what’s really happening inside of my own self.

It takes an incredibly larger amount of patience to sit with them in their big emotions and let them feel safe then it does to hand out quick, swift consequences and make the noise stop.

It takes much more self control to help them calm down and wait until their brains are thinking clearly before talking about better ways to handle the situation then it does to throw out threats at them and scare them into obedience and silence.

Did you know that when a child is in total unregulated meltdown mode they can hear about 1 word you are saying? So save your breathe! Wait to share your practical problem solving advice until they (and most likely you) are calmer!

Tonight, I sit beside my two sleeping boys. A storm is rolling in and the wind is picking up all kinds of gustiness. I want it to blow right through my heart and take away all the weary and all the times I made less then good choices as a mom this week.

I honesty feel like a total failure on some levels and then I remind myself that I am doing my best.

That we have grace and forgiveness and second chances in our family.

That the point is not about getting it all right. It’s about learning and growing and becoming stronger. Healthier. Braver.

That at the end of the day, we can lay down to rest, knowing we are loved. Loved in our weakness. Our pain. Our joy. Loved for our wild glory and our unique low lands. Loved for being ourselves.

Mom Life

Of Toddlers and Tantrums

Here’s the real story. It’s not easy being a toddler mom.

It’s incredibly fun and nothing else quite compares to the sweetness of those little hands against your face, and that little Eskimo Kiss. The laughter and the silliness and the total cuteness.

Joy just explodes from his little body. He hugs the cat and rides the dog and picks tomatoes for a snack. He is incredibly cute and sweet.

He’s also incredibly fast and dynamic.

When he has a goal, nothing and no one can stop him. His mind is intent on ONE thing. It usually has to do with Daddy, food, or anything on wheels. Sometimes it’s just the sheer joy of running and the chase that thrills him.

And sometimes it’s the little “catch me if you dare”.

Today I thought he was being the most amazing, quiet toddler, drinking his bottle in the comfy little space I made for him, only to discover that he had escaped out side and was vroom vrooming happily on the lawn mower seat.

It isn’t always pretty though guys! He has a BIG voice , a STRONG opinion, and an unquenchable spirit.

That brings me to to tantrums. I’m starting to look at this whole tantrum thing in a different light. I’m starting to put myself in his place.

Whispering at 5:30 AM?

No thanks! I was just quiet for 10 hour and I’m ready to rumble!

Time to come in?

Of course not! It’s way more fun outside with all the exploring to do!

Go to sleep?

Why would I DO that? I may miss out on the fun!

Sit in my car seat?

Are you out of your mind? Those things have STRAPS!

Don’t hit my brother?

But he’s so much fun to tease!

Water is for drinking.

But have you ever let it run out of your mouth. Repeatedly? Just for fun?

How about emptying the tissue box? Or spreading the snack on the floor?

I mean, who actually swallows peanuts! They are made to chew and spit.

And checkout lines? I mean that’s where I am DONE . No, the bottle is only a trick and Mercy no! I don’t want a SNACK right now. I JUST WANT TO RUN.

Sometimes it’s like chasing a whirlwind. Sometimes I can’t have a decent conversation because I’m talking to the air or over my shoulder 90% of the time.

Do I believe in boundaries? Yes. But honestly guys, if your child is safe, fed and clothed (well …we may be a bit sketchy on the clothed part) then give him the world to conquer!

I feel like our kids have so many negative words spoken over them. Like naughty. Stubborn. Rebellious. Manipulative. It makes me sad to hear these words even In My own brain.

What I used to call a tantrum, I look at as a grand disappointment. What I thought was manipulative behavior is often a plea for attention and understanding and connection. To really be heard and valued. What I thought was stubborn is often just a great big personal preference.

Our children are little people, after all, and too often we treat them with very little respect and a whole lot of authority. Then we demand that they respect us. It usually doesn’t go over too well with me when I feel shamed, forced, or manipulated into doing something. It doesn’t feel good to our children either.

I’m learning to take a moment and look at life through little boy eyes. To take a breathe and feel the feels. It takes time and work and isn’t exactly convenient when the pressure is rising and people are watching and all my triggers are firing. But having that trust and connection guys, it’s going to be so worth it!

Don’t give up on pursuing your children’s hearts, my friend! It’s HARD! I know! We mess up! I SO KNOW! But knowledge is power. Failure is FORWARD. Connection is key.

Mom Life

Posing

You know how sometimes you feel so unqualified for a job that you are paranoid to say you own it?

That’s how I’ve been feeling about homeschooling. I never intended to homeschool my kids. And then I planned to. And then I didn’t. And now I am. And I am loving it!

I caught myself telling someone recently that I’m going to TRY to homeschool this year and then I corrected myself because they were my friends and I boldly said ” I AM going to homeschool this year ”

And I’m going to do an excellent job.

I don’t know if it will be exactly the way I am hoping. But whether or not it looks tidy and neat or messy and freestyle, I am going to do my absolute best.

Having a medically fragile child for 3 1/2 years taught me to hold all plans and expectations in an open hand. However, sometimes it feels like I err on the side of footloose. Commitment is hard for me since I tried not to make any commitments I couldn’t keep. To make it all a bit more complicated, I’m a ‘fly by the seat of my pants” person..Naturally. I also have a hard time saying No. And you know what else? I realized that I love to pose.

This book opened my eye to that 🙂

In case you think I’m photogentic, that’s not what I mean 🙂 Posing is this:

I see myself in a place or situation in my imagination that is not my actual reality. Its just that I like that vision of myself so much and I talk about it so much , that I project it into my days and my life and I almost believe its true.

Like living in a tiny house, for instance.

With glass jars of spices and clothing that all coordinates and cute little cubicals of neatly folded clothes.

I would actually like to try the whole tiny house thing some day but right now, its not my reality and no amount of dreaming is going to change that!

My best days have semi organized drawers and books spilling from shelves and baskets and clothes with bold colors.

I’m trying to not be a poser when it comes to home schooling or mothering. Its just a bit hard when you don’t really know what you’re doing, but you’ve got to start somewhere. Its not posing when your heart is in the here and now.

Right here. Right now.

Many of us are holding it together on coffee and a prayer , though. And that’s ok!

Its the reality show days when our whole lifeline is a whisper to our Creator that really make us who we are.

And we stop and wonder at His waves of grace.

On a side note, Glacier and Yellowstone were beautiful this week and we had so much fun exploring Nevada City.

It makes me so grateful to live in Montana! So grateful for my manchilds and mainman!

Mom Life

It’s Not An Emergency.

Childhood is meant to be carefree. Its meant to be full of play and laughter and creativity.

Some days I want to weep with the loss of freedom and simple pleasures. Our world seems a constant vortex of pain and death, angry voices and short attention spans, money worries and broken relationships and health issues.

Somewhere in the stampede of paying bills and putting food on the table and doing laundry and soccer practise and doctor appointments and vacations and over time , kids are jammed between the cracks, handed an iPad and told to grow up.

I know. That may be extreme. But things move so fast that i. just.can’t. breathe.

Somedays.

It’s one reason we are choosing to homeschool instead of doing the traditional grade school. I feel my blood pressure rising just thinking of getting out the door for school every morning. Maybe your blood pressure rises thinking of being home with your kids all day. Thats ok! We all have our own specific callings in life and one is not better then the other!

Living life intentionally is one of my highest goals. Its hard when you are running on little sleep, when the kids are screaming and the coffee is cold and the trash is overflowing. When the cat knocks over the plant and the toddler empties the cupboard and no one wants to take a bath at night.

Here’s something I’m learning.

“It’s NOT an emergency. “

Sometimes I need to repeat these words over and over to myself. Sure, the slap the kids gave each other was unkind and rude and the level of crying has escalated to a whole new decible.

Its times like this that I see a blank in front of me and all I want to do is STOP this craziness RIGHT now and I feel myself growing tense and coiled ready to lash out at the last straw.

But guys. Its NOT an Emergency. ( unless it actually is)

Breathing deeply. Calming myself before entering their chaos. Understanding that my emotions are all on a hair trigger and reminding myself to connect with my child before addressing the behaviour is what I’m working toward in these tough moments. It’s not easy. It’s intense and draining when all you want to do is scream “Shut Up!” and magically have the noise disappear.

Parenting out of triggered emotion never works well for me and I’m always the one who needs to apologize when I overstep the calm and lend fuel to the chaos.

One of the incredibly hard things for me has been bathtimes. My older sister bathed her 6 children every single evening for as long as I can remember. Every. Single. Evening.

I’m not gifted in that area. Bathtime to me doesn’t have to look perfect. A dip in the pool will wash sweat and dust off, right? 😉 Perhaps part of the reason we’ve struggled with bath time over the years is the fact that we had only a small shower stall when Kobe was small.

For some reason that I never have figured out, he always detested washing his hair. He likes being clean but any water that touched his face in the tub would send him into pure panic mode. It wasn’t pretty and I didn’t nearly handle it properly many times. It seemed so ridiculously simple to me to lay back in the tub and wash ones hair.

It caused a total panic for him. One night it all escalated totally out of control. I had made bribes and threats and practised the ‘no wash and the cloth wash’ and probably every other thing that good mommies should never do. Believe me. NOTHING worked. It was like a huge ugly issue . Every. Single. Time.

I was totally DONE. It had been going on for six years.

Six. Years.

I decided this was it! We had a very intential discussion ( when both if us were calm) about how this hair washing thing had totally fallen part and blown out of control on our last try.

We decided together to try again. This time I would go super super slow. I would stop washing his hair at ANY TIME that he wanted me to and hand him a towel to dry his face. It would take as LONG AS HE NEEDED.

We entered it rather apprehensively. I ran about 6 inches of water into the tub, and he got in and laid on his back, his arms propping his body well up above the tub floor and his head tipped back a bit. Ever so gently I began running warm water over his hair and as I did, I spoke in a gentle whisper.

“Imagine you are on the beach in Hawaii. The warm breeze is blowing through your hair and the palm trees are waving overhead. You have your favorite pineapple drink in your hand and the warm sand is all around you….”

Guys. The difference was beyond astounding. He asked me to KEEP WASHING!! He knew I would STOP anytime he felt panic with water on his face (I did) . He was envisioning beauty. He felt safe.

The other day he swam down under water in a three foot pool and I stood and watched him in awe.

He lets me wash his hair. He goes UNDER water BY CHOICE!

Connection guys. Slowing down. Understanding the fear. Helping to control the emotion.

That’s why our kids need us!

Yes, I mess up often. But there is always an apology. A new tomorrow. Another way to say I Love You.

You are important to me. Your opinion matters.

You are my child.

I am here for you!

Mom Life

When you Feel -0

I have no idea what to write because 1,000 thoughts are streaming through my head faster then I can catch them.

I want you to know this today.

You are more then your choices. More then your failures. More then your fears.

I woke early this morning to get a head start on my day and my 1 year old had the same idea. I love morning snuggles but what I really wanted was some me time to get the day started strong. Some quiet moments to connect with friends online and straighten crowns with other women.

It didn’t happen and my morning was less peaceful then I had hoped.

Here’s the truth though.

No matter what is happening in life right now, it does NOT have to define you.

You are bold. God calls you HIS CHOSEN.

You are more then the cold coffee and a whole cup of water dumped in your lap. You are more then overflowing laundry baskets and dirty floors. You are more then a gym pole and frizzy hair. More then the unfinished list.

You are not loved more or less because you snapped at your kid and slammed a door.

You are the grace of an apology. The hands of God . The safe place to run to. You are loved. Treasured. Beautiful. Valuable.

Close your eyes. Release the tension in your shoulders. Your face. Your forhead. Breathe so deeply you sink into your chair and rest there …..just being.

You. That’s you. Loved. For simply being YOU.

Mom Life

Introducing…Baby Ky

April 13, 2017. 

Thursday evening.

Kyrell Von Zephyn

Entered this great big world. 

He was beautiful and perfect and I cried as I held him close on my chest for the very first time. 


In the wee morning hours, Stephen and I had packed our bags and headed to the hospital to meet our little man. Ky had pulled the breech move on me a few weeks ago and although he had stayed turned down for two days, after some assistance from the Dr, we weren’t taking chances. His brother had flipped around more times then I cared to remember and we eventually turned him and immediately did an induction in order to avoid a c-section. That was the plan with this little guy as well.

The moon was high in the sky and the fairest morning hint was in the air as we left that Thursday morning. Spring freshness hung in the air, and early robins sang through the darkness. I breathed deeply in the refreshment and shivered with excitement and a little bit of apprehension. Today. 

 Today. Was.The.Day.

The last month had been hard. Harder then I expected. I may write more on that later, but my heart felt like it had stretched way beyond its comfort zone and I was ready to have the waiting period over. To meet this little man child who we had prayed and hoped and believed for. 

14 hours later, we were holding him. And he was beautiful.

And I couldn’t stop from crying with the magnitude of it all. This was our child. The child I never thought we would have. The baby I had dreamed about, but never actually believed would come about. And here he was. All  six pounds, twelve ounces of him. All gangly legged and skinny armed with his head full of black hair. All big lunged and scrunched face and then all silent as I held him close and tears rolled down my cheek. It felt like he had found his home. Because he stilled and time  stilled and all I could see was this beautiful tiny head under my chin and he wasn’t crying and I was. 

And suddenly, I realized, HE WASNT CRYING!! And I thought there must be something wrong! I wondered why the nurses didn’t grab him from me and do their thing they always do. But they let me hold him close. Let me weep a bit and hug him and revel in his tiny face all wrinkled and new and content in my arms in this big big world. And he wasn’t crying. And I was amazed and my heart was a puddle. My Stephen was close and whispered softly to me and our eyes met and there was joy and tears and love and gratitude all mixed together.  

They took him gently then, and weighted and measured him. They put him under the warmer and he stretched and relaxed and stared around with huge new eyes. 



Kyrell Von Zephyn. We call him Ky. We actually had another name picked out for the little guy. A few days before his birth, we both scratched it from our list. While Kierra and Kobe both just happened to start with the letter “K”, we couldn’t quite break the tradition with our third child. My husband, who is great with naming our kids, said, “Kyrell. Why not Kyrell? And we can call him Ky.” Funny how many different ways there are of spelling such a short name. Eventually we settled on a spelling. 

I had been hanging onto Hope through this pregnancy. It’s been the theme word of my 2017. Von means Hope. So We named him Von. 

I had also been hanging onto the verses in Zephaniah. I had even stenciled them on the nursery wall. 


Zephaniah means “hidden or treasured by God”. We shortened it to Zephyn. And that is how Kyrell Von Zephyn got his name. Packed full of promise and hope, this little man child joined our family.

My friend, Gracie gave me the sweetest gift of all…photos of that special day. I can’t wait to share some of her amazing shots with you! Until then, you’ll have a few of this new mommy’ shots…intoxicated with baby fever and newborn love! 



Kobe came to see him that evening yet, and then again the next day. I felt like a million bucks when they both slept in my arms!


How is it possible to be so divinely blessed? So in love with my two little men? 


We looked Ky over. There were unique things about Kierra that were stamped forever on our hearts. I looked for all of them. Were his feet curved? Was his neck thicker and his head flatter in the back? I honestly couldn’t see anything that was a sure enough sign. He seemed so healthy. He sucked well. He quieted. He slept. He lay quietly and calmly. He cried when he was hungry. 

He was a good dream and I was having a hard time getting my mind around this amazing little man. We even got to take him home when he was just 24 hours old! 

There are so many hugs from God we received over the past  month, and I want to share them with you. Because one of my favorite things is bragging on our big God and how amazing  He is! For now, I’ll tell you that Ky is healthy and although he is a carrier of NCS, he is not affected by it. I am literally spending every minute I can holding  him and reveling in the miracle of a new born. 


My three guys amaze me every day. And I am so beyond thankful and blessed! 

I hope Kierra can get a glimpse of her littlest brother from Heaven. I hope she knows how much I wish she’d be here to be his big sister. I miss her every day. My beautiful wildflower daughter. I’m also so very thankful that she is enjoying the finer things. The things we only dream of. She’s actually LIVING them. Right NOW!!! 

Mom Life

When You Don’t Feel Like A Mommy

The other day I said it out loud. Confirmation in my ear.

“I’m a Mom.”

As crazy as it sounds, I don’t feel like a mom. Or maybe it’s that I don’t feel like I expected a mommy to feel.

I asked my sweet cousin and friend the other day if she feels like a mom. She laughed the cutest laugh and said she sure does. 

It gave me hope that one day I will feel the same. 

Somewhere in the last five years, I have been something between a caregiver and a Mom. A big mix of both that sent my heart reeling a bit. 

When life hands you surprises it takes a while for ones heart to catch up to the truth.

Since I was a little girl, I dreamed of being a Mommy someday. I wanted 12 children. Preferably boys. Now my dreams have most certainly changed over the years, but being a mommy is still burned into my core. Like a nurturing ember that refuses to extinguish.

Being a Mom took on a whole new meaning in life when my expectations of motherhood were shaken to the core by a baby who cried for hours on end, rarely smiled or cooed unless she was alone, developed infantile spasms, had cortical vision impairment, and took 2 hours to drink 4 oz of formula. It all changed when that special little Wildflower Child spent weeks in the hospital and  endured medical procedures and countless sleepless nights. It wasn’t what I expected.

While it turned into beauty and grace and amazing love and connection, my heart told me I wasn’t really a mommy. Because didn’t ‘real Mommys’ talk about teething babies and blowouts and baby food? Didn’t ‘real Mommys’ go shopping for highchairs and trikes and toddler beds? Didn’t ‘real Mommys’ blow scraped knees and rescue little hands from the toilet? But’real mommy talk ‘….It was all a rather foreign language to me. 

While others looked at me and wondered how I survived, I ironically looked at them and wondered if I would have what it takes to be in their shoes. 

When our second child was born, 15 months after our Wildflower Child, I was totally amazed at how supremely easy he was. He drank. He ate. He slept. He was such a remarkable happy, easy baby that I still didn’t feel like a ‘real mommy’. 

I laugh at myself. My firstborn blows all my theories to smithereens and I don’t feel ‘real’. My second child is so happy and jolly that I don’t feel ‘real’. So what really IS real about Mommys?

I know I’m a Mommy. I have wonderful friends who are great Mommys. They seem REAL to me. Like the genuine Mommy stuff. I still struggle to relate to some of their REAL experiences. 

Now let me make it clear that they are wonderful and have been so supportive and are my heroines 🙂 

But underneath it all lies the ache that I missed out on a lot of my little guys babyhood. That other wonderful people changed him and fed him and made him giggle. It wasn’t that I never saw him. It wasn’t that he didn’t like me. It was simply that my mind was so preoccupied with his older sister’s immediate needs that I couldn’t be present in his life nearly all the time. That will always hurt. But it doesn’t make me less of a Mommy.

It’s a bit scary for me to write this. I feel like I’m opening a tender spot that I would rather hide and say it doesn’t exist. But honestly, it’s been burning a hole in my mind for the last few months. At first I kept pushing it down, hoping it would just kinda tunnel into my heart and stay there. But it kept raising it’s stubborn head over and over until I decided that once again….the truth will set me free 🙂 

If you are a mommy that wonders if you are legit. If you know a Mommy that is facing unusual circumstances. (Are there any TRULY usual ones?) if you are a Mommy doing your best to follow the heart of your Creator,    then this is for you….

You are a Mommy born out of the heart of God. 

Mommys aren’t a certain checklist of qualities and experiences. 

They are real in whatever circumstance they find themself.

They love and pray and cry and laugh.

They give and give and give. Even if that giving isn’t in the way they always thought it would be.

They take breaks. And if they don’t, they should 🙂

They HAVE what it takes in their situation…..in their EXACT situation. 

They are not called to be the Mommy next door or the Mommy at the park or the Mommy at the Doctors office with fifty eleven medications in tow. 

They are THE MOMMY! 

Because God has a special plan. A special calling and a special child for each single one of you. 

So take a deep breathe.

 Just be. 

Be the mommy God called you to be. And know that whether you have never gotten to hold your child, whether you have buried your child, whether you have one child, or whether your house seems to be overflowing with little hands and feet and hearts…

YOU ARE A MOM!

Love and hugs, my Mommy friends! 

……Anita, who is a Mom!