Sunday, December 29, 2013

Angels

I've been thinking a lot about angels lately.

I suppose it has to do with my reading and studying of, "Angels: Agents of Light, Love, and Power," by Don Parry.  After more than twenty years of research, Parry concludes that even though the ministrations and operations of angels are largely unknown to mortals, they still move about the earth conducting the Lord's divine work.  Wondrously, they serve, minister, and mingle among mortals.

One of my favorite quotes is from the brilliant and poetic Jeffrey R. Holland.  He said, "When we speak of those who are instruments in the hand of God, we are reminded that not all angels are from the other side of the veil.  Some of them we walk with and talk with--here, now, every day.  Some of them reside in our own neighborhoods.  Some of them gave birth to us...  Indeed heaven never seems closer than when we see the love of God manifested in the kindness and devotion of people so good and so pure that angelic is the only word that comes to mind."

I decided to create a challenge for myself.  For the past couple of months, I have made a concerted effort to notice and celebrate the angels in my life.  And something wonderful has happened...  I have discovered angels among us.

I awoke early one Sunday morning to the sound of a scrapping shovel on a sidewalk.  I peeked out my blinds and saw my neighbor shoveling the snow.  He was busy shoveling the walkways for all the people on our streetAn angel among us.

On September 24th, after a dreadfully long day in the hospital, I offered a prayer to heaven.  I told God I was ready--ready to be a good mother, ready to love the choice spirit that would grace our home and family.  With tears running down my cheeks, I asked Him to send her down; from His hands to mine.  Within minutes, I felt pressure and a strong urge to push.  I gave birth to an angel that day; an angel among us.


A woman I've never met, who has supported me in my talents for some time, sent a package in the mail.  When I opened the box, I found a baby gift for Bridget and a bottle of pink nail polish for me.  Her sweet card made me cry.  An angel among us.


Angels are husbands who offer hugs in the midst of sadness.  Angels are daughters who wave from cars as their daddies take them to school.  Angels are grocery store cashiers who treat customers like friends and who pay sincere compliments.  They are sisters-in-law who bring meals and ease burdens.  They are strangers in a Costco line, who pay for the items in a young family's cart.  Angels are fathers who "answer the call" (or text) when one of their fold is fearful; lost in the dark-gray fog of postpartum depression.

What have I learned?  As I've prayed to recognize the "angels" in my neighborhood, in my life?  That our loving Heavenly Father is a keeper of promises:  "For I will go before your face...and mine angels around you, to bear you up."

They are among us.
They are everywhere.

You just have to look.  

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Dear Santa

Dear Santa:  All I want for Christmas this year is for my daughter to finally remember to flush the toilet after she uses it.  Thanks and love, Aleisha


Dear Santa:  I have changed my mind.  For Christmas this year, I would like a filter.  So I don't just blurt out whatever kooky thing comes to my mind.  Oh!  And I want a hearing aid for my mom.  So when I tell her, "I'm asking Santa for a filter," she doesn't ask, "Why do you want a futon?"  Thanks and love, Aleisha


Dear Santa:  For Christmas this year I would really like a mermaid costume.  My daughter, Lilly, has been running around in hers all weekend and....well....it just looks like a lot of fun.  Can you help a girl out?  Thanks and love, Aleisha

Dear Santa:  You guessed it...I've changed my mind!  All I want for Christmas this year is for children to be kept safe while attending school.  Much thanks and love, Aleisha


Dear Santa:  I just thought of something else I would like for Christmas.  Last night, I watched "The Holiday" while wrapping some Christmas gifts.  That Jude Law is gorgeous!  I want him.  Thanks and love, Aleisha

Dear Santa:  Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear...I have changed my mind AGAIN!  I hesitate writing this letter since my request may be deemed "controversial" by some.  Nevertheless, I must tell you that all I want for Christmas this year is for that terrible, horrible, no good, very bad song, "Christmas Shoes," to go away.  Far, far away.  And never come back, ever!  Can you grant me this single Christmas wish?  I would be most grateful.  (And I have a hunch that MANY others would be grateful too.)  Love, Aleisha, who is not a Scrooge

Dear Santa:  I was in the kitchen making some Christmas goodies when James walked up behind me and started singing "White Christmas" in my ear.  Did I mention he was doing it in his best Neil Diamond voice?!  I laughed, turned around, looked up at his ridiculously good looking face, and realized I already have everything I could ever want for Christmas.  Thank you anyway!  Good luck tonight.  Love, Aleisha 


Merry Christmas From The Mama! 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

If I Had Been In Bethlehem...

I remember the labor and delivery nurse who attended to me while I was having Lilly.  She was a young mom herself, with pretty blond hair, light eyes, and a warm smile.  She catered to my needs and treated me with kindness and understanding.  She kept me informed of all that was happening in my delivery room; valuable information when you are about to embark on something that is both scary AND unknown.  I appreciated her tremendously, and was grateful she was there for me.


The labor and delivery nurse assigned to me when I had Camren was older--her children were grown and the mention of her grandchildren put a smile on her face.  She was funny and easy to talk to, and I knew we'd hit it off the moment I saw her short, "rock star" hair.  She had tremendous experience in the delivery room--as a mother of six and a nurse of over twenty years.  I was grateful for her "matter-of-factness," her calm demeanor, her humor, and her wisdom.  When it came time to bring my baby boy into the world, she was the one who said to me, "You can do this.  You're going to be amazing."


Women administering to other women during the birth of a child is a common, age-old practice; a beautiful service that dates back to biblical times.  It is among the earliest and most widespread functions in human society.  According to the “Jewish Women's Archives,” midwives were present (and significant) in ancient Israeli society.  They were expected to provide comfort, pain relief, and encouragement to the woman giving birth.  They performed rituals and prayers that would protect the woman and her baby.  Before each birth, they prayed that God would assist the expectant mother, that she would birth quickly and safely.  Ancient Jewish midwives aided in the actual birth of the baby, as well as supervised aftercare for the mother and her newborn.  And most wonderfully, Jewish women and midwives exhibited a deep reverence for childbirth, that stemmed from an understanding that birth is Godly in nature.

The day Bridget was born.
Typically, a woman giving birth was surrounded by women she knew and trusted—her relatives and friends.  Her loved ones would gather around her-- working in shifts to massage her or to wipe her face and body with damp cloths.  Birth usually took place on birth stones or on a birth stool, and the laboring woman was supported under the arms by other women.

The laboring woman was supported by other women.

As Christmas approaches, I reflect on the holy mother, Mary.  I wonder if she experienced moments of fear, anxiety, and pain as she prepared to give birth to our Savior.  I wonder who supported her.  Joseph must have offered her great solace and love...but had another woman been there, to administer to her, to help her?  To aid in her delivery and to stay by her side?  To pray for her and her precious, perfect baby?  To wipe her brow?  To hold her hand?

If I had been in Bethlehem on that sacred Christmas night, I know exactly where I would have wanted to be.  I would have wanted to be with Mary.  I would have wanted to encourage her with loving, positive sentiments--as an inherently nurturing woman and as one who sympathizes with the experience of bringing a child into the world.  And I would have wanted to honor her in quiet reverence, for being a most choice sister in humankind's eternal family. 

I would have wanted to be the one to take her in my arms and say, “You can do this.  You're going to be amazing.”    

Monday, December 16, 2013

HUGE Holiday Baking Giveaway!!

Holiday Baking Giveaway and Cinnamon Roll Kabobs by www.whatscookingwithruthie.com

We are excited to share our Holiday Baking Giveaway and Cinnamon Roll Kabobs with you!

A group of your favorite bloggers got together and wanted to share a bit of Holiday cheer with all of our readers because we LOVE you! AND we all love baking and sharing yummy-delicious recipes too! Be sure to enter below to win a $100 Kroger gift card, Kroger Baking gift pack, Le Creuset Stoneware Bakers, Apron and Oven Mitt, Non-stick Silicon Baking Mats, and Rachael Ray Kitchen Tools!   

Holiday Baking Giveaway and Cinnamon Roll Kabobs by www.whatscookingwithruthie.com

Photo by Ruthie Knudsen of Whats Cooking with Ruthie

Plus, have you been searching for a Christmas morning simple and easy breakfast idea??   Look no further!  These Cinnamon Roll Kabobs are just the thing you've been craving...

Holiday Baking Giveaway and Cinnamon Roll Kabobs
Recipe Type: Breakfast
Author: Ruthie
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • 1 (12oz) grands jr biscuits
  • 1 (3.5oz) private selections cinnamon brown sugar sweet finishing butter
  • 10 wooden skewers
  • Glaze:
  • 3 Tbsp melted butter
  • 1 C powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1-3 tsp milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven 350 degrees.
  2. Coat half sheet pan with cooking spray; set aside.
  3. On a piece of parchment paper, roll out one biscuit to approx 3x4 rectangle.
  4. Spread 1 1/2 tsp finishing butter on biscuit.
  5. Roll up dough length wise, cut into 4 mini cinnamon rolls.
  6. Skewer the cinnamon rolls, place on pan, repeat with remaining biscuits.
  7. Bake 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
  8. Brush with additional cinnamon brown sugar finishing butter.
  9. Drizzle with frosting and serve hot.
  10. Frosting:
  11. Combine butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a small mixing bowl; mix until smooth.
  12. Add milk 1 tsp at a time- looking for drizzle but thick enough to hold on rolls.
  Happy Holidays and Happy Baking!! Fill out the Rafflecopter entry form below to enter to win the Holiday Baking Giveaway! Best of Luck and Thank You so much for following our blogs... a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Fancy Woman; A Giveaway

It was a frigid afternoon.  Lilly and I were busy "Christmas crafting."  I was making a holiday banner out of festive scrapbook paper, and Lilly was actively assembling penguins from a foam cut-out kit.  She was making a penguin to represent each member of her family.

"Mom," she said, "I made a mom penguin for you." 

"You did?," I excitedly asked.  "Let me see."

She held up the penguin and said, "I put a sparkly green scarf on your penguin.  You know...because you are a fancy woman."


A FANCY WOMAN!  Ha!  That kid cracks me up!  Nevertheless, I'm proud to say that she knows me well.  I DO like things that sparkle.  I DO like to adorn myself with pretty and interesting accessories.  (And I have a perfectly healthy obsession with glitter!)

If you would like to "get fancy" this holiday season, visit bluenile.com!  My goodness, their jewelry is beyond gorgeous.  You can take their "Leave Nothing to Chance" quiz on their site--a new app they launched--to get a personalized infographic about your style and "likes."  The best part?  After you answer a series of questions, you are given product recommendations that would best fit your style!  Fab!

The darlings at Blue Nile would like to give one VERY LUCKY Mama Leisha reader a $50 gift certificate.  ***insert squealing and jumping up and down here***  Merriest of Christmases to one of YOU.  Entering is easy; fill out the rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ALSO, as if that wasn't enough, Blue Nile is graciously offering a discount to my readers!  You can get 10% off a purchase at bluenile.com, until December 31st.*  Simply use the code:  BNAPP2013  You will enter the code into the "Reference Code" box at checkout.  THANK YOU, BLUE NILE!

As one fancy (ha!) woman to another, I hope you will "get your fancy on" this holiday season!  You deserve the extra sparkle!





*Valid on select regularly-priced jewelry excluding loose diamonds, settings and Build Your Own Diamond Jewelry™. Offer not valid on sale merchandise, gift certificates, Monique Lhuillier jewelry, back-ordered items, polishing cloth, and jewelry cleaner purchases. Reference code BNAPP2013 must be entered in cart or mentioned over phone at time of purchase. Offer may not be combined with any other offer, cannot be applied retroactively, and applies to US customers only. Void where prohibited. Offer expires 11:59pm PST 12/31/2013. The offer terms and conditions are subject to change at any time without prior notice. Other restrictions may apply.



Thursday, December 5, 2013

Christmas From Heaven; A Special Giveaway

I had never had children beg at my feet before.

But then, many years ago, I found myself traveling through very rural areas in China with some friends.  One particular area was eye-opening to this Utah girl who had never been to a severely poverty-stricken place.  Women were cooking their meals outside, over open flame.  Bathrooms were makeshift sheds located several feet from tiny homes.  Barefoot children, with dirt on their beautiful faces, were playing games in a dusty, unpaved street.  When they saw our bus, they came running.


I was to learn that the Chinese children would follow my American friends and I everywhere we went.  Some wanted pictures with us, some were curious and just wanted to look at us, others wanted any change we could spare.  There was a common thread amongst them all--they wanted our "American" candy.

I would watch their faces light up--eyes sparkling like stars, mouths turning upwards to smiles--when I handed out my Starbursts!  It was humbling.  It was life changing.

There's something universal, binding, simple, innocent, and lovely about a sweet treat.  No matter the language, no matter the culture, children respond joyfully to "sugary" acts of kindness.


The new book, "Christmas From Heaven," tells the true story of Lt. Gail Halvorsen, the Berlin candy bomber--a man who exhibited great love for the children of Germany by showering them with candy.  Literally, as he (a young US Army Air Corp pilot) dropped parachuted candy from the sky while flying over Tempelhof Air base.  He saw how they would gather at the fence of the air base--these young survivors of a war-torn land--and knew he had to do something for them.  The idea to "bomb" Berlin with candy sprang forth, and as the press release states:  "Lt. Halvorsen's small idea became a great symbol of hope not only to German children in a bombed-out city but to those who yearned for freedom."

The book is beautifully illustrated by Robert T. Barrett and includes actual photographs of Halvorsen.  (I thought this added detail was wonderful!)  The book also comes with a CD; the story being read by the incomparable Tom Brokaw.


If you would like to purchase this touching and emotional Christmas book, you can do so here:   http://deseretbook.com/Christmas-Heaven-Tom-Brokaw/i/5108410  OR, you may enter the drawing to win one; a true Christmas treat from the amazing people at Deseret Book.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


I hope you will remember to show genuine kindness this holiday season, as Lt. Gail Halvorsen did.  I hope you will remember to see joy this month, as I did in those rural Chinese villages.  And I hope you will remember that love matters and charity never fails.

The candy--albeit delicious--is not required!  
            

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

To Be A Fly On My Wall...

Scene:  My kitchen, with the fabulously red accent wall.  Dishes are in the sink, but who cares, because there are pumpkin bagels on the counter!  James and I are standing by the magnet-adorned refrigerator.  Lilly is sitting at the table, doing her math homework.

Me, to James:  We heard you singing.
James:  You what?
Me:  I was upstairs with Lilly, helping her out of the bathtub, and we heard you singing down here.
Lilly:  It was really funny, Dad!
Me:  It made us laugh.  You were singing like a total rock star.
Lilly:  Yea...or like a goober.

 


Friends, I hope your day is rockin'!  
(Speaking of rocking...time to pay a visit to my rocking chair, to put a wee babe down for a nap.)



Wednesday, November 27, 2013

How Did God Bless Me Today?

My beautiful "other mother," Marsha, came to visit me today.


She brought Camren and Lilly a little Thanksgiving treat; gummi bears, in autumn-themed containers, that were promptly eaten upon receipt.  She came bearing a gift for me as well.  A small, charming journal to record my blessings in.  Accompanying the journal was a powerful quote from Henry B. Eyring:

"You could ask yourself, 'How did God bless me today?'  If you do that long enough and with faith, you will find yourself remembering blessings.  And sometimes you will have gifts brought to your mind which  you failed to notice during the day, but which you will then know were a touch of God's hand in your life."

Her visit, her gifts, and the quote couldn't have been more timely.  I was having "a day!"  I was behind on my laundry (and lacking clean underwear...eek) when my evil washing machine decided to flood my basement during the rinse cycle.


(Yes, sadly, my "laundry room" is unfinished, dismal, dreary, and dungeon-esque!)

My children were being as naughty as caged monkeys; casting Legos about while I "tinkled," wrenching books from my bookshelves while I fed Bridget.


I found myself feeling grumpy and murky--a grand way to kick off the gratitude holiday.  Instead of preparing myself for Thanksgiving with my family--by counting my blessings and staying cheerful--I had chosen to start my celebration by (figuratively) riding a rain cloud!

And yet, the quote Marsha had given me occupied my meanderings all afternoon.  I couldn't help but pose Eyring's question to myself:  How did God bless me today?

He blessed me with health and strength to face my day's challenges.  He blessed me with vitality to keep up with a busy schedule.  He blessed me with protection, endurance, and peace.  And as I washed faces and made lunches and changed diapers and folded socks and played Candyland and wiped noses (whew!), my perspective shifted and I realized something wonderfully simple, yet obviously profound:  God has blessed me with my children.

I am certain I loved them before I knew them.

     
I encourage you to strive to see the Lord's ever-present hand in your life.  With the holiday season rapidly approaching, make an effort to see your God-given life through spiritual eyes.  Ask yourself, "How did God bless me today?"

Because you know what?
I bet he did!       

Monday, November 18, 2013

Ho, Ho, Ho and Twenty-Five Shmacks!

As we approach the wonderful and magical season of gift giving, I cannot help but reflect on the wonderful gifts I have been the recipient of!  Some of my favorites include:  A Casio keyboard that played Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" when you pushed the demo button.  A rock n' roll Barbie and all her bandmates, "The Rockers," complete with plastic guitars and a cassette tape of their music!  Hey, I am a product of the '80s! 

I am certain all of us have received some fantastic gifts from our loved ones over the years.  This year, why not treat yourself to a gift from The Wood Connection!  Like this awesome, perfectly Christmasy project:


I am guest posting at The Wood Connection's blog today.  Check it out!  You can view the complete tutorial here:  http://www.thewoodconnectionblog.com/ho-ho-ho-christmas-decor/

A "big-as-Santa's-belly" THANK YOU to the Wood Connection for allowing me the opportunity to guest post!  They have generously donated a $25 gift certificate to be given to one lucky "Mama Leisha" reader.  To enter the giveaway, fill out the rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  

Friday, November 15, 2013

Catching Fire Prize Pack...Hooray!

Do you like Suzanne Collins', "Hunger Games" books?  (Heck yes!)  What about the movie?  (Of course!)  Are you excited about the release of the second flick, "Catching Fire?"  (You betcha!)

Enter my giveaway for a chance to win a Catching Fire prize pack, which includes:

- One (1) movie poster
- One (1) official movie T-shirt with Mockingjay logo
- Two (2) wristbands 
- One (1) iPhone cleaner
- One (1) iPhone dot


Entering is easy!  Simply fill out the rafflecopter below:
 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winner will be contacted via email on November 22nd!  GOOD LUCK!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

I Love To Click!

"Just keep clicking, just keep clicking, clicking, clicking, clicking, clicking...," I found myself chanting, over and over in my head.

The couch cushions littered the "in-need-of-a-vacuuming" floor, and Lilly and Camren were fighting like boxing kangaroos over a puzzle piece.  My sweet newborn babe was throwing a "feed-me-now" fit in her bright pink bouncy chair.  I looked at the spectacle before me and felt myself start to lose my cool.


I looked at my clicker.

I looked at my kids.

And suddenly everything changed.  I saw my sassy daughter with the toothless grin, holding her own against her energetic brother.  I saw my son, with the dark brown eyes and the "mitts" like puppy-dog paws.  I saw turned-up noses and black eyelashes and freckles on knees, and children who are growing and changing too quickly.  I saw my baby--fresh out of heaven--and smiled at her perfect baby toes.

I clicked.

Positive thought #43:  I am a mother.


When singer, songwriter, speaker, and "all around cool chick," Hilary Weeks contacted several bloggers about her "clicker project," I KNEW I had to get involved.  "Clicking" is an experiment in the power of positive thinking.  Think a good, positive thought, then acknowledge it with a click from a tally counter; a clicker.


I received my adorable and cheery clicker kit a couple of weeks ago.  I couldn't wait to get clicking!  I took my clicker everywhere:  to Sephora, to Cam's preschool, to the grocery store, and OH MY GOSH!, to my OB-GYN's office!  My clicker sat on my dresser, on my kitchen counter, on my dashboard.  I loved counting my happy thoughts.  I clicked for blue skies and fluffy clouds.  I clicked for good books and uplifting music.  I clicked for Diet Coke, peanut M&Ms, prayer, my parents, and my baby's smile.  As I clicked, I found myself feeling better, happier, lighter.

Would you like to click with me?  Visit www.billionclicks.org to order your own clicker kit.  Use the coupon code, ALEISHA334, and receive an additional clicker, sticker, and wristband for FREE!


Change your thoughts, change your mood.  Change your mood, change your day.  Change your day and ultimately change your perspective.  For the better!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Motherhood Requires Bravery

Brave:  to endure or face unpleasant conditions without showing fear; showing courage.

I wish I were more brave.  In the brief time I have been a mom, that is one truth that continues to manifest itself before me:  Motherhood is hard; it requires bravery.


What do you do to stay brave?

I just dropped my first grader off at a Halloween costume party.  Complete with donuts, tons of boys and girls I don't even know, and a showing of "Hotel Transylvania."  I admit I was nervous to leave her.

So I sit here, on my unmade bed, with my fussy new babe; Adam Levine my only company as I watch a recorded episode of, "The Voice."  I cannot help but look at Bridget's tiny feet and remember when Lilly was that small.  She had tufts of hair on the tips of her ears.  She had pouty lips and wrinkly toes.

And now she is my "big girl;" a first grader, a heart breaker, a mover and a shaker.  She rides the bus and eats school lunch.  She goes to Halloween parties.  She does it without me.

Motherhood requires bravery.  We have to "show courage" enough to allow our children some independence.  How on earth do we let them go, mamas, when we long to keep them close?

We take deep breaths and pull up our boot straps.  We drop to our knees and whisper fervent prayers to heaven.  We soldier on, we hope on.  We remember that our children need opportunities to stretch and to "spread their wings."  That is how they learn.  That is the way they grow.  Hopefully, after we have done everything we can to raise them right, they'll fly.


And we'll see we really were brave all along. 
    

Friday, October 25, 2013

Mountains, JOY, and a Pinner's Expo!

Do you live in Salt Lake City?


If not, then you should!  It is lovely here and the people are nice.

In addition to offering scenic mountains, killer (as in good) fry sauce, and a snappy downtown area, Salt Lake City is home to the Pinner's Conference and Expo!

What is that, exactly?

According to the website, pinnersconference.com, the expo is "where Pinterest comes to life...This show is mainly about two cool things:  fun classes and plentiful shopping.  It will feature nearly 80 top classes from the best presenters in the nation.  You'll also enjoy nearly 200 exhibiting businesses providing beautiful shopping options in the worlds of DIY, crafts, wedding, baby, cooking, photography, party planning, nails, scrapbooking, holiday decor, clothing, and jewelry."

HOO-RAY!

Guess what, dear friends?  I will be teaching a class there!

If you take my class, here are some things you could expect:

1.) I might do a dance.
2.) I might kiss your face off.
3.) I might wear a Christmas sweater.
4.) I might make a mess, because I'm a messy crafter.
5.) I might be handing out Diet Coke, because I don't know how to do anything crafty without it.

And if you take my class, here are some absolutes:

1.) You will have a great time.
2.) You will "create joy."  Literally. 


3.) You will be inspired (I hope!) to create the kind of joy that makes your heart light, too. 

Henri J.M. Nouwen said, "Joy does not simply happen to us.  We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day."  I am a "joy proponent."  Choose joy:  I've toiled and worked and fought to make that my mantra.  I choose joy.

I hope you'll choose to take my class!!  *wink*

 

Monday, October 21, 2013

"Mama's On Maternity Leave" Guest Post: Featuring POLLY

My charming friend, Polly, and I were in Northern Utah's, "Listen To Your Mother" show together.  The first time we met was at a rehearsal.  She walked into the room sporting a tailored jacket and short, spunky hair, and I knew it was love!  She is such a talented writer.  You can read her at comingtogrips.net.

   
Coming to Grips with Taking the Name of Mom in Vain

My son is now talking. 

He says, “Mom.  Mom.  Mom!  Come on!”

“You can do it, Ove.  You’re an independent person,” I say.

“I not pendent person. I Ove!” he says.

And still we have the same conversation in the bathroom at least four times a day.

He says, “MOM!!  Mom.  Mom, wash my hands!”

“You can wash your hands, Ove.  I know you can,” I say. 

“MOM!  MOM! Step stool!” he says.

“You can get the step stool,” I say.

“Mom! Mom!” he says.

And I’m sure you have experienced this classic toddler conversation:

Ove: Mom.

Me: What?

Ove: Mom.

Me: What?

Ove: Mom!

Me: What, Ove?

Ove: MOM!!!

I’ve made a new rule: thou shalt not take the name of the Mom in vain.

When he was born, like all of you mothers, I wondered, what is he thinking?

Well, now I know.

He’s thinking, “MOM!  Mom!  Mom! Mom!!! MOM!!!!!!”

Sunday, October 13, 2013

THREE


Three little McDs 
sitting on Mama's bed.
One with messy hair
atop his little boy head.
One wearing sunglasses,
the other, fast asleep.
All three McDs
are mine to forever keep.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Be Prepared

I try to be prepared for things.

Case in point:  I have a will.  Well, sort of.  My girlfriends and I have had an ongoing joke for years that if I happen to bite it anytime soon (heaven forbid), they get my shoes.  (You should know:  I.  LOVE.  SHOES.  I have all kinds and in all colors.)


I told James my wishes, to have certain pumps and flats divvied out, and he willingly accepted the invitation to be my estate executor.  (Which is to say, he told me I was crazy.)  I even jotted down a list of friends and coordinating shoes in my journal!

See?  Prepared with a capital "P."

Other cases of Mama Leisha preparation:  When it is raining, I always have my umbrella with me.  (This hair of mine--which is really a naturally curly throw back to the 70's afro--will dissolve if it gets wet.)  I carry lipstick and Pepto Bismal in my purse.  I take packages of fruit snacks with me when grocery shopping with my kids.  I have flashlights for power outages and first aid kits for when I'm chopping onion and pretending to be a top chef in my kitchen.

Recently, there have been big changes afoot in my simple, lovely life.  Preparation for them has been key, as it was Goethe who said that "he who lives must be prepared for changes."  I have prepared freezer meals and washed crib bedding and cleaned out closets.  I have read books and online forums on "how older children adjust to having a new baby in the home."  I have meditated and prayed.

And here's what I have learned:  That nothing can fully prepare you for bringing a third child into your home.  Nothing can prepare you for the love or the anxiety you will feel.  Nothing can prepare you for the lack of sleep, the baby blues, and the joys over the "gas bubble smiles."  I believe that nothing can fully prepare you one-hundred-percent for parenthood.

I do what I can.  I do the best I can.  I try not to let my acute epiphany rattle me; choosing to "cope" by running to the grocery store instead.  To buy these:


Because if I can't be completely prepared for my sweet, new baby...
My bum can be.    


Sunday, October 6, 2013

"Mama's On Maternity Leave" Guest Post: Featuring COBI


I'm so blessed in my life to have "Mama Leisha" as my friend.  "Mama Leisha" is the most sincere woman and is such a light in my life as I know she is in yours.  I'm grateful for the opportunity to share my thoughts with you.  Thank you from the bottom of my bosom, cause we're bosom buddies, just like in Anne of Green Gables.  Haha, ok off topic now, let's get back to my deep thoughts.


So!  I'm wondering if people ("you, me and the entire human race"-MJ) were just a little bit (and sometimes a LOT) nicer to one another, the world might be a better place?  It's the little things, right?

What if...
...we gave each other the benefit of the doubt?
...we thought the best of one another instead of the worst?
...we loved EVERYONE for their uniqueness?
...we prayed for someone instead of judging them?
...we jumped in and helped instead of watching?
...we realized we don't know everything?
...we sought first to understand than to be understood?
...we taught acceptance instead of differences?
...we lifted instead of put down?

This is just a few of a whole lot of behaviors I know I could be better at.  I've learned a lot in my short life time and know that I will continue to learn these things over and over until I don't ever do them again. 

I've learned that when I say "I'll never...", I'm then given the opportunity to prove it (I usually do the same thing).  I've learned that when I judge a situation, I'm then put in that situation and am judged. 
I've learned that when I gossip there are 10 times the amount of rumors or stories being told about me.  I've realized that when I'm quick to draw a conclusion about someone, I'm usually wrong and wish I would have spent more time with that person than pushing them away.  I've learned that it's better to pray for those that are mean to you than to hate them. 

For some reason the opposite of these lessons is what comes natural for me, anyone else?  (Please don't say I'm alone!)  For those of you who do not understand what I'm talking about, BLESS YOU!  (And please be my friend you lucky duck.)  I used to excuse by bad behavior with all the other good things I did.  However the good doesn't cancel out the bad.  The good fosters more good and the bad fosters more bad.  From these experiences I've come to truly believe that what goes around, comes around and if this is the case then I should only be doing good.  I realize I'm human and will fall short and when I do, you better believe I'm watching my back for what's coming. 

Here's something I've come up with, my own SWAPPORTUNITY CHALLENGE that I've been working on (not perfected).  These are just a few behaviors, but a good place to start.


How, Why, When did I come up with this challenge?

Years ago (4 to be exact) I was having a difficult time adjusting to my life being turned upside down; moving somewhere I didn't want to be, my husband rarely home, broke with 4 kids, my daughters struggling with school finally diagnosed with learning disabilities and my baby, nineteen months old, diagnosed with Autism.  The life I imagined was over and I felt all alone and lost with no way out.  I've been the recipient of all of these bad behaviors and know what it's like to be judged at the store with the child that can't cope, labeled and not given the opportunity to be someone's friend before I became their enemy, for I don't know what reason.  I've been told how to raise my kids and then ignored when I explain my child's situation.  I know the heartache and pain of hearing the whisperings of others about me that are so hurtful.  From these experiences I hope and pray I learn and change my behaviors for the good.   I'm NOT perfect, but why not give it your all.

Join Me!!! Maybe, just maybe we can change the world......
and hopefully spread a little PEACE.

**Follow my amazing, redheaded friend at peacefrom6pieces.blogspot.com.  

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Charming Charlie and Friendship

Last week, I finished a fascinating book by Dr. Hilda Ruch titled, "Women Create!"


In the book, Dr. Ruch talks all about how aaaaahhhhh-mazing and intrinsically creative women are, and how much they contribute to the world around them.  (Heck yes!)  Women create life.  Women create beauty.  Women create change for the better.  They are capable of leading and nurturing many, and of learning and achieving much.  They have an exquisite adeptness for connecting with other women.  We call this skill--even god-given gift--friendship.


Dr. Ruch so splendidly writes, "Friends play an important role in our sense of well-being and have a positive impact on life.  We rely on a friend as someone who cares and who will affirm and support us.  Friendships shape and influence who we are and who we might become.  They soothe our inner worlds, offer solace, and nourish emotional growth."


I LOVE that!  Our friends are the ones who buoy us up when life's sea gets rocky.  They offer advice, comfort, love, and Halloween candy (ha!), and always when we need it the most.  They help us pick out the perfect pair of earrings at Charming Charlie!  They bring a great deal of joy into our spheres.


And when we are fearful--about to step off the edge of what is familiar and comfortable to us--our friends are there to say, "You can do this.  You've got this, Mama."


I'm so grateful for friendship.  
Aren't you?

Saturday, September 28, 2013

"Mama's On Maternity Leave" Guest Post: Featuring CAMILLE

Hello!


My name is Camille and I am one of the sisters who blogs at SixSistersStuff.com. I am so excited to be here today . . . not only because I love Aleisha, but because that darling baby girl of hers is also my NIECE!
That's right . . . Mama Leisha and I are sisters!

Sometimes we tease that Aleisha is the 7th sister that we don't talk about . . . ha ha! But we are really just in-laws (I married Aleisha's cute brother).
Anyway, enough with the family tree talk . . .

Now that Aleisha has had her third child, I wanted to talk about my third child.

Bear with me because I am not an eloquent writer like Leish. I usually only post recipes, so getting up close and personal like this isn't the norm for me!

Introducing Taylor Joy:

This little sweetie just turned 1 year old. 
She is probably the most easy-going baby you will ever meet.
And she fits her name perfectly- she has brought so much joy into my life and into our family.

It's amazing how much a little person can rock your entire world . . .
And as hard as having kids is, it's also the greatest blessing in my life.

To be completely honest, Taylor is actually my fourth child.
About 2 years before she was born, I lost a baby girl a couple of months into my pregnancy.

The story behind that pregnancy was miraculous- I shouldn't have ever have gotten pregnant. We didn't want to be pregnant. We were doing everything we could to prevent pregnancy.

And yet, by some crazy miracle, it happened.

And I don't care who you are- the second you see that positive pregnancy test, that baby is yours and you are a mother.

Losing that baby just a couple months into the pregnancy was devastating.
Coming home from the hospital without a sweet baby swaddled in a blanket was one of the most low  and empty days in my entire life- there is no other way to describe it. It was heartbreaking.

The weeks and months that followed were pretty crazy. I had some complications with the miscarriage and blood loss and then they discovered a blood clot in my leg, along with diseased veins that wouldn't have been able to support me through my pregnancy. After two surgeries and lots of doctor appointments, they told me that I was in the clear to try again for a baby (even though they didn't recommend it . . . but who listens to doctors anyway?! Ha ha!).

Fast forward a year and a couple months and sweet baby Tay was part of our family . . . and life has been so crazy and hectic ever since!

However, everyday that I see her sweet smile or squeeze those chubby thighs, I am reminded of how precious she really is and how precious motherhood is. Every sleepless night is worth it. Every poopy diaper is just fine. Every spilled cup of milk or bookshelf that she has emptied is really not a big deal. 



My parenting style has changed a lot from my first child to my third- I have learned to not sweat the small stuff, but rather enjoy this crazy journey of motherhood and appreciate those hectic times and even be so grateful for the chaos! I have learned not to not care if my baby's outfit doesn't have a matching bow or cute shoes. Heck- Taylor is lucky if she has clean clothes on! :)

When Aleisha asked me to guest post on her blog, she said to share something that I have learned from being a mom. I have learned so many things, but lately, I have really been reflecting on how the joy in motherhood comes from little moments. There will be chaos and craziness, tears of frustration and times when you want to throw in the towel . . . and yet through all those hard times, there will be these little moments of joy and happiness. 
It's those little moments that make it all worth it.

So bring on the booger noses and the sibling fights;
bring on the mom jeans and the stretch marks.

Those little moments are what keep me going.
And I wouldn't trade them for anything!


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Friday, September 20, 2013

Giving Away A Mermaid!

I remember the first time I saw The Little Mermaid.  I loved it!  Ariel's flaming red hair, Ursula's smokey pipes, Scully's witty, "goofball" quips...it was such a delight to see in the theater!


I also remember the first time I watched The Little Mermaid with my darling, Lilly Mae.  She loved it as much as I did!  (Especially the music.)  For weeks after it had been returned to the library, I would catch her in the utensil drawer looking for forks!  She wanted to comb her hair all by herself, like a big girl.  Hilariously, after seeing The Little Mermaid, her pink Barbie brush wasn't going to work anymore!


If you would like to win, "THE LITTLE MERMAID Diamond Edition 2-Disc Blu-ray+DVD Combo Pack with Digital Copy," enter the giveaway below!  I would love for you to win a copy to share with your family and loved ones.  Contest ends October 1st.  GOOD LUCK!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


*I received a copy of the movie in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.*

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Orange; The Color Of Happy

I crept to the small, glass window in the door
and peeked into the preschool's "orange room."
I spotted him on the rainbow-colored carpet--
jumping like oil in a hot skillet,
laughing, dancing to silly music with the other children,
waving an orange scarf above his head.
He looked happy.

I walked into the room and his brown eyes met mine.
His sweet, little boy feet,
clad in orange sneakers, carried him across the noisy distance,
across the span of my anxieties,
and straight into my outstretched arms.
He threw his arms around me,
and with lips stained orange, he widely grinned, looked up and said,
"Mommy!   I ate cheese puffs!"

"He did great today," the special education teacher said;
a radiant smile adorning her face.
"He did great today," the speech therapist said;
an element of certainty and love in her countenance.
"Ah, he did great today," I whispered to myself;
suddenly realizing my tender, mama's heart,
inside a body weary and weighted with pregnancy,

felt light, felt light, felt light.

 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Photo Leaves and 25 Shmacks!

I have a funny story to share!

As I was sitting at the kitchen table--working on the very project I'm sharing on The Wood Connection's blog today--Ms. Lilly walked in.  She saw my wooden leaves and my vinyl lettering that said, "Give Thanks," and asked, "What does that say?"


"Give thanks," I replied.

"What does that even mean?," she asked.

"It means you try to be thankful for the things in your life," I answered.

Lilly looked at me briefly and said, "Yea....I got nothin'."

Ha ha!  TOTAL.  MOM.  FAIL.  I know what I'll be doing this autumn/Thanksgiving season...teaching my seven-year-old about gratitude!  In the meantime, go get crafty and check out my tutorial at http://www.thewoodconnectionblog.com/give-thanks-banner/!  It's darling!



A big, "gratitude filled" THANK YOU to the Wood Connection for allowing me the opportunity to guest post!  They have generously donated a $25 gift certificate to be given to one lucky "Mama Leisha" reader.  (Who will "give thanks" upon winning!  Ha!)  To enter the giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The drawing will close Saturday, September 21st.  The winner will be announced on Facebook and notified via email.