There’s really nothing that can truly prepare you for motherhood. I’m nearly eight years into this thing and I can honestly tell you I have no idea what the heck I’m doing. But while there is no parenting handbook, there is something that’s a million times better; my mom. Do you know who the first person I called the very first night Harlan and I were home alone when MacKay moved to Manhattan? My mom. The first phone number I dialed when I just needed to get out of the house and walk and have some adult conversation? My mom. The one who I begged to come over and rock a crying baby because I just needed an hour of sleep to help me be just a little bit more functional? My mom. I didn’t need a how-to guide to get me through those rough moments. I just needed my mom.

Entering into motherhood elevated the relationship that my mom and I have. It was as if suddenly I had so much more respect, love, and admiration for every single thing that she did for me and my brothers and sister. Motherhood is the first thing that really made me know what it means to be truly selfless. I’d do anything for my kids, just as my mom would do anything for us.

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to participate in the Land’s End #DearMom video shoot. Little did I know walking into that shoot how emotional I’d get when they asked me questions about motherhood, my kids, and my own mom. But the truth is, motherhood is such a big part of who I am. I am a mom to Harlan, Avery, and Macks, before I am anything else. And I’m okay with that. They take priority of my life. And I’m okay with that, too. They make every single aspect of my life better and I know that I am on the path that I am today because of them. Being a mom really is the best job ever.

Not only does the Land’s End #DearMom campaign celebrate our favorite moments in motherhood, but it’s also a chance for us to take a second to thank our own moms. I know if it weren’t for my mom, I couldn’t possibly be where I am on my own journey of motherhood.

Dear mom, thank you for your selflessness. For your undying love and passion for me.  Thank you for leading the way and showing me what it means to be a good mom. Thanks for always picking up your phone and for coming to my rescue in the drop of a hat. You’ve always been there for me. Thank you for always letting me know that you love me so that never in a million years could I doubt your feelings for me. But most of all, thank you for being my mom. There’s no one in the world who could replace you and I thank God every single day that He chose you to be my mom. Happy early Mother’s Day.

To celebrate Mother’s Day and the #DearMom campaign, Land’s End wants to give you a chance to win! There are so many ways you can win:

    • SHOW MOM SHE’S LOVED ON SOCIAL MEDIA: From April 24 until May 10, the socially savvy can follow daily prompts to share a Mother’s Day message, motherhood moments, photos or videos on Instagram and/or Twitter using #DearMom, #sweepstakes and #mylandsend for a daily chance to win a $100 Lands’ End gift card. Winners will be chosen at random and participants are encouraged to enter daily, because Mom can never hear enough how much she’s adored
    • WIN A TRIP WITH MOM: A Lands’ End survey found 86 percent of mom respondents would like to spend more quality time with their children. As a result, Lands’ End is offering one lucky winner the chance to win a trip with Mom through the #DearMom sweepstakes. From now through May 10, 2017, everyone can enter for a chance to win a four-day trip for two to America’s favorite modern classic destination, Hilton Head Island. This “mom and me” trip includes a stay at The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa, luxurious treatments at the Westin Heavenly Spa, and three days of private poolside cabana access.  To enter daily, fill out the form at https://www.landsend.com/dearmom/
    • MOTHER’S DAY GIFTS THAT GIVE BACK: This Mother’s Day, give mom a gift that gives back to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). From now through May 14, 2017, add a select Mother’s Day or Pink Ribbon Embroidery to a Lands’ End item from totes to towels and the company will donate $4.50 of the $6.00 embroidery fee to BCRF to further support the organization’s mission to be the end of breast cancer by advancing the world’s most promising research.  Find gift suggestions at landsend.com/dearmom

You know that feeling when someone says to you, “gosh she’s really grown since the last time I’ve seen her,” and you look at your daughter in amazement because she actually does look a bit older. It’s hard to notice these details because we are so focused on our daily routines that we never really stop and look at how much our children are in fact growing right in front of our very eyes.

I see it everyday with Harlan. Each day she walks downstairs, and while I may not see it physically, it’s there in the way that she presents herself. Each day she’s just a little bit more mature than she was the day before.

The other morning I walked into our youth room at church where there was a room full of kids scattered around waiting for Sunday School to start. Harlan was in the crowd of children running around and having fun with her friends. I stood in the back of the room and observed while I waited for everything to begin. Each Sunday I usually take my group of middle school kids to another room to teach them, so I never really get to see what Harlan does while she’s there. I try to give her her space, as I know she needs time to do her own thing without me looking on. But that day we were doing things as an entire group. I sat quietly in the back of the room near the kids that I teach while Har sat in the front of the room. She looked back at me before the lesson started and smiled. I smiled back and fully expected her to turn back around to hang out with her friends. But she didn’t. She got up and saw the empty seat next to me to sit down. She put her head on my shoulder and held my hand throughout the rest of the class.

This gesture wasn’t unlike Harlan. In fact, all three of my kids are very affectionate. They’ve always been that way. But what struck me was that Harlan did all of this in front of her friends. I took priority over them in that moment. She didn’t care what they thought. It probably didn’t phase her that they might have even thought anything of it.

But it did for me.

Watching her grow up is like a ticking time bomb. With each day that passes, I know that it’s one day closer to when she won’t want to hold my hand when she’s in front of her friends. It’s one day closer to when she won’t come up and give me a big hug and kiss in front of her friends. When she was a baby and toddler, all I would do was get excited about her firsts and here I am wondering if these will be the lasts.

I dread the day when she’d rather hang out with her friends than hang out with me. When our road-trips down to Florida no longer excite her, but rather annoy her because she’s stuck in a car with me for that long. I know the days are coming because, let’s be honest,  I went through same thing growing up. We all do. And that’s why I can’t fault her for when the time does come.

She’s my first, my guinea pig. We’re navigating this road blindly with one another. I don’t know to expect as she gets older. At least I can use her as some sort of guideline for her brother and sister. With Har, I have none. Perhaps that’s why I’m so nervous about what’s to come. Scared for her to get older. I can only use my childhood as a reference. And while I know it’s not exact, I do know as they get older, they also become more independent.

While I do try to control much in my life, I know I don’t have control over the fact that she’s growing up and maturing. But what I can control is these moments that I have with her right now. I can control that when she comes up to me when I pick her up from school and gives me a hug that I fully embrace her back. I can make sure that when she’s holding my hand down the sidewalk that I’m fully engaged with her rather than what’s on my iPhone. I can control those moments when she wants to talk with me that I sit down and listen rather than telling her to wait a minute.

And when that day does come that she doesn’t want to hold my hand anymore, I’ll let go. With tears in my eyes, I’ll let go and watch her be who I taught her to be. And deep down I’ll know that one day she’ll come back and ask for my hand again. Just as I did with my mom.

 

 

To say that Macks is obsessed with Star Wars is an understatement. His closet is filled with Star War shirts, the comforter on his bed is a life-sized Darth Vader, he owns about every light-saber you can own, has an entire library of Star Wars books, has seen every single episode, and will tell you about every character in the series. It seems like everything he does in life, he tries to find some sort of Star Wars reference to it (and it always seems to be with the Dark Side.)

It came as no surprise to know that Macks wanted a Star Wars party and he wanted to incorporate his favorite sport, soccer, into the mix too. So we headed to our indoor soccer field and combined both of the things that he loves in life. All to celebrate his third birthday.

If you’ve seen me do a party before, you might know that I go a tad bit overboard with the themes. I love to make things and get a bit crafty for the party. To be completely honest, it helps take me away from the craziness in life and is quite calming for me. So you can imaging how calming these R2D2 popcorn bags were? I didn’t quite realize how intricate the stencil was when I took on the challenge, but they were too good not to do.

The cookies are both egg and nut free (thanks to a wonderful lady on Etsy) and the pretzel light sabers were so easy to just dip in white chocolate and let harden.

This was probably my favorite part of the decor. I ordered this off of Etsy and it was the perfect addition to the cake. I like to go rather simple with the cakes I have, and this was just the right touch to his cake. This is now in his room proudly displayed.

I had a lot of the decor left over from Harlan’s Star Wars Party and tried not to make the two too similar.

The party was filled with a lot of soccer practice. You can tell who the soccer players are in the family  (note MacKay in the background of the photo above.) Avery and I were much more interested in standing on the sidelines and cheering on our team.

His favorite part of the party was the cake. He kept asking about it the entire time. What can I say? The boy has a sweet tooth. 😉

Happy 3rd Birthday Macks!