As a Stay At Home Mom God’s Grace is My Super Power

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2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

As a stay at home mom (SAHM) of three children four and under, God’s grace is definitely my super power. The scripture above is one of my favorites because when I’m feeling overwhelmed and tired, I quote this verse and keep it moving. I know Jesus is my help. He blessed us with our babies and He has given us the grace needed to care for them.

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Our four year old, Elyssa, is a super energetic, happy, inquisitive,creative, helpful and talkative girl. She keeps me on my toes for sure.

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Our 22 month old, Elaina, is a nurturer, she’s also sensitive, observant, affectionate and a joyful girl.

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Our soon to be 9 month old son, Eddie VI, is busy speed crawling and discovering the world around him. He’s active, inquisitive and loving.

Eddie is doing a great job nursing, he has since the day he was born. He’s always latched great and my supply has always been high. I’m grateful to God that I had successful nursing relationships with all of my children.

As a SAHM, I where many hats and my job is never done. Some days are happy and productive. Other days are draining and completely unproductive. Some days the children are cooperative and happy and other days they struggle to listen, fight over every toy and whine about everything. My relationship with God keeps me going on the good and bad days. I can talk to him, mediate on his word, play some praise and worship music and know that He is with me and His grace is sufficient for me. I was created to be a great mom, not of my own strenth but of His!! It’s a great feeling to know that my Heavenly Daddy has my back. Hes leading and guiding my husband and I as we raise godly children. My husband and I are a great team and he’s a awesome hands on father.

So be encouraged mommies!!! You’re doing an awesome job. No one is perfect and no child is perfect but we serve a perfect, all knowing God, who promised to never leave us or forsake us. Rest in His peace and His promises!! And the next time the children do things to drive you up the wall, take a second to thank God that he blessed you with your children and ask him for a extra dose of His grace!! He’s faithful, he will give it to you!!!

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A Mother’s Fear of Raising A Brown Boy in America

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My husband and I have the privilege and burden of raising a beautiful brown boy in today’s society. Our son is only four months old but I already cast down anxiety at the thought of raising him in a world that fears and hates him because of the color of his skin.

How do you tell your kind, intelligent and loving brown boy that some will fear him just because his skin is a different color than theirs. How do I tell him that no matter what he wears or how intelligent he speaks, some will pre judge him and see him as a threat.

How do we raise our brown boy to be cautious and aware but not afraid, angry or bitter? How do we teach him to love those who don’t value his life and are just looking for a reason to take it?
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How do we resist the urge to shelter him completely in a attempt to keep him safe? How do we ignore the fear that will try to creep up when he leaves to walk to the corner store or a local park to meet his friends? How do we build him up in a society that only wants to break him down?

While these are tough questions, in Jesus we must find our hope and peace. As believers, we are to pray over our children daily. We need to plead the blood of Jesus over them. We teach them that the word of God is true. We need to teach them how to be men of God. We teach them how to carry themselves in public and how to interact with those in authority in hopes that their lives can be spared. We educate them and teach them about God’s love, mercy, protection and forgiveness.

We teach them to be leaders and not followers. We provide them with peaceful, godly, respectful homes so that they won’t grow up to be angry, rude and worldly. We teach them that violence isn’t the answer. We tell them that not all cops are bad and that they are to respect authority.

Lord bless our brown boys. Lord comfort the Brown family. Lord bring peace and restoration to Ferguson.

My 2nd VBAC Birth Story

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This time last year my husband and I discovered that I was pregnant with our third child. Our youngest was only four months old so imagine the multiple emotions that all hit me at once like a mack truck when the test said POSITIVE!! YIKES!! My hubby started grinning and gave me a reassuring pep talk about how everything was going to be ok and he was right! My pregnancy was smooth sailing. My growing girl Elaina continued to nurse like a champ despite people continuing to say that she would refuse my milk since I was pregnant.

Now let me fast forward to the good part, the delivery 🙂 I got induced just like I had with my other two birthes, I guess my body just doesn’t like going into labor on it’s own. My doula was in a accelerated graduate program and temporarily unable to take clients. My mom, who had also one of my labor coaches, staid home to care for our girls who were three and one at the time. It was just my husband and I in the hospital, patiently waiting our son’s arrival.

My first daughter Elyssa, was born via emergency csection due to her being in distress because the cord was wrapped around her neck. My second daughter Elaina was my first vaginal birth after a csection (VBAC) and I was planning for my second VBAC with my son. I signed the VBAC consent form and began my journey. My OB is awesome and very supportive so I wasn’t concerned about being pressured into having a unnecessary csection.

Things were peaceful in the hospital. My husband and I walked the halls some but we mostly watched movies and rested while we waited for the strong contractions to come. Thankfully I did not have back labor like I did with Elaina. Back labor was so uncomfortable and the epidural provided no relief for my back. My doc let me take a break from the induction meds so we could eat dinner and we really appreciated that. Nothing worst then being hungry and not being in active labor. It feels like things are moving so slow with no end in sight.

The next morning my OB broke my water and oh boy is that the craziest feeling. Your in bed with hot fluid continually gushing out of you. The contractions started and I got my epidural but then had a bad reaction to it and needed some quick simple medical intervention to stabilize my blood pressure. At around 3:45pm the contractions got really strong and I started dialating quickly. My husband teases me saying he knows it’s almost time to push when I start humming and singing during my contractions. I make a low sound while trying to breathe, focus and stay in control during the pain and pressure. Hey at least I don’t yell and curse during them right! I can’t believe that I’ve  actually never cried during labor. It’s like I have my war clothes on and I can’t afford to lose it.

My dad was home so he staid with the girls and my mom rushed up to the hospital right before it was time to push. My birth photographer made it on time as well and it was time to get the show on the road!! I was about to get my second VBAC and I was overjoyed!!

I delivered our son in six intense minutes!! There was a time when I thought I may not get to experience vaginal birth but I prayed, had determination and a awesome doctor and support system and God granted my request!! It was a awesome feeling to have everyone encouraging me and cheering me on as I brought my son, Eddie IV, into the world. We were all blown away when we disovered that he weighed 10.3lbs!!! My big healthy boy!! Thank you Jesus!!

I had a scary moment of unexpected blood clot issues but the doctors moved fast and quickly got me stable. I’m so glad my husband and mom were there with me during that ordeal. Everything with my son and I checked out great and I insisted on going home 24hrs later. I’m still so grateful to God for my granting me with another beautiful baby and the birth of my choice. Birth without fear!!

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As you can imagine I’ve been very busy being a stay at home mom of three children under four. I will be writing about my motherhood journey alot!! I love being a wife and mom!! My husband Eddie is a awesome husband and hands on dad, we make a great team!! In between jungling the kids, housework, time with hubby, time for myself, my family, friends, church and photography business, I want to write in my blog more. I love writing and thank you to those who read and share my post!!!

Breastfeeding, Pregnancy and Housework OH MY! My SAHM Update

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I’ve had the privilege of staying at home with my girls full time for the last four months. While life has been busy, it truly has been rewarding and lots of fun. It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to have my family and home be my main focus and responsibility. Many people believe the myth that being a SAHM means you get to lounge around all day, talk on the phone and eat snacks; where anyone would get such a ridiculous idea I have no clue!! For me being a SAHM means serving my husband and my children and taking care of home full time without the responsibility of full time outside work. Being a SAHM is work that I LOVE and ADORE doing most of the time but don’t get it twisted, it IS WORK.

Our girls are 2 1/2 and 8 months and it’s so cool to watch them grow and learn new things right before my eyes. Of course there is the constant challenge of learning to balance time with my husband, playing, teaching and disciplining the girls and getting things done around the house. Some days the laundry or the dishes don’t get done and I have to learn to be okay with that.

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To ensure that I get rest and stay sane, I wake my girls up early so that they can be tired at a decent time for a nap and have an early bed time. There’s lots of cooking, cleaning, bathing, playing, disciplining, teaching, cuddling, bathing, tickling, reading and arts and crafts going on throughout the day. I start my day running and by the end of some days I haven’t eaten much, my hair never left my scarf and my body is aching but I go to bed still grateful for the chance to be at home and not in the work force.

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Last November, my husband and I were surprised and overjoyed to find out that we were expecting another baby. Our youngest daughter was four months at that time. In the midst of my shock and mixed emotions, my awesome husband was happy and very encouraging. My husband reminded me that God was with us, we were a great team and everything would be fine. Now I am almost five months pregnant and everything with baby and I has been great. This week we found out that we’re expecting a baby boy!! We’re over the moon excited to welcome our son into our family this July.

To many people’s surprise, Elaina and I still have a great nursing relationship. It IS possible to nurse while pregnant. For me, nursing while pregnant hasn’t been any different from when I nursed my oldest daughter Elyssa. Many people, including one doctor, told that me that my milk would dry up soon after pregnancy and Elaina would refuse my milk but so far neither of those things have happened thank God. I believe that God will give me peace about when to wean her. My prayer is that she and I will both be okay with weaning when the time comes and it will be a smooth transition before our son is born.

The everyday challenges of being a SAHM plus being pregnant, nursing a baby and chasing a toddler makes for some very interesting, tiring days. But I most say that it hasn’t been as challenging as I thought it would be and I give all glory to God for that. God continues to give me the grace, energy, joy and wisdom needed to care for the girls and stay rested and healthy for myself and my son. The days that I have energy I pick different projects to do like cooking multiple meals, clean the house, do laundry etc, and the days that I don’t have energy, I care for the girls and make sure we’re all feed and safe lol. My husband is a great cook and has lots of patience so when I’m tired and short tempered, he steps in, cooks and cares for the girls while I rest. It’s a HUGE blessing to have a spouse who is helpful and selfless with a kind heart. I love you Eddie Willis III and I thank God for you!!!!!

As moms we go through different seasons in life, sometimes we work inside the home and sometimes we work outside the home; there isn’t a right or a wrong regarding this in my opinion. Being a SAHM is not for everyone and I would never say that all women should stay home with their children. Being at home full time requires a certain amount of grace and patience that I believe only God can give and it’s not for everyone! I have my Masters in Counseling and I know that my career days are not over. I love counseling others, helping them overcome obstacles and reach their goals. Let me just say that I loved my job. I was a Social Worker for nine years and I believed in the work that we did to help our community. The last year that I was working, I felt that the time was drawing near for me to close that chapter of my life for a period and start a new one. Now instead of heading to meetings and conducting sessions with families, I’m watching the clock to keep my girls on their schedule, helping them grow, learn and conducting playdates and I LOVE IT!

I’m finding that I have more time and energy for my husband which is awesome. On his off days, we spend time together with our children and without them. As I mentioned earlier, my hubby is a hands on husband and dad and he makes sure he helps around the house and with the girls. (He’s always fixing something to save us money. It pays to have a husband whose good with his hands!) He also pushes me to go out and take some “me time” or hang out with my girlfriends often. As you can imagine with me not having to deal with the stress and politics that come with working outside the home and him helping around the house, things have been pretty hott in the bedroom!!! That’s evident by our current bun in the oven! We’re a young happily married couple and we make time to enjoy one another! We’re determined not to get caught up in work and children and never take time to talk, laugh or love on one another. I desire him and he desires me. Team Willis all the way baby!!

I love photography and this past December I started my own business called J. Victoria Photography. I’ve worked with some amazing people and children and I’m having lots of fun! I’m still developing my skill and learning the business but I’m enjoying the process! I created a studio inside my home so I get to work from home doing a few sessions a week and it’s something I love doing so that’s really cool! I want my clients to have a great experience and receive good quality pictures at an affordable price. I’d love for my readers to “like” my J. Victoria Photography Facebook page and if you’re in Michigan, message me about our promotions and packages, please visit https://www.facebook.com/Jvictoriaphotography

If you’re a stay at home mom please be encouraged. I know some days you may not feel appreciated, hubby may not say thank you and the children may behave like wild animals, but tomorrow will be better. We must continue to seek our Heavenly Father and thank Him for providing us the chance to be home for this season and ask Him to continue to equipt us with everything we need while we are in it. Remember, you ARE a great mom and you ARE doing an awesome job!!!

Marriage, Motherhood and The Bedroom

I was watching The View and they were talking about how allegedly Tori Spelling’s experiencing marital challenges. Reportedly, Tori’s husband made a statement that black-couple-cuddlingthey were having marital problems because they weren’t having frequent sex now that they have four children. One of the ladies on The View stated that they’ve had four children in six years and it was odd that the husband did not think that having many children close in age would affect their sex life. This issue made me think about intimacy after parenthood. Often times it becomes challenging to find the time and energy to come together, but as married couples we must find a way to stay connected and pleasing to one another!

1 Corinthians 7:2-6 (Message Bible) tells us God’s desire for the marriage bed.

2-6 Certainly—but only within a certain context. It’s good for a man to have a wife, and for a woman to have a husband. Sexual drives are strong, but marriage is strong enough to contain them and provide for a balanced and fulfilling sexual life in a world of sexual disorder. The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality—the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband. Marriage is not a place to “stand up for your rights.” Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out. Abstaining from sex is permissible for a period of time if you both agree to it, and if it’s for the purposes of prayer and fasting—but only for such times. Then come back together again. Satan has an ingenious way of tempting us when we least expect it. I’m not, understand, commanding these periods of abstinence—only providing my best counsel if you should choose them.

My husband and I waited until three years into marriage to have our first child. We enjoyed getting to know one another and adjusting to married life before we added any little ones to the equation. We weren’t sexually active before marriage, therefore we wanted plenty of time to come together and love on one another without the responsibilities of children. Now we have two daughters who will be 3 and 1 this year. While our lives are forever changed for the better now that we are parents, our desire to remain intimate frequently isn’t as easy to accomplish with a baby and toddler running around.

My husband is always ready for the lovin to begin but I am often tired and focused on so many things that it takes me a moment to whined down and get ready. When I allow myself to be present and focus on our love, we always have aN amazing time of passion. For me it’s making the decision to give my husband my all and when I do I’m always glad that I did!! After 5 1/2 years we still got it!!

After speaking to several mommy friends, I’ve discovered that many of them feel the same way. But one thing none of us want to do is make our husband’s feel like we don’t desire them or have time for them. Husbands and wives need to feel adored and desired. No one wants to feel like they always have to beg for attention or that their spouse is often too tired.

With this being said, I developed a short list of ways for wives to communicate their needs to their husbands and ensure that they find ways to come together frequently despite the hustle and bustle of life and parenthood. Check them out and let me know what you think. Before we review the list I wanted to share that wives have high sex drives too and we want to please and be pleased. Husbands and wives both have a part to play in meeting each others needs. Husbands need to make sure they aren’t too busy or too tired for their wives emotionally and physically as well.

1. Communicate your need for rest, affection, sex, help around the house and with the kids etc. Often times as women, once we feel understood, appreciated and supported, we’re better able to relax and feel more comfortable in the bedroom.

2. Consider scheduling your lovin to ensure that you get it in. I know it may sound boring, but it maybe helpful if you and your husband are both busy with a lot on your plate. You want to make time for one another so that too many days or weeks don’t go by before you come together again. Sometimes for women, when we know tonight is the night, we can get mentally and emotionally prepared throughout the day. We can save energy and think sexy thoughts so that we’re geared up and ready when the time comes. Try it and see if it works for you.

3. Nap time is a great time. Times when you and your husband are both home when the children are sleeping, try to take advantage of the quiet house and sneak away to enjoy one another. It’s very helpful to try to get your smaller children on the same nap and night time schedule so that you’re able to get rest, have some me time and we time! Of course this is easier said then done, but with consistency and patience, it will work out with time. Sometimes you’ll have to send the children to their rooms and put on a movie. After everyone’s safe and secure, you two go in your room, lock the door and focus on pleasing one another.

4. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with your extremely long to do list, talk to your husband about helping you in the areas of his choice. Example: Honey I’d love to be more available to you sexually, but by the time the children are in bed I’m so tired that all I want to do is pass out. Do you think you’re able to help me by taking a few things off my list during the week to give me some relief? You could pick a few things from the following list and it would be very helpful to me: cook a meal or two a week, help with the dishes, laundry, the kids bath time or homework. Continue to explain that if you two work together as a team and get things done, you will have more time available to focus on pleasing him and being pleased yourself.

5. Learn to turn off your “mommy mind” and relax. Yes there are bills that need to be paid, dishes and laundry that need to be washed and children that need bathes. This will ALWAYS be the case. The job of a wife and mother is NEVER done and that’s ok. We have to have peace knowing that everything won’t be perfect. Sometimes my husband seeks me out for lovin and I feel frustrated inside thinking “doesn’t he know how much work there is to be done,” or “he knows I’m tired,” but when I really think about it, what do those things have to do with us coming together? When we have needs of any kind, we are to try our best to fulfill those needs for one another without excuses and attitudes. My husband shows me affection and tries to help me relax. I desire him but sometimes sex is not on my mind so I say a silent prayer and I ask God to help me clear my mind and to give me energy. We must do whatever we need to in order to rock his world and allow him to rock ours! Our husband’s should never be last on our list; they need us and we need them. Sex is good and pleasing in God’s sight! So talk to your husband, figure out what works best for you two and GO GET IT ON!! LOL

Pretty Brown Girls With Pretty Brown Hair

Muppet Wikia published the back story of how the song I Love My Hair came to be. Read a insert of that post below.

“I Love My Hair” is a Sesame Street song performed by an Anything Muppet girl. She sings about how proud she is of her hair and the many ways she can wear it. The girl is voiced by Chantylla Johnson and puppeteered by Kevin Clash.

The video was posted on Sesame Workshop’s YouTube channel in October 2010, and quickly garnered online attention for its positive message.[1] Following the original debut of the segment, other airings feature a modified music track.

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My 2 1/2 year old daughter Elyssa and I love the Sesame Street song I Love My Hair. The puppet is a pretty brown girl with a mini afro just like my daughter. In the video, the girl sings about how special, beautiful and unique her hair is because she can do it in all types of styles. Elyssa’s eyes always light up when she watches the video. She rubs her hair and dances around. Words can’t describe how happy it makes me feel to see her at such a young age celebrating and embracing her hair. After watching the video one night she laid in her bed and said “Mommy, I love my hair, I’m beautiful!” I smiled and said “Yes you are baby!!

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My husband and I have been blessed with two girls, Elyssa (2 1/2 yrs) and Elaina (8 months) and we call them our pretty brown girls. We tell them that we love their brown skin, hair and eyes. When I comb Elyssa’s hair I tell her how pretty it is. In a world that tells our girls that they need to have light skin, with skinny bodies and straight hair to their butt, we as parents MUST teach our children that they’re ALL beautiful and special just the way God made them. We oil Elyssa’s scalp and comb her afro and let her pick out which bow she wants to wear and we tell her that she’s pretty, smart, holy, kind and a child of God. I’m not trying to raise self centered vain daughters, I’m trying to teach them early to love the skin they’re in. Our girls are fearfully and wonderfully made, Psalm 139:14 NIV.

Psalm 139:13-16 Message Bible

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.

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I grew up attending mainly private schools where the African American population was small. In the 80’s and 90’s it wasn’t as cool to wear natural hair as it is now. I remember the white female students being so curious about the texture of my hair and the hair styles I wore and asking lots of questions. I remember being different and not always feeling special about it. While I loved my brown skin and big lips, I secretly wanted my hair to be long and silky straight permanently, not just for the few hours after my mom pressed it. My mom taught me that I was beautiful and made in the image of God. While my parents did a great job building my self esteem, I don’t believe that brown girls were embraced and celebrated like they are today. Today there are more brown baby dolls on the shelves, cool cartoons that feature diverse female characters like Doc McStuffins and organizations like Pretty Brown Girl and Black Girls Rock just to name a few. I believe that it’s so important for children of color to see faces and hair styles like their’s being celebrated; therefore we make sure that our girls have books and dolls that feature brown children as well as other races. We are all children of God and He made no mistakes when He created us. If we don’t teach our children to love themselves then who will?

Her name is Elyssa Janee’ Willis and she loves her hair!!

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Sesame head writer Joey Mazzarino told New York Magazine:

“ My wife and I, we adopted our daughter from Ethiopia, so we’re two white parents raising an African-American daughter. We knew issues of skin color would come up, and then hair came up a bit last year when she wasn’t really loving her curls and wanted to have long, blonde, straight hair. She would put on wigs, she would want her hair like her mom’s or a Barbie, and I thought maybe it was an issue because she was being raised by white parents and she sees us every day.

But then when Chris Rock’s film Good Hair came out, I was talking to my executive producer about it and I realized, ‘Oh, this is a bigger issue. This isn’t just my child, it’s [happening with other] African-American girls.’ So I asked my executive producer, ‘Hey, can I take a shot at writing something for this?’ So I quickly sat down in my office and thought about what I say to my daughter, and we wrote this song…

http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/I_Love_My_Hair

Life With Two What To Do?!

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On June 13, 2013, I became a mommy of two! Two car seats, two cribs, a double stroller and a house filled with toys and pink clothes and bows galore!! Our oldest daughter Elyssa, is now 28 months and she is smart, sweet, funny, full of energy and curious about everything. Our baby girl Elaina is now eight weeks and she holds her head up, laughs and loves to nurse. Our girls keep us on our toes but they keep us laughing and enjoying every moment.

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So the title of this post is a very valid question; life with two what to do!? How do you chase a toddler around the living room when you have a infant crying to nurse, a husband who has needs and a house that’s in desperate need of a cleaning?! For me the answer is simple, breathe, ask God for patience, wisdom and grace and let my love for my family keep me going. The word of the month for me is organization. I’m trying to stay on top of the housework and the laundry so that I don’t find myself overwhelmed. My helpful husband and I work opposite shifts so he cares for the girls while I’m away and I care for them while he’s away. He cooks sometimes, I cook sometimes. We try to keep the laundry from piling up and try to keep Elyssa’s toys from consuming the whole house. Some days I say forget it and I just enjoy my family and pretend as if I don’t see the piles of clutter lying around.

As mothers we’re usually the first ones up and the last to go to bed. The ones doing majority of the cooking but the last to get to sit down and eat. We work hard to make sure that the house is run smoothly and somehow have the courage to continue to add more children and more responsibility to our plate as the years go by. WHY do we do this to ourselves?! I know my answer, I love being a mom. I love nursing, serving, cuddling, teaching, playing and watching them grow. Being a wife and a mom is the hardest but funniest and most rewarding job I’ve ever had. I was made to do this! I don’t know what I will do when Elaina becomes mobile and I have two girls to chase around but you know what, God will give me the grace and the energy just like He continues to do now. Parenting a two year old is no joke and I don’t always get it right but I’m grateful to God for a hands on husband and the support system that we have around us.

Being a mother of two for this first 8 weeks has been lots of work and lots of fun. I will post about my mommy experiences as times goes by. Until then, stay strong mommies and know that you’re doing a great job!!