Book Review: {Why} Motherhood Matters

As a mom of young children, and especially as a stay at home parent, being a mama is all consuming.  I am with my little ones basically 24/7 at this point and I basically only think about them.  Did they eat enough, are they sleeping enough, what do they need!!  Since they’re so little, their needs can feel overwhelming, but a lot of mamas of young children also start to feel alone.

Enter Steptember McCarthy and her wonderful book {Why} Motherhood Matters!  This book shares some very personal stories, as well as realistic and practical advice for any mom in all stages of motherhood.  So many times while reading this book, I found myself nodding because I could relate so much.

The book is laid out in four parts, which go deeper into some of the issues of motherhood.  From faith and wellness, to education and relationships, September covers so many aspects of motherhood, and each section ends with some questions and principles to think about and carry into your own life.

Whether you’re in the middle of trying to have a baby, or the sleepless nights, or you have teenagers and beyond, this book is for you.  I am so glad that I had the chance to read it.

For more information, check out September’s website here!

xoxo,
Alysa

 

Disclosure: I received this book at no charge in exchange for this review. All the opinions stated here are my own.

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Parenting with Grace and Truth: Book Review & Giveaway

I read a lot of parenting books. I really enjoy reading about different styles of parenting, and in each one I definitely take things away that I can use in my own parenting journey.  So when I was contacted to review Parenting with Grace and Truth by Dan Seaborn, I jumped at the chance of reading it!  I want to be able to parent in a way that is modelled after Jesus, and that is what this book is about.

As I say, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for this review.  Everything said here is my own opinion.  This post also contains affiliate links.

When I start reading any parenting book, I usually start by looking at the author’s bio on/in the back of the book.  I look to see what their qualifications are.  Dan Seaborn mentions on the back of this book that he has four kids with his wife.  That makes me think, ok, so he kind of knows what he’s talking about!  I read a longer bio that also said that he has worked as a youth pastor, so he really knows what he’s talking about with regards to teenagers.  I think it’s important to mention this, because there have been books I’ve read in the past that the author didn’t mention anything about whether or not they were a parent.  I know there are lots of non-parents that are very smart and everything, but as a parent, I take the advice of fellow parents more seriously.  So, I really like the fact that he mentions on his bio that he has children.

The way Parenting with Grace and Truth is set up is each chapter is about a truth about parenting.  Some examples are, The Truth About Developing Good Character in Your Children or The Truth about Effective Parenting.  I found it really interesting that Seaborn talks about these parenting issues as basic truths, and not just any truth, but truth with a foundation in Jesus.  I really liked that.  Another thing he does in each chapter is, he finishes each chapter with a number of questions to consider.  I think that makes this a good book to read with a small group.  There are questions that would make wonderful discussion questions with other parents.  And finally, he has a little blurb at the very end called “Dan’s Reality Check” where he is real about the truths he just talked about in the chapter.

Reading through this book, I found myself nodding my head in agreement about quite a few things.  I found myself hi-lighting sections of the book because I wanted to remember exactly what it said, so I could tell other people about it later.  I think that this is such a great resource for parents!  Though I am currently in the baby/toddler stage of parenting, and he talks a lot about parenting teenagers, I still got a LOT out of this book, and there was a lot I could take away and use in my life right now.

One of my favourite chapters is when Seaborn starts talking about specific parenting styles.  So he describes authoritarian style parenting, helicopter style parenting, and the very best parenting style: Jesus style parenting.  The way he describes Jesus style parenting made it seem actually attainable.  Jesus style parenting is perfect, but the way we do it doesn’t have to be perfect.  If we’re striving for Jesus style parenting, that is enough.

Another thing that I really appreciate about this book is the fact that there is scripture throughout each chapter.  Seaborn writes about parenting in a way that is based in biblical truth.  I think that is the one of it’s huge assets.  You can read exactly which verse he means when he gives his advice.

Parenting with Grace and Truth by Dan Seaborn was a really great read, and I think it will be one that I go back to again and again as my children get older.  And good news, friends!  You have a chance to win a copy of your very own as well!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway open to US/Canada.  Good Luck!

xoxo,
Alysa

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Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family Review & Giveaway

Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family

Recently, I have been reading Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family by Paul David Tripp.  At this current stage of parenting, I have found the the other parenting books I have read in the past to be a little bit of a moot point.  I started reading this parenting book anticipating that I would be reading more about things that might come up in the future for my children.  There were certainly a lot of things in the book that were for parents of older children, but in a lot of ways this book is for every parent.

I find it funny that the title of the book has the word “change” in it, because one of the biggest things that Tripp talks about in the book is the fact that we, as parents, CAN’T actually change our children.  Parenting isn’t about trying to make our children change their behaviour, or the way they are, or to try to fit them into some little box.  It’s about being their leaders, and guiding them in the way that they should go.  Tripp talks about how many parents view their children with a certain amount of ownership.  Parents use their children to complete their identity.  It’s not the right thing to do.  Our children are not our property.  It is not our job to make them submit to us, or behave for us.  It’s our job to guide them and lead them.

There are 14 Principles listed in this book, but the overarching theme is that of Grace.  We need God’s grace every single day, and our children need our grace every single day.  This book was pretty eye opening and I would definitely recommend it to other parents, even parents of very little children like I have. 🙂

And if you’d like to read it, too, I have a copy to give away!  <3

a Rafflecopter giveaway

xoxo,
Alysa

I received this book in exchange for my honest review, the opinions expressed here are my own.

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Best Snapchat Stickers for Mamas

The Best Snapchat Stickers for Mamas

I love Snapchat.  I’ve been using it a lot in the last little while.  It’s fun to share little moments of our day in quick photos or videos.  I also LOVE to use the stickers and filters.  In my opinion, that’s the best part about this medium. It’s fun to kick up your snaps a little bit with stickers.  And as a mom, sometimes I feel like I need to add a little sarcastic or hilarious sticker!

Here are my favourite stickers for mamas:

For when your kids are finally asleep in bed and you get to spend time with your spouse!

When you’re not sure what your child is doing something weird, or throwing a fit, or getting into mischief

When you’re finally allowed that precious me-time… like at the grocery store :p

When your child is being adorable and precious <3

When your child is doing something they shouldn’t.. like taking all of the plastic containers out of the cupboard and leaving them in the living room…

What are your favourite snapchat stickers?

xoxo,
Alysa

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How to Help New Parents

how to help new parents

I know that it seems like every single blogger who recently had a baby has written this type of blog post.  There are a few on some of those that I agree with, and some that I don’t, but here are things that I noticed from when we first had Autumn.  Since we’re now 8 and a half months into it, some of it might not be for the super fresh mom, but I’d say we’re still new parents.. I would call myself a new mom still anyway!

Here are some of the things that people did that really helped me:

1. Bring Food
One of the biggest blessings we received in Autumn’s first week of life was announced through a text message from one of my friends “I’m making cinnamon buns, would you like me to bring you some when they get out of the oven?”  OH MY GOODNESS YES PLEASE!  Not only were they delicious and amazing, but they were also hot out of the oven AND I could eat them with one hand while I nursed my baby.  A++++ friend right there.  I would go as far as to say that she was my angel that week.  But seriously, new parents are figuring stuff out, eating isn’t always at the highest priority and any and all food we received in that first month was a huge blessing for us.  We were very grateful for it.  And if you feel you are not a good cook/can’t bring food for any other reason:
1b. Bring COFFEE!
A fancy coffee please! Like a latte or a Starbucks something.  There were more than a few days where someone bringing me a coffee was a huge bright spot in the day (you know, other than my beautiful little baby, that is 😉 ).  Find out what the new mama’s favourite coffee drink from Starbucks is, and get that.  She’ll love you for it.

2. If you’re giving a gift/food, give a card
If your friend is like me and likes sending thank you cards for these kinds of things, she will be hugely grateful that you gave a card with your gift.  Bonus points if you write down in the card what your gift was.  A few months ago, I wrote out all the thank you cards for the gifts that I had cards for, and the ones that I could remember who didn’t give us a card… and I know I missed people.  I hate that!! I want to send everyone a thank you card because the gifts are so appreciated!  Alternatively, if you don’t give a card, don’t be upset if you don’t get a thank you card.  New parents have a lot going on, and sometimes forget to do simple things like brush their teeth (true story).  So if a new mom and dad forget who gave them that one sleeper.. it’s not their fault! They are sleep deprived and forgetful!  Know that they really appreciated your gift, and that they can’t wait to use it on their little one.
Also, the new thing is taking a picture of the baby in the clothes given or playing with the toy given, but it’s really hard to remember who gave what! If you give a card, you might even get this kind of picture! 😉

3. Don’t ask to hold the baby
Especially at first.  If there was one thing I could change about the first week or so of Autumn’s life it would be that I didn’t get to hold her enough.  No one really asked to hold the baby, but I felt like I was obligated to let people hold her… and I very often felt that I only got to hold her when she was upset or hungry.  Let the parents hold their baby when their baby is happy, too!!  And if you do get to hold the baby, don’t keep the baby for too long either!! Let it be a short visit, and get longer holds when the baby is older.  However…
3b. Ask how you can help
Chances are, she’d really like to go pee, or shower, or get herself some food.  If that’s the case, asking her if you can help in any way will probably mean holding the baby so that she can go do one of the above!  Win-win!  Also, if there’s something you notice needs to be done, offer to do that thing.. then do it.  I would personally be uncomfortable with other people doing my laundry, so I’d leave that one out, but with dishes or something like that?  It’s nice for the parents not to have to think about that.  ALSO, if they have a dog, offer to walk their dog!

4.  Don’t expect them to text you back right away
Sometimes I left my phone upstairs and I was nursing downstairs.  Sometimes I would read a text and then put down the phone to change a diaper and then forget for a couple of days. Oops! Please give your friend grace in this!

5. Visits
There are a few things to know about visiting a new mama and her baby.  Don’t just stop by, you never know if the baby just went down for a nap, or if there are breastfeeding struggles, or if she just got the baby latched and can’t physically get up to answer the door or… or… or… Just stopping by could be hugely stressful for the new mama, and she’s under enough stress as it is.  Plus, knowing when you’re coming over means that if she’s about to start feeding the baby, she can unlock the door so you can let yourself in.
Don’t stay too long.  Sometimes, even though it’s very early in the evening, a new mama might want to go for a quick nap while their baby is sleeping.  But she also wants to stay and visit with you, her friend.  If it’s a shorter visit, she can do both!
Arrive when you say you are going to arrive.  Especially in the first few weeks, sleep is precious.  If the baby gets to sleep, but someone is about to come over, the new mama might not go for a nap herself because someone is about to arrive.  If that person then doesn’t show up, that mama is missing out on sleep.  It’s kind of a big deal!
Ask what time works for the new parents for you to visit!  It’s more helpful to find out when works for them, instead of telling them when works for you.  As the day to day schedule is getting worked out, there are definitely some times that are better than others for a visit.  For example, in our first few months, Autumn and I got our best sleep in the mornings.  She would actually sleep in with me.  So, afternoons were a better time for us for people to visit.  If someone had just said “Hey, I’m coming over at 9:00am” I would have been pretty upset because then I’m losing out on sleep, and chances are so would Autumn.

6. Compliments!
This should probably go without saying, but as a new mama I kind of felt a little bit like a garbage pail human.  So, even though I didn’t fully believe them, I still liked it when people said I looked great.  It’s also nice to hear how adorable your baby is. 😉

How else can you help out new parents?

xoxo,
Alysa

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May the 4th be with you

Happy May! And, happy Star Wars day 😉

Lately, we’ve been spending a lot of time outside.  It’s been so nice to be able to go out and play, both in the yard and on the porch.  I love this time of year.  We’ve also spent a lot of time as a family, which has been wonderful.  We went to see Age of Adeline the other day (if you haven’t seen it yet, you should! It was great!) and we’ve had a few friends come visit us lately, too.  I always love being able to spend time with friends.

I’m also really excited because my brother-in-law is getting married this summer, and I’ve been able to spend time with his bride-to-be, aka my future sister(-in-law).  I love her, she’s so great.  Spending time with her is the best!

Here are some of the other things making me happy this week:

This informative article about why littles should be kept rear facing in the car.

Do you like volunteering? Do you like free shows? You should volunteer at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival this summer!  Sign up here!

12 Pieces of Advice for New Dads of Daughters.  It’s super sweet, and I made sure to show it to my husband, too 😉

This blog post about breastfeeding from a man’s perspective.  Love it!

Have a lovely week <3

xoxo,
Alysa

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