5 Steps To Prioritizing Self Care

Happy Thursday, my sweet readers! Today I’m guest blogging over at Fellow Passengers, sharing my thoughts about prioritizing self care!

Rachel and I met at a mom’s night out a few months ago in no other place than in the bathroom! It was a divine meeting, as we soon realized we both had a toddler and twin babies at home.

You’ll love her blog, her down to earth perspective, and the way she uses every day experiences to encourage and relate to other moms.

I would love if you’d hop on over and check out my post where I share my 5 Steps To Prioritizing Self Care! While you’re there, take a few minutes and read some of Rachel’s amazing posts!

Blessings on your Thursday!

XOXO,

Amber

Share Button

For The Days When I Don’t Feel Good Enough

I don’t know how things start out in your house on Sunday mornings when you want to get to church, but around here it’s the last thing from feeling like a day of rest. Whenever we have to be anywhere at a specific time with our crew, it’s stressful and chaotic. It seems like no matter how much I plan ahead, unexpected emergencies come up (like blowouts and tantrums) and we end up scrambling and running around our house like crazy people as we get everyone fed, changed, dressed, and in their car seats.

Yesterday was no exception. After we had all the kids in the car and were backing out of the driveway, Jake and I both let out a deep sigh, like we had just made it through World War 3. That was followed by me apologizing for being a complete brat, because you know, it’s easiest to yell at my husband and blame him for not being able to find a sippy cup or the baby’s right shoe.

But of course I wanted us to act like we were all happy and perfect when we pulled into the church parking lot, smiling at every greeter along the way. Why do we do that? Why is there pressure to act like we have it all together when most of the time we don’t?

After we dropped the kids off in their respective rooms, Jake and I found our seats in the auditorium. As the worship music started, I felt so undeserving to be sitting there. I spent the morning being stressed out and snappy at my husband, and wasn’t in a spot where I felt worthy of God’s love. I was a mess, not someone who could fully worship with all my heart. I felt like a hypocrite.

After the service we raced home to feed the kids lunch before their afternoon naps. When the girls are in their high chairs they LOVE it when Jake walks by and talks to them. They get the biggest smiles on their faces. I captured this shot of Emersyn, food ALL OVER, as she looked up and absolutely adored and soaked in her daddy’s love.photo-213In that moment, all I could think about was how precious she was. It didn’t matter that she was messy and sticky and full of snot and slobber. What mattered was how in love she was with her daddy.

I have to think God looks at us in a similar way. He sees us messy and completely covered in our sins, but He knows that looking into His presence and falling in love with Him will bring us the joy and hope we need to be redeemed. He sees us as His precious sons and daughters, and wants us to accept His generous grace.

We don’t need to have it all together when we walk through the church doors. We don’t need to have it all together anywhere. In fact, I think God’s power is shown so much more when we admit our weaknesses to one another. He wants to meet us as we are. He wants us to meet each other as we are.

To you, dear sister, my prayer for you today and everyday is that you’ll seek the Lord in your mess. Maybe you’re tired, overwhelmed, stressed, or unsure about the future. Maybe you’re lonely or heartbroken. Or maybe you were a complete snot to your husband. Whatever it is, God is bigger.

May we all look up in adoration and give our Heavenly Father a big smile to acknowledge that He is greater, that He is enough. May we soak in our Daddy’s love!

XOXO,

Amber

Share Button

Yesterday Was Bad, But Today’s A New Day

20140327-134124.jpgYesterday was an all around bad day. The kids were crabby, the house needed attention, Satan was feeding me lies, and another cold day stuck inside all made me feel overwhelmed and discouraged.

After telling my husband I was struggling, he asked what he could do. I told him I’d love some fresh flowers so I could have a visible sign of hope.

When I walked downstairs this morning and saw my beautiful bouquet on the table, I was reminded of this:
God is making all things new. He thaws not only the cold ground but also our hardened hearts. The winter is past and spring is on the horizon. Just as He uses the seasons to prepare the earth for planting and growing, He’s using the good and bad days of our lives to prepare us to produce fruit that furthers the Kingdom.

Today is a new day. May we all cling to the hope we have in Christ, and remember He is making all things new!

XOXO,

Amber

Share Button

Magic Bullet Giveaway Winner

I’m popping in to announce the winner of the Magic Bullet from Fairlife Milk!

The winner is Alison Lambert! Congratulations, Alison! I’ll be emailing you shortly with details on how to claim your prize!

Thank you to everybody who entered!

XOXO,

Amber

Share Button

We Survived Our First Year As Twin Parents

IMG_1014

A couple weekends ago we celebrated Emersyn and Mckinley’s first birthday! We threw a little party and invited a few close friends and family. We celebrated them and the miracle it is that they’ve grown into these beautiful healthy little girls from the weak and fragile 4.5 and 4.12 pound premies they were when we met them.IMG_0973

As much as we were celebrating their lives, we were also rejoicing that we survived the first year as parents of twins. If I’m completely honest, the past year was the most challenging season we’ve ever been through. There were so many days and weeks when we were completely drained, both emotionally and physically. There were months when I felt depressed, overwhelmed, and incapable of having what it took to get through the day. IMG_0984There were times when I felt isolated and alone, like no one in my circle of friends could relate to what I was going through, and I didn’t want to take the time to explain because I never wanted it to come across as complaining about my sweethearts.

Our marriage was pushed to the back burner for a while simply because there wasn’t an ounce of time at the end of the day when we were awake enough to connect. We were running on empty in every area of our lives. On top of that, Jake accepted a new position that required him to be away at training for three months, leaving me to hold down the fort at home.

I could go on and try to explain all that we’ve been through, but unless you’ve raised twins yourself, an explanation can only go so far. The point is, in all honesty the past year was a dark one in many ways. It was a dark one, but a redemptive one. We persevered through sleepless nights, having three kids in diapers, depression, settling into a new city, finding a new church, a job transition, raising three kids under two, isolated weeks and months, and the emotional drainage of making sure I bonded with each baby and got to know them individually instead of as a set.

{Emersyn}

IMG_0908

 

{Mckinley}IMG_1074

Our twin girls have changed our lives forever, in the best possible way.

Being twin parents isn’t for the faint of heart, and we’ve learned how necessary it is to depend on God’s grace to get through each day. We put in a lot of work, and we’ve built a strong foundation. We made it through the first year which makes us feel like we can conquer the world (including another baby!)

I wouldn’t trade this year for anything. I’d do it all again if it means I get to call these sweethearts my daughters. God is so faithful, and when we feel like we can’t handle what He puts before us, he hands out an extra measure of grace.

We’re all faced with challenges. Yours may not being raising twins, but it’s something else that is just as important. Whatever lies before you, and however dark of a place you’re in, be convinced and sure of this: “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ.” -Philippians 1:6

Be encouraged, dear sisters, that you are equipped for whatever is in your path. He chose you for such a time as this!

XOXO,

Amber

P.S. I’d like to give a HUGE shout out to my parents, who supported us in so many ways this year. My mom decided to leave her full time job as a Hospice Care Coordinator and started working on a casual basis instead so she could help me. She drove the four hours and came to visit whenever she caught wind that I was overwhelmed, while my dad stayed home and managed things on the farm on his own. She’d spend weeks at a time with us cleaning, doing laundry, babysitting, waking up for the middle of the night shift, listening, and gave me time to recover and take care of myself. Thank you Mom & Dad for sacrificing so much of your year! We love you and couldn’t have done it without you! IMG_1052

 

 

 

Share Button

Secure In My Love

IMG_1140We’ve been working so hard at teaching my two-year-old to listen and obey. Last week was full of tough love with more time spent on discipline than having fun together.

I was feeling defeated and a bit hopeless.

But yesterday morning, after we were done with breakfast he asked me to dance with him. I picked him up, he tightly wrapped his arm around my neck, and softly laid his head on my shoulder.

Those moments spent swaying back and forth together in the kitchen were some of our sweetest ones yet. He was showing me love in the most sincere way a two-year-old can express it, communicating that despite the disciplining and not-so-fun moments, he knows he’s secure in my love.IMG_1125

It made me think about my relationship with my Heavenly Father. There are times when I kick and scream and don’t want to be obedient to Him. I don’t understand why He would ask me to do this or that. But His unconditional love and truth about who Hs is keeps me running back to Him even when I’m frustrated. Though my flesh can be stubborn, my spirit knows I’m safe in His arms.

As we start this week, will you join me in dancing with our Creator? Let’s surrender our desires and opt to be in sync with His. Let’s lay our worries and cares at His feet. Let’s give Him the praise He deserves, and show Him that we feel secure in His everlasting love!

XOXO,

Amber

Share Button

New Mom Confessions

emmy mac n cheeseYou know “those things” we do as moms but don’t usually openly share? Well, today I’m confessing some of mine! (Including how often we eat mac n’ cheese.)

I’m so excited to be guest posting over at Oakland Avenue! My friend Laura, who is also a Twin Cities Moms Blog contributor, is the voice behind this awesomely honest and down to earth mommy blog, and I know you’re fall in love with her writing.

Shortly after she became a mom, she started sharing her “New Mom Confessions.” Over the last year she’s compiled quite the hilarious collection. Now she’s opening it up to other moms to share our experiences too!

You can find my confessions here: New Mom Confessions: Amber from Mommy’s Me Time

While you’re there, be sure to check out her entire New Mom Confessions Series!

Oh, and don’t forget to enter my Magic Bullet Giveaway if you haven’t already!

XOXO,

Amber

Share Button

Fairlife Milk & A Magic Bullet Giveaway

Being raised on a farm, I was taught to have a deep love for cow’s milk. It was served at every meal, and my day still isn’t complete without a big ol’ glass. I LOVE it, and almost finish a whole gallon by myself every week.

In recent years, almond and coconut milk have become incredibly popular due to their health benefits. I’ve tried time and time again to like the stuff, and while I can tolerate it in my coffee, it just doesn’t do it for me the way cow’s milk does. Well, it just so happens there is now a healthier cow’s milk!

When I heard about Fairlife milk, I was very intrigued. Fairlife is a cow’s milk created by dairy farmers from Indiana that contains 50% more protein and calcium and half the sugars of regular milk. It’s also lactose free! They’ve developed a state of art filtration system that allows them to do all this.

There is so much awesome information on their website, PLEASE check it out! You’ll love what you hear. Here’s a video from their founders. I have to admit, having parents who still farm, their story definitely touches my heart!

They delivered free samples to my door to try out. I was given a bottle of skim, 2%, and chocolate. photo-209

Jake and I couldn’t get over how good it was! The chocolate milk is honestly the best I’ve ever tasted. The skim milk has a creamier flavor than regular skim milk, and the 2% tastes a lot like whole milk. We liked it so much that we went hunting it down in the stores around here. They launched in Minnesota in February and it’s currently available at Cub Foods, Kowalski’s, Lunds & Byerly’s, and Rainbow. We found it on sale at Kowaski’s 2/$5.00, and swiped the very last chocolate milk off the shelf. I guess we’re not the only ones who think it’s the best!

As Fairlife continues to launch across the country, I’m thrilled to be able to help raise awareness for this awesome company and their nutritious products. I plan to keep buying the milk for my family and would love for you to try it out as well when it becomes available in your market!

To keep up with the latest news and launch cities, I’d like to invite you to follow Fairlife on Facebook and Twitter!

If you need a little extra motivation, I have just the thing! Fairlife has offered to give away an Original Magic Bullet to one lucky Mommy’s Me Time reader! They strongly believe in encouraging us to live a healthy lifestyle and the Magic Bullet can certainly help to make that a whole lot more convenient. Using the Fairlife milk in smoothies is a perfect way to pack in extra protein! Magic Bullet

Please enter to win using Rafflecopter below! This contest is open to U.S. residents only and will run through Tuesday March 25th! The winner will be announced next Wednesday, March 26th!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

XOXO,

Amber

*I was given free milk from Fairlife and asked to review it, but all opinions are my own. 

Share Button

My Thoughts On Expecting Baby #4

I broke the news on Facebook and Instagram yesterday, but wanted to write a post to share a little more about how I’m feeling about Baby #4! For those of you who didn’t see the announcement, we’re expecting a fourth baby in September! I’m 14 1/2 weeks along with an official due date of September 12! Kuiper Final FourWe’re so excited to meet this sweet baby. And yes, there’s just one this time! I’m pretty sure the ultrasound tech thought I was crazy for asking her to triple and quadruple check! Since I didn’t find out until 20 weeks that I was having twins after having two previous ultrasounds, it’s a bit of an understatement to say I thought it necessary to do our due diligence. You can bet I’ll be asking them to check again at every appointment. :)

When this babe is born, Baylen will still be two for another month, and Emersyn and Mckinley will be 18 months. This means we’ll have a short period where we’ll have four kids under three! To a lot of people this sounds absolutely crazy, but to be honest I couldn’t be more thrilled to have them all so close in age. Sure, it’ll be nuts for a few years, or maybe for the next 20 years, but it’s going to be so special for them to be best buds and interested in a lot of the same things as they grow up. Family vacations are going to be a blast!

We’ve always wanted four kids, and our desire was to have them close together. I just feel so blessed that God thought it was a good plan too. We figure we’re in baby mode right now, so we might as well stay here, embrace the craziness, and then move on to the next phase!

Now that I’m in the second trimester, I’m starting to feel a lot better. It’s obviously not perfect, and some days are still filled with nausea and fatigue, but I am so glad to be moving on toward brighter days. Taking care of three littles while puking and feeling icky is no joke! Thank goodness my kids all take an afternoon nap at the same time so I can sneak in some shut eye when I need it.

With that said, I hope to be back to blogging a little more consistently now that I’m past the first tri. Certain things have had to be pushed to the back burner so I can make time to grow this little human! It took me some time to adjust because I had finally just felt like I was on top of things, and then the sudden tiredness set in, but goodness what a great problem to have. My kids are my priority and every bit of sacrifice is totally worth it!

We are truly over the moon excited for Baby Kuiper #4. We already have a boy name picked out, but per usual, landing on a girl name is always a struggle for us. Good thing we have plenty of time to decide!

Thank you to all of you who have already shown excitement and support for us. We are so blessed to have a community of people around us who pray for us, affirm us, and cheer us on. I thank God often for you!

XOXO,

Amber

 

 

Share Button

New Moms Need Encouragement More Than Advice

IMG_3787They say nothing can fully prepare you for parenthood. From my experience, that was certainly the case. It wasn’t until I survived labor and delivery and was cradling my first babe that I started to get it. I felt like I had officially been initiated into the mommy club, joining millions of women who had gone before me. It was the most amazing feeling in the world, but it was also one of the most overwhelming.

That gorgeous baby boy, with a name that we gave him, was ours. OURS! The minute he came out of my womb he was completely dependent upon us for everything. We would actually be taking him home to live with us permanently. Life was no longer only about us, but every decision we’d make would affect him as well.

Those decisions are endless, starting right from the very beginning. Should I breastfeed or formula feed? Send him to the nursery or keep him in our hospital room? Sleep train or go with the flow? Co-sleep or crib? Pacifier or no pacifier? Swaddle or no swaddle? Go back to work or stay at home?

It’s complete overload and so much to process when you’re dealing with all those postpartum hormones and emotions. Your world truly changes overnight. You can read and plan as much as you want, but the truth is you don’t know how you really want to do things until you start living out your new reality.

When I think back to those early firstborn moments things flood back into my memory. I loved my hospital stay. Going to a U.S. maternity ward these days, or a “family birthing center” as many are now referred to, is practically like spending a couple days at a spa. After you get through the hard stuff, you’re just pampered for the next couple days! I LOVED everything about it and was in no rush to get out of there.

But then the time comes, and they discharge you. You excitedly dress your tiny human in the adorable going home outfit you’ve been imagining him wearing for months. You carefully and somewhat awkwardly place your babe in the car seat and take the giddy going home picture, so overjoyed to start your life as a family.

Then you get in the car, and you realize that you are taking this baby to YOUR HOUSE. How in the world did they put the stamp of approval on this? And it hits you. You have no idea what you’re doing.

But somehow you pull it together, welcome your baby inside your home, and start unpacking everything from the hospital. The busyness of it all distracts you for a while. That along with staring and thinking about how cute your baby is for about 98% of the day. Your precious miracle, now living and breathing in the great big world.

That first night is rough. At least it was for me. You’re on your own, figuring out night feedings, how to swaddle, and if you’re anything like me you didn’t sleep a wink because you’re too busy checking that he’s still breathing for the 176th time. But you make it through, and the sun rises in the morning, its rays more beautiful than you’ve ever seen as they offer hope of a new day and new life.

The next few weeks continue to be full of new experiences, trusting your motherly instincts and figuring out what makes you the best mom you can be. This is where it can start to get a little tricky. You start to realize that your personality plays a big role in how you take care of your baby. Just as your baby was created uniquely, each of us moms were also created uniquely. We were given our specific babies for a reason, and even though we’re new at this whole mom thing, we have an innate ability to feel and know what’s right for our family and kids.

It can get tricky here because at this point, you’ve probably been influenced by a variety of people who are near and dear to you, and maybe some who aren’t. Some of the things they do and advice they give make a lot of sense to you, and some of it doesn’t. It doesn’t mean one of you is right and the other wrong. It just means that each of us resonates with a specific parenting style because of who we are, and who our kids are.

As moms, we want so badly to do the best job possible, and in our desire to do so, it can be easy to think that our way is the best way. I don’t think it’s necessarily because we think those other moms are bad moms, but I think it’s because how they do it seems so foreign to us simply because we absolutely cannot imagine it working for us.

But that’s the beauty of motherhood and individuality, isn’t it? What would stress one mom out, makes another one feel closer than ever to her child. The point is, each mom is uniquely equipped to love her kids in a way that no one else can.

For those of us who are already moms, we have an opportunity to be involved in a major paradigm shift when it comes to how we interact with new moms and moms-to-be.

Instead of acting like we know it all, let’s come alongside our sisters, daughters, and friends in their new journey and offer nothing but encouragement. Let’s not have one of our first questions be, “So, are you nursing????” They might not do things the way you did. They might not want to follow a schedule or use disposable diapers. They might not want to co-sleep and follow the attachment parenting movement. They might not want to read BabyWise. Also, unless it’s positive, it’s really not necessary to suggest that you know more by saying, “Just wait until you get to this stage…”  Let them discover each season for themselves and form their own opinions about it!

I’d like to propose that we can be encouraging and offer our support without giving new moms unsolicited advice. Let’s shower them with praise and tell them what a good job they’re doing. Let’s lend a listening ear and let them cry on our shoulder.

Let’s be available and let them know that if they ever want to hear our thoughts we’d love to share our experiences, but leave it at that. If they want our advice, they’ll let us know.

For those of you who are new moms or moms-to-be…

You are starting on the most incredible journey you’ve ever been on. You might be overwhelmed right now trying to figure everything out. That doesn’t make you inadequate. It makes you normal.  We’ve likely been there, feeling tinges of worry during our pregnancies and insecurities during those hazy newborn days.

You are joining a world-wide community of moms who are cheering for you. We’re here for you, thinking about you, and want nothing but a smooth transition for you.

We know you have incredible motherly instincts and you know what’s best for your sweet babe. But if and when those times come when you wonder what’s worked for us, we’d love for you to ask. We want to help and support you in any way we can. We don’t have all the answers, but we’d love to walk alongside you in your journey.

They say nothing can fully prepare you for parenthood, and what a beautiful thing that is. Experiencing every precious moment firsthand is far more amazing than any book could describe.

XOXO,

Amber

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share Button