One of the fun perks of being a mom means I get to shop and dress my kids. Thankfully I have 2 daughters who appease me when I ask to dress them up and take pictures in the freezing cold. I get asked often where I buy my kids outfits and I thought with the beautiful snow I would highlight an outfit and share my favorite places I find these darling deals. Norah is a girly girl at heart and knew she would love helping me out today. The snow set a beautiful backdrop and I’m eager to have these images on my wall.
One of my favorite online shopping websites is Zara for Kids. If you have never stumbled upon Zara then you must stop what you are doing and scroll through all the adorable rad clothing they have for kids. They are similar priced as Gap kids, with much better style and have amazing end of the season clearance sales. I love to stock up on their low prices during their clearance events. You can buy items as low as $3-$10 during the sales! They offer everyday free shipping and I haven’t found much to beat their adorable style. Most of what Norah is wearing in this picture I bought from zara
Another shopping staple favorite is the little girls section from Target. I have been impressed time and time again at their fashion for girls. To their basics to the statement pieces I would happily shop them out of business. Also, I almost never buy full price. If I see something I love for the girls I keep my eye on it and snatch it up once it hits the 50-70% rack. Norah’s denim floral button up I snatched up for a mere $5!
Be a patient shopper and wait for deals. They are kids and they grow incredibly fast. This season’s outfit will most likely not fit the following year. Buy a few statement pieces and more basics and accessories and challenge yourself to be creative with switching things up. Visit thrift shops and kids consignment sales to find steals too!
What I paid:
Zara Lace Skirt: $10
Zara tights $3
Zara Boots $15
Zara Scarf $3
Cherokee Button up $5
Gold cardigan gifted by a family member
Yesterday I read the most beautiful post by a mom and blogger named Shalene Roberts. Her blog is called Faith & Composition and she writes so down to earth about motherhood. This post hit home as I’m sure it will for most stay at home mom’s. I was so moved by it I wanted to share it this morning!
Somewhere, in a house with walls and a roof very similar to the place you and I call home, there is a mother who wonders if she’s seen.
She wakes to a squalling baby, crying to nurse, or an older child (or two or four) demanding breakfast. She’s barely wiped the sleep from her eyes and has yet to pour a cup of coffee before diapers need to be changed and the dog must be let out.
Her job, nay her calling, begins before her feet even hit the floor. There is no commute to the office, no clocking in for motherhood. There is breakfast to tend, lunch boxes to pack, backpacks to gather. Urine-soaked sheets need stripping; there are dishes in the sink, and a pile of laundry litters the closet floor.
This isn’t a glamorous role, and no one is applauding her this morning.
This is a mom who wipes fevers from brows, tears from cheeks and blood from skinned-up knees. She sweeps crumbs from crevices and brushes hair from eyes. She chauffeurs, she cooks, she cleans. She scrubs stains from pant legs and mends broken hearts. She’s an encourager, a truth speaker, a life giver. She corrects, she counsels, she directs.
She does the hard work, the mundane tasks, and most of the time, she does it all without an eye to see. And sometimes she wonders if anyone notices.
I know that mom, maybe you do too. She’s me, and I have a feeling she might be you.
This calling of motherhood is a service unlike anything else, where the privilege of giving life is tempered by a daily dying to self. It’s the very nature of motherhood. Sometimes I do it well, and sometimes I do it poorly. Sometimes I meet my children’s needs with grace and humility, and then other times I look in the mirror and see ugly, selfish pride staring right back. Sometimes this laying down of self is affirmed by slobbery kisses, vice-like hugs and countless “I-love-you-to-the-moon-and-back” sentiments, and other times I feel as though it’s all in vain.
Does anyone see the hands that tend this family? The quiet kiss atop the head after they’ve fallen asleep? The never-ending grocery list? The dog hair swept off the floor day in and day out. Does anyone see? Does anyone notice? Is their any appreciation?
And then that still small voice … GOD sees. El Roi, the name Hagar gave to God when He saw her after she’d fled into the desert, pregnant and alone … He sees. And the name God gave her son? Ishmael … which means God hears.
When the days drag on monotonous; when the mundane tasks veil the miracle of your calling—this incredible privilege of raising little humans to know Him and serve Him—God is there in the midst of it all, hearing, seeing YOU.
He notices this service of motherhood, this dying of self to tend the needs of your children. The middle-of-the-night sheet strippings, the early-morning wakings, the 297th peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich, the fear of failure, the anguish over a child’s mistakes, the worn-out prayer knees, the can’t-take-one-more-hour-of-the-exhaustion/whining/disobedience tears … He sees it all.
He sees when you sit and when you rise. He perceives your thoughts from afar. He discerns your going out and your lying down. He is familiar with all your ways. (Psalm 139) He SEES you. And He whispers to the depths of your tender, parched soul: see this hard stuff? This laying down of your life for the children I’ve gifted you? This is worship in action.
The day-in-day-out constancy of a mother’s service is time camped out in the refiner’s fire. It’s a losing of our life so that we may find it; it’s a daily laying down of our self only to discover that God resurrects!
Dear friend, you are doing hard work, dirty work, tedious work. Work not seen or applauded by many. But you are doing the most important work, the highest calling. You are raising a generation. And in the midst of that sacred work, God sees.
“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” (Matthew 16:25)
We spend a lot of our time in our P’J’s. It’s not something I am particularly fond of but it’s just the way our days work out. Anyone with kids knows the task it is to get everyone ready for an outing and most days it’s not worth it. I am extroverted and get very energized from being around people so naturally one of my biggest struggles of being a stay at home has been the isolation from the world. Particularly after having Ada, we began to spend most days at home. I began struggling with some depression and felt that my life lacked value. My outlook on life was bleak and I spent a lot of that season complaining to my husband about how tough it all was. Before you have kids everyone will share how hard it is to be a parent but nothing can prepare you for child rearing. It is an intense responsibility that takes all the commitment you can muster up because being a parent means surrendering your daily life for your children. I admit that sounds negative but what I am learning is nothing is more beautiful than sacrifice. It is grueling, it hurts, it strips you of your selfishness and forces you to constantly think and care for others above yourself. It is a hard lesson that comes with much fruit. I have not arrived and far from perfect.
I love being a stay at home mom. It’s a raw and clear depiction of the growth I need in my life. When you are home day to day there is nothing to hide and my true attitude is always revealed. I am continuously learning to find joy and beauty in our day to day P.J dancing, messy house, constant correcting, giggles and endless snacking. When I stop and think of my wants I am always brought back to a place of gratitude to God. I am thankful that I have the opportunity to be a steward of young life and that being home allows me a chance to quiet my heart and see the treasure I have been given.
This year my husband’s sister and her beautiful family came home from Christmas all the way from Cambodia. Every 2 years they travel to the states and we spend 3 months investing as much time in them as we can. Since the beginning our kids have seemed to understand the limited amount of time we have together and bond instantly. Especially our two oldest, Norah and Luka. They have a sweet friendship and have no problem picking up right where they left off. Our time with the Chan’s is sweet and precious and we treasure our moments shared immensely.
My husband and I are both middle children. If anyone get’s what it’s like to be in the middle it’s us. When your in the middle It’s easy to feel over-looked, not heard and constantly struggling to find your voice. I know certainly it can feel lonely in the middle which is probably why we can relate to Ada, our stuck in the middle child. Now that I’m a parent I can say that it’s not only tough to be a middle child but also to parent one. Ada can be confident and well spoken but often has a hard time communicating what she’s feeling or needing. If you let her she would gladly find a quiet space and retreat with a few of her favorite belongings. Unlike Norah my oldest who is a constant ball of chatter and is energized by social interaction, Ada is the happiest being home one on one with the family.
Knowing this about Ada we try and plan something special to give her a break from being stuck in the middle. Her deepest love language is quality time, getting her alone just allowing her time to feel loved and appreciated all on her own does the trick every time. Ada is crazy about her dad and often ask’s if they can get married. She adores spending time with him and getting his undivided attention so naturally one of the best ways to achieve quality time for her are daddy dates.
They were only together an hour but you would have thought they just embarked on a 5 day vacation the way she gleamed. Nothing we could buy or any material item could ever take the place of this joy. Our children are vulnerable and open hearts to us. They will do anything it takes to win our approval and receive affection. Valuing and affirming our kids turns them into conquers. God has given us that kind of ability to empower our children.
Today was a beautiful reminder of the importance of taking that time with each of my children. I’m thankful for my husband who is extremely sensitive to our families needs. He comes up with extravagant ideas to love our children and leaves me challenged to do the same in our everyday life.
On the way home i looked in the back mirror and Ada was smiling with tears in her eyes. She caught me looking and with a little embarrassment said ” I’m ok mom. These are happy tears. I’m so happy”!
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