What I Want For Mother’s Day

There’s something about this third baby that has totally changed the way I see my life. I feel like there are so many times that I am taking “visual snapshots.” Slowing down is still something I struggle with, but I find myself lingering longer, studying my girls’ features, trying to mentally capture each tiny thing. Suddenly I know how fleeting these moments are.

There’s a Mother’s Day video going viral right now that really bums me out. I’m not sure when Mother’s Day became a day to get away from your kids or a day to wish your kids were different. I mean, that’s not exactly what the video says but moms everywhere are agreeing with this mom who says that she just wants one day off. I mean I could use a day off too, I’d love to get some sleep for once, or to watch a show that isn’t animated or to not be cleaning the kitchen at 9 pm. A break WOULD be nice but this mom’s Mother’s Day wish is that her kids call for their dad every time they want to call “mom” and she doesn’t want them to talk to her unless they are going to tell her how much they love her. Someone give this lady a break! Give us all a break! We need a break!!!! But is Mother’s Day really the day for that?

Motherhood in the Trenches

You see here’s the thing, I don’t love listening to my kids argue with each other, and sometimes I just want to yell, “Everyone find a corner and stay there until dinner!” even when it’s only 3pm. Sometimes listening to their tattles problems drives me insane. “Seriously, my dear children, just deal with it! Life is not all about YOU!” Sometimes I dread the sound of, “Moooom!” But here’s the thing, someday not too far in the future, my kids are going to want to have dinner at their friend’s house and there will be an empty seat at our dinner table. If I don’t listen to their problems now, one day they will stop telling me their problems and will find comfort in the ears of their peers. One day my girls will be completely self-dependent and won’t be calling, “Mooooom!” nearly enough.

I’m not trying to be sappy here, I’m being genuine. It’s taken me six years to realize this, these years are so fleeting. Not just these infant years but every single second. Big Sis isn’t always going to come skipping into my room to sit next to me on the bed. Little E isn’t always going to want to cuddle for 5 seconds before she runs off to the next adventure. Baby Girl is changing by the minute. I don’t want to wish these days away, not even on Mother’s Day. I KNOW it’s hard and there are times, every single day, that I think, “I need a break!” but this Mother’s Day I want to watch my girls run around. I want to hear their stories, as long and tedious as they may be. I want to look into their eyes and let them know that they are loved. It won’t be all rainbows and butterflies, I have a two year old after all. There will be meltdowns and ungrateful attitudes, there will most definitely be a lack of sleep and of course the stress of getting out of the house to make it to church on time, but I want to enjoy every moment and let my kids know that I am enjoying them too.

I could use a break, a spa day sounds amazing! It’s so easy for me to slip into a selfish mentality, and I have spent many a Mother’s Day expecting to be pampered but not this Mother’s Day. This Mother’s Day I’m going to be extra careful to pay attention to every aspect that makes me a mother, even the really hard moments, and thank the Lord that He has given me these people and this opportunity.


Hey Baby!

It’s been over three months since I’ve last posted and the Dallas family is now a party of five.


After what seemed like the longest pregnancy and shortest labor, our third baby girl joined our family on January 3rd.

Hey Baby 1

She’s teeny tiny compared to my other two girlies.


She is my third baby with colic which was so hard. I’ve cut out dairy from my diet completely and she’s become a pretty easy-going baby, which I couldn’t have said about my other two, even when they did get over their colic.


She’s been such a joy.


I was so nervous about having three kiddos. I heard from so many people that the transition to three kids is really hard but so far it hasn’t been bad at all. I think by now I’ve learned to let things go and just focus on what’s most important. Some days that meant everyone just remained fed and alive but everything gets a bit easier with each day that passes. It does take us a LONG time to get out of the house but we are back to homeschooling and nature days out exploring. We made it to church on Easter and again last week. I’ve survived a few shopping trips with all three kids but I try to run errands when the hubby can watch at least one of them. We also survived for 8 days while Dirk was in Iceland! That was quite an accomplishment and everything went so smoothly. There are times that all three girls are melting down and we can’t help but look around us and just laugh. It’s chaos but it’s also so fun. Overall the adjustment hasn’t been bad at all. I’m looking forward to getting back to “normal” and jumping back into blogging. I have lots of posts pending that I’m hoping to share with you all soon. Thanks for sticking around!


EPIC! Books – Netflix for Books

Happy New Year friends! It’s been awhile, I know. I miss blogging but life just hasn’t allowed for much of it these past few months. I wanted to come on and say Happy New Year and to let you in on a gem of a resource that we’ve been using.

I never click ads on Facebook, typically they’re pretty irrelevant but a few months ago a Facebook ad caught my attention:

The Netflix of Children's Books

Whaaaaat???? I LOVE children’s literature, like a lot, so I knew I had to check it out. As I looked into it I thought it sounded too good to be true. When I found out that I could try it out free for 30 days, I was hooked. I immediately downloaded it and set up a profile for Big Sis. We’ve used it for a few months now and I knew I just had to share.

Here are some great things about Epic! Books:

  1. You can read the books on iPhone, iPad or computer
  2. Each book shows it’s lexile level, AR level, age level and approximate reading time.
  3. There are new books added each week (and now educational videos too!)
  4. There’s a good selection of good quality educational books from Time magazine, National Geographic, and others.
  5. There’s something for all kids and each kid gets their own customized profile to match their interests and ages. Little E loves it just as much as Big Sis does. Some of the books at Little E’s age level even sing the words in the book. So fun!
  6. For my teacher friends, you get to use the app for FREE!!!!

Here are just some of the great selection of books you’ll find in the Epic! app.

Fancy Nancy “I Can Read” in Read to Me format – These books have the option to be read aloud to your kiddos. So perfect for those emergent readers.

Epic! Books - Netflix for Kids Books

Nancy Clancy

Epic! Books - Netflix for Kids Books

I was particularly excited to see “Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine” as I have been trying to find a kid friendly book on her life.

Epic! Books - Netflix for Kids Books

Famous Children Series which tells stories from the early years of great composers and artists. These are also in “Read to Me” format.

Epic! Books - Netflix for Kids Books

Star Wars

Epic! Books - Netflix for Kids Books


Perhaps one of the most exciting for kids are the new activity books they just released. They have the “Lego Adventure” books, a Lego build-it-book, iSpy, recipe books, “Easy Magic Tricks”, “Cool Knitting”, “Science Around the House” and more!

Epic! Books - Netflix for Kids Books


Epic! Books - Netflix for Kids Books

Dover Classics like “Wind in the Willows” “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm” “Jungle Book” “Anne of Green Gables” “The Secret Garden” and more

Epic! Books - Netflix for Kids Books

Berenstein Bears (including the “Big Book of Science and Nature”

Epic! Books - Netflix for Kids Books

There are also helpful resources like books on how to write a letter, or a research paper.


There are so many other books on so many more topics. I could share all of the great ones with you but you really need to check it out for yourself. They have a 30 day free trial that I totally suggest you check out.

Back To School: 7 Products That Give Back

It’s already time for back to school shopping. I know some of you are anxious for school to start and others are dreading it. We are really looking forward to it over here, especially Big Sis. Whenever I know that I need to make a purchase I do two things, first I look for the sales and second, I look for ways to buy products that give back. Today I’m here to share with you 7 back to school shops that give back and a few deals on them as well.

7 Awesome School Supplies That Give Back | Motherhood in the Trenches

1. TOMS – This one almost goes without saying. I LOVE their shoes for the whole family but especially for my girls. They last a long time and are excellent quality. Little E has worn several pairs of Big Sis’ old shoes and I’ve even saved a few of those pairs for new baby too. A pair of shoes that can last through three kiddos has a big thumbs up from this mama. They also sell backpacks and other accessories. If you are a  new online customer, use this link to get $20 off $75 (disclaimer: this is a referral link).

2. dot – I recently stumbled upon this shop through another Instagram account I follow. Their school supplies look super cool and the best part is that with every purchase you make you are paying for a child in a developing country to attend school for half a day, including uniforms, supplies, and school fees.

3. Tink & Key - This shop sells the CUTEST tees for kids and mamas and they give back 10% of their sales to a different organization each month.

4. STATE Bags – These are super cute backpacks for boys and girls. “For every STATE bag purchased, STATE hand-delivers a backpack – packed with essential tools for success – to an American child in need.” They go even further in their mission. Check it all out here. The Kane backpacks are so cute and I love all of the pockets they have!

5. Yoobi - You may have seen these products at Target. They are a big line of colorful office and school supply products. For every Yoobi item you purchase a Yoobi item is donated to a US school to provide school supplies to all children.

6. Camplight Apparel - Another site with super cute tees for kids and adults. Although not publicly announced on their shop site, I found them through Instagram and saw that every shirt purchased helps provide school uniforms to children in need. The “They Call Me Brave” shirt specifically helps support a family who is adopting two kiddos from Uganda. You can read an interview with them and get a 20% off code here.

7. Mitscoots - This is a sock company with some super cute socks, especially for men and women. While on the streets of Austin, TX the founders discovered that the one thing the people on the streets wanted after food and water was socks. So if you buy a pair of socks and they will give socks of equal quality to a person in need. They also employ people who are transitioning out of homelessness to pack their boxes. Cute socks for you, warm toes for a person in need. Get 20% off for signing up for Mitscoots Mail. If you don’t get a pop up to do this, go to the very bottom of the homepage and it’s on the right hand side.

Surviving the First Year of Homeschooling : 5 Things I Learned Along the Way

What a wild ride this first homeschool year was. One thing I’m learning in this homeschooling world is that definitions and labels rarely apply. I’ve spent a lot of time researching the different homeschooling methods and trying to decide where my own educational philosophy fits. We aren’t really a unit studies family, we’re not unschoolers, we’re definitely not into traditional schooling, we did quite a bit of Montessori methods in the beginning but are starting to shy away from that as Big Sis gets older. (If you want to take a fun quiz to see what homeschooling methods you are most like check out this quiz) Both Charlotte Mason and Classical Education have pieces that are very appealing to me but still didn’t meet exactly what I felt was right for our family. One night I sat on the couch feeling totally defeated and torn between the Classical and Charlotte Mason methods. I poured out my frustrations to Dirk and he said, “You studied teaching methods for years, you have an elementary teaching credential, you are passionate about teaching and your teaching philosophy. Just do what you think is best for our family and for Big Sis.” DUH! Sometimes the things he says can seem so simple but feel so profound. And so from there I guess we would now be classified as an eclectic homeschool family. Every time I say that I can’t help but chuckle. If you know me, you know I am anything BUT eclectic.

Why did I just tell you this? Because it’s just a brief look into the struggles of the first year of homeschooling. I have talked to a lot of new homeschool moms and we all have the same issues plaguing our minds. We are constantly questioning ourselves, wondering if we are screwing up our kids, wondering if they are where they “need” to be. We are struggling to find where the rest of our lives fit in amongst this new homeschooling thing. How do we still pay attention to the little ones who are not being homeschooled? The first year is hard!

Surviving the First Year of Homeschooling | Motherhood in the Trenches

After talking to a few of my wisest and most seasoned homeschool friends this is what I learned and I thought I’d share it with you. Hopefully this will be just as encouraging for you as it was for me…

#1 Come up with a homeschooling mission statement.

Why are you homeschooling? You need to know this because there will be days, maybe even weeks when you ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” You need to have something written on paper to refer back to and to remember why you are doing this. Why are you giving up coffee dates and play dates and some “me” time when you could be sending your kiddo to school and regaining some of those fun days. Some days sending Big Sis to school full time sounds freeing. Please do not misread this, sending your kid to school for 8 hours a day is NOT a bad thing but if you are called to homeschool this year you need to know why. Which brings me to another point…

#2 Know When It’s Time to Quit

I know I’m going to ruffle some homeschooling mama feathers out there but I do not believe that homeschooling is for every kid, for every family, or for every season of life. What might work for one kid doesn’t work for another. What has worked for two years may not work this coming year. Have a list of parameters in place to know when it’s time to quit and even if you think, “I would never stop homeschooling” know that there may be a time when you do have to call it quits. One of my very best friends recently ended, or at least suspended, her homeschool journey with her kiddos. This is a family who has been such an encouragement to me and in years past I know that she never would have thought she wouldn’t homeschool. I have so much respect for their family because despite what they always thought they would do, they had their list of reasons to stop homeschooling and when it was evident that God was calling them away from this method of schooling, they moved on to where God wanted them. It wasn’t easy for her but in the end God was of course faithful and has met the needs of every member of their family.

#3 Have a Support System

If you don’t know other moms who are homeschooling find some! I can’t tell you how many times I texted my homeschooling mom friends asking questions from what curriculum do you use for this? to did your kiddo ever experience this issue? So many questions and so much help and so much support. If you don’t have people around you who homeschool find people! Search Facebook to see if there’s a local homeschool Facebook group. Search the #wildandfree hashtag on Instagram. There are lots of homeschooling mamas on there who are so encouraging and many are willing to answer your questions. They even have periodic homeschool meetups all over the country. I’ll post the next time they have one to keep you in the loop. Ask around your church or play groups to see if people know homeschool families. To know that you are not alone in this is so helpful!

#4 Prioritize

When you homeschool, homeschooling is a priority and you need to be stubborn about this priority. Be ready to refer back to your mission statement. You will get invites from friends to do things, you will be tempted to commit to Bible Studies, weekly playgroups, etc. You have to decide what’s right for you and what you can handle while still keeping homeschooling a priority. One of the hardest things for me was that people who don’t homeschool, just don’t get it. At times I felt judged and was questioning whether it really was okay to be quitting this Bible Study or saying no to certain outings. In the end remember you can’t do it all!

#5 Be Prepared to Be Flexible

Be prepared for things to not go according to your plan. Your curriculum may not be the right fit or may need some tweaking. It’s going to take awhile, maybe a whole school year to figure out your schedule. And just when you figure it out, it’ll be time to figure out the following the year. Then there’s the issue of where you’re going to homeschool. You may think that homeschooling on your dining room table is going to work and then like us you realize that somedays you want to just leave school stuff out which leaves no where to eat dinner. Or maybe you have an empty space in your hallway, I know random right?, and so you set up your homeschool area there and realize that you all feel boxed in. Finally you decide that the extra sitting room in your master bedroom is actually the best fit and you move there and it mostly works but even after a full school year you haven’t found something that REALLY works so you brainstorm for the next year. Things aren’t always going to go your way. Your homeschooling is not going to and shouldn’t look like a traditional classroom setting. Things will need to be tweaked. Be prepare to be flexible.

There’s a long list of other things I’ve learned but I felt like these four things were the main things I learned this year. If you are a homeschool family, I’d love to hear things you’ve learned along the way. I know there are many of us who would benefit from your experience. Would you like to share? Leave a comment below!