Resting in Grace

This is a beautiful post from Illuminated Salt – Mommyhood entails many difficult but beautiful moments and challenges and tests you as a person in the most loving kind of way and it feels amazing to have God by your side, accepting your mistakes and pushing you to be better.

Illuminated Salt

My first year as a mom has taught me many things (one day I may blog about them all) but the underlying theme of them all is that “God’s Grace is Sufficient”. At times I can feel as though everyone else is deserving of God’s grace but me. I’m quick to encourage someone else but can feel as though I should know better.

Do you ever feel like that?

Being a mom has exposed this in my life at a whole ‘nother level. Parenting is something that can only be done with the help of the Lord. I lean on Him for direction in every aspect of raising my son because if I didn’t, I’m convinced I would go crazy and worry would consume me and render me completely useless.

In times where I feel overwhelmed and like I have no answers for the the questions I face I find comfort in…

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Motivation

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A friend of mine posted this quote on her facebook page and I thought it was great – It is good to read quotes that serve as inspiration and remind you of things that you might already be aware of but need to work on.

Sometimes it is very hard for me to let go of the past and as much as I think I am over something, it somehow manages to reemerge – only meaning that I’ve failed at really letting go of it. But to move forward, it must be done, dwelling in the past is not positive and I want to fully embark on a road of positivity and motivation. Living this way can only lead to happiness and I would love to pass this along to Emma… I want her to be self- motivated, to feel like she can achieve anything she wants, to live out her dreams without fear or regrets. To learn from her mistakes and take constructive criticism but never let negativity take over, and to look at everything with wise eyes – as life lessons – because living that way will only contribute to her happiness.

Easter Photo

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I wanted to share this picture of my daughter and her cousin – Aden. They both look adorable. Unfortunately, this is the only picture I have of my daughter on Easter (taken by my brother-in-law) as I took 0 pictures.

I remember when I took at least 10 pictures of Emma per day, so much so that I filled up an entire album with pictures of her from 0-3 months of age – I can’t believe that I now forget to take even 1 on special occasions such as Easter… What is wrong with me? I attribute Mommyhood as a contributor to my forgetfulness, but this is UNACCEPTABLE.

Besides, my husband and I bought ourselves a new camera for Christmas, which has so far only been used for Christmas eve and day and on our recent vacation. I need to work on using it more often and learn how to properly utilize all the features. Easter would have been the perfect opportunity to work on it but at this point any day will do.

Clearly, I tried to cut back on the pictures after realizing that I had over a 1,000 of Emma’s first year, which was a little overwhelming. However, at this point I have gone the other extreme – with almost none – Incredible! Photos serve as memories and they are always nice to look back on so I will work on getting to a middle ground – Photos on special occasions and/or cute moments and of course, on Emma’s request.

Mommies can’t get Sick

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It’s true, mommies are not allowed to get sick – Of course, we inevitably do get sick, but we need to go on pretending like we are not. It sucks sometimes, but the fact that we have no time to think about our sickness eliminates our need to linger on the aches, pains and/or fever, and that’s a good thing since it helps us “forget” that we are ill.

This past week was a tough one – because what’s worse than having a sick child? Getting sick along with them. Emma was unable to go to school for most of the week as she had a really high fever. She had to take antibiotics and only began to feel better by Friday, at which point I was getting sick. It was nice spending time together, although it would have been more productive had we not been sick; and even though Emma wasn’t feeling well, she still managed to have more energy than me… My house is undoubtedly a mess as I had to come up with ways to entertain Emma while still getting some “rest” – which only meant not having to run around as much. Fortunately, we are much better now and are looking forward for the Spring weather to stick around.

Activities I did with Emma while we were both sick –

1. Watched movies – No effort on my part aside from answering random questions.
2. Read books – It is always relaxing and a nice bonding time.
3. Played hide and seek – She hid and then ran to me once I finished counting!
4. Decorated Easter eggs
5. Colored – what 2-year-old doesn’t like to color?
6. Played with play-doh – a little messy…
7. Poked cardboard boxes – Emma likes to draw and make holes on boxes with a pen. I usually draw things and she tries to trace them by poking holes.
8. Played with stickers – she enjoyed putting them on my husband and I the most. She said she wanted to decorate us.
9. Pretty much let her do whatever she wanted – very, very messy!
10. Took long naps – it was amazing! I had given up on the idea that this was still possible!

Inspiration – Liebster Award

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The other day I woke up really tired – as usual –  but was happily surprised when I read that Ladies Bulletin found my Blog to be interesting and worthy of being nominated for the Liebster Award. Thank you! It definitely lifted my spirits and made my Monday go by much, much quicker. In fact, that week was pretty pleasant and the message definitely felt as encouragement to continue writing. Maybe other people are interested in what I have to say, after all….

I think blogs serve as a platform to connect with others – It’s fun to laugh, feel inspired and/or get informed by what others write. I find it very interesting and entertaining to read other people’s views, perspectives and life experiences and I am glad others find my Blog to be amusing – I assume many parents go through similar experiences I go through in mommy land, so Mommyhood by Sandra is a way to put my thoughts and experiences “out there” and get other people’s opinions and suggestions on the matter.

Thank you for reading!

Questions from my Nominator:
1. When you wrote your first post, what was your feeling about the outcome?
I hoped that people would find what I wrote amusing, helpful and funny and/or inspirational. My first post was a way of reassuring me that I will really work on my interests this year.
2. What do you think is the greatest idea in life?
One person can make a difference. It is important to remember this because you’ll be surprised how your actions truly make a difference sometimes without your knowledge. You can change a life, you can change the world.
3. What thing comes first to your mind when you plan a journey or a trip?
My daughter. I want to make sure that she is going to have a good time because that means so will I.
4. What do you want to learn or do or achieve in six months from now?
I want to learn as much as I can. Right now I am interested in anything art related. I am overly curious and love learning. Six months from now I want to have a draft of my first illustrated children’s book.
5. If you win lottery of hundred million dollars, what is your idea of spending?
Definitely traveling. It provides for amazing experiences.
6. When you feel frustrated, what do you do?
Read a book or watch a favorite show. It distracts me and puts me in a happy place. Sleep also helps.
7. With whom do you first share your happiness with?
God. It sounds silly but he just happens to be around all the time. Then my husband and daughter, even if she is half listening.
8. If you are given a chance to travel to a place with all tickets and expenditure provided, where do you want to spend a week?
France. I’ve never been and would love to experience that culture.

I believe the blogs listed below are worth being discovered by others. As such, I nominate them for the LIEBSTER BLOG AWARD:

1. Mommy, Ever After
2. Breaking the Binding
3. Dare to Dream Big and Live Large!
4. Parenting for Christ
5. Art & Faith

I would like my nominees to answer the following questions:

1. What is your motto in life?

2. What serves as your inspiration?

3. Why did you start blogging?

4. What has been your biggest accomplishment?

5. What do you want to accomplish next?

6. What is something you can’t live without?

7. What is the best advice you’ve given a friend who needed encouragement?

8. What serves as your daily dose of happiness?

9. Who is your role model?

* I think your blogs are fantastic and hope this serves as encouragement to continue writing. I apologize in advance if you think some of the questions are too personal – I tried to make them general enough, while still getting a taste of who you are – If you do, feel free to leave it blank.

LIEBSTER BLOG AWARD exists only on the internet, and is given to bloggers by other blogger. So among any other blogs around the web, your nominator believes your blog is awesome and deserves to be discovered.
The Rules:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
2. Answer the questions you were given.
3. Nominate other blogs with less than 500 followers.
4. Post questions for your selected nominees to answer.
5. Tag and link the nominees and post a comment to let them know you have nominated and appreciate their hard work.

Tantrum-free Weekend

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This weekend I did not have to endure any tantrums and yes, I spent the entirety of it with my daughter. Surprised? So was I.  Don’t get me wrong, Emma did cry here and there – fake cry – but she didn’t have a full-blown tantrum, and to me, that’s progress.

Saturday we had a long day ahead of us so I was clearly thinking of the worst but hoping for the best. In the morning she had ballet and it was her final class! (I am pretty happy considering the fact that we will no longer need to wake up at 7 a.m. on Saturday mornings) Afterwards, we stopped by Bed Bath and Beyond to get a gift and then went to the Noguchi museum for an art class. Emma fell asleep on the road and I was afraid of waking her up. Thankfully, she woke up calmly when I took her out of the car and once she noticed where she was, she was happy – tantrum averted!

After her art class, we went home, ate quickly and headed to one of my best friends’ bridal shower. I was skeptical about bringing Emma with me as I knew that it could potentially be disastrous but to the contrary, it was great. She slept on the way there – it was a 2 hour ride – woke up 30 minutes prior to us getting there and watched me sleep(my friend was giving us a ride)because of course, I couldn’t fall asleep beforehand as I was writing my card on the road – a typical day in the life of a mommy.

In the Bridal shower Emma found some friends and was with them almost the entire time – they were lovely – they played with her and gave her tons of attention. Emma had a great time and so did I. She spent time with me but also played independently (without mommy) and while it felt really nice having some time to chat with friends, it made me realize that she is growing up.

Yes, she is less dependent on me, which means that I now get to go to the bathroom alone – for the most part – but the fact that she is becoming less attached to me is a little hard to accept (Yep, mommyhood is full of contradictions). But that’s the give and take of motherhood, right? As you child grows, things change, and you need to quickly keep up with the pace and adapt to these changes. Like everyone tells me, before I know it (in the blink of an eye), Emma will be in College and although that seems plausible – as I sometimes look at her and remember not long ago she was a newborn – I try to enjoy each of her stages and accomplishments one day at a time. This week’s accomplishment – 2 days without a tantrum, and to me that was like two days in mommyhood heaven.

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Savings and Emma – 529 College Plan

Saving is really hard to come by these days. In fact, I pretty much have no savings. Considering the fact that we have debt, I don’t find it useful to save while accruing pretty much 0 interest when we have to pay off cards that charge us heavy interest. However, I do believe saving is important as it allows for better money management, especially when times are tough. Eventually I will have much more than I do now, I sort of have a plan, once the cards are paid off, as savings was kind of my thing when I was growing up. Regardless, I do want to teach Emma the importance of saving. Because of my own experience of paying for college, buying an apartment and starting a family, I want Emma to learn how essential it is so that she can be better off in the future and know how to better manage her money. She is still only two, so for now, we have a container where she stuffs as many coins as she can find. To our advantage, she still doesn’t know that bills are worth more, because I am sure that when she figures that out we will have no money in our wallets as she often likes to go through them…

One of my best friends forwarded me the article below from The New York Times about Savings for kids and whether you should open up a bank account for your child or not and the author concludes with a good point – It doesn’t matter how your child saves, piggy bank or an actual bank account – what really matters are the lessons they learn from their parents. Thus, once Emma a little older and actually understands the concept of money, I plan on talking to her about the value of money and how it can make a difference, how she can make a difference – work towards goals and plan accordingly.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/blogs/parenting/2014/04/03/the-case-against-savings-accounts-but-not-savings/?partner=rss&emc=rss

For now, I am looking for the best plan to get for Emma’s college – a big and overwhelming decision once you become a parent. Although I know firsthand the level of maturity and self-assurance you get from working and paying for college on your own, I don’t want Emma to feel limited in her college search, and so, I need to get a college plan for her. I read several articles about 529 plans and came across the article from Kiplinger listed below, which writes which plan is a better choice for you depending on the state you live in – pretty straight to the point. Basically, if the state you live in has an income-tax deduction for the contribution you make to the 529 plan, then you should go with your state’s college plan. If living in NY, then you should go with the state’s 529 college plan.

http://www.kiplinger.com/article/college/T002-C000-S001-the-best-529-college-savings-plans.html#oqvcpGcFYx2iVU2W.99
So, this will be the year that I open up Emma’s 529 College Savings Plan with the money she has received so far. I just have to figure out the monthly contribution amount we can afford.

Does anyone have any good/bad experience with 529 plans?