The Ultimate Life Giveaway (Are you living life to the fullest? Take the quiz to find out)

Are you living THE ULTIMATE LIFE?

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Between the pressure of running a foundation started by his late grandfather, being sued by his greedy extended family, and seeing his beloved Alexia leave on an extended mission trip to Haiti, Jason Stevens’ world is unraveling. But when Jason discovers a journal that his grandfather began as a Depression-era lad, his writings transport Jason on an incredible rags-to-riches ride. With everything he loves hanging in the balance, Jason hopes he can discover THE ULTIMATE LIFE.

Opening in theaters September 6, THE ULTIMATE LIFE (the sequel to The Ultimate Gift) reminds us some things are worth more than money!

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With The Ultimate Life Blog App, take the quiz to find out if YOU are Living Life to the Fullest! (click on the image above to take the test) Read six great ways to start living the ultimate life NOW, as written by Jim Stovall, author of The Ultimate Life book. And watch the official trailer for this inspiring movie!

GIVEAWAY……

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The official Ultimate Life Prize Pack will be awarded to one lucky reader! The prize pack contains:

• DVD of The Ultimate Gift

• The Ultimate Gift book by Jim Stovall

• The Ultimate Gift charm bracelet

• The Ultimate Life leather-bound journal

 

To enter complete each of the following:

Like Mom on the go in Holy Toledo Facebook page

Like The Ultimate Life Movie Facebook page

Follow @mamaof3onthego on twitter

Reply to this post with the results you received from the Blog App…are you living your life to the fullest?

 

Winner will be randomly selected September 9th @ 11:59am

This is not a Drill

While floating in the pool this morning, gazing up at the sky, and listening to my children giggle and splash about a sudden sadness came over me. This was our last official day of summer break and boy was I going to miss this!

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I spent the next 2 hours simply watching my children. I admired how well they played together. How they made each other laugh. How they simply enjoyed each other’s company. I was going to miss this once school started. They will each be off to their own classrooms…and who knows what next summer holds. What if next summer is the summer our eldest wants to spend more time with her friends and less with her sister and brother? What if this was our perfect summer? Right then and there I decided I wouldn’t allow this summer to end (I am pretty sure the clinical term is denial). I would try my best to extend the essence of summer break. And so I did.

As we gathered in the car this evening to go to the children’s Open House I rocked my denial with an orange shirt, black pants, and flip-flops. As I signed up to participate in the classroom parties, denial! As I signed up for parent teacher conferences, denial! As I walked the halls and said hello to neighbors and friends it felt more like a dream than reality. As we entered our son’s kindergarten classroom which just so happened to have also been our eldest daughters kindergarten room I really slathered on the denial…no way my little man was going to start  kindergarten!

There I stood in the middle of our son’s kindergarten room and a slide show of images of my little man began playing…his birth…walking…him in his highchair…trips to the apple orchard…trips and falls…mommy kissing boo boos…MEEP MEEEP MEEEP MEEEP. My show was interrupted by the most absurd sound on this planet, the fire alarm! Followed by the teacher expressing, “This is not a Drill!”

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As we made our way out of the classroom and joined other families in the hall the MEEPING intensified. It was as if God was setting off a huge and extremely loud life alarm in hopes of getting me to wake up. To stop dwelling on the past, stop living in denial, to embrace the present no matter how hard. After all, life is not a drill!

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Are you living your life as if it is a drill? Do you think denial is a simple means for coping when life becomes too intense? Or maybe you are like me and simply have issue with the culmination of events, outings, shoot, even books (I wait days to finish reading the last page of a book because I don’t want it to end)? Ever wish motherhood came with a warning…warning: emotions will run deep?

Sunday’s Food for the Soul: Humility

I have been posting Sunday’s food for the soul on Mom on the go in Holy Toledo’s Facebook page and it has been received well. I realize that not everyone follows the Facebook page so I thought I would start including it as a post. Sunday’s food for the soul is a simple phrase, saying, or contemplation on how to live a more focused, centered, less stress-full, and more fulfilling life. It is a great reflection to get the week started and hopefully carry with you for the duration of the week. Please feel free to share your thoughts, experiences, tribulations, etc. as they relate to the week’s topic.
Sunday’s food for the soul……humility and inner peace go hand in hand.

Our culture is very status conscious and people naturally want to socialize upward. Resist the temptation of being partial to those with status or wealth.  Resist the urge to brag or try to convince others of your worth…people are drawn to individuals with inner confidence that do not need to make themselves look good or be right all the time, who instead speak from their heart and not their ego.

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Tips for a Trauma-free Kids Haircut

Today I took all 3 kiddos to get their haircut for back to school (Let me just preface this post by stating that I was not blessed with the haircutting gene so for my children’s sake I take them to someone who was) They were so well-behaved that the hairstylist jokingly asked, “Did you drug them or something, ha-ha….these kids are acting perfect, even our first timer”.  Yep, you read correctly, I took our youngest to get her first haircut!!!  It was my last first haircut…between that and all 3 of them acting so well-behaved I almost started crying.

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It should be noted that this type of behavior didn’t just happen overnight. All 3 of our kiddos were born with hair and it never fell out. In fact, our son received his first haircut when he was only 8 weeks old. I had grown sick of all the people commenting on how precious my baby girl was.  I even dressed him in all blue, with a blue blanket but those thick eyelashes and long hair said otherwise, ha-ha. So he is an old pro when it comes to haircuts.

Our oldest on the other hand didn’t receive her first haircut until she was 3.  She was unsure of the entire process. She had a difficult time understanding that getting her hair cut would not hurt, that her hair would grow back, and that she needed to sit still. Back then I was a new mommy and I was still very much concerned about what others thought. I was afraid of her throwing a temper-tantrum and then me being judged by others and I think she could sense my tension. She was scared the first time she had her hair cut. Back then we went to one of those ‘fancy’ places to get her haircut. You know the ones where the children sit in airplanes and cars and get to pick a movie to watch while they get their haircut. Funny, even with all the bells and whistles, so to speak, to distract her she was still nervous.

Fast forward 4 years and I have a few haircuts under my belt. Through experience and learning from my mistakes and other moms I can now say that I have successfully mastered the first haircut reservations and taking all 3 kiddos to get their haircuts…want to know the secret?

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Tips for a Trauma-free Kids Haircut

  1. Have a conversation with your child before you go to get their haircut. Explain what will happen in a positive and uplifting way…watch tone and terminology, you might want to refrain from calling it a haircut but rather a new hairstyle…the word cut can be very scary for young ones. Little boys maybe scared of the sounds….try to correlate the experience with their favorite action hero/character…this is what Spiderman does, you are brave like him.  If at all possible take your child with you when you get a haircut.
  2. Schedule their haircut on a day that mom has patience. Do not try to squeeze it in-between doctors’ appointments and daily errands.
  3. Allow child to bring a comforting/security small toy…I allowed our daughter to bring her Pocahontas doll that sat and watched.
  4. Take kiddos to a playground to play before their haircut…totally did this today…they played for a couple of hours and we had a picnic lunch then headed to get haircuts. Getting out all that nervous energy and just energy in general really helped…but make certain they are not too tired.
  5. Make an appointment or go when there is not a crowd. Little ones will only have so much patience…they can wait or get a haircut but there more than likely isn’t enough for both.
  6. Explain that good behavior will be rewarded.  I expressed that if they sat still, listened to the hair stylist, and had overall good behavior that they would receive a treat (a Dum Dum sucker).

Have any great tips to add to the list?  Perhaps a crazy haircut story? Please share

Post Vacation Stress Disorder

While on vacation last week in Douglas, Michigan with my parents, siblings, grandfather, uncle, aunt, cousin, husband and children I experienced a profound state of peace…. peace that I can only compare to prayer.

In the morning I would get up and be greeted by my uncle, the early riser, and then head outside to sit in the red Adirondack chair to read a few chapters (currently reading, My Sisters The Saints by Colleen Carroll Campbell). And sometimes in the quite that was only filled by the occasional turning of pages deer would pass by…can you say breathtaking!?

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And each day was filled with an exciting excursion….one afternoon I went to Holland and tasted beer with my brother, perused the interior design stores with my mom, and stopped in at a candy store with my daughter.

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The next day we all went horseback riding….

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and finished off the day at the park where ALL of us acted like kids…..

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Then one night my hubby surprised me. He had my parents watch the kiddos while we went wine tasting, out to dinner, and perused the shops in South Haven, MI. Oh, and the sunsets, talk about romantic….here is a pic of us on the beach smooching during the sunset….

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vacation 150We row, row, rowed our boat till our little one fell asleep.  It was so peaceful on the water. And I enjoyed the opportunity to canoe with my hubby and then with my aunt.

vacation 050During our vacation I did not engage in any social media, in fact I left my computer at home. And my phone had horrible reception so talking on the phone was out of the question too. And I am glad it was…I think I needed a break from the inauthentic pull social media can prescribe at times. I thoroughly enjoyed time with my family and I am so grateful we had that time…none of us knows when our lifetime is up thus we must treasure the time we have together. Which is precisely what I did and that paired with the 3rd Coast (not west or east coast but the great lakes) or what they call around there, the Lake Effect I was in a state of peace that I can only compare to prayer.

Then it was over. That state of peace was quickly replaced with grief, I think I began grieving the vacation in addition to having to get the household back in order, back to school shopping, and celebrate our youngest turning 3. That first day back was extremely hard for me. Has anyone else ever experienced a sense of heartache at the end of their vacation?

Any tips for decompressing after vacation? Or suggestions on ways to transition the entire family back to reality?

The Childless Life: Are you smart enough not to have kids?

Today I took the kiddos to the dentist for their back to school cleanings.  Each child took their turn and while they waited they occupied themselves with items in the children’s area so I saw this as a golden opportunity for me to take ten and settle into an article, or two.  There was a nice variety of magazines sprawled across the table and one title in particular really caught my eye, Time Magazine had an image of a young couple laying on the sand with the following typed across the page, The Childless Life. I couldn’t help but see the irony of the situation, here I was waiting on my children, paying an arm and a leg to get their teeth cleaned, why not see what I could be doing if I chose a life without children. So I dove in.

The article basically addressed the fact that now, more than ever people are deciding not to have children. Which, I understand is a choice and maybe it is not for everyone. But when I read a statement that expressed that those individuals who are smart, with higher IQs, who are more intelligent, who have higher achievements academically are the individuals who are deciding not to have children I couldn’t help but find that a little offensive. Does that mean that all of us who have decided to have children are not as intelligent? I disagree.  I personally feel it has to do more with sacrifice. What are you willing to sacrifice? Are you willing to give up the single life?  For example, my father is an architect and an engineer, my mother is a counselor, and they have 3 children. Now, imagine if they decided not to have any children. Think of the huge, lavishly furnished home they would have, luxury vehicles they would drive, fancy vacations, high-end, well, everything! But instead they decided to have children, make sacrifices along with some fabulous memories over the course of 33 years and today they have an architect, interior designer, and physical therapist (that is 3 children and 6 degrees) that is 3 consumers, tax payers, and contributors to society. That equals smart in my book!

As I continued to read the article a sadness filled my heart.  Last week we went on vacation. My parents rented a house on Lake Michigan and invited all 4 generations.  It was amazing!

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My children got to have breakfast every morning with their great grandfather, play hide-n-seek with their great-uncle, swim with their aunt and uncle, fly a kite, go canoeing, and horseback riding with their grandparents, and witness selfless love that was passed down from generation to generation.

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When you decide not to have children it not only affects you but what could have been…who could have been… it affects the future generations. What if my grandmother and grandfather decided not to have any children? That would be 7 children that were never born and from those 7, 12 grandchildren (so far), and from those 12, 5 great-grandchildren (so far)….that is 24 people…just think of how many lives each of those individuals have touched through the selfless love they have been taught.

The article continues on and shares childless individuals’ lives with the reader. One individual expresses how she doesn’t want to attend church anymore because it is so focused on family. Then another goes on to describe how she wants to do what she wants with her life.  The entire article felt so self-involved…how is this world going to become a better place if all we think about is ourselves? I think that becoming a parent helps us to grow and become more of the individual God intended us to be. I am the perfect example!

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Before I had children I was a perfectionist, very much an introvert, impatient, and judgmental. I have since grown with the birth of each of my children. Our first child, our little outgoing social butterfly helped me come out of my shell and taught me how to be more of an extrovert. She would walk up to perfect strangers and have a conversation, thus I had no choice but to follow. Then with the birth of our son I slowly learned that perfectionism is highly overrated. He was, and is very much his own person, if he wants to place his toys in a different tub/bin than I would prefer what is the big deal? He helped me to release my perfectionism streak.  Oh, and then our third blessing arrived and she has really enlighten me. I never understood, or could relate to those parents whose children climbed the walks, whose child was loud, or acted out…, I would totally judge those parents. I use to think why the heck can’t those parents get with the act and straighten out their child. Then God graced us with one of those children. Let me tell you, I am 100% a better person for having had children.

I think it is important that people are making the decision to live a childless life for the right reasons….what are the right reasons? Have you grown since you became a parent? Please share your thoughts.

It’s a Girl!

“It’s a Girl!”…was what the doctor said 3 years ago today and I do not think anyone was more surprised than me. My hubby and I wanted to be surprised so we opted not to find out the sex of our 3rd baby. I personally could have sworn it was a boy. After having one of each I felt the 3rd pregnancy was similar to my 2nd with our son. Boy was I wrong!

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At week 41 I had to be induced. There was a fear of meconium, which ended up being present in the amniotic fluid (talk about disgusting and worrisome). So I went in at 7:30am and Pitocin was started at 8am. I started my HypnoBirthing (which is amazing and I highly recommend this method) and by 12:15pm we had a baby, a baby girl and we could not have been more excited!!!

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We had ourselves a little Maddy (Mommy + Daddy= Maddy). Actually daddy named our little Maddy, his inspiration being a character from Tombstone, his favorite movie of all time.

I have been experiencing little heartaches throughout the day…just thinking back on the day she was born and how beautiful it was, how quickly the time has flown by, and how quickly it will continue to fly by, why!? Why must they grow so fast?

I adore the fact that there are still words that her little mouth doesn’t know how to enunciate fully, like school. She calls it shhh…cool, priceless! This is the outfit she wants to wear on her first day of shhh…cool.

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I am going to miss 2, I love that age. But I will gladly embrace and welcome 3!

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For her birthday she received some gorgeous princess bling (fake of course), Minnie Mouse tea set, Beauty and the Beast, and so much more. She is one blessed little girl to have so many family members who love her so much.

bday 011How do you handle those heartaches at the realization that your baby/babies are growing up? Do you ever experience mommy “tears of joy”? Do you find they strike on birthdays, first day of school, or are they random moments?  Why must our little treasures grow so quickly?