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Friday, March 14, 2014

Food baby

Yesterday's conversation at the cafeteria, while waiting in line for my lunch.

Guy in front of me: "So, do you know what you're having?"
Me: "Oh, just a grilled cheese."
Guy: "I meant the baby." (points to my stomach)

Apparently I forget that I'm pregnant more often than not. And also? Food on the mind. All. The. Time. #pregnantgirlproblems

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Baby #3 Announcement

Well, it's official. The children are officially outnumbering the adults in our household. We are so excited to announce that baby #3 is a little boy, set to make his debut mid-July. We are so blessed and very humbled to be on this exciting journey as parents. Stay tuned for more updates!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

{free printable} Valentine Love

Just popping in to say hello and an early Happy Valentine's Day! Enjoy spending time with your loved ones and print this 5x7 to hang for some extra flair wherever you choose!



You may download and print this PDF for your own personal use. I recommend using white card stock for printing. NOTE: Website watermark is not on downloadable version.

Jack & Emma Printables are free to print for your own personal use. Have a suggestion of something you'd like to see? Email us at jackandemmablog(at)gmail(dot)com.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Wizard of Oz Halloween Costumes

Happy Halloween (a few weeks late)!

In 2011, we decided that Jack & Emma should do a matching Halloween costume - Mickey and Minnie was the obvious (and easy!) choice. The following year, with a new little brother in the mix, the trio was a bride, groom and best man.


This year - with four little ones between our two families, it was the Wizard of Oz. All the costumes were home made, from pretty basic materials. In fact, Hope's entire costume was the cost of a skein of yarn! The kids had a blast and it was so fun to watch people's reactions when they saw them as a group.


We're already brainstorming ideas for next year - it's become quite the tradition for our families.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

...MOPS and Self-Control...

Praise the Lord for MOPS. 

Are you a MOP? (mother of a pre-schooler)

definition of pre-schooler: currently in kindergarten or younger

If you are... and you're NOT connected to a MOPS group: DO IT. 

[find a group: here]

Today we had a "mentor mom" panel which included 3 older, wiser moms who have "been there done that". They each spoke on one particular topic. Debbi spoke on Patience (ouch!); Sally spoke on Self - Control (YIKES!) and Kim rounded it out on a positive note with the topic of JOY ::happy sigh::! All three topics were beautifully covered and it was evident that the Holy Spirit was moving in and through the place (praise the Lord!)... but for me.. 

... the self-control portion... 

...sledgehammer to MY FACE!

I cried through the entire talk.  

an ugly cry

Once I composed myself and started reviewing my notes (I even got the speakers full talk in printed form afterwards).. I knew I wanted to BLOG it :) Because... remember... if I COULD I would blog every day.. **maybe one day.. in my dream world...  


Sally's words - they hit home... and they hit HARD..

..before I started composing this, I asked for permission to share her words.. but she gave the credit to MOPS material, books and articles .. so if you want SPECIFIC references, leave a comment and I can go digging for you..

She began with this story (written by a MOP)... 

keep in mind this was read out loud, slowly.. maybe read it out loud to yourself... slowly...

"My fingers dug into my daughter's arms as I glared into her face. Her eyes opened wide, my intensity captured her full attention. RAGE flooded my brain and I almost missed the small voice in my head warning me I was about to go over the edge. I stopped myself from throwing her onto the couch; instead, I set her down roughly and stepped back. 

Mommy is taking a time-out.. the words were forced out from my gritted teeth. DO NOT move off of this couch.

I will never forget the look on Maddy's face - the raw shock and fear. 

I escaped to the safety of my bedroom and wept. I wept out of sadness that I had put my hands on my daughter in such anger. I wept for the fear in my little girl's eyes. But mostly - I cried in tremendous relief. 

What if I hadn't stopped when I did? 

There was a dark moment when I came close to losing control, and for a split second, I understood how a mom could possibly harm her own child. 

But... I had been able to stop. Though the warning voice had been very quiet I had heard it..

and hearing it brought a moment of clarity. 

A moment I had been working for and praying for when I realized I could not control my anger on my own. I did not want to be an out-of-control mother. I wanted to be a mom who wouldn't act out of blind rage -- but a mom who could control herself.

and I had managed to do it.

not perfectly, but I had finally been able to hear my heart and be the mother I wanted to be in that awful moment. 

After my tears were spent, I washed my face and braced myself... I had a 4 year old to apologize to. My daughter was on the couch right where I had left her. My tears sprang up anew as I knelt down... 'I am so sorry I lost my temper, sweetie. are you okay?' she nodded. 'I am sorry for scaring you. Will you forgive me?'

Chubby arms wrapped tightly around my neck. 'I love you, momma.' Maddy squeezed tightly. I squeezed back. I will never forget what I realized that day: 

I can be more like the mom I see in my heart.

Not a perfect mom, but a mom who can learn from experience and KNOW that God is helping me because 

He doesn't expect me to become the mom I want to be all on my own."


WOW. remember what I said before? SLEDGEHAMMER TO THE FACE. I have felt like this...and what's worse.. I HAVE ignored that small voice that says, 'jenny, stop now.. this is too far.' I have apologized to Jack.. more times than I'd care to admit. I NEVER thought I would be this mom. 

never. 

ever. 

no.way.

but: my reality... parenting is a whole lot harder than I ever imagined. When will I realize, when will I get it that I CANNOT do it alone.. or in my OWN STRENGTH!? 

that it's impossible.

...so today, at MOPS, the talk went on about self-control (one of the fruits of the spirit that I DESPERATELY struggle with)...

the definition I liked that Sally gave was 'we might say that self-control is not control by oneself through one's own willpower, but rather control of oneself through the power of the Holy Spirit'

amen sister

when will I get that? when will I get my lazy butt out of bed, early in the morning, before my children, to do what I know I MUST do in order to be a good mommy & wife & friend & human being..

"wisdom is the knowledge to do right. self control enables us to do right"

... where do we get wisdom?... 

God's word is FULL of wisdom, and we are told to hide it in our hearts. Then, that still small voice (aka HOLY SPIRIT) can bring those words, that wisdom to mind.. and right before I lose my temper.. maybe I can be ENABLED to do right, via that self control. VIA the HOLY SPIRIT.. and therefore, NOT on my own.. 

.. since that NEVER works.. ::sigh:: 

Sally's talk went on to give some details about the importance of teaching self-control to our children, and some studies that were done.. but rather than focus on that here.. 

.. I wanted to simply share my heart..

parenting is hard. period.

I think most of us thought we'd do it much differently than we are doing it.

Yet - in our failures and faults.. we are given multiple opportunities to show grace to our children and model the gospel. 

as mentioned in the story above.. we can come before our kids, admit that we aren't perfect and that PRAISE GOD Jesus died for that imperfection. 

Praise God Jesus covered our sin and forgave us. 

so, Jack, as you forgive mommy, Jesus forgives mommy and Jesus forgives you

what a beautiful opportunity day in and day out we have.. to show love, compassion and kindness to our kids... as we learn to have grace and patience with OURSELVES and as we learn to forgive OURSELVES. 

Let's vow to find those areas of weakness in ourselves that we may search God's word for wisdom and hide it in our hearts.. that we may not sin against our children ...

Thank you Sally & Debbi & Kim for sharing from your hearts today, I know that I am only one of MANY that you impacted today in a powerful way. I love you so much. xoxo










Saturday, October 19, 2013

Ikea Spice Rack Bookshelves

Ever since I saw images of Ikea Spice Racks being used as bookshelves, I have been itching to get my hands on some. We have an Ikea in Orlando, but every time I've been there in the past year, the spice racks have always been sold out. No surprise, as the bookshelf hack is EVERYWHERE on Pinterest). A few weeks ago, I made a spontaneous lunchtime stop and was delighted to see that the spice racks were stocked up!

I've seen them painted and wanted to possibly paint them a bright pink or blue, but Emma's bed is also from IKEA in the unfinished wood, so I decided to keep them as-is – at least for now.

To spice them up a little (haha), I used some leftover scraps from the BEAUTIFUL quilt that Monica made for Emmalyn and Hope. One of my favorite bloggers, Ashley from Under the Sycamore, wrapped an entire bed frame in fabric. Using that as inspiration, I wrapped the front slat with the half-inch wide strip of fabric and tied a knot to secure it. The end result was something that fit perfectly in the girls' room. Now Emmalyn has some of her favorite books in arm's reach, perfect for our bedtime story routine!


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Doula Reimbursement

I was about 32 weeks pregnant with Hope when I thought about hiring a doula. Knowing friends who had used them, I thought it might be something I would benefit from, especially because I wanted to have a med-free birth. I emailed Charlie Rae Young, a doula that Jenny had used during her pregnancy with Noah. We met a few times before my due date and she was always available via phone or text if I had any questions. When I called my insurance company to inquire about coverage, their answer was short and to the point - "Sorry, but your insurance doesn't cover doulas. Even though I was going to pay $800 out of pocket, it was an experience I definitely didn't want to pass up. (for anyone wondering, that money covered two pre-natal home visits, the entire birth, a post partum home visit, lactation support and constant availability via text/email/phone).

I briefly wrote about how amazing it was to have a Charlie present at the birth of Hope. If anyone is on the fence or questioning having a doula for their birth experience, I say do it! You can never have too much support while you're in labor.

In January, I decided to write a letter to my insurance company, requesting reimbursement for my doula, or "labor support services." Even though I had been turned down over the phone, Charlie said it wouldn't hurt to send a letter. I mean, really, the worst they could say was no - and I'd already heard that.

Below is the letter I sent (certain areas blocked out for privacy):

(Name/Address/Phone)
DOB: x/xx/xx
(Insurance ID & Account Number)
Date of Delivery: November 15, 2012

January 8, 2013

With the labor support of Charlie Rae Young, DOULA, CLC, SM, I was able to forgo medical pain management and avoid other interventions that are costly to (Insurance Carrier), including a cesarean birth, during my recent vaginal birth at Florida Hospital.

The following were charged to Cigna during the birth of my first daughter on 11/15/10:

Vacuum Extract/Forceps: $197.00
Vacuum Mityvac: $126.83
Hi Risk Care per hour: $552.00 (8 hours)
Urinary Cath Ins-Foley: $202.00 (2)
OB Epidural Service: $506.00
Urinary Cath Ins-ST CA: $101.00
Daily Bed Service: $1508.00 (quicker recovery, so stayed one less night this time)

This is a savings total to (Insurance Company) of at least $3192.83, plus the cost of pain medication, as I used much less during the recovery period this time around. The cost of my labor support was $800.00, in which I am requesting reimbursement.

Please feel free to call with any questions.

Sincerely,
Sarah


I mailed it off, crossed my fingers, and waited to hear back. Four weeks later, I opened up my mailbox to see this:
I went screaming into the house, I was so excited. Progress! And my total out of pocket expenses? $230. Not bad. 

Feel free to use the above letter to start drafting a letter to YOUR insurance company. If more companies were willing to cover labor support, I'd like to think we'd be on our way to less inductions, c-sections and an all around happier birthing experience for all women. Good luck!

(*Update - I also included an itemized invoice from Charlie along with my letter - something most doulas should provide.)

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