Surviving 3 kids, 3 and under

three-kids

First off, let me be real with you… the first couple of weeks going from a family of 3, to a family of 5.. was just plain insane.  I finally made a plan on how to be successful raising 3 kids, and I was ready to implement it!

  • First and foremost, and probably the most important thing of all, is making a schedule (and sticking to it).  I decided to create a schedule in my mind when and how things were going to happen, and it relatively stayed the same each day except on school days (Tuesday and Thursdays) and weekends.  This helped me the most, for example, Brielle takes the longest to put to bed each night, so we save her for last and it works.
  • Have a lot of snacks. This goes without explaining, except for the fact that they have to be readily available and easy to clean up (because seriously who wants to clean up in between meals as well). My go to snacks were chips, crackers, blueberries, strawberries.
  • Pre-plan.  This means every night I would lay out the next day clothes (bows, socks, and underwear included for Brielle) and every afternoon I would lay out the night clothes.  This helped so much because when it was time to shower, read books, and get ready for bed, there was never any confusion.
  • Have a “safe” place, where the kids can play, without needing any of your help.  Toys that can allow independence, but is age appropriate and safe for them as well.  My favorite were little trucks and toys that made noise for little man (he was 16 months at the time) and little barbie play dolls, and puzzles for Brielle (she is 3).
  • Remembering that there is always another tomorrow, and what didn’t go right, can be re-started and done correctly the next day.  Kids are resilient and will only remember bits and pieces of the entire day.
  • Pray.  Pray whole and solid prayers.  Pray for specific reasons, and pray for a purpose.  When you cannot believe what is happening or how you got to where you’re at (having your entire house destroyed by little kids and you’re the only one left to clean it up at night), just pray.  That really got me through the good and bad days.  God continued to answer my prayers and bless us tenfold!

We are now back to being a family of 4 (little man left to be with his aunt, that is why I am using him in past tense).  It’s just me, my husband, Brielle, and our foster baby girl.

** Let me know if you have other ideas as well, I would love to know what worked for you!

©2016 Sheridan Johnson @Journey with the Johnsons. All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

Brielle’s Perspective Vol. 1

Brielle'sPerspective

I recently found my old digital camera, from a few years ago, and gave it to Brielle to capture some photos of her life.  I wanted to make a little section in my blog called “brielle’s perspective” and post some of the super cute (and blurry) photos she takes from her point of view.

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Rae’Sean and PJ

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Me and Rhyleigh

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Everett

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Aunt Theresa, Annie, Rhyleigh

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Grandma

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Brielle’s new friend (our foster child)

Hope y’all enjoy these! I know I sure do! I love that my 3 year old wants to be just like her mommy!♥

©2016 Sheridan Johnson @Journey with the Johnsons. All Rights Reserved.

Super Mom

Mother’s Day has come once again and I could not be more happy to be a mom/have a great mom!

I have accepted and embraced the fact that my children are where they should be and there is nothing I could/would want to change about that.  It took me a great deal of time to come to this point in my grief journey, and I know some days are definitely worse than others, but I know God’s right there with me through this healing process.

But this day isn’t about me… it’s about my mom.  Let me just tell you a little bit about her and why she is so amazing.  My mom has been through a tough times, and had to make some adult decisions early on in her life.  With getting married and divorced at such a young age, she was left with raising two kids on her own.  She never gave up.  She continued on to getting her Masters, all while working full-time and raising two children.  I am sure there were moments where she probably just wanted a “break” and throw in the towel.  Well, good thing she never did, because her desire and drive to love unconditionally and have a great work ethic passed on to my brother and I.

She fought for us in every situation (even when the daycare said that we did something wrong–she stuck up for us).  She gave us freedom to attend any camps during the summer that we were interested in and gave us the ability to learn how to make decisions early on in our childhood that would help mold us as adults.

Just when we thought she had done it all, she amazed us by graduating with her PhD from the University of Texas.  My brother and I have never had the educational drive like her to further our careers (well, at least not yet), but she instilled in us that you must get a good education if you want a good job.

When we both became parents for the first time, she was the person we wanted in the room (me) or on the phone (my brother).  Nana will forever be her name now, and I know that makes her so happy to be called that (and trust me, it’s usually one of the first words our kids learn to say).

She is super Mom because even though my and brother are both grown adults (27 &28), we will always know that our mom is just a phone call, text, or drive away if we ever needed her.

We love you forever mom,

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(silhouette of the grandchildren)

Happy Mother’s Day!!♥

 

Haven of Hope Retreat 2016

 

Haven of hope (1)

This years Haven of Hope retreat was very different for me, than last year was. I had just lost Rochelle two months before going on this retreat for the first time (for grieving mothers who have lost children) and I wasn’t fully prepared to embrace the entire weekend. I took so much away from it last year (which you can see here), but I also went in a downward spiral of depression, anger, and have had to learn how to cope with my grief of this past year.

Friday night was filled with getting settled into our room  (and meeting our roommates) and having dinner at 6pm.  This year they sat us down at the table next to someone, and during/after dinner we got to know them and share their story with the rest of the group.  It is always so sad hearing the loss of other women’s child(ren), but it is so good that we are surrounded by each other, and we can have a person to learn on and understand all weekend.  I stayed up late Friday night talking to my roommate Lauren and playing board games, so fun! Haven’t done that in a while.

Saturday morning started early for me, because I got up before sunrise, and it was so cold (which I definitely did not prepare for), but it definitely woke me up better during my morning walk.  After breakfast, we all broke out into our small groups (yay! Susan Gray did awesome leaders ours this year, and I was so blessed to be with those other mommas in our group) and shared such deep, personal stories with one another, that will only be kept there.  After small group, we broke out into breakout sessions (I personally attended the “dealing with fear after the loss of a child/struggling with life after loss” groups) and they were amazing and helped me learn better coping mechanisms and realizing to let go of some of my fears associated with Brielle doing certain things. Craft time was after and that was amazing (we painted candle holders in one and we made glass pictures in another) and so fun!  We had fellowship, prayer, worship, candle lighting, and slideshow o the rest of the night and it was SO good!

 

Sunday morning started in a similar way, that I woke up before sunrise to get my morning walk in and just to breathe.  I liked to take this time to pray/thank God for all that I had and all that He has done not only for me, but the people surrounding me.  After breakfast, they all gave away prizes to each one of us (yay!!) and then we had a guest speaker, then Pastor Sandra King gave such a wonderful sermon again and her analogy this year was that sometimes you just have to life yourself up from the ground, and rise to what God is calling you to do.  She said “it’s okay to grieve to be sad, and to cry over the loss of your loved one, but don’t let those emotions consume your life”.  I loved every word she spoke and I love getting to hear her speak the Word of God.

I hope the pictures speak for themselves, but I just had an amazing weekend, and I am seriously counting down the days I get to attend next years retreat!

©2016 Sheridan Johnson @Journey with the Johnsons. All Rights Reserved.