Living in a Jungle

Sometimes as a stay at home mom to three young boys (four if you include my husband hehe), it can literally feel like I live in a jungle. I can mop the floor one second, and 1 hour later its food all over the floor. I can wash one load of clothes and fold another, and there sprouts 4 more loads before I can even put away the others! Toys seem to multiply before my eyes, and magically appear in places they shouldn’t be which just so happens to be on a stair step that pierces the heel of my foot at 11:39PM.  And why does the basement look like an actual tornado touched down?! Some days I literally feel like I can never catch up!

Similarly, a jungle can be described as a dense population of plants and vegetation that makes it extremely difficult to navigate. Yep! Some days my life definitely resemble that of a jungle! And I know my fellow moms and dads out there can relate, which is why I am elated to have partnered up with the local representatives of Disney and can offer you and your family an evening of escape as we watch a masterpiece on the big screen, The Jungle Book!

 

There is a metro Detroit screening taking place on Wednesday, April 13th in Royal Oak, Michigan at 7pm! For your chance to win, do one of the following:

  1. Comment on this post one way your #lifewiththesekids sometimes resembles a jungle!
  2. Find this giveaway post on our Facebook Page  , share it with your friends and tell us again, one way your life sometimes resembles a jungle!

5 entries will be randomly chosen and notified by email with your electronic pass on Monday, April 11th by 12pm EST. Good luck!

 

*Disclaimer: If you are a winner to this advance screening, know that the theater is intentionally overbooked to ensure capacity. Entry is granted on a first come first served bases and you are encouraged to arrive early. Seating is not guaranteed. More details will be included on your actual screening pass.

What a Wild Wednesday

Today has been nothing short of WILD! So I’m calling it “Wild Wednesday”. Here’s a glimpse of my schedule for the day:

2:00AM- Elijah wakes up for 2nd time.

2:30AM- Elijah refuses to sleep alone, so in our bed he goes.

5:30AM- Finally able to put Elijah back in bed and ninja tiptoe out the room.

5:33AM-6:00AM- Listen to husband move all around the house, up and down the basement, ironing clothes while frantically pushing the steam button, brushing teeth, rumbling through drawers…. as he prepares to go play ball at the gym. My face resembled that of someone seriously contemplating committing physical assault. See, another reason we have to pray for the Lord to cover our mind and our wicked thoughts, because I coulda been on a future episode of “Snapped!”

6:30AM- Elijah back in bed with me. Seriously. Why is he reverting back to newborn days?

7:20AM- Older boys came downstairs, and Jabin has a big grin on his face because its his BIRRRTHDAYYYY! He’s the big 6, and the first in his class to leave the 5yo days behind and according to him, all of his classmates are buzzing with excitement to celebrate their first 6yo. He even double checked that I was indeed coming to bring him a birthday treat, and what it would be…and what outfit would he be wearing? I had to chuckle at that question, because he proved that he is MY CHILD!

My brand new 6 year old displaying his birthday breakfast!
My brand new 6 year old displaying his birthday breakfast!

 

8:06AM-8:25AM- Drop Jabin off at school.

8:25AM-8:45AM – Go to gym and drop the kiddies off at their Kiddie Play area.

9:00AM-10:15AM- Cardio and some resistance.

10:20AM-10:40AM- Showered, dressed, picked boys up from child care, and off to the cafeteria for lunch.

10:45AM-11:00AM – Lunch that consisted of a shake for me and breaded baked chicken tenders for the boys…which I got to finish off. SCORE!

11:00AM-11:05AM- Hustle boys in their coats and fight the cold bitter wind commute to the car, grimacing and face scrunched the entire time. Does the cold wind make anyone else’s eyeballs hurt?

11:05AM-11:15AM – Bank run, in which Caleb asks “why we always gotta go to the stupid bank?! You already got money!” Me: “Caleb! Hush your mouth!”

11:15AM-11:30AM – Drive home, praise God that Elijah submitted to my plan of falling asleep.

11:30AM- 12:55PM- Let Eli nap, me … I honestly don’t even remember what I did anymore. I made them snacks for the road. Oh, and I finally ate lunch myself while being bossed around by Caleb on what show he wanted to watch. Yes, I’m one of those moms. I thank God for TV.

12:55PM – 1:00PM – Wake up a very cranky toddler, change diaper, hustle them into coats. Caleb wants to know where we are going. I say to your cousin Alivia’s house! He breaks out into a huge grin and says, “To her house? To play?” I say yes! And what he did next is unbelievable. He unleashed a string of compliments. “Mommy, I like you now! No I love you! You are just pretty! You are sooooo pretty!” I wish I was making this up! Just thinking about that is making me shoulder shake chuckle.

1:00PM-1:05PM – Drive to sister Adeline’s house so she can keep my boys so I could be that mom that bustles into the school, happy and vibrant and bearing birthday treats! *side note, the name Adeline is becoming increasingly popular for baby girls!*

1:05PM-1:20PM – Drive to Tim Hortons to pick up glazed donuts. All the while trying not to lose my salvation on whyyyyy it was taking them so long to package up 27 donuts! HAHAHA whew. I am the Queen of last minute. I mean, I really could have ordered in advance as the employee suggested when he met my impatient glare as he rushed between me and the drive-thru window. #durp

1:20PM-1:33PM- FLY to Jabin’s school. I hate being late! I couldn’t be the vibrant happy bearing birthday treats mom and LATE! That wasn’t a part of the plan in my head!

1:35PM-2:45PM – Birthday treat and stalker mom time! Apparently, Jabin had already announced to his classmates what our treat was. So I was greeted with classmates asking could they help me pass out the donuts! Don’t they know they have little nasty grimy dirty hands? LOL

Birthday boy with his birthday treat!
Birthday boy with his birthday treat!
Wouldn't be complete without a mommy/son bday ussie!
Wouldn’t be complete without a mommy/son bday ussie!

2:45PM-3:00PM – Hurry Jabin out of the school for an early dismissal and drive to get my other boys from the cousin’s house!

It is now a little after 5:00PM EST, and Elijah has been in his crib for about 25 minutes crying and whining because he is deliriously tired. He gone learn ta’day! I am forcing myself not to get him :( He will have a bout of crying uncontrollably and then suddenly stop and in a normal voice holler out “MUM!”…… “MUM!” So yeah, he’s ok.

Are you all tired yet just reading my Wild Wednesday? And its not over yet. At 6:00PM it will be time to hustle back on all the coats, and make a 25 minute drive to church for Family Gingerbread House Building night! I’m actually really excited! Yippee! That’s over at 8:00PM, and prayerfully on the drive back home, all of these kids will fall asleep into a very deep slumber. In Jesus Name.

So, it is days like these that I have to be very intentional and conscious to find some quiet time just to pray and invite the Lord into my day. I’ve learned that when I don’t do that, my patience is thinner, my grace towards the children is questionable, and I am not personally engaged. Just going through the mommy notions of getting through the day. But praise God because He is a sustainer and provides a sense of peace even in the midst of a wild day :)

Now, to all my fellow mommy’s out there…wouldn’t it be WILD if we could just get away and go see a free movie? Well guess what? Its not that crazy of an idea, because I was offered 50 advance screening passes for our very first “Mama Needs a Break!” promotion! So,  to get a pass, comment below sharing a snippet of your “Wild Wednesday”. First 50 comments either here or on my Facebook page will be sent an electronic link to download the passes. That’s it!  *Note, advance screening is taking place in the Metro Detroit area on Monday, December 8th at 7PM, so get your babysitters lined up!*

WILD stars Academy Award winner Reese Witherspoon (Walk the Line) and is directed by Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas Buyers Club). After years of reckless behavior, a heroin addiction and the destruction of her marriage, Strayed makes a rash decision.  Haunted by memories of her mother Bobbi (Academy Award nominee Laura Dern) and with absolutely no experience, she sets out to hike more than a thousand miles on the Pacific Crest Trail all on her own.  WILD powerfully reveals her terrors and pleasures –as she forges ahead on a journey that maddens, strengthens, and ultimately heals her. (FOX SEARCHLIGHT) This film is rated R. (Warning: I have not seen this film and am not endorsing it. It contains profanity and sexual scenes. But it is the story of a woman with a life full of mistakes, and she is stepping out on faith on a journey that will ultimately help her be free).

View the trailer here:

Annie! Movie Pass Giveaway

Today is “Cyber Monday”, the Monday after “Black Friday” that retailers created to keep making consumers shove out the dough for exceptional deals and bargains, just in time for Christmas! But I have a Cyber Monday deal of my own I’d like to share with you…and it won’t cost you a thing!

Here on My Life With These Kids, I like to do giveaways for moms (and dads too), and especially families so that my readers can get the chance to have some good ol’ fashioned family fun! On behalf of Sony Pictures Entertainment, for my very first family fun promotion I am able to invite 10 families of 4 to check out ANNIE at an advance screening! This means that you will get to see it before it even hits theaters this Christmas…BOOM!

ANNIE is a modern-day musical remake, starring the adorable Academy Award® nominee Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) as Annie, and Jamie Foxx  as New York mayoral candidate Will Stacks. Annie is a tough cookie, resilient enough to make her own way on the streets of New York in 2014. She was abandoned by her parents with the promise that they’d be back one day, but it’s been a hard knock life (cue Jay-Z, who is also a producer on this film) ever since with her mean foster mom Miss Hannigan played by Cameron Diaz. We can see from the trailer posted below that Foxx’s character develops a soft spot for Annie, and a touching and endearing relationship unfolds between this unlikely pair. I know, aren’t you just itching to see this film on the big screen?! Keep reading, I’ll tell you how you can enter to win to be one of 10 families to see it on Saturday, December 13th at 10am in the Troy, MI area!

 

Isn’t this new Annie so cute?! To see it early with my family and I, here are the rules!

  1. In the margins of this page, you will see my Facebook page. “Like” it!
  2. If you are not on Facebook, keep up with My Life by subscribing! You will only get emails when I post new blogs…that’s it! No daily emails or spam coming from moi!
  3. And finally, enter to win by commenting and telling me about YOUR FAVORITE FAMILY HOLIDAY TRADITION on this blog post OR on my Facebook Annie giveaway post (look out for it).
  4. You must be in the Metro Detroit area, as the advance screening will take place in Troy, MI.
  5. 10 families will be randomly chosen to receive a family 4-pack of passes. Winners will be notified by email if entry is received on this blog post or via Facebook if entry is received on Facebook by Friday, December 5th, 5:00PM EST.
  6. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. This is obvious since I have nothing to sell lol.
  7. If you are randomly chosen, advance screening passes will be redeemed on a first-come, first-served basis. The screening is intentionally overbooked to ensure that it is full! This means arrive early to ensure that you will get a seat. If the theater is full, you will not be able to enjoy the film with me:( These passes hold no monetary value.

I can’t wait to hear about all of your fun family holiday traditions! My family and I love to bake cookies on the eve of Thanksgiving and put up all of our Christmas decorations the day after Thanksgiving. Sadly, the latter part has not happened yet…AND my oldest son finished off the last chocolate chip cookie. Tear.

ANNIE,  in theaters Friday December 19th!

#anniethemovie | www.annie-movie.com

 

FITNESS FRIDAY FEATURE! Jami Stephens: The Queen of Clean Eating

Happy Friday!

I thought it would be fun to do Fitness Friday features from time to time to help enlighten, encourage, and motivate my fellow mommies and women (ok dads and men ya’ll can read too :) )that prioritizing our health and wellness is not only vital for our wellbeing, but that it can FINALLY BE SIMPLE! Allow me to introduce you to Jami Stephens, the phenomenal woman, wife, mother, and fitness coach that I had the pleasure of learning how to “eat clean” from just this past September! Now that I am 15lbs lighter, which has been a true struggle after carrying and pushing out them big head boys (hey, they made me eat cheese burgers while I was pregnant…everyday), I’d love to share her health & wellness journey and invite you to also connect with her so you too can learn the tools of being Fab & Fit!

So, lets meet Jami! First off, don’t let the pink hair fool you, she’s sweet as pie but she don’t play no games when it comes to nutrition and coaching people to their fitness goals. Just ask her about cookie butter and you will get a nutritional beat down faster than you can say “but its so good!” Married for 12 years to the love of her life and fellow Army veteran, Jeff, they parent two handsome boys together! #teamboys She’s fun, whimsical, easy going, and overall the loudest cheerleader in your corner, even when you just want to have a treat….like cookie butter…. she’s there explaining with L-O-V-E love the actual nutritional info on the back of the jar that so many of us don’t know how to or don’t take the time to read! Don’t get me wrong, she’s definitely pro have-a-treat, but its all in moderation! Don’t get caught in the garage, in the dark, in your robe at midnight…spooning the sugary goodness out of the jar. Now that’s when you know you need Jami to help you fix your life! #FFF (inside joke)

Here’s Jami’s Transformation Story below!

 

Stephanie:     Tell me about your fitness journey. When did you begin getting uncomfortable in your skin when it came to your health? What triggered your action plan to get fit?

Jami:     When it comes to fitness, I was a late bloomer.  I was raised by my grandmother and we lived on her social security income.  That didn’t leave much room for sports or other recreation.  I had a love for music and was a part of a dance group to keep me in shape, but our group lost financial sponsorship, and that is when my weight gain began.  Until that point, I’d been a size 5/6.  By my second semester of college, I was a size 14, at a height of 5’2″!   But I honestly thought nothing of my weight.  It didn’t seem to hinder my primary mission at that time: getting boyfriends.  However, when financial aid fell through and I wanted to join the Army to earn college money, everything changed.  For the first time in my life, I NEEDED to lose weight.  I started running and got down to a size 10.  I still wasn’t  a fan of exercise and I was completely oblivious about nutrition.  Once in the Army, I learned that I was strong and capable of things I never dreamed of: like doing 100 pushups on command and running 2 miles in little over 16 minutes.   During the latter part of my Army career, I was deployed to Uzbekistan. While I was there, my grandmother, who’d been overweight my entire life, passed away.  When I came home for her funeral, I vowed that I would get educated on health and fitness and I would do everything in my power to keep people from dying from preventable ailments (much of her health issues stemmed from her obesity).  When I got home from Uzbekistan I stayed true to my vow and studied for and obtained my personal training certification through the American Council on Exercise.  I truly developed a love for fitness and even competed in two bodybuilding competitions AFTER the birth of my youngest son.

Stephanie:   In the midst of your role as a wife, and working mother, how do you prioritize yourself?

Jami:   Because I am the primary caregiver of everyone in the house, I MUST make my health a priority.  You can’t efficiently take care of others if you’re lethargic and undernourished.  Therefore, I make sure to get my fitness in first thing in the morning, before any unforeseen issues (ie. hubby, kids, and work) pop up.  I’m extremely blessed to have access to great home workout programs to minimize my time away from my other commitments.

Stephanie:  If someone is just beginning their fitness journey, what exercise regimen do you recommend?

Jami:   If you’re not active at all, it may be overwhelming to try to immediately jump into a 6 day a week 30 minute + workout regimen.  Everyone is different, but everyone can challenge themselves to go beyond what they do right now.  For folks who are ready to accept the fitness lifestyle full steam ahead, I say aim for at least 20 minutes of an activity that will get increase your heart rate 6 days a week.

Stephanie:  As mentioned, I met you via a Clean Eating Challenge group that you host on Facebook. Prior to joining the group, I was actively working out 3-5 days a week, and the weight was slowly coming off, I mean like ounces a week and I wanted to see pounds! It wasn’t until I joined your group that I saw significant weight loss…5lbs in one week for me! You couldn’t tell me NOTH-ING! I immediately thought I was a size 4 in my head. Explain what “clean eating” is for us.*

Jami: For me, clean eating is enjoying foods as close to how God made them and avoiding artificial colors, flavors, and other synthetic additives. I believe our overconsumption, as Americans, of processed, nutritionally void “foods” is leaving us undernourished and overweight.

*if you are ready to take a dive into “clean eating”, click here to join her free 5 Days with Jami-Clean Eating Challenge November Part 2 group. She provides the meal plan AND the grocery list… if you can read and follow directions, you can do this! Plus, you get to connect and be encouraged with tons of other people to stay accountable. Its FUN! Join us!

Stephanie: How can readers keep up with you and stalk you for health & fitness encouragement ? 

Jami: The simplest way to stalk me is to go to www.beachbodycoach.com/JamiStephens and click “join”.  That will get you access to my newsletter and my Facebook community, The Elevation Nation.  I may be a little biased, but my peeps are amazing!

Stephanie: Lastly, what’s your motivation?  

Jami:   My motivation primarily is my grandmother and other women like her: caring, selfless, but without adequate access to the information and mental coaching they need to improve their lives.  Of course I enjoy helping men as well, but the memory of my grandmother is what keeps me going.

I hope you have enjoyed getting to know Mrs. Jami Stephens! To show just how much she loves helping moms and women like us get healthy, she is giving away  (1) 5 day supply of Beach Body’s Chocolate Vegan Shakeology (a $32 value), which is a yummy shake packed with nutrition that will help energize and sustain you as we get these bodies back!

To enter to win:

1. Simply “like” My Life With These Kids on Facebook by clicking here, AND like Jami’s FitCoach page by clicking here. Then, look out for Mylifewiththesekids.com Facebook post announcing the giveaway and comment “I want to win!” That’s it! One lucky winner will be chosen at random and notified by 5pm EST on Monday, November 17th, 2014.

2. If you are NOT on Facebook, simply comment on this blog post and you will be entered into the random drawing!

After this read, it is my prayer that if you feel a conviction about your health as it is right now (and I stress health over weight because all skinny people ain’t healthy…okaaayyy?!), then I urge you to connect with Jami, join the clean eating challenge, and with prayer, dedication, and commitment, allow the Lord to transform your mind so that you can truly treat your body as the temple of the Holy Spirit. Let’s join together and honor God with our  bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) and be examples for our children. After all, we can’t be tired, overweight, and sluggish trying to keep up with these kids! :)