We’re getting ready to celebrate so many things next month. Just is packed full of goodies like Father’s Day and PRIDE Month. Want to see a fun DIY to make for PRIDE Month? Your little will love to play with this wand being an ally at parades or just around the house too.
Ever since Mila has been little, I’ve wanted her to be around all types of different people. I’ve always told her that love and acceptance is one of the most important things we can have and share with others. PRIDE Month is no different. We love our LGBTQ+ friends and want them to know we support them through everything.
Love is just so special.
One thing I want to do is take Mila to a PRIDE parade! I figured we’d need to bring some accessories for that and thought a wand with bells on it would be perfect! Any noise maker is a hit for Mila.
All we needed for this DIY was:
Mila helped me tie the yarn on to the dowel. We’ve been practicing knots and tying shoes, so this was fun for her to do. I always try to add ways she can help me in any DIY.
I didn’t hot glue the bells down. They were super stable with just tying them on. Since I’m obsessed with disco balls right now, I added one to the top.
Honestly, I think it turned out so cute and I love that it helps celebrate PRIDE and something that Mila can use over and over again.
What types of activities do you do to celebrate PRIDE? I’m also always am looking for book recommendations and would love to share the ones I have here too.
I wrote a letter almost four years ago to the day.
When I first wrote it, I never expected it to get the traction it did. Lots of people seemed to want to know where Mila came from and it got shared around, a lot. Since I’ve written it, it still gets a lot of views and will get more some weeks than others. People are nosey or are just discovering my journey of motherhood with Jensen and Mila.
This past weekend has been weird and re-traumatizing for me. I know it’s been worse for others, but I’m allowed to feel too.
In the past three years, I’ve worked a lot on myself. Healing after being in a narcissistic cycle is not easy. It took time, changing my phone number, speaking to authorities, and learning how to trust myself and others again. There was a ton of ups and downs and I’m proud of the person who I am today.
All of the sudden on Friday, it seemed like a whole wave of emotions filled me. I felt horrible for the innocents impacted, I felt happy that Mila was safe. I felt validated in my decisions since the first time every thing happened. I felt sad and protective for my past self who loved and then wanted to do the best thing when those rose-colored glasses were slapped off. It was a whirlwind for me after being uninvolved the past three years.
I gave myself the weekend to tiptoe around the feelings and let myself somewhat try to process. Then this morning after working and doing some self care, I let my toes dip. I’m a letter writer to remember my feelings/emotions or what happened.
In 2020, I wrote another letter that I’ve never published on here because it’s damning and raw and hard and what I had to get out. But it’s… it’s too much for others.
My words from that letter aren’t too much for me. They’re my truth, what I felt. I also had pictures too. Screenshots from text messages, him and I smiling together, and one that made my stomach sick: him playing with toys with Mila.
I’ve felt that pit in my stomach before, a few times in my life — they’ve all stemmed from pictures because they’re proof. Proof of death, guilt, innocence, and the past.
It could’ve been her.
He was right there beside her in that picture. The thought of her being physically/sexually hurt by him kills me. I am so disappointed I ever let her beside him, but I didn’t know until I did. He will never get the chance to hurt her.
But I wanted to share a paragraph and a sentence that I wrote from there that feels even more true now:
I felt the freedom for Mila and myself knowing my life isn’t going to be affected by the storm you’re going to go through. I felt freedom knowing Mila will never, ever be away from me. Freedom from the fears I had before about her being treated badly if she’d ever be there is gone. I felt freedom from every type of abuse she’d have to encounter with him as her dad. Freedom from the years of emotional abuse I’ve been through. I felt freedom to let go of it all.
Everything I felt trapped by is gone now.
I felt freedom three years ago because I walked away from it all. Because I knew the truth and couldn’t stand by it. I couldn’t ever let anything bad happen to Mila and I never will.
I wish I could’ve told myself three years ago that I would feel even more free in the future. That one day everything would come to light. That a picture would help make me feel free instead of that dreadful pit.
A mugshot which symbolizes a person being locked up would become an image of freedom for us.
I don’t owe anyone this letter or explanation of my feelings. I don’t care that I was villainized for doing what I thought was best. At the end of the day I protected myself and my daughter. I did what was right as a mother.
I hope and wish those girls will be able to heal.
And to the rest of them, to those who never deserved my daughter, I have no words, just a picture.
Teacher Appreciation Week is a week-long celebration of teachers in the United States. It is held in the first full week of May, and is a time to thank teachers for their hard work and dedication to their students.
The week was first celebrated in 1984 by the National PTA, and is now celebrated in schools and communities across the country. There are many ways to show your appreciation for teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week, such as:
Writing a thank-you note
Sending a gift card or flowers
Making a donation to a teacher’s favorite charity
Volunteering in the classroom
Simply saying “thank you”
Teachers are an important part of our society, and they deserve our appreciation every day. Teacher Appreciation Week is a special time to show our gratitude for all that they do.
I am so thankful for Mila’s preschool teachers. They have taught her so much content and how to be a good human. She truly loves and cares for them, as do I! It’s so important to use to give back to them to show them how much we care.
In the past, we’ve made some fun gifts that you can DIY:
Obviously we love to give plants as a gift since we love them so much, but food and personal care items are also a hit too!
I think we’ll be doing something with mint this year since I have an abundance of it! Plus who doesn’t need mint?
Here are some other ways you can show your appreciation for teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week:
Bring in breakfast or lunch for your teacher.
Have your child make them a card or draw a picture.
Write a letter to your local newspaper or school board expressing your appreciation for teachers.
Attend a school board meeting and speak in support of teachers.
Teachers are essential to our society, and they deserve our support. No matter what you do, show them how much we appreciate them during Teacher Appreciation Week.
Please let me know in the comments your favorite way to show teacher appreciation or links to a gift you’ve done before.
Although we believe Earth Day should be every day, here’s a few ways you can show your love for our earth with your child. There’s a mix of no cost, no prep ideas with more prep and some cost ideas. But they’re all ways to show some love to Mother Earth.
Go on a nature walk. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, my little absolutely loves getting outside and exploring. Going on a nature walk and having her find different things while walking is always a hit! You can have littles do a Nature Scavenger Hunt or look for something specific depending on their interests. Either way, getting outside is always a great idea.
Help to clean up a local park or beach. This is a great way to teach kids about the importance of keeping our environment clean. I swear Mila constantly asks if we can pick up the trash on the side of the road every time we’re in the car. Maybe one day, but we just focus on our walking paths for now.
Learn about recycling. There are so many fun ways to teach kids about recycling. This water activity let Mila see the impact of what our trash does to our oceans.
Make a bug hotel. Get a cardboard box, paint it, fill it with leaves/twigs/flowers/rocks, and set outside. Bugs will love the space and you can learn about them while they’re exploring their new hotel.
Make a compost bin. Composting is a great way to reduce the amount of food waste that goes to landfills. We have not started one at our house yet, but it is a huge goal of mine to finally do it. One day soon and I’ll make sure I share with you guys too.
Start a garden. Growing your own food is a great way to teach kids about where their food comes from and how to eat healthy. We absolutely love making a garden every year. Some years we start off with seeds and others we get starts. Either way, it’s a great way to celebrate Earth Day!
Paint a pot. We have a lot of plants in our house, but seemingly never enough pots. A fun way to either get a plant for your home or replant a new one is for your little to paint a pot. When Mila does this, she knows she’s in charge of watering and checking in on that plant. It helps teach her responsibility and broaden her love for our Earth.
Don’t use paper or plastic plates. This is a huge one! We normally don’t use paper plates or any cutlery that you can throw away. It helps reduce waste and we get to buy really cute plates too.
I’d like to end this post by saying, it’s okay if you don’t do any of these things. Being a parent/guardian is hard work and you’re doing your absolute best!
Here are some other Earth Day projects if you’re feeling inspired:
April 14, 2018 is another day that changed my life forever. Mila was born.
The second hardest experience of my life was pregnancy after loss. Every day I was pregnant with Mila, I thought she was going to die. I didn’t sleep and constantly worried.I was never hungry and whenever I forced myself to eat, nothing tasted good. I was constantly in pain and had terrible anxiety and depression… but it was all worth it.
I remember almost everything about being pregnant with Mila. I willed myself too because my memory is so choppy around Jensen. We had a lot of appointments and ultrasounds. They couldn’t take my blood pressure until after I either saw her heart beating on the screen or heard it. As soon I as I did, I could just enjoy the moment and focus on how magical she made me feel. I even remember every time we had an ultrasound she was pointing her feet like a little ballerina… I guess you can say she didn’t just become a dancer, she always was one.
The moment she was born, it was silent. I knew that silence and was terrified. Then a few second later, she started crying and has really never stopped crying, talking, or singing since then.
I wish I could say my anxiety and depression stopped after she was born… it didn’t. I pictured her dying in my head constantly. If I walked through a doorway, I saw her head getting hit. When she was in the bassinet, I saw her getting caught in it and not being able to get out. I pictured her falling or people dropping her when they held her. I felt insane. On top of that I was dealing with what’s his name. I was not in a healthy state personally, but I did my best to be the mom she deserved.
If anyone asks me, I’ll say that first year was the hardest and at year five of parenting my rainbow baby, I still stand by that. Being a mom is hard, but that first year of highs and lows connected us more than I could have ever imagined.
Honestly, I don’t even know why I’m writing all of this. I never truly deep dived in what happened in that first year on here. But I think it’s important to know, especially when I get to talking about her.
It’s been five yers since her grand entrance and I can honestly say her and Jensen are my greatest gifts. I would not be here today if it wasn’t for Mila. That’s a lot for a five year old to hold, but she doesn’t know. Maybe one day she will, but it’s not her job. To me, she lights up the world. I might have brought her to life, but she gave me back mine. I will never be able to thank her enough. That’s probably why I’m so extra with her, lol.
At five, here are things I want to remember about her or what I’d want her to look back and know.
That she dances any time she hears music, no matter where she may be and I love watching her.
One time at tumble practice this year, Mila’s tumble coach came out to let me know that during her water break, she somehow snuck in fingernail polish and started painting her nails… during practice!
Speaking of the above, she is an incredible packer. If she has pockets or a bag, I have to check them in case she brings something she’s not allowed, but she seems to always sneak it anyways.
She is so smart and can spell all the colors.
Her heart is the size of all the oceans combined. She is so empathetic and cares about every person, animal, and plant.
Once, she cried when we sold a plant because she was going to miss it so much.
She is creative. Not only in dance, but she makes up songs, is a really awesome drawer (but doesn’t like coloring), and can tell such good stories. Plus, she is crafty and loves painting and helping me make things.
She hates her hair brushed, but loves her long Rapunzel hair.
She still loves the beach and going on vacations.
Our hand squeezes.
She hates waking up in the morning, but is excited for kindergarten (I am not).
She is a people person who loves her friends and family.
Her choice words. She sometimes uses ‘colorful’ words and when I try to correct her she’ll tell me, “mom, they’re only words.’
She loves to have spa days and will steal Josh’s cucumbers for our eyes.
She’s going to miss being four, but is happy to make a new growth mark on the doorway trim.
I could probably go on and on, but those are the main ones popping in my head tonight.
As I’m winding down, looking through all our pictures, and realizing I’m saying way too much — I guess what just keeps going through my mind is how proud I am of my five year old.
I’m proud of the little woman she’s becoming. I’m proud of how headstrong she is. I’m proud of her smarts. I’m proud of her outgoingness. I’m proud of her love. I’m proud of every single thing about her and I know that’ll continue for as long as I live.
Happy FIFTH birthday, Mila. You deserve the world and the entire universe. I am so glad Jensen picked you for me and I’ll always love you more.
April 5, 2016 is a day that forever changed my life. It’s the day my son, Jensen, was born.
I never thought I could love one person as deeply as I love him. He’s touched my heart and life in ways I can’t even explain. In a way not even death could steal.
There are days I replay all the songs I would listen to when I was pregnant with him. I can recall how his movements felt in my belly, how I felt at every ultrasound when I saw him, and the feeling of the newly washed clothes I packed for him in the hospital bag.
I have a terrible memory, but I can remember so much of his life.
With all those memories, I still have so many more questions. There’s seven year of memories I’ve missed out on with a lifetime of them to go.
At seven, what would he be into? How would his looks change? Would he think I was weird yet?
Even though I only got to see him as a baby, I still picture what he’d look like at every age. I still think he’d have curly hair and I go between seeing green or brown eyes. For some reason, I think he’d be quiet, until you got to know him and then you’d have your ear talked off.
I wish I could hear about all his likes and dislikes. I wish I knew what his favorite meal was. I wish I could watch his favorite movie with him. I wish I could know what his favorite school special was. I wish I could hear his annoyed voice. I wish I could soak up every moment of Jensen.
I will never think that losing him was the right thing or what was supposed to happen. My son died and it completely changed me and every thing around me. If I could bring him back right now, I would.
It’s a little odd that seven years has came and went so quickly. When you have kids, that’s sort of how life change. Time goes by because you focus on them. What they don’t tell you is if your child dies, time goes both excruciatingly fast and slow at the same time.
How can that be?
In the first two years after, I hated time, but I counted it so very closely. Every Tuesday hurt, every 5th of a new month stabbed me, and the holidays were unbearable. I wanted that pain though.
Now, time goes so fast and we’re so busy that I felt guilt. Guilt that I’ve learned how to bury my pain when I need. Hurt when I don’t take make moment of my life the most it could be because he couldn’t. Shock when I realize it’s been so long since I’ve felt him.
The grief and pain of my son dying is something I could never prepare for — but I will say the amount of love and the way I look at life now is so different.
Seven years ago, I became a mom in a way I never would have imagined.
Seven years ago, I was wheeled out of the labor and delivery floor without my baby.
Seven years ago, I felt the world around me fall and a dark, different one rise around me.
Seven years ago broke me.
Seven years ago my son was born.
Seven years ago, I felt all the love a mother could feel for their child.
Seven years ago, I became a mom to my favorite little boy that’s ever existed.
Seven years ago felt like the end, but I promised my boy we would love and live this time we had fully.
Even though we only had a short time together, I have a lifetime of remembering him and letting his light shine so bright.
On every April 5 (and every day), I get to celebrate my son on the day he was born.
Happy birthday in heaven, Jensen. I will miss and love you for all my life. Thanks for letting me be your mom.
If you’re looking for an Espresso Roast that’ll give you an extra kick, you’re going to want to check out Death Wish Coffee Co.
For Christmas this year, Josh bought me an espresso machine. I was so excited because I’ve wanted one for a while, but never treated myself to one. So when I opened it up, I instantly wondered what the best type of espresso I could get to make at home.
I’ve tried a few different kinds… but Death Wish’s espresso roast is my absolute favorite.
To be honest, I love the name of the company and the logo is a skull and cross bones. It feels like a bad ass brand and it automatically brings that with their marketing and packaging. When I was in college, I got a secret tattoo that I hid from my parents that’s a skull. Instantly, their brand spoke to my once (it’s still in there somewhere, right?) bad ass soul. Their website constantly makes me smile with their wording, but what completely won me over was actually tasting their brews.
Death Wish Coffee Espresso Blend is a dark roast coffee that is made with a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans. The coffee is roasted to a deep, dark perfection with rich notes of cocoa, caramelized sugar and cherries. The result is a rich, intense cup of coffee that is perfect for espresso drinks.
Here are some reasons why Death Wish Coffee Espresso Blend it’s so good:
It is a BOLD coffee with a high caffeine content.
It is a flavorful coffee with notes of cocoa, caramelized sugar, and cherries.
It is a versatile coffee that can be used in a variety of brewing methods, including espresso, drip coffee, and French press.
It gives me a ton of energy.
So far, I’ve made some fun coffee recipes with it for St. Patrick’s Day, like a delicious Lucky Charms cereal milk coffee. You need to try using cereal milk as creamer… so good! I also use it for my daily caramel macchiato. Death Wish‘s blend gives me a bigger boost then going to get my normal order any where else.
Personally, I love the taste, the overall vibe of the brand (you have to check out their socials), and how they have a subscription service so I’m never out of my favorite coffee. Death Wish Coffee Co says their coffee slaps back and I’d have to agree.
Although I’ve been obsessed with making my espresso in the morning because of my fabulous new machine, I’m totally wanting to try their new brew: Dark Spirits. It’s a mint chocolate whiskey brew that ( can only imagine starts the morning off perfectly. I have to get it soon so I can try it out in different cocktails too.
I’ll get back to you when I eventually try it out!
No matter what your go to brew is in the morning, you can find it at Death Wish Coffee Co. Here’s their current blends you’re gonna need:
It’s the first day of spring! To celebrate, we created a piece to showcase all season long. The best part is that kids of any ages can join in on this fun.
For the last year, I’ve been decorating Mila’s room to match the current season or holiday. Instead of buying new things all the time, we’ve been making decor! It makes it so much more personalized and Mila is always super proud of her work.
Although we used canvas, you could definitely use paper or cardboard too. We use cardboard for so many crafts and activities. It’s a great way to reuse from leftover boxes.
To set up, lay something down you wouldn’t mind getting paint on. Then lay your canvas on top of that. Again, we use cardboard to catch all the left over paint. If you keep reusing the same cardboard, it looks so cool at the end of a season or year.
The most perfect size paint tray for these Peeps Bunnies are the tops of butter containers. They bunnies fit just right. Pick a color with your little for the bunnies. We decided to do just two colors: purple and blue. The purple represent the girls in our family and the blue the boys. You could also do the person’s favorite color per bunny or whatever colors are in your spring decor.
Next, have them use the Peeps Bunnies as a stamp. These aren’t too hard for little to grasp and use. I would definitely keep a wipe nearby in case they do get paint on their hand.
Although we didn’t add details to our bunnies, you could add faces which would make them even more cute. We did add grass though at the bottom and ‘Hoppy Spring’ at the top. Here are a few other sayings your sign could have too:
Every bunny is welcome here.
Hanging with my Peeps
Some bunny loves you.
Don’t worry, be hoppy!
I love how are Hoppy Spring sign turned out and can’t wait to share all our crafts and activities we have planned all season long.
If you end up making this sign, please tag me on socials (Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok) or comment a picture in the comments. I love seeing everyone’s interpretations. It makes me so happy seeing that we could help inspire you!
Most of all, make sure to treasure all those memories you get to make with your family. That’s the best thing we can do.
Here’s some other fun Easter activities to try with your kiddo this year:
I didn’t really have a clever title for this post, but this date has been circling in my head since I realized what it meant.
Seven years ago, I had no idea that the little baby inside of me was going to die the next month. I had no idea that I could be a grieving mother. Never in a million years did I ever think my boy would just be gone. I looked forward to being his mom and watching him grow and just having him with me always.
After he was born… I can remember dreading the fifth of every month. It only marked another month without him. In someways it always will, but with time, the reminder of time has lessened.
Until today, when it felt like all the 5ths of the past few years weighed down, heavily, on my chest.
I wish I had the right description word to even try to explain how I feel. There’s just really none that even come close. It hurts and I know it always will. I walk around with this giant Jensen sized hole in my heart. Mila does too. She misses her brother that she never met, but they still have this crazy connection. She says he’s the moon and sometimes I believe her.
He’s like the moon in some ways, always watching over us, there even when we can’t see him, and always the light when there’s darkness around.
The gravity of seven years pushes and pulls me the way the moon does to the tide.
My heart will always be broken from losing him. There will never be a day I don’t think about him. He will always be the best thing that’s ever happened to me and his death, the worst.
I never thought I would make it this far after losing him. The pain, heartache, and knowledge that he’s never coming back is just so much for a person to handle. I knew it’d never ‘get better’ or I’d be completely healed or having another child would make it ok. There is just no way to prepare for knowing your child has died and you have to pretend to be normal every day after that.
In less than a month, he’ll be seven. I wish I could know what he’d want his birthday party to be like or who his friends would be. I’d love to know his favorite activities or if he’d have a cereal obsession like Mila. As much as I complain about the laundry, I wish I could fold his clothes and wash the extra dishes. I wonder what show he’d want me to put on or see if he’d compromise to watch what Mila wanted to watch instead.
Then there’s the even smaller things – like when would he have lost his first tooth and what would his smile look like with teeth missing. How would he walk and what would his footsteps sound like? I want to know everything about him and how he would be now with all our memories, but it’s possible.
This is what March 5, 2023 is like for me. It’s sad and isolating and a lot of me pretending to be what I need to be for the people around me.
As I sit here typing and crying and just imagining, I know I’m doing what I need to be doing as Jensen’s mom. He wouldn’t want me to be sad, but this is part of loving and honoring him. This is what it’s like to be a grieving mother who’s son’s birthday is a month away.
And one more thing… love never dies. No matter how much times has passed and even though that pain is still there, not once have I questioned the love I have for my Jensen.
If your child is anything like mine, labeling their school, daycare, and after school activity items is a must. Not only are there so many benefits from doing this, I can show you the cutest labels from Name Bubbles.
Mila is the queen of losing her things; I think most four year olds could hold this title. We are constantly searching for shoes, coats, and water bottles. Miraculously, no items have been lost in public. but I have a little secret of how we’re preventing this further.
Honestly, I’m still working on helping Mila organize her things at home. She likes to get everything out and then stuff them in bags, THEN put them into her closet. It happens.
It’s a work in progress and I know it’ll get better eventually.
Since she is in preschool, dance, and other sports, we are constantly on the run. One way to keep track of her things is to label them. We have been using Name Bubbles.
They have a ton of different designs to choose from and you can be as detailed on them as you want. I love their clothing labels that irons on them; especially with dance costume and extra clothes at preschool. Believe me, this child love to trade her clothes and wear her friend’s clothes, so this just helps sort them out a little more.
Their custom daycare and school label packs are a must. I put them on Mila’s shoes, water bottle, backpack, lunch box, and her bentgo box. The water bottle ones really come in handy, especially when all the kids have their bottles by each other. It helps the teachers and her remember exactly which bottle she took to school or practice that day. Also, I love that the daycare labels have fun and cute designs for littles and the school labels have more ‘grown up’ designs for older kids.
It also helps in the opposite way too. Sometimes Mila will accidentally pick up someone else’s coat or water bottle and I know it’s not right. Since she knows her heart label is on all her school and practice items, she can look and instantly see it’s not hers. It prevents fights between me and her, which lets the day run more smoothly.
Even though I’ve seen a big difference of Mila not losing things while we’re in public, I wanted to give you all a list of positives about using Name Bubbles labels too.
Teaches children about ownership and responsibility.
Helps child remember which items are theirs.
If an item gets lost, you can recover it easier.
Prevents fighting between kids.
Helps resolve sanitary issues.
Plus, they’re cute!
I can’t wait to pick some new labels out with Mila before she goes to kindergarten. Of course we’ll have to get new labels from Name Bubbles for her new adventure. This is just a start to our labeling addiction.
Do you label your child’s items when they go to school? Let me know in the comments… and some home organization tips for kids too (lol).
I did receive these labels from Name Bubbles as a gift, but would totally recommend them to all! Since I am a Name Bubbles Affiliate, if you do purchase labels from my links, I will get a small percentage of the sales.