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It's Saturday Morning

It's not really Saturday morning as far as the "publish" date goes,
but as I type this it is a foggy Saturday morning and the gloomy outside has tricked my kids
into staying in bed a bit longer,
so I sit here in my comfy sheets and type away.
This is kind of my happy place.


We have been plowing through school so we can savor a nice, slow (hopefully, slow)
Christmas break in a few weeks.
Ella has been busting her tail in school and I am so proud of her progress.
She's reading like a mad-woman and her attitude (most of the time)
makes being her teacher really enjoyable.
I will have to do an updated post about her curriculum and schedule later on.


This little girl is growing by leaps and bounds.
She is officially potty trained!  Hallelujah!
Three down, one to go!
I know there will still be accidents, but she is doing so good thus far.
She's also talking up a storm and climbing all over everything.
None of my other kiddos climbed.
They were satisfied with their feet firmly planted on the floor,
but not this one,
she's all about seeing how high she can go.

Well, I hear stirring and I am fairly certain there will be little voices
pleading for milk and breakfast.
Have a great one!

Recipe // BLT Wraps



It is crazy how a person (ahem, my husband) doesn't like mustard, mayo, or cream cheese
on their own, but mixed together in this recipe loves them!
My husband devours these wraps.
He eats several of them and I have yet to have a wrap left over for another meal.

These are fresh and packed with flavor (hello, BACON!).
The kids love them, as well.




BLT Wraps
 Adapted from Center-Cut Cook

INGREDIENTS 
10 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled 
1 cup grape tomatoes,
 quartered Dash of salt and pepper
 2 cups shredded lettuce
 4 burrito sized tortillas
 3 ounces cream cheese, softened (room temp is best) 
1 tablespoon mayo 
1 tablespoon dijon mustard

 DIRECTIONS
 In a small bowl, toss quartered grape tomatoes with a dash of salt and pepper. In another small bowl, combine softened cream cheese with mayo and dijon mustard. Mix well. In a large bowl, combine bacon, lettuce, and tomato with the sauce. Divide the mixture evenly among the 4 large burrito sized tortillas. Place the mixture on the bottom 1/3 of the tortilla. Roll the wrap up tightly and cut in half on a diagonal. Best eaten fresh! Enjoy!

Recipe: http://centercutcook.com/blt-wraps/

Creativity Overload

I get so much inspiration from the internet.
Beautiful things are everywhere.
I almost can't handle it!



I go through phases when it comes to creativity.
I get all amped up and ready to create, and then I fizzle.
My mom and my sister are true creatives.
They can have a vision and it almost always turns out.
I, on the other hand, am not like that.
I just squeeze in a little bit here and there.
And, if I'm lucky, it will somewhat resemble what I had in mind.

I have been planning a birthday party for Ella.
It is a "My Little Pony" party.
I have tails for the girls and worked on a pom pom garland for the 
lights so it would be a little more festive.
Nothing special or strenuous,
but man are my creative juices drained.
Good thing I so kindly laid the "unicorn headband project" in my mom's lap.
Poor Ella would be one disappointed chica if that were my responsibility.
Thank you, mom! ;)



I don't know if it's because I just don't have the it factor, or what,
but I only have a limited amount of juice in the tank and then I am 
done for a week or two (possibly more depending on how busy I am).

I have been slowly decorating for Christmas.
It is a long process, but I do love putting up Christmas stuff.
The bad part is I'm already thinking about what a mess it will be to put it all away.
Does anyone else do that?!?!

So with the pony tail creations, pom pom garland, and Christmas decor,
I'm creatively whooped.  I have so many other things on my list to accomplish,
but it will have to wait until I get another burst of energy, which I hope is soon because this is 
a magical and creative time of year!
I don't want to miss out!!!

Motherhood Monday // Average Mommas


I am just average.
I was talking to Mark about it the other night.
I'm nothing special.  I'm average.
I'm not the best wife. Average.
I'm not the best momma. Average.
I'm not the best cook. Average.
I'm not the most stylish.  Average-ish.
I'm not the most beautiful. Average.
I'm a whole lotta average.

I get overwhelmed with how average I am.
I go to bed after days where I fought the ugliness in my heart-
the frustration towards imperfect and average kiddos-
and cry.
As in, I literally let tears fall and begged for grace.

They need more than an average mommy.
I walk around my house expecting to be enough
and despising my short-comings.
I will never be enough.
They need a Savior.

I realize this when I have a wreck of a day.
Those days when heat wells up in my bones.
Things have been dumped, broken, smeared, ruined.
Throughout it all I pray for patience and peace in my heart,
but there is that one time when I decide to use my own will to overcome things.
My knees get knocked out from underneath me and I see clearly that I have no business
trying to do this "mom gig" on my own.
I need a Savior.

I'll wrap this up by saying I am in the most beautiful place-
loving on my babies.
In all the beauty, there is an insufficiency.
I am just average.
I am not enough on my own.
I just want to encourage mommas who are average.
You might not be enough,
but I know Who is.  

InstaFriday // This and That

It's Friday already!  I can't hardly believe how quickly the weeks are flying by.
I have so much to do in order to be ready for birthday parties, Thanksgiving, and all the Christmas festivities coming up.  It is such a "good" kind of busy.  It's the kind that I love, but come January, I will be beat and ready for things to slow down again.

Instagram has been a little slow for me lately.  I have been working on my Root Instagram (@rootprettyliz) page and that takes up a little bit of my time.  Here are some snap shots from the past couple of weeks.
***
First, I love chubby babies.  I cannot deny it.  I just do.  Soft baby rolls make me giddy.
Tell me you don't want to just gobble her up.  Mmmmm...


Bath time giggles are contagious.


Baby, it's cold outside.
Good thing she has furry, white boots to keep her tootsies warm!


We have a standing breakfast date.  Every morning. Rain or shine.
One of these days, I won't have a handsome boy staring at me from across the breakfast table.
He will be long gone and I will simply be staring out the window.
I truly cherish these little moments when they are little, innocent, and their conversation revolves around tractors, baby dolls, and dreams.  
Soon enough it will be all about iPhones, makeup, and fast cars.


I'll leave you with a little "This & That!"

Excited: about having family coming for the holidays and for a sweet seven year old's birthday!
Thinking:  how much I love hunkering down on cold days and smelling cinnamon in the wax burner
Wanting: time to slow down so I can catch my breath.  My baby is already wearing 9 month clothes!
Looking: for a few special Christmas gifts for my crew.  We don't want to over-do it, but we also want it to be special.
Currently: listening to the older kids play outside in the snow while the two little girls nap to the hum of their sound machines.
Reading: Deuteronomy and it is giving me so much hope regarding things going on in my life.
Anticipating: the next Hunger Games movie.  Mark and I seem to like them rather well.
Wondering: what I am going to wear to Mark's work Christmas party.  My post preggers body isn't quite in good enough shape to fit nicely into my clothes yet.  Shopping, maybe???

Have a lovely weekend! 

A Minted Merry Christmas

It is about time to be getting Christmas cards ordered and ready to address and send out.
The kids and I look forward to getting cards every Christmas and I am always 
excited to pick out our cards to send to our friends and family.

I, sometimes, spend entirely too long looking for the perfect card for our family picture.
I like to step out of the box when it comes to any type of announcement or Christmas card.
I think it makes it more fun to send and receive something unique.

Minted contacted me recently about partnering up with them to 
show y'all some of their amazing designs this year. 
I jumped at the chance because I was so impressed with their designs.
The reason I love Minted is because they support independent artists.
Artists submit their designs, they get voted on, and the artist with the most votes
gets their work sold on Minted.com!
This is why their products are so unique and amazing!

I thought I would compile a quick "showcase" of sorts for you so see...


I am kind of a sucker for the "multiple photos" trend in Christmas cards.
I figure if I'm going to all the work of sending a card,
it might as well have a few photos on it!  
I also love anything related to chalkboard art,
 so I naturally gravitated toward "Tis the Season to be Jolly."


And, just in case you have no idea what to do for your Christmas card,
here are some adorable pictures with sleds!  You don't even need snow to pull this off!

For fun, I wanted to share a couple art pieces that I thought were amazing.
I love the gold-foil pressed artwork.  It is clean and has a pop of color and style at the same time.
I have my eye on the Delicate Dots for my bedroom.

                  

Right now, Minted.com is offering 15% off of your order (+ free Recipient addressing)
with the code HAPPYHOL15!  It expires Nov. 25, so hurry and snatch up this great deal.


Handmade Holiday Link-Up


I love to support handmade shops.
I have dedicated several posts here on The Quick Journey to showcasing
handmade shops that I love to buy from.
With Christmas knocking at our doorsteps,
Aliesha, at Feathers in our Nest, and I 
 thought it would be fun to do a Handmade Holiday Link-Up!

So, if you run an Etsy shop, have your own website featuring your handmade goods, or run a FB handmade business page-
link it up!
This is the place to go to discover hidden (or not so hidden) jewels in the handmade world
just in time for Christmas!  

If you are wanting to buy handmade,
do it now!
Since handmade items are, well... handmade, it takes time to create the products
and there are usually cutoffs for Christmas shipping.

Please spread the word on your social media channels 
so other handmade businesses can join in on the fun!
The more you share, the more it benefits everyone!!!
Make sure you check out the other handmade businesses in the link-up, as well!


Happy linking... and, happy shopping!!


Motherhood Monday // The Battle for Perfection

 

This post is going to be difficult to write,
mainly because it hits so close to home.
I want to preface my point by saying I adore staying home with my kids.
I look forward to seeing them every morning (though, not at five AM- stay in bed, Liam!)
and hearing their stories about dreams they had the night before.

Motherhood is a gift.
I am always careful to guard my heart against 
the temptation to slay and mutilate one of the most beautiful aspects of life-
motherhood.

It is far too easy to point out how tiring, selfless, and revealing motherhood can be.
It can create a rawness that can't be matched.
But, with all that comes the loveliness of motherhood.
Laughter, unconditional love from little people who see you as their entire world,
downy-haired bed head, snuggles, and the list could go on and on.

To my point.
As women, we are always comparing ourselves to other women,
most of which we feel do things better than ourselves.
We are, by nature, perfectionists.

The cycle- perfectionism leads to comparison,
comparison leads to judgement,
judgment leads to hate.

  There is nothing wrong with wanting to do your best.
That desire, at its root, is a good thing.
The trouble is when our best is never enough.

When, as a mother, you fail to engage because you fear you aren't perfect (and, you aren't),
you are enslaved to the sin of perfectionism.
When you don't open your doors to share life with others because there is a thick
line of dust around your floors, you are enslaved to the sin of perfectionism.
When you constantly apologize for the mac and cheese you served your friend's kids
during your play date because you worried that is wasn't fresh and MSG-free,
you are enslaved to the sin of perfectionism.
When you find yourself often times apologizing for your
child's behavior because they aren't perfect either,
you are enslaved to the sin of perfectionism.

There is nothing wrong with desiring and working toward a clean house,
or dust-free wood floors, or fresh, clean eating, and expecting good behavior from your kids,
but when it keeps you from being real-
there is a problem.

This isn't a ticket for laziness and being idle.
That can be an idol, too.
It is simply encouragement to center our hearts on the cross
and look to Christ as our Perfector of all things.
It is encouragement to let down our walls and the quest for perfection
and to live a full life.

The Happenings






The cold just recently rolled in, so we had to bust out the heavy coats and hats.
My laundry room will be a gathering place for all things "winter outerwear"
for the next six months, at least.
Since I anticipate a long winter again (wasn't it just last winter???)
I have been ushering the big kids outside every day.
They are digging holes and building a new house under the deck.
The two little girls and I sit by the living room windows and watch them work.

I have been slowly replacing summer prints with fall/winter prints.
I love the changing seasons,
 but sometimes I have to force myself to do little things like changing decor.
I have also replaced my summer mugs with more muted, winter-ish ones.
If you are looking for some fun and free printables,
check out my pinterest board.
There are some cute ones and most of them are free- Bonus!

We have family coming in and staying with us this weekend. 
I am getting pretty excited to have some extra bodies in the house.
We are crossing our fingers that the wind will die down so we can 
roast some marshmallows.
The kids have asked me every day if we are still going to make s'mores.
They are making sure I don't forget the s'mores promise I made last week.
They will, probably, start asking for hot cocoa here pretty soon!

Have a lovely weekend!

Baby Gift Guide for the Momma-to-be


As a momma to four kiddos,
I have had my share of trial and error when it comes to baby products.
Each mother has her own desires when it comes to products,
but until you get to test those products yourself,
you are kind of in the dark as to your preferences.

I have a cousin who is due to have a baby this winter,
so when she asked what products I loved for my kiddos,
I thought creating a post for her and my readers 
would kill a lot of birds with one stone.

So, here we go...
this isn't a comprehensive list of all the items you would need for a baby,
but they are the items that if I were to start all over again, I would buy in a heartbeat.
  

BABY WRAP: Solly Baby 
Yes, there are millions of baby wraps.
Yes, many people say they are all created equal.
I say those people obviously haven't tried enough baby wraps-
sorry, no Moby love from this momma!
I love my Solly Baby wrap.
It is stretchy and allows me to get my baby snug and close to me,
but is lightweight so I am not a sweaty mess from all the heavy fabric.
This is my go-to wrap,
but I also have and adore my Lovey-Duds wraps for my older, heavier toddler babies.
Lovey-Duds is a less-stretchy fabric, therefore it is better for a heavier baby,
or an older baby.
These are great for a mom who only has one kiddo,
let alone moms with multiple children.
It is a MUST-HAVE baby item and every mother should know and adore
their baby wrap.

I realize first time moms might not think of a burp cloth when they hear the phrase "cloth diaper,"
but I assure you they are the best in collecting the spit up!
I can't tell you the countless number of burp cloths I have used.
Two out of my four kiddos have been big spitters,
so I went through multiple burp clothes per day.
I prefer a thinner cloth so I can manipulate the cloth under their chin as I burp them.
The thicker cloths make it hard to clean the spit up out of their neck rolls as well.
So, thinner and flexible burp cloths are a must.
If you find they are too thin for your liking,
fold them to create a thicker burp cloth.


Babies love to be snug and warm.
I have loved my Halo Sleep Sacks
and so have my babies.
They are easy to slide the baby into and as your baby becomes more mobile
and rolls over, you can still use the sack, 
just keep his arms free and not swaddled.
A new momma will need several of these,
unless she wants to do laundry all the time.
Between blow-outs and spit up,
one will dirty them quite quickly. 


SLEEPING BABY: White Noise Machine 
Some people make fun of me for always having my babies listen to white noise,
but all it takes is three, or four, times of your little one getting woke up by
another child, or a loud vehicle passing by their window,
and you will be on the verge of pulling your hair out!
My kids sleep so much longer and better with a quiet purr of white noise.
Once I turn on their machine, their eyes start to roll back and close.
I can also take the machine with me when we travel 
and it helps them to feel comfortable sleeping elsewhere.


CRIB SHEETS: Zipper Sheets
Zipper, what?!?!
Buy now... ask questions later!
Zipper sheets are the best invention for baby bedding ever 
and created by two ingenious mommas.
You have a base cover that goes under the mattress and you zip the top sheet on and off.
What's that?  Your kid leaked all over the crib at 2 am 
and you can't get the mattress lifted because of the bumper pads???
No problem!  Simply zip off the top sheet and zip on a new top sheet. Voila!
These also work wonderfully when you are potty training a toddler and there are
an abundance of potty accidents while sleeping.
They make life so much easier.


MILK PRODUCTION: Momma's Tea & Medela Breast Pump
If you plan on being a nursing mother,
these are two things I would highly recommend.
Any time I felt like my production was low,
or that the baby was growing and needed extra milk,
I would drink this tea.
I felt like I could notice a difference in my milk levels within a 24 hour period
after having a few cups of tea.

This pump is a must for any new breastfeeding momma.
It is worth every penny and has lasted me through four babies.
It is quick and built very well... get it!
I didn't use a ton of bottles with my kids since I have stayed home
since Ella was 6 months old,
but I do really like Dr. Brown's bottles and if I were to need some,
I would purchase the glass bottles from the Dr. Brown line.
You will also need nursing bras,
but I never found a brand I adored, so I am of no help there.
If you know of a great brand- leave it in the comments for other mommas!


CAR SEAT: Chicco Key-Fit
This car seat was one of the best decisions 
I made when putting products on our registry over seven years ago.
We have loved this car seat and we have loved the ease of snapping it
in and out of the car seat base.
I felt like it hugged my kiddos and kept them nice and comfy while riding 
in the car.
I don't feel like the stroller is as sturdy as the car seat,
but it really doesn't matter because the quality of the seat is so wonderful
that I ignore the issues I have with the stroller.


CAR SEAT BLANKET: Designs by Romy
Along with the car seat comes the need for a car seat blanket.
I used one of these for Guinnyth and really liked it.
I am currently waiting on another blanket in a different pattern to use with Julia.
These don't blow off your kiddo
and make it very difficult for them to kick off when you are out and about.
They come in such cute patterns and can even be customized.
If you live in the tundra and need more warmth,
simply put a blanket on your babe and then wrap them with the car seat swaddle blanket!
I have given these as a baby gift to several friends and they are at a great price point!


PLAYTIME: Play Yard
It doesn't really matter which play yard you get,
as long as you have one!
All four of my kids have adored using our play yard.
They lay under them when they are little and then the sit and 
bat at the toys when they are a bit bigger and sitting up.
It has allowed me hours of time to interact with my other kiddos,
or get house work completed because my babies love it!!
Since none of my kids ever took to the baby swing,
this was used a lot!

BABY MONITOR: Levana Keera
I received this monitor to review and Mark and I both 
thought it was a little silly to need a video monitor.
Ummm... we were sooo wrong!
We both love it and wonder what we would ever do without it!
It is in the girls' room and we have it attached to the wall.
I can zoom in and out,
pan across the room,
listen to them in the room,
and even talk through the monitor to them.
It is a must have, if you ask me!

Well, those are the "must have" products that I find super helpful with my day-to-day momma/baby tasks.
I know it is a short list, but I would purchase them all over again if we were starting from scratch.
I hope y'all found this helpful, and if you have any products that need to be added to the list-
write them in the comments!!!

Guest Posting // Feathers in Our Nest

I guest posted over at Feathers in Our Nest yesterday.
I am going to give you a little teaser and then you can head over there to read the rest.


There are some mommas who know in their bones they were made for motherhood.
They spent a great deal of their childhood playing "house" 
and dressing up their pets so they could treat them as their baby.
I was one of those mommas.
From very early on, I dreamt about what motherhood would be like.
To be honest, I thought about being a momma more than I did about my wedding.

Now, as a momma to my four little crew-members,
I can taste and feel motherhood in my bones.
I am on the battle lines of motherhood and it is so much more
fulfilling and overwhelming than I could have imagined it to be 
as my young self so many years ago.

With all the wonderful blessings that come with motherhood, 
there comes a fear- almost from instinct.
Being on the front lines can be suffocating and often times can make you feel
like you weren't cut out to be with all the other mommas in the trenches.
***

Click Here to head over to Aliesha's and read the rest!

Motherhood Monday // Motherhood as an Idol




I pretended to be a momma from a very young age.
I had looked forward to being a momma since I was 3 or 4.
I talked about being a momma with my friends and husband.
I waited, impatiently, to be a momma as a married, twenty-something chick.

I built motherhood up to be this perfect,
Gerber-baby-like experience.
It was going to quench my thirst and satisfy me.
I held motherhood so high on the "desire" scale that, pretty much,
nothing could compare.

Motherhood is good.
It is a gift from our Creator.
It is a self-sacrificing role that is important.
But, it can become an idol.

Motherhood is my mission work and my job.
It is what I do day in and day out.
It can very easily become all consuming.
But, it should not be my primary focus.
My primary focus should be to show them Christ and glorify Him.
Everything I do, think, feel should always roll back to Him.

If I choose motherhood to exalt myself and satisfy only my desires,
it is no longer a beautiful design, but rather sin in my life.
We can't go into motherhood searching for complete satisfaction.
True, it is an amazing experience that does produce some satisfaction,
but if we expect it to "complete us" then we will be left very empty and disappointed.

When we look outside of the cross to fill our hearts,
we will never be content or satisfied.
We cannot find it in our husbands, our kids, our job, our church-
it must be in Christ alone.

If you find yourself in the midst of motherhood and feeling dry, weary, and broken,
refocus and be sure you are looking to Jesus for your hope and security,
not your kiddos.

Fall Make-Up


I realize I am not the world's most influential make-up guru,
but I have been using a brand of make-up for the past six months that I love
and I wanted to share it with you.
It seems like everyone prefers a different coverage and "feel" when
choosing make-up, so to each their own,
but I love the versatility of the Root brand!

There are a few reasons why I adore this brand.

1. It was created and is run by a young momma, so I totally relate to her.
2. It doesn't have all the nasty fillers most other make-ups contain,
so it is better for your skin.
3. The price point is great!

I wouldn't consider myself a super oily person,
 but when wearing other brands of mineral make-up,
I would usually end up needing to reapply or blot by the afternoon
because my skin looked really porous & oily.
Root has great coverage and holds on for most of the day!

I also have quite a bit of scarring and redness from 
acne and sun damage.
Root does such a great job covering this!
I can't even tell you how smooth my face looks and feels when I wear Root.
The Pearl Foundation ($10-15.00) combined with the Setting Silk ($8.00)
works so well for my skin.


They have so many color choices and their pigments are super rich,
so a little goes a long way when talking eye and cheek colors.
Even though the colors look like they will be crazy bright,
you can use a tiny amount of product and get a soft look with them.
Just recently, they came out with lip balms and lipsticks.
I haven't tried them, but I hope to in the near future.
My lips below are a mixture of one of Root's cheek colors (Posey) mixed with my lip balm.


Mascara... let's talk mascara.
I love their mascara!  
It coats my lashes really well and doesn't leave them feeling clumpy and bulky.
Now, I have only recently tried this, so I don't how long the tube will last,
but I do know I love the product!

There you have it!
My latest and greatest make-up find for this fall!
Make sure you check it out.
Root also has samples they can send you so you can find your perfect match before 
paying full price for the product!!!

Giving // Operation Christmas Child


Every year, Mark and I do our best to get the kids involved
in something that brings a little perspective to their lives.
Them knowing how blessed they are- both materially and with a loving family,
is so important to us as parents.

Usually, one of the things we do with the kids is fill a shoe box
for less fortunate kiddos.
This happens around Christmas time, so it is a fun way to get them in the 
giving spirit, instead of always naming off the things they want.
Nothing makes me cringe faster than one of my kids starting a sentence with,
"I want..."
Okay, maybe them eating a pile full of junk food while drinking sugar-laced
soda and watching Spongebob might set me off even more,
but you get the picture.
We want them to see the joy in giving to others
and take the emphasis off of always getting stuff for themselves.

With that being said,
I figured you might be filling shoe boxes, too, 
so I thought I would show you a few snap shots of items we are putting 
in our shoe boxes to get y'all in the giving mood, as well!

We usually have the kiddos pick things appropriate for their particular ages,
so this year we are packing a girl box for a 2 year old,
a boy box for a 4 year old, and a girl box for a 7 year old.
We aren't doing one for Julia since she is too young to pack one,
but next year she will do one, too!

All of these items are from Target.
Most of them are the dollar bin goodies,
but a few came from other areas in the store,
such as the "party favor" section.
So, let's get to it, shall we?!?

2 year old- Girl


Ideas: Socks, Coloring kit, Stickers, ChapStick, Fun Hair Ties, Tooth brushes, Play-Doh, books

7 Year old- Girl


Festive Candy, Playing Cards, Play-doh, ChapStick, Stickers, Coloring pack, Socks, Headbands,
Hair Ties, Tooth brushes

4 Year Old- Boy


Festive Candy, Fun Book, Tooth brushes, ChapStick, Playing cards, Socks, Coloring pack, Play-doh, bag of dinosaurs or other toy (such as mini cars, farm animals, etc.)

I hope these ideas help you get creative for your own shoebox friends.
We also spend a good deal of time praying for our shoebox friends.
We are still praying for the kids who received our boxes last year.
My kiddos each color a picture to put in the box, too.

Happy ShoeBox packing!!!

Motherhood Monday // Church Training


Believe it or not, I get asked quite often about how I get my kids to sit still
and obey when we are out and about, or when we are at church.
Most Sundays, Mark is involved with the worship service, 
so I sit in the front of the sanctuary with my my crew of four little ones
 and try not to cause too much distraction for those behind us.
As far as grocery shopping is concerned,
if my parents don't watch my kids when I need to get groceries,
they tag right along with me to the store.

Let me be frank,
there are days when no matter how hard I have worked with my kids,
they misbehave.
There are also days where no matter how much I have
neglected to train them, that they act like angels.
There will always be those outliers,
but for the most part they act the way I have taught them to.

I fully believe that I have to teach them what I expect of them.
I spell things out for them- word by word.
We practice good behavior at home,
and I always reiterate my hope for their behavior before we go someplace.
Before we head into church,
 I explain what I expect and tell them what the consequence 
will be if I am not honored during church.
If we head to the store,
I always tell them what I expect from them and how they need to be helpful.
They are also always aware of what privileges will be lost,
 or what consequences will be enforced if they don't obey.
I, obviously, don't expect perfection, but I do expect respect from my kiddos.

With all that being said, let's get to the training part.
Around 15-18 months of age, everything hits the fan with my kiddos.
That is when they begin to test their boundaries and they are on the go,
so they naturally want to be running around and exploring.
I remember last winter having a difficult time training Guinnyth to sit and be quiet 
during church time.
These days, she does very well for a two year old, all because of a little training.

This is how I do it... are ya ready?
We sit, for fifteen minutes, lined up on the couch, and pretend like we are at church.
That's it!  It is so elementary that it is almost silly.
At home, I don't have to worry about being a distraction as I redirect my child's behavior.
At home, I can let my child throw a fit and ignore it while teaching her (or him)
the right way to sit in church.
The main thing is to be consistent!  I use the same verbiage every time I am doing "church training."
"I have asked you to sit quietly.  You need to obey."
Say, "Okay, Mommy."
Then, you teach them what the appropriate behavior is.

Even now, if someone has a difficult time being obedient during church,
we practice our church-like behavior during that next week
while we are at home.
On the flip side,
if my kids are encouraged by others at church for their behavior,
I do try to give my kids praise and tell the kids "thank you" for being so obedient.

I also don't take "church bags" with us.
I did that with Ella and Liam for quite some time and
 realized they were more of a distraction than a help. 
 The kids would simply pull everything out, make a mess and noise, 
and then look at me and ask what they could play with next. 
 One kiddo would want what the other had, etc. 
 I chucked that idea and decided they could sit quietly for
 15-30 minutes once a week and it wouldn't hurt them one bit.  
They each have one snack that they can eat once the service has started, 
and that usually helps keep them quiet until they are dismissed for children's church.




So, that is what we now do. 
I hope this helped those mommas who are desperate
 for a little help in the "sit and be quiet" department.