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I’m a sucker for magic and now I get to relive it all through my children’s eyes.

I mentioned before how I was anti-elf but have was sortof tricked into doing it. Now I actually kind of enjoying it. I’m still not one of those creative-Elf-placers. I simply move it from one spot to the next–But the excitement on my kids’ faces every morning when they find her (yes, even my son seems to be into it now!) has me on board.

I love the spirit of joy and giving all season long. I love hot chocolate and Christmas movies and music. And I love our quirky traditions. We have at least three weird family Christmas traditions.

One is getting pictures with Santa. But not just the Mall Santa–Though we still do that too sometimes–But full-on photoshoots with the jolly old fellow. We’ve done pictures with Jackie Willome four times now. The kids have a blast and I always love how they turn out. Next year I ought to video the experience.

santa-photo-shoot-siblings-1

So I have to explain this one. They were told to “pretend to be naughty” Lil’ J struck her pouty face and Big T tried his best to stick his tongue out. It’s a different side of my kids you usually don’t see here on my blog. I’ve actually never seen him stick his tongue out but he’s pretty good at jumping off of things and driving me up the wall. Lil’ J’s stank face is pretty accurate. The next few photos are more on the “nice” side.

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This year it was so funny because Big T knew who he was but didn’t know what to think of him. He kept grinning and staring at him. He seemed to dig it though, he wasn’t afraid of him like he was a few years ago:

sad with santa
Another quirky tradition we have is our dollar store gift exchange. Every year about a week or so before Christmas we go to the Dollar Tree and sneak around the aisles, shopping for one another. This is something my family started when I was a kid and we’ve continued it since getting married.

We still exchange with my sisters and mom, and whoever is in town for the holiday. It’s evolved into a white elephant gift for some, but I still try to pick gifts I think they’d like and use. My husband usually winds up with several back warmers or energy drinks.

springfree-presents

When we get home we hide in different parts of the house to wrap the gifts. I took the kids outside on the trampoline to get a head start on some of their wrapping. If it’s as warm as it was today on Christmas we may have to open some gifts outside.

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And finally, a tradition my husband’s family had that we’ve continued with our kiddos is opening one gift on Christmas Eve–The gift being new pajamas. We adapted the “matching” pajamas part to being just cute PJs that fit each of our personalities. When they were younger they were footies, but now it’s anything from a princess gown to a basketball uniform. I’m kinda digging the onesies still… For them, not me.

magical-christmas

There’s still a lot to do, and a lot of good to spread but I’m so excited for Christmas. I’m not ready, but I’m excited. It’s a magical time of year and I’m so lucky to spend it with these quirky family of mine.

Do you have any family holiday traditions? I’d love to hear them!


*Earlier this year we partnered with Springfree Trampoline to share some of our fun family traditions. From summer fun to holiday traditions. We’ve had a blast on ours and I’ve loved the fact that it’s the world’s safest trampoline. There’s still time to order one in time for Christmas!

He’s taking on the ship by storm. Two nights in and there’s no sign of this boy slowing down. Thankfully there’s a lot to keep him entertained. It’ll be nice when he’s 3 and the kids club is an easy dropoff vs the scheduled nursery times for under 3s. 

Lil’ J is in heaven. As expected. She’s making new friends left and right. More on the reveal later but for now. A couple photos.  

  
disney cruise pool 

It’s not uncommon for my daughter to be toting an art project she made in class when I pick her up from preschool. She puts her all into every little creation. When decorating cookies she’ll individually place pieces of sprinkles, and she finger paints with precision. She takes her time, and makes her work with pride.

“Mom, look what I made!” she said with a huge grin on her face as she showed me a little book she made in class.

Just as I focused in on what the title of her tale, another mother picking up her daughter read it out loud.

“Aww, she wants to be a mommy, that’s so sweet!”

In my daughter’s hands she held a book titled “What I want to be when I grow up is a Mommy.”

mommy when I grow up book

I put on a smile while I tried to sort out the emotions I was feeling. Was that disappointment? Pride? Fear? Confusion?

I glanced at a classmate’s book. Hers said “Doctor” in the place my daughter’s said Mommy.

Where did I go wrong? And where is this emotion coming from?

I noticed another little girl’s book said “Princess” and for a moment I felt a wave of relief. Of course these split-second thoughts that went through my mind were completely ridiculous, rude, judgemental, and everything else wrong.

“You want to be a mommy?” I asked my daughter.

“Yea!” She smiled back at me.

I looked to her teacher for reassurance.

“We asked her last week and that’s what she said,” her teacher said.

I thought about this as we got in the car and drove home. I was curious what made my daughter come to the conclusion that she wanted to be a mommy. When we’ve talked about it in the past she’s spout different things: A police officer, an artist, a newscaster, a teacher.

“So tell me,” I started to ask. “How come you said you wanted to be a mommy when you grow up?”

“Because!” She said as if that answer was enough, but continued after a moment. “Because you’re a mommy and I want to be like you!”

Texas-bluebonnets-girl

Like a stab to my chest I felt bad for my knee-jerk reaction to her job choice. First of all, she’s four. She has some time to decide her future. Secondly, the fact that she looks at me and says I’m who she wants to be like is a pretty big compliment. Yet I pushed on.

“You can be a mommy. You can be a mommy and something else too,” I told her. “Some mommies are astronauts, or chefs–”

“Oh I want to be a mommy and do the news, so I can go to work with you!”

It was becoming apparent that I was looking at this differently than she was.

My mom always worked when I was growing up, I never knew any different. I thought I’d be a mom some day, but I also thought I’d have a career. A “mom” was never on my potential career list. I didn’t even see it as an option. It wasn’t until I had children of my own, and then scaled back on work to spend more time with them, that I realized how much work trying to be a good mom all the time could be, and how important it could feel.

I hoped to be an example to my children. To show them that they can grow up and become whatever they want to become. That they could achieve their dreams just as I felt I had. I didn’t plan to inspire them in a different way–To want to be parents.

Since then almost every time someone asks my daughter what she wants to be when she grows up she says with all seriousness “a mom.” Occasionally she’ll tack on another career or two to the list, but most consistently it’s a mother.

moterhood-quote

Being a mother has changed everything for me. I don’t know if it’s like that for everyone. I imagine some manage to fit motherhood into their lives, I feel like in many ways I’ve changed my life to revolve around being their mom.

I’ve partnered with Sears to write about Mother’s Day and as I thought about how I’d narrow down what I’d want for the holiday, or my favorite ideas to suggest to other moms I came up with core things I think we all need.

Here are a few things I think every mom could use.

1. Love: Lots of love, encouragement, hugs, help, and maybe a homemade fingerprint card.

2. Rest: Moms work SO FREAKING HARD. Whether you’re working outside the home, at home, or “just” with your kids, it’s a mentally, emotionally and physically exhausting job. As counterintuitive as it sounds, little time away from those we love can be a great gift. I’ll give my daughter a few more years before I let her know what she’s in for.

3. Uplifting: We do so much for everyone else in the family, sometimes we forget to take care of ourselves. I know I’ll get my daughter and son dressed up to go out but stay in my yoga pants and ponytail to save time. What uplifts you? Time to meditate? Getting ready for the day? A new haircut? A new outfit?

If you fall in the later category, you may want to check out two great clothing lines from Sears that can transform and uplift any mom to help her look and feel like the amazing mother she is.

Here are some deserving moms who got an uplifting makeover from Sears.

Visit: sears.com/moreformom to see more of the beautiful new Metaphor and Canyon River Blues lines.

This weekend I hope to get lots of love, some rest, and maybe even a little uplifting or pampering. I hope you get the same!

As a thank you for the sweet mothers and moms to be and even the dads who love them who read my blog, we’re giving away a $50 gift card to Sears. Use it to get yourself something uplifting.

What do you hope for for Mother’s Day? Has your child ever said they wanted to be a mom or dad when they grow up?

Just leave a comment to enter, then follow the instructions on the Gleam contest form for extra entries. Good luck, and Happy Mother’s Day!

$50 Sears Gift Card

*Disclosure: I’m partnering with Sears as a Sears Bloggers Squad Ambassador to share my stories in motherhood, and helpful tips along the way. All opinions are my own. 

Decades ago our grandparents and parents only had journals and photo albums to keep track of our funny quotes, and photos. My mom has some things and notes from our childhood saved, but most everything is scattered around and wouldn’t be easy to find pinpoint.

These days we can keep track of so much at our fingertips. I have a folder on my phone of my favorite apps to keep track of my kids’ milestones, and our favorite memories.

Here are 5 of my favorite apps to track milestones that you should totally check out!

5-best-apps-to-easily-record-childs-milestones

QuoteMyKid

My daughter says some of the funniest things, and if I don’t jot them down, I’ll likely forget them by the time my husband gets home from work. Then I’m kicking myself trying to remember that hilarious thing she said.

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This app lets you keep track of the awesome things your kids say, and displays them in a cute text message-looking theme. The app is free, but I paid for an add-on for an extra profile so I could also add quotes from my son, even though Big T isn’t talking much yet.

Quote my kid app review Quote my kids app review

I love how it automatically tells you how many years and months your child is at the time of the quote, and you can add photos and narration to the conversation.

The more you get in the habit of grabbing your phone and adding the quotes right then and there, the more fun it is to look back and enjoy.

TimeHop

 Quote My Kid app review: The Best Apps to Easily Record and Track Your Child's Milestones Quote My Kid app review: The Best Apps to Easily Record and Track Your Child's Milestones
You’ve probably seen photos tagged with this watermark on Facebook and Instagram. I finally gave in and downloaded it after seeing them over and over again in my feed.

It’s an app that shows you your photos and updates from this same day in years past. You can connect it to your social accounts and allow it to access photos and videos from your phone and it pools info from those accounts and shows you where you were on this day years ago. This isn’t an app for record keeping as much as a time machine-like journal of all of your highlights. If you’ve shared it before, chances are it’s something you’d like to remember.

I don’t check it daily, but it’s fun now and then to peek in and use to take a walk down memory lane.

OneDay

The Best Apps to Easily Record and Track Your Child's Milestones OneDay App review

A lot of people ask me how to I edit my home videos. I’ve been doing video work for over a decade, but if you want to make movies in minutes, this app will do it. It helps you edit short clips from your phone together with some words to tell a story. It’s seriously perfect.

There are different themes for the videos, and prompts to record the answers to. You can also add your own text to the videos for $.99. Once you’re done adding all of the pieces to your video you just click the create my story button and it edits it all together with music and transitions, making it a beautiful seamless video with minimal effort.

oneday app review

Personally, I prefer to record videos on my cameras and edit them on my computers but I love this app for quick little videos to remember some of the day to day, or how my kids look and sounded at this age. Especially for things that I wouldn’t record otherwise. Like random tongue twisters and other little moments we can record when we’re bored.

Keepy

As much as I love sharing my kid’s accomplishments with anyone who will listen, I know it gets old. So though sometimes it SEEMS like I’m sharing every little art creation or dress-up session with my daughter, I’m really holding back. I love this app because I can upload pictures of their art, and little tiny milestones that only I, dad (and maybe grandma) want to remember.

Keepy App review

You can add video or audio commentary to each memory you upload too, so sometimes I have my daughter record her explanation of what she made to go with the photo, which is super cute.

The updates automatically backup to Dropbox too, which I appreciate. I’m hoping they eventually add a desktop/web element to it like Blinkbuggy (another app I like… Oh, there’s too many!) or a way to print these entries into a book once a year.

The Best Apps to Easily Record and Track Your Child's Milestones IMG_4914

The one (BIG) downside to Keepy is that you can only upload 15 memories a month before needing a monthly subscription fee for more. So far I haven’t hit that limit, so it seems ok. But when they’re older and doing more awesome things on a more frequent basis, I may need to consider upgrading.

You can also invite family members to check out what you post, and backup all of your uploads to dropbox, and save to share with your kids at a later date.

Lyve

Between three iPads, three iPhones, DSLRs and two Macs, we have photos and videos all over the place, and this keeps them all synced.

Lyve app review

I can view photos I saved on my computer from my phone using my Lyve App. And if you aren’t all on the same operating system, this is a great way to keep it all synced. I love that it automatically sends photos from my phone to my computer so I don’t have to connect it to upload.

lyve app review lyve app reviewLyve app review

Like TimeHop, it also shows memories from each day. But instead of pulling from my social updates it shows all the photos and videos I’ve taken from that day that are saved on my computer, phone, or other devices.

lyve app review lyve app review

I like that my daughter can take photos on our old iPhone, then I can view them later on mine, and we can connect the app to our TV and watch a slideshow of them together.

The app is free to use.

If you have a Lyve Home device too, your photos and videos will automatically be backed-up to that device which is great in case you lose your phone or if you want to delete photos off your phone and free up some precious storage space. I have tens of thousands of videos and pictures stored on my Lyve Home and have hardly made a dent in the storage.

Giveaway!

And today I’m giving another one of these bad boys away! It’s a $299 value.

lyve home reveiw

If you want to enter the the giveaway, just do the following:

1. Download the Lyve app for your phone or tablet (iOS or Android)

2. Find a picture that brings back good memories.

3. Share your feelings about it in the comments below!

If you want you can also share your photo on social media with the hashtag #MemoryLane and let me know so I can comment on it! Just leave a link to your share in your comment.

Do you have a favorite memory-keeping app I didn’t mention today? Let me know!

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Note: Lyve will verify that the winner has created a Lyve account. Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST May 22, 2015. Open to US residents 18+. Winner will be notified via email and have 48 hours to claim their prize or another winner will be chosen.

**Winner Alert: Random.org #1: cindysn who said “I love lyve!!! I am looking back on his newborn pics and I just cant believe that he was that tiny.”**

Even before my daughter could talk, our bedtime routine would be extended time and time again as she’d bring me another book, then another. She’s never been good at taking no for an answer.

She loves stories. Whether we’re making them up on the fly, or reading them out of books. She can never have enough.

biracial siblings

Recently we started (and just as quickly finished) reading The Princess in Black. A friend of mine recommended it to us since she likes princesses. It’s a short chapter book with photos, about a princess who is also a super hero (but no one knows this, because it’s her secret). She fights monsters and saves the day. So adorable, and easy to read. Lil’ J was hanging onto every word. We read half the book before bed and she brought the book to me while I was still in bed the next morning to finish.

The Princess in Black

I hope her love for reading never fades. Reading can take you to around the world. We are also reading Anna Hibiscus. A book about a biracial girl who is half Canadian half African. Not as quick of a read, but also cute, and full of information that keeps Lil’ J asking questions.

She’s started to enjoy “reading” books to her brother. Brown Bear Brown Bear and Moo Baa La La La she has memorized, and she’ll help me read them to him before bed.

One afternoon I snapped some photos of the two of them fawning over a train book together. They were so stinkin’ adorable. You can see the rest of this siblings cuteness on my Tampico is Color blog.

texas bluebonnets

Spring is here and to celebrate the flowers blooming, I’ve teamed up with other amazing bloggers to bring you a KitchenAid Mixer Giveaway. Winner will pick their choice of color.

Spring-Kitchenaid-Mixer-Giveaway

So what are ya gonna make with this if you win? 

To enter to win follow directions in the rafflecopter form below and make sure to read the terms and conditions below. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TERMS & CONDITIONS: this giveaway is open to US residents ages 18 and over and ends at 11:59pm EST on April 28th, 2015. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. Number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Approximate retail value is $250.00 and will be purchased at Target. One winner will be selected. This is a giveaway sponsored as a group buy, which means the bloggers pooled their money together to purchase this product for you. All liabilities and responsibilities with product is directly responsible by Target. Winner will drawn by random.org from all verified entries, contacted by email provided, and announced on this page at the end of the contest. Winner has 48 hours to respond or prize will be redrawn. Entrant is responsible for the email address they provide, whether through typing it directly or through the Facebook entry method. Little Inspiration is not responsible for lost or misdirected emails. All prizes will be awarded. No prize substitutions allowed. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook and we hereby release Facebook of any liability. Facebook and Target are not a sponsor of this giveaway. Prize is mailed or emailed directly by Angie Ramirez of Little Inspiration and requires confirmation of delivery. Protected tweets do not count as an entry method for tweeting. Tweets must come from a public account. Bloggers in this group giveaway and their immediate family members in their household cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law.

My daughter has always been extremely generous. She’ll share her last bite of her favorite snack (unless it’s with her brother), and offer to help me when she’s in the middle of something she loves.

She has a HUGE heart. So it was no surprised when she said that one of her super talents (along with art) was helping people.

Last month Barbie sent us a cape and decorating supplies to turn Lil’ J into a superhero. And this month we put that talent to good. We talked about some ideas for how she could help people she didn’t know. One idea was donating some of her toys to charity.

Since she’s done similar before. I suggested we buy new toys and donate those instead. We found out that was a lot harder.

Help your kids find their superpower, then encourage them to share it with the world.

It’s one thing giving something you’re “done” with. It’s an entirely different thing picking out toys you don’t have but want, and giving them to someone else instead. The experience had some ups and downs but taught a good lesson.

Here’s a video of how it went down.

We took the toys to Partnerships for Children. It’s a nonprofit that helps children in foster care. I think Lil’ J was expecting to see some kids when we dropped the toys off, which of course wasn’t the case. But she did get to see photos of kids she could be helping.

Help your kids find their superpower, then encourage them to share it with the world.

Megan and Marcus helped her fill out a donation form, and she was so proud to hold it, and for what she had accomplished.

I’m so proud of her too. There was a moment in the store where I wasn’t sure we’d be able to finish shopping because she was so sad she couldn’t have one of the toys. I sat on the ground with her and told her a story about a Superhero an awful lot like her, who went shopping and bought special toys for kids who didn’t have new toys. By the end of the story Lil’ J was ready to finish the job.

Now I’m trying to keep her aware of her spirit of kindness, and doing my best to help it flourish as she grows.

Help your kids find their superpower, then encourage them to share it with the world.

( I asked her to give me a superhero pose and this was is… She’s a hoot.)

She might not be able to fly, read minds, or disappear. But she has the power to light up a room and brighten my day. I’m so lucky to have this little superhero in my life.

What’s your little one’s “super” talent?

*This post was written in partnership with Barbie in an effort to help our children #BeSuper. Lil’ J and I used our own money to buy all of the toys we donated to Partnerships for Children. All thought and opinions are our own.

I dreaded my son’s first hair cut for so long. I hated it at first. I missed his adorable precious baby curls. I happen to think he looks great with long hair. It suits him if you ask me. But as you’ll see, he looks pretty darn cute with a shorter fro too.

Surviving your child's first hair cut. Biracial boy interracial familyBut it was time for a change, and I compromised with my husband. He could get a hair cut, if we did it at Disney World.

Despite his first cut taking place at the happiest place on earth, I still cried.

I blogged about the experience on BabyCenter, but wanted to show off more of his new do now that I’ve gotten used to it and grown to love it.

It’s already growing back, been faster to detangle, and turned out to be a style he still gets compliments about.

Here’s my Big T showing off his new little ‘do.

Surviving your child's first hair cut. Biracial boy interracial family

Surviving your child's first hair cut. Biracial boy interracial family

Surviving your child's first hair cut. Biracial boy interracial family

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Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget

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I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

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