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Sole Hope Shoe Party

A post not about Nora? Whaaat? Don’t worry she’s managed to sneak her cute self in a few times.

Zach and I hosted our very first Sole Hope Shoe Party, and we had so much fun! So, what is Sole Hope? Sole Hope’s mission is to offer hope healthier lives, and freedom from foot-related diseases through education jobs and medical relief specifically in Uganda. Jiggers are an all too common problem that many people in Africa face. Jiggers are tiny fleas that burrow into a host’s feet. They lay eggs. Those eggs hatch and the process repeats. It can become so severe that the person with infected feet can no longer walk. The only way to remove the jiggers is with a needle or something of the like. Often those needles are re-used, further spreading diseases like HIV and AIDS.

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Part of Sole Hope’s goal is to put closed toe shoes on the children of Uganda. This is where a shoe cutting party comes in. During a party you make the foundation of a shoe. Those get sent to Uganda where tailors are paid a fair wage to make the shoes. Sole Hope then holds jigger removal clinics where they provide education and remove jiggers from sweet feet. Those kids are then given a new pair of shoes. Something so simple, but something life changing!! I greatly encourage you to check out their website to learn more. Or consider hosting a party of your own. You can purchase a shoe cutting party packet; it explains step-by-step what you need. So easy. Here’s a taste of our party. Huge thank you to everyone who donated supplies and time!

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Nora oversaw production of the shoes. She ran a very tight ship.

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Ah, sweet sleep after a full, fun day.

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Go play!

It’s no secret that I can be pretty passionate about orphan care, missions, and the like. There is something else I’m passionate about, playtime! Before I became a stay at home mommy, I worked with an organization called Healthy Families. Healthy Families does a lot, and does not get the credit (or funding) deserved.  The quick, watered down version of what they do is provide education and support to families of young children. Part of the education component is to teach parents the importance of playtime.

So here’s a fun post for all you mommies, daddies, nannies, etc. Go play with your kids! In case you don’t believe me here are some articles that explain just how important playing is…

10 Reasons Why Play is Important  

The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds

10 Reasons Play Makes Babies Smarter

So here are two super, easy ways to get creative with playtime. First up, sensory discovery bottles. *I apologize for only having low quality phone pics*

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So incredibly easy. I made three of these for Nora during nap time. Remove the label from some empty water bottles. Then add whatever fun things you can find around your house. The possibilities are endless of what you could fill your bottles with. One of our bottles has water and dice (Nora’s personal favorite). Another has a 50/50 mixture of water and baby oil with a few drops of food coloring. The last one has ribbon from a gift bag and some beans for sound. Seriously, how easy?! If you are putting liquid in your bottle I would recommend using a bit of glue to seal the cap on just in case. I used Goo Gone to remove the labels, so if you do that of course be sure to wash them well.

Because it’s not fun until you can put it in your mouth, right?

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The next playtime activity, is brought to you by a sweet 8 year old I get to hang out with twice a week. Sprinkle some baking soda on a pan. Fill some small bowls with vinegar and a few drops of food coloring. Give your kiddo a pipette or medicine dropper and let the mad scientist come to life!

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Again, this is SO easy! Yeah, I know. I have one baby; you have seven. I should just wait until I have a few more then see how much time I have for playtime. You can come back and say, “I told you so” then, but in the meantime, get to playing! 😉

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Life as a Stay at Home Mom

I now have ten weeks under my belt as a stay at home mom. And I know I am exactly where I need to be right now. Being home with Nora is worth every sacrifice. We may not eat out or have much “fluff” money, but for our family it is so worth it. So what the heck do I do all day?

I actually ask myself that question a lot. Zach will come home from work and as I reflect back on my day I think, “Where did the time go? Did I accomplish anything today?” It is an adjustment for sure. I like to get things done. I like to be caught up on laundry and dishes. I like checking things off my mile long to-do list. But some days, no most days that doesn’t happen…who am I kidding? That never happens anymore. If I really wanted to, I could get a lot more accomplished than I do, but it’s all about priorities. It’s more important to me that my sweet baby get quality interactions with her mommy than for the dishes to be done. Yet, often I still struggle. I get frustrated that our house is not as clean as I would like. I struggle with feeling inadequate that I wasn’t able to take care of my baby, go for a run, go to the grocery store, bake a loaf of bread, be completely caught up on laundry, and have a spotless kitchen with dinner on the table when my husband comes home.

Obviously the standard I am setting for myself is completely ridiculous. I am ever so slowly learning to be content with less. A lot less. God is teaching me to just breathe in these precious moments. He promises to thoroughly equip us to do His will. Which means He will give me everything I need to serve my husband and daughter.

Which leads me to the other lesson I am still learning. Oh man, am I selfish. My poor husband. If he catches me on a bad day, a simple request to bring him a glass of water when I’m already up leads to some major huffing and puffing on my end. “Seriously, I spend all my day taking care of the house, the baby, you, the animals. How dare you ask me to lift one more finger on your behalf.” I have really been convicted of this attitude lately. For one, who wants to be around a person that grumbles like that? I want my husband to look forward to coming home each day. I want our home to be a safe, peaceful place. It certainly won’t be that with the attitude I’ve had! Marriage and babies sure have this magic ability to show you all of the ugly in your heart.

I realize this post makes me sound like a really miserable person, but I LOVE being a stay at home mom! I love that I don’t have to miss sweet moments with my baby. I love that I get to be here when my husband comes home. In general, all things domestic make me happy, even the laundry and dishes. And as painful and uncomfortable as it can be to have the ugly in your heart placed in front of you, I am so grateful for this refining time.

I’m thankful for all of the snuggles

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The smiles

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The wonder at all things new, like watching the rain for the first time

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The milestones

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And even for the grumpy days

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So how do I feel after ten weeks as a stay at home mom? Well sometimes like this…

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But I wouldn’t trade this honor for anything in the world.

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