I saw Heavenly Father in several forms this week

So I know that may sound a bit weird to some people, but let me explain…

I’m certain many of you followed what was going on this week with my husband. It all started last week, when Josh got sick with what we thought was strep. Then it turned to what we thought was the flu, after a checkup at a local walk-in clinic determined it WASN’T strep, but most likely flu.

The next night, he was getting worse, but we couldn’t determine what was going on. He was in so much pain – to the point of breaking down, frustrated and to the point of exhaustion. It was extremely hard to watch my husband go through what he did.

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Finally after having trouble breathing, a close friend of ours rushed him to the ER. I joined him after my awesome brother and sister-in-law immediately volunteered to watch our kids for us, after finding out about the matter.

I got to the hospital to see my husband getting poked and prodded with IVs and blood being drawn. He looked pretty out of it. We tried to keep it light-hearted, but deep down, I was worried. They were doing tests left and right to rule out any possible problems.

It finally came back that he was at risk for liver failure. Now, I knew that wasn’t a good thing, but after researching it, it was more dangerous than I had assumed. This can cause a plethora of issues, including coma and even death. He was immediately put into ICU for further testing, and monitoring. This was two of the LONGEST days of my life. I tried to keep it together. I couldn’t stop for anything. I still had a family to take care of. But alas, every person has a breaking point.

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And I cried. And prayed. And cried some more. And prayed with my kids. The 2nd night, I laid in our bed with our sick 3 year old, balling my eyes out. I hate crying myself to sleep. I just wanted my husband home, and for this problem to go away. I felt so overwhelmed, that I asked everyone to leave me be. I just needed to be with my kids.

The day came where the doctor gave the okay for him to be discharged from the hospital, I received an anonymous note attached to our front door. The gift was so sweet, it made me tear up. It felt so nice and comforting to know someone was thinking of us.

So after all of that, you may still wonder why I said that I saw Heavenly Father in many forms this week. So here they are….

First….we had a huge push to go to the ER, and I know it was the Holy Ghost. I mean, this week could have played out totally different than how it actually did. If Josh hadn’t, there may have been a chance he wouldn’t have been here today….extremely scary to think about, and it makes me tear up every time I think about it, but it’s a reality. 

Second….my sister-in-law took NO time at all to step up and offer to help watch the kids for us. After speaking with her, we felt she was put in the right place at the right time to get to me quickly.

Third….the doctors were fast to respond and get a diagnosis. Their treatment took almost 24 hours, but it did the job!

Fourth…I had an over-pouring of messages, texts, and phone calls from many friends and family, reaching out to us with thoughts, prayers, and support of every sort. It was overwhelming in the greatest way possible.

Fifth…though it may not have been the best thing to do – we have security cameras all around our house, and after digging, we found out the anonymous gifter. I confronted this person with lots of love and thanks for their gesture. They explained to me that they were recently blessed and was asked to pay it forward, and after praying to know how to do so, they said they received a clear answer from the Lord that He wanted us to be blessed – basically that the Lord was looking over our family. Needless to say, I balled like a big baby!!

This week has truly been a HUGE rollercoaster of emotions, both bad and good, but I’m feeling strongly that our Heavenly Father has been watching over us, making sure we were taken care of.

 

 

Confession: It’s been several months since my last journal entry…

That it has. Lots has happened since November of last year. It’s now April…only about a week away from baby Ella’s birthday. I’m floored at how quickly this year has come and gone already.

So we moved in late February. We had been at our old house for 4 years. At the end of the four years, my husband decided to close down his business and go straight to just subcontracting, since we had no income coming in, at all, since November of 2015. And we needed a bigger house. Like a bigger house with a lot more room. And we got it! 

Although it was super amazing to start a new beginning, our struggle continued. For the first month in our new house, we were financially struggling….big time! For the first time in a long time, we had to depend on family, friends and our church family to help us get through the hurdles we were facing. It took us having to swallow our pride to accept the help. But we did it, and got through.

  
Josh and I share an office, and I have my own studio for Coupon Friendly, and things are looking up for us now. For about 6 months we struggled, and it’s finally calming down. I’m so excited to see what the rest of this year has in store for my family and me. I’m grateful to all of those who stuck by us during our trials and lent a helping hand all around. I’m grateful for the prayers and thoughts for us! 

  

Time to Simplify! 5 Ways to Lower Anxiety

This past Sunday, my family and I went to church for our Regional Conference, and one of the talks given was full of encouraged advice on how to simplify our lives. Our Heavenly Father doesn’t want our lives to be complicated, but unfortunately, we make it that way. We tend to overwork ourselves physically, emotionally…and every other way we can think of – and it causes our anxiety levels to skyrocket. This leads to more problems, which ultimately makes our already-high levels of stress to overflow. This. Just. Doesn’t. Work. Period.

While the talk was being given, my husband and I kept looking at each other, as if we were reading each other’s minds – knowing we needed to hear what was being said and reiterated. He owns his own software development company, and as the CEO, his job is to take care of everything…..

sorry…I mean…EVERYTHING!!!

Yes, he definitely has some great business partners on his side, willing to take away some of the burdens – but he’s the head honcho. If he isn’t spending time with his family, he’s working. All the time, he’s working. And I understand that, and as his wife, I’m on his side, supporting him. Yes, it’s hard with him not being around much, but it comes with the territory and he’s working 60-70 hours a week to not only provide for his family, but his employees and their families. Because they matter too!

And with that, I hold down the household while being a WAHM with Coupon Friendly. Sometimes…well, lately, most of the time, I’ve had to push my blog aside to take care of my 1st and best job – being a momma. Having 5 kids is no walk in the park.

I commend ALL moms out there, whether you have one or seven children. You’re amazing. Don’t forget that.

Without the help of my husband with the kids, I have to do double-duty. It can be overwhelming…and when I recognize it, it’s almost too late. I become aggravated at our kids, and yell. Often, I stop myself and apologize to the kids and let them know what’s going on, so in turn, they recognize it.

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Our routines have gone out the window several times because of these anxiety issues, and after that talk, I’ve realized that I can’t let that happen. I’m a much happier, more grounded parent when I simplify my life. I’ve gone to accepting that I can only work part time on my Coupon Friendly blog. My kids (especially the baby) really need me right now, and frankly, I need them!

So I’m sure many of you have felt the way that I have at least once in your life time, so here are a few tips on ways to simplify your life:

1.) De-clutter and organize. As much as I love my kids bringing home their school papers and drawings from art class, I’ve found myself overloaded with worksheets piled up on my kitchen table, entertainment center and bookshelf. My kids and I compromised and picked out a few each that they favorited, and I laminated them, putting them into a scrapbook – and threw away the rest! Organization is key!

2.) I made this video on 4 ways to simplify your life as a mom! Check it out!

3.) Accept that certain things will NOT get done that day. I cannot multi-task worth a darn. I’ve learned to understand that I just need to focus on one thing. If you can, grab a notebook and write down at least 3 things for you to get done every day, so you won’t get so overwhelmed. Do not overwork yourself….instead, make TIME for yourself. Take care of you!

4.) Scriptures and Prayers! If you’re religious, like me, then take time out of your day to read your scriptures and say your prayers, even if it’s just one verse. Being reminded that I have a purpose here on this earth gives me that extra ‘umph’ I need to take on the days’ challenges. Remember, our Heavenly Father wants us to be happy!

5.) Get your kids involved in the house chores. Don’t us moms normally spend the majority of the day CLEANING?! I know I do – or at least I feel like I am! My two oldest kids have 3 small set chores that they do every day after school, and even sometimes makes dinner for the whole family. It’s okay…and encouraged…to ask for help!

I’d love to hear ways that have helped lower your anxiety and stress levels. If I missed any, please comment below with them.

Breakdowns, Bullies and Babies – Moms, Keep Those Heads Held High

This past month has felt overwhelming, with my husbands minor surgery, the kids starting school, and finding out my (almost) 5 year old will also be having minor surgery….along with so many other issues being handed to me one-by-one, like a deck of playing cards. No matter how strategically my attempts were to score the royal flush, I was always falling short of the perfect hand. On top of that, my oldest daughter, who is in the 4th grade, was being bullied by a couple of girls at school, calling her a “fatty” on multiple occasions. All this has led me to tears, in anger and fear. With no motivation to do my job, due to the events, I’ve turned to my husband and a few close friends to vent to about my problems.

But you know, you truly don’t realize how minuscule your problems are, until something unexpected happens to someone close to you.

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When I had heard from my brother-in-law and his wife that they were expecting their second child, I knew how ecstatic they were. They had been trying for another baby for quite a while, so the positive pregnancy test sent them to the moon and beyond. But it was short-lived around 11 weeks after finding out their baby had stopped growing after 6 weeks gestation. I don’t need to explain how devastated they were at the news, or how the struggle is more than likely still lingering. I personally cannot fathom the idea of a miscarriage, but that day, I cried for them.

A few days after the situation occurred, I was able to sit down and talk to my sister-in-law about it, expressing to her how strong she was for pulling through this. We all go through issues every day, some worse than others, but we see her strength through the storm and are appreciative of it, reminding ourselves that things will be okay. It gave me the boost I needed to help my daughter with her problem at school, the surgeries, and prompted me to remember my blessings, instead of focusing on the bad.

I once heard that complaining actually releases stress, resulting in a happier frame of mind. While I understand the idea, I think it would be in my better interest to figure out how often, and the heightened emotional state I’m in at the time when the “venting” occurs. Because let’s face it, people…life happens. Mistakes are made. People make us angry. Things don’t always go our way. We are going to have times where we want to just let it out, instead of bottling it up. I’ve made the mistake of doing just that, and I caused myself to have anxiety attacks, which are in no way pleasant to deal with. With that said, I’ve grown to trust that life will go on. I must go on, not only for myself, but my husband and my children. And this is because of the strength of my fellow moms through hardships. I see their examples through their actions, their tears, their smiles. They inspire me to be a better person, and to make better choices.

So, to all of you moms out there who go through trials that I may not ever understand, please keep those heads up high. Please know other moms are watching how you react, and we want you to strive and thrive to the fullest. We are some your biggest supporters! Through the heartache and tears, we want to know that there is hope in this world to overcome obstacles that are out of our control. Your influence is our fortitude, and we cannot express enough our deepest thanks for it.

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I’m Happy the Kids are Going Back to School

Yeah, you heard correctly, and I’m tired of others making me feel bad for thinking that way.

I’m a happy mother of five young children. I count my many blessings every day for this wonderful life my Heavenly Father has given me.  Many of my close family members and friends have one or two kids, and a few have way more than five. Some of these parents even homeschool their children. I admire them, just as I admire two working parents. It’s not an easy job being a parent, plain and simple! It takes sacrifice, dedication, and a whole lot of sleepless nights. Some days are happy, peachy-keen, full of rainbows, unicorns and gumdrops galore, others – well not so much. You take what you can get, one step at a time.

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My husband and I had our 5th baby at the end of April, about 3 weeks before school let out. This sounded like a good plan – I could sleep in, I didn’t have to wait by the window at 3:45 pm to make sure the kids got off the bus every school day…I could just relax and let them have fun out in our back yard while I stayed inside, feeding and relaxing with the baby.

But that. Did. Not. Happen.

I was up in the middle of the night every couple hours with our little one. I was up between 6:30-7 almost every morning with the other kids, making sure they ate breakfast, read scriptures, and did their chores before their ‘playtime’ started. I was doing my own set of chores and e-mailing potential clients for my company while our baby was sleeping. As a coupon/mommy blogger, I had to stay on top of finding and sharing deals as well. I fed the baby every couple hours, played with her and rocked her back to sleep, while the other kids were getting on each others nerves (“Mommy, Mommy!! He’s copying everything I say!!”) As hectic as half the days go, I’m always trying to find ways to spend time with my other kiddos as well, by playing board games, coloring/drawing, taking goofy pictures, and watching movies with them. When dinner time approaches, my wonderful, hard-working husband (who owns his own business as well) comes home, and tries to spend time with all of us, before being pulled away with a phone call or a broken website that needs to be fixed pronto! I make sure the kids finish their dinner before returning back to their ‘playtime’ before the dreaded bedtime comes along….

….okay, well bedtime in our house isn’t really all that bad…most days.

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These busy days don’t count all of the doctor/dentist appointments, playdates, and other events we attend. Having five kids is hard. I would be lying to you, and myself if I said it wasn’t. Some people can make having lots of kids look simple, and fun. And others would say “oh yeah, I could totally do that! It’s a cake walk!”  I look at them and say “that’s not accurate.” But seriously, it’s not. School is now a couple weeks away, and I’m excited. And my kids are excited. We can high-five each other now! I won’t have an empty nest though. I’ll have my two year old, and my 3 month old with me while the other three are in school.

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I’m happy the kids are going back to school, and I’ll tell you why. As a mother, it’s important that I’m able to regain myself often, so that I can be a better mother and wife. Because us mothers give so much, and hardly get much in return. The other day, my husband texted me this message, “I just get worried about you when you have to give so much and work so hard to take care of everyone else, ” also including in his message about him watching the kids for me when he got home so that I could shower. We appreciate showers, don’t we ladies? Especially without an audience!

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But how can we be a better parent and spouse by taking time out for ourselves? Some people would call that selfishness. But it’s not. My husband plainly told me to imagine our family on a plane, and suddenly the plane is in emergency mode. The oxygen masks drop. Us parents want to automatically go into our “mommy-modes” and want to put the masks on our family’s first – when what we should be doing is putting a mask on first (taking care of ourselves), THEN helping put the masks on our children. If we don’t, we pass out, and we’re no good, right? Then who helps the children? Our jobs as mothers are SO important, but it’s also essential to take care of ourselves, so that our stress levels are lower, our minds- more focused, and our attitude- more positive, so that we can BE better mothers and wives.

So all of you mothers out there- if and when you can, take time out for just you. Because you matter too!

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Ella’s Spit-Up – How Do I Help Fix My Baby’s Issue?

Okay, so it’s more than just spit-up….literally!

So, I had a parental concern with my baby, Ella. And it’s something that bothers me to no extent, especially since I have never had this kind of issue with any of my other kids, besides my first-born, that only had breathing problems for a very short time during her first month.

When she was born, she took a huge gulp of amniotic fluid, which raised breathing concerns to the doctors, and landed her in the NICU for a few hours. It was the longest few hours of my life. Forget the amount of intense pain I was in (I had a c-section + abdominal muscle surgery), I just wanted my baby! Since being born, she’s done more than just the “normal” spit-up.

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She’s almost 3 months now, and projectile vomits almost every morning (about 30 minutes/hour after feeding). It seems to startle her, but she doesn’t act like she’s in much pain. She’s usually a very happy baby, naps often, is gaining weight normally, and spits up almost every feeding. We mentioned to her doctor about the projectile vomiting, and he gave her Zantac medicine to see if it would help. Every time I had given it to her, it made her spit up or projectile vomit.

I really hate seeing the stress in my baby’s eyes when this happens, and am worried that I’m going to have to stop breastfeeding and possibly switch to formula – however, I want to do what is best for our baby Ella!

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Does she have acid reflux? Is there anything I could try to possibly ease this issue? I can’t be the only parent! Please help!

I was grateful to those who have responded on Facebook, and have appointments with the doctor to figure this all out. I’m hoping to get more insight on the subject. Thanks for your help!

Dear Dad

My Dearest Dad,

It’s been 14 years since your passing, and I can still remember the phone call that I received from mom when it happened. One of the saddest days of my life, and still makes me tear up a bit. So much has happened to me within that 14 year period. Some parts I wish you wouldn’t have missed, others that I’m glad you weren’t there for. Did you notice how mom went downhill after you left? She was already unstable as it was, but your passing had made it worse. All of her kids grew up and moved out of the house as quickly as they could to get away and tried to retain whatever “normal-ness” they had left.

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When you married my mom, I was 7, and under the impression – because she said – that you never wanted children, nor did you care to take on the roll as “dad” for her 5 children. I felt it was nothing against us, because you made sure that we were fed, clothed, and had a roof over our head – you were just content with being “Robert”…or Bob, as we called you. But you were so much more than just “Bob” to us. You were the male role model that we looked up to. You were the dad that we needed at that time, when we needed you the most. Two jobs – you worked so often, we hardly saw you…but when we did see you, it was wonderful. You had set an example of what my moms boys should grow up to be, and what kind of husband my moms daughters should have – a hard-working, God-fearing man, who loved and cared for his wife. We were told after your passing that you had never really loved us, but despised us, and could only remotely come close to tolerating me. I felt deep in my heart that it was a lie, and here’s why: I remember one rainy morning when I was about 10, you took me to my bus stop to go to school, and I’ll never forget the advice you had given me. You said to never settle for less than I deserved – that when I became an adult, I needed a man who loved me unconditionally and who worked hard to take care of me and our children. What step-father would give such heartfelt advice to his step-child if he didn’t care? We meant something to you, just like you meant something to us. And that’s no lie.

Now, 14 years later, I’ve been married twice, and have five beautiful children…all whom I know for sure you would have loved and enjoyed spending time with. They possess so much energy and the goofy qualities that I remember you having when I was a kid. I talk about you often to them, and mention how much I miss you. My oldest, Hayden told me that she wishes she could have met you. You would love her, Dad…she has such a soft, kind heart, willing to serve and help others. Noah and Benny are my goofy boys, finding every opportunity to make others laugh. Sophia and Ella can melt your heart in every way. I just know you would have enjoyed falling asleep with them in your arms in your favorite rocking chair.

I unfortunately can’t find any pictures of you…though, mom gave me a box full of your military stuff when you served in Vietnam. When I clean out my garage, I go through it to make sure everything is in its place. I’m glad to have at least something of yours.

I know you would have struggled alongside us if you were still here. You had made your mistakes, but you were there to admit your faults, pick up the pieces, and move forward. I know that my sister, Shannon was thankful as well. Her recent passing was hard on me too, especially with the relationship (or I guess I should say ‘non- existent relationship) that we had the past couple years. I still loved her and thought about her often, and prayed….oh man, did I pray! Please, take care of her up there for us!

I’m grateful for the time that I got to spend with you on this earth. I hope you’re proud of me – through the mistakes and triumphing over them – of the woman that I was before to the woman I am now. I want to thank you for all that you did for me, my siblings, and my mother. I will never forget you.

 

With love and remembrance,

Kristin

My step-dad's obituary. My brother, Aaron is missing from the list of my mother's children

My brother, Aaron is missing from the list of my mother’s children