Homeschooling How-To.

We are going on year 6 of homeschooling and it is everything I’ve wanted it to be and a whole lot of what I never expected. For us, the biggest thing is freedom. Freedom in our time. Freedom in our play. Freedom in our vacationing. Freedom in how we teach each child. In so many areas, we get to design exactly how we see things playing out and how our children are educated. And we are able to teach our children in the best way that they learn.

When I first started homeschooling, I felt I had to do everything a certain way. Like I had to mimic what the traditional educational route had deemed as appropriate. Or that I had to follow what other homeschoolers were doing. And over the years, I have realized, I don’t. I don’t have to do what anyone and everyone else is doing but I can actually do what works best for our family.

We have tried multiple different types of homeschool curriculums and some we have liked and others we did not. We even tried a free online curriculum and it was good for the time we used it for. This past year, I actually switched the curriculums halfway through the school year. And then by the new year, I really started exploring unschooling more and began to play out our days in a more relaxed, natural learning environment. By April, when my 6th baby was born, we were pretty much done with homeschool for the year and have been slowly picking up some learning time this summer.

We make space for lots of imaginative play, lots of active playtime and lots of time for reading. I started my homeschooling journey very strict and scheduled and we are now embarking on a much more relaxed and flexible path. The neat thing with homeschooling is that you get to make of it what you’d like. 

If you are considering homeschooling for you and your family and you don’t know where to start… Google. Find out the requirements for your location. In Minnesota, we need to send in a yearly form stating that we intend to educate at home. We also need to do yearly state testing starting at age 7 that we can do from home. We use this one. There are co-ops you can join and there are associations you can be a part of like this one.

Start doing your research and realize that you don’t have to keep doing the same thing. You can find what works best for you. And it is going to look different for everyone. And it might look different year to year and kid to kid. There is an incredible collection of homeschool curriculums available. There are books and workbooks or completely online templates to use. You can teach your kids or there can be an online format where a teacher can teach your kids. There are supplemental programs that can teach certain subjects you may need help with. We have recently been trying Revolution Math and have loved it. The girls hop on Zoom once a week for an hour and get tutored in math. They enjoy that time and learn a lot from their teachers. Plus, I get a little break from teaching in the math area and there ain’t nothin’ wrong with that.

We like to use a lot of natural learning so visits to the Children’s Museum, History Museums and even just exploring the local park can be a huge part of our homeschool journey. There really is such a huge community and many resources available these days. If this has been something lingering on your mind, I encourage you to start here and start today. One step at a time and realize that everything doesn’t have to be perfect. There are detailed homeschooling planners available so you can schedule daily lessons for the entire year, if that’s your thing. Or, you can fly by the seat of your pants and take each day as it comes. 

A few curriculums we have used are Christian Liberty Press and Rainbow Resources. Some on my radar have been My Father’s World and The Good and Beautiful. There are countless curriculums out there and chances are, one that fits your teaching style and your children’s learning styles. Don’t be afraid to try them out and add supplemental lessons from other places as needed or desired. This year, we have been using The Good and The Beautiful Curriculum and I really like it. As do the kids. The lessons are laid out each day and so we can just open our books and dive right in. They have the perfect amount of work assigned each day according to the age of the child. I’ve really enjoyed this curriculum and all it has to offer and will most likely be sticking with it for a long time.

Maybe this was just the nudge you needed to realize it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. That is really is possible and can be a beautiful journey for you and your family. You need to start somewhere. I hope this mini guide with some simple resources gives you just a little insight into the possibilities. 

Bedroom.

This has been the first time in my adult life that we had a beautiful matching bedroom set. King-size bed with matching nightstands on both sides plus 2 beautiful matching dressers for my husband and I. It's something I always wanted but took us 10 years to invest into. I'm not sure why. Maybe it seemed like such an adult thing to do. For the past 10 years, I just found some pretty rad stuff on Craigslist and it always sufficed at a great price.

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But we were stepping into the big leagues this time and it was so exciting. We've had our matching bedroom set for maybe 3 years now and I'm loved it. But lately, I've been itching for a bedroom redo. But there isn't much to move around or change when everything matches. Still, I was ready to embark on a new style. A laid back, comfortable, inviting and rustic vibe was whispering to me to explore.

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You see, right now, our bed is set very high. Like you need a stool to hop on top of it. It's been fun but I love when the kids come in and join us in bed in the mornings (or the middle of the night) and its always so difficult for them to climb on. And as I am searching for my perfect bedroom renovations, I happened upon the wooden pallet bed frame. It sits super low to the ground and you can function it however you'd like. 

I was in. I wanted a wooden pallet bed frame and wooden crate nightstands that were nailed to the walls. Simple and super farmhouse(ish). There was no stopping me now. 

Enter the Lull mattress and Linens and Hutch bedding and we have a match made in heaven. And this time, we were taking it up a notch to Cal King, baby!

The process seemed long. Well, let's be real, it was long. Because we were in the midst of baby #6 being born and making renovations on our investment property. So, from the point of my dream being birthed to it actually becoming a reality was a longer time frame than I would have liked. But, here we are. My new bedroom done and beckoning for me to come in and enjoy. I absolutely love it.

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Let's go through my DIY project so that maybe you too can do a mini bedroom redo.

First, we collected 4 free pallets (these are super easy to find on LetGo, Craigslist or FB Marketplace.)  All of our before + after bedding is from the incredible Linens and Hutch. They have such a great variety with really fantastic quality. I've loved being able to use their bedding in each of our bedroom projects. The current Linens and Hutch bedding we switched to was this one and this one. My husband used leftover planks from our kitchen floor remodel and put them right into our wall as our headboard decor. The rest of our redo was done using items from around the house.

The lights inside the pallets used to be hanging from our ceiling. The rug, chairs and lamps were in my office and our playroom and now make the perfect little nightstands for us. I have LOVED having our bed so close to the ground. It is so inviting and lowkey. I've really enjoyed the end result. I liked our bedroom before as well but was just itching for an update so reusing many of the items we already had at home were a perfect solution. Basically, this bedroom project cost us almost nothing.

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Truth be told... its really hard for me to get out of bed these days... it's just too cozy to leave.

Retiring my husband at age 33.

It was never on our radar. Not even a concept in our minds. But here we are. I am 31. My husband, 33. And my work-from-home entrepreneurship journey has provided a way for me to match (and some months to exceed) my husbands' full-time career. All the glory to God. With combining my Young Living business + social media + my marketplace shop, I have created multiple streams of residual income from home. 

Since the day we got married, my husband has been fulfilling my dreams. Working for the past 10 years to provide for our growing family. (Currently on baby #6.) He made a way so that I could be a stay-at-home mom and homeschool our children. He worked his way up to be Dean of Academics at a Christian private school by age 28. He became Assistant Principal of a private Catholic school by age 31 and has absolutely flourished in his career. 

And he is so good at what he does. He always has been. He has such drive and loves to be challenged and better himself. He has hustled and left every workplace better than when he first came. And we just always figured that he would work until his 50's and we would retire with his pention in place and then go and travel and do everything we wanted to do in life.

And I've realized through the years what a sick and twisted mentality that is. I mean, really? Why would be bust our butts for 30-40 years and THEN do all the things we want to do in life. Let's do them NOW. Let's adventure and live fully while the kids are still yet young and do it WITH them. What is holding us back? Our own mentality of complacency. This is our ONE life we get to live. Why are we not living it for all its worth... TODAY. Taking advantage of every opportunity and joy-filled moment.

Being that I was completely content and fulfilled with being a stay-at-home mom, I had never imagined myself building a business from home. Especially being that I only have a high school education, I just never really thought entrepreneurship was something I would pursue. But God had different plans, and it has been the most exciting journey to embark on and add into our lives.

In February of 2014, I bought my starter kit with Young Living Essential Oils and basically just wanted to use some oils for my upcoming labor and delivery. I had no idea how much it would change my entire world. Fast forward 4.5 years and tons of hustle + passion, we find ourselves in a surprising turn of events. The opportunity for my husband to "retire" from his 9-5 job and pursue his absolute passions in life- which happen to lie within real estate. He gets so excited about it. He has done is part time for our entire 10 year marriage but has never fully been able to dive in because of all of his other responsibilities of providing for our growing family.

Can I tell you how good it feels to be able to make a way for your husband to also live out his dreams after his whole adult life has been spent providing a way for you to live yours? Brings me to tears just to think of all he has done to be the best husband and father to me and the kids. And in a way, I feel like this is small gift I can give back to him. The freedom and flexibility for him to do exactly what he wants to do full-time. He loves helping people find their home. He loves real estate investments. It makes him tick- gets him pumped up. He's always thinking outside the box and coming up with innovative ways to make a mark and progress forward. He astounds me. He also scares me a little bit with his big dreams, but I do the same to him with my dreams.

And one of the most rewarding parts is that we get to do it together. We get to unite together in both of our businesses, bring our kids along for the ride and cherish TIME over money. Because we are no longer clocking in and out to receive a paycheck. We both are creating residual income that allows us cherish what matters most each day. We get to homeschool/unschool our children together and raise them up to know Jesus. We get to invest into our community. We get to pour into our teams. We get to travel whenever we'd like. There are no hinderances holding us back. We are living the life we design.

And as crazy as it all sounds, it wasn't the easiest decision to make. Seborn had it pretty good. He had a low-stress job. He was home by 4/4:30pm every day. He had summers off + all holidays and school breaks. We had awesome health and dental insurance for the entire family. He had a pention for when he retired. He had yearly pay increases. We were comfy. We were cozy. We didn't need to rock the boat at all. And we were tempted not to. Especially me. Because why not capitalize on the situation and have him continue working and keeping us in this comfort zone and then everything I make is just extra. That's what I really wanted to do.

But wow. How selfish. This man, who has worked and hustled for 10 years to make it possible for me to daily live my dreams and then also support me when I decide to pursue an at-home business and yet... I want him to stay put and not pursue his own dreams and passions because of what? Comfort? Health Insurance? Security that the world offers verses faith that moves mountains. I had it twisted.

And God continued to soften my heart and get to a place where I would trust and believe and be able to dive in. Truth is, I can't stand saying goodbye to my husband in the morning. It feels wrong. It feels stupid that he only gets to see our children on nights and weekends. He is such a driven man and probably will always "work" to some capacity but we don't feel it has to look like it does for the rest of the world.

The fact that I can wake up to him every morning and no longer have to say goodbye is the sweetest perk. That I can roll over and snuggle him while the kids jump into bed with us. Like every morning is a Saturday morning. That each day will hold something new and we will get to walk it out as a family. That we will be able to help one another flourish in our businesses while we spend precious time with our kids. And create a legacy for them. Build an empire that they can join in on us with. 

It's not anything we ever thought would be a reality for us. Especially at such a young age but we are so grateful. We are taking a leap of faith and making it happen. We could wait. We could get more established, have more security and stability in the transition but we aren't promised tomorrow. So, we are going to live today for everything it has to offer.

That being said, if you are looking for a reliable and passionate realtor, contact Seborn Yancy and he will be by your side. Even if you are not in Minnesota, he can help you get connected with a great realtor in your state within his network. 

Dad Takeover.

My hubby took over my Instagram account for a morning out with the kiddos at the Mall of America. They went to the Scooby-Doo Doo Good Hunger Campaign and had a blast spreading the word about how we can all help in the fight against hunger.

Teaming up with so many phenomenal businesses and campanies, including Funko Pop, Box Lunch, Generation On, Feeding America and Scooby Doo, himself, the event was just fantastic. See how you can be a part of it and make a difference here. #wbsponsored #ad 

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While at the event, they really dove into how anyone can help the fight against hunger. There are three ways to donate for the #DooGood movement and one of them is writing a letter to Congress. Each of the kids sat down to do just that. No matter how small you feel your contribution is, lots of hands make a big impact and a difference. 

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Encourage your own children to find creative ways to impact your community and help those in need. 

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Your purchases of Funko Pop Scooby-Doo toy also helps in the mission of Doo Good campaign. Because 1 in 6 kids do not know where they will get their next meal from. 

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It was so neat to see my husband and kids be a part of this amazing campaign and see the things they can tangibly do to #doogood.

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Smilo.

That new baby scent. That soft newborn cry. (In our case, a loud screech immediately upon disapproval or disapointment.) All the newness that comes with adding a baby to the family. We are feeling and living it all right now. And I am partnering with Smilo to share about this precious time. #partner (Check out these fantastic milestone cards they have!)

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Little baby Arrow was born April 28 and it's been a wild ride. She has been our most, how shall I say, "demanding" baby and is very particular about how she wants things done. At least I'm never left guessing because she knows exactly what she wants and when she wants it.

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Really cool thing, we discovered Smilo and they've had some great products to integrate into our transition of life with baby Ro. They have some exceptional products to aid our growing family when it comes to nuturing and soothing a newborn. Plus, they have a fantastic new sippy cup where no mold can grow and that is a biggie for us!

When our first baby was born, we were adamant not to give her a paci and now we are like, "GIVE ME ALL THE PACI'S!" Seriously. And Smilo has a bomb collection of different soothers for your baby plus the accessories to go with them.

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And to find a good bottle that your baby will enjoy is like finding a gold mine. Especially when they are so little and need all the nutrients they can get. We've loved exploring all that Smilo has to offer and the older kids have enjoyed getting in on the baby fun too. It's been a new season for us to walk through and its been really great to have some products on hand to ease into the changes well. 

We got the newborn bundle (which also makes an incredible gift for a new mama) and it comes with bottles, pacifiers + clips, baby blanket, newborn flow nipples, bottle brushes and more. All your baby needs in one sweet package. We also got 2 different types of pacifiers so we could really find what our baby likes best.

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Having some good products on hand leaves more space and time for creating moments and making memories together. Go check out Smilo and the great stuff they have for your family!

Mixed Hair

Learning how to braid was one of the best skills I could have learned. Not only has it created great bonding moments for me and my girls but it has probably saved me THOUSANDS of dollars. It is VERY time-consuming but I would be spending the same amount of time (if not more) to bring them to a shop to get their hair done. 

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Although I did go to cosmetology school in 2006, I didn't learn how to do braiding there. I actually learned in a very unlikely place at a random time. I was living in some apartments while going to beauty school (maybe around 19 years old at the time) and there was a teenage girl who had just had a baby who lived at the complex. Loving babies how I did, I was drawn to her and we became friends. Somehow, in my short time living in those apartments, she taught me how to do cornrows and I practiced on my mannequin heads from beauty school constantly. I practiced on my little sister (bless her heart) and I practiced on anyone who would let me do their hair.

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Fast forward many years and now having mixed daughters who have very different needs for their hair than I do myself, all those hours of practicing braiding are paying off. And I’ve needed to educate myself further. And practice even more. I've learned about braiding and protective styles, wrapping their hair at night and smoothing down their edges.

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It's not something that came naturally to me. It's not something I easily picked up. It took time to research and practice the skill. And it's an ongoing process because I care about it. It's important for me to teach them hair care for their hair type and to spend time investing in their hairstyles. I can't just claim ignorance or make an excuse that I don't have time because you make time for things that matter and with technology we have these days, you can learn DIY skills every day! So, here I am, continually learning.

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Truth is, from start to finish process, it’s a 3-7 hour timeframe PER HEAD (depending on the style), but I’m so glad I can do it myself. (7 hours if I am doing start to finish small box braids, for reference.) I’ve spent countless nights sitting up in bed watching YouTube videos and learning different techniques on how to do crochet braids, box braids and tree braids. And I’ve practiced on the girls. And made horrible mistakes. And have had to take out styles that took me hours to do and then redo them again. I’ve learned how to best care for their scalp to their ends and how to bring out the natural curls from their gorgeous afros. These little ones have their daddy’s Liberian hair genes for sure. 



And being the crunchy granola mom I am, I don’t use many products on my girls hair. We use Young Living shampoo and conditioner + essential oils and coconut oil to moisturize their scalp. I use hair beeswax for their braids and locks and smoothing down their edges. And we keep it quite simple.



I tell them all the time how gorgeous God made their natural hair. They’ve all gone through a phase around the age of 3-4 where they ask to have their hair “down” (like mommy's) but it’s presented such great opportunities to talk about their unique and wonderful hair and how it is perfect just as it is. And more of then than not, they want to rock to rock their natural afros the majority of the time. Because I am still teaching them how to care for their own hair along with me, we venture into many different styles so they can learn themselves. 

 

I love that I get to be the one to do their hair and I get to be the one to teach them how to do it one day as well. It's another thing to add to the "to-do" list and many more hours a week of something I need to accomplish, but I consider it a blessing to do so. 

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Placenta.

Let's just be very clear here right from the start. I am FULLY aware that this is weird, crazy and... "disgusting" to some people. Now, that we have that out of the way, let me tell you WHY I eat my placenta. 

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This will be my 4th time doing so and the benefits are crazy good. The first time I heard about people doing this, I thought they were absolutely crazy bonkers. But then, on my 3rd kid in, I tried it out and felt the difference for myself.

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Now, you can pick and choose how you "take" your placenta but I will share with you how I utilize it's goodness.

1. Raw smoothie (drinking within 1-2 days after birth)

2. Capsules (ingesting using dehydrated placenta + herbs)

3. Tincture (ingesting using a method with soaking the placenta in vodka for 6 weeks)

4. Salve (heating dehydrated placenta with ghee/oil for topical application)

Now that I have thoroughly grossed you out, let me count just some of the ways that the placenta is so good for new mamas. Your placenta is FILLED with nutrients and hormones specifically beneficial to your own body because your own body created it. After all, your baby THRIVED and GREW in it and got everything she needed from it for like 10 freakin' months!

1. It contains your own natural hormones.

2. It is specifically and perfectly made for you.

3. It replenishes your depleted iron.

4. Gives you more energy.

5. Helps your uterus to return to pre-pregnancy state sooner.

6. Helps to increase milk production.

7. It lessens your postnatal bleeding. Seriously.

8. It balances your system.

9. Helps prevent baby blues and postpartum depression.

10. Encapsulation pills can be frozen and used during menopause.

11. It stimulates the immune system to protect against infections.

12. Boosts energy and helps recovery from stressful times and events.

13. Anti-inflammatory benefits.

14. More oxytocin present to facilitate bonding with baby.

15. Enhances wound healing and stop bleeding sooner.

16. Combats stress and unlocks energy stores.

17. It is completely natural.

18. Tinctures can be used when mother has PMS or menopause. Tinctures can also be used for your baby when teething, during times of transition, or when they are getting sick.

19. Salve can be used for perineal tearing, C-section incision, hemorrhoids, burns, diaper rash, cracked or sore nipples, eczema, and other common skin irritations.

Some people just do the placenta encapsulation and use it like a daily vitamin but I do like to utilize all 4 methods with one placenta after each birth. If the smoothie really freaks you out, let me tell you, it's not that bad at all. We cut off a piece of placenta about the size of the palm of your hand and put it into the blender with juice, yogurt, essential oils, and mixed berries. (I always use red fruit so that the color does not bother me because it can be a huge mental hurdle.) And I kid you not, it tastes exactly like a normal smoothie. I usually have my first one within a couple  hours of the birth and then we freeze another 2-3 more to drink the next day.

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The tincture is made by cutting off a piece of the placenta and placing it in a covered jar filled with vodka and letting it soak for about 6 weeks, spinning the jar every day or so. At the end of the timeframe, you sift out the placenta and the remaining vodka is your tincture that can be used into menopause if kept in a dark, cool place. 

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The remainder of the placenta is then cut up and dehydrated for 24-48 hours. It is then ground up (herbs can be added at this point) and the powder is placed into capsules. The salve is made by heating up the placenta powder with carrier creams/oils of your choosing. The capsules can also be used into menopause to help with the transitioning occurring at that time in your life. (I still have a jar of placenta capsules of my 4 year olds placenta in our freezer that I will take when I feel my immune system needs a boost.)

There you have it. My weird, crazy placenta adventures that I embark on after each baby. Normally, my sisters pitch in and create all this goodness for me after each birth but on #6, I had a dear friend that took over the encapsulation portion for me. She is incredible and if you are local to Minnesota, I highly recommend you try out her services. 

Ariel Ewefawda is a birth doula, childbirth educator and placenta encapsulator that has been a part of the professional birth community in the Twin Cities since 2016. She does raw and TCM prep for placentas and all her work is done in a separate workspace in her home. She provides a streamlined process of picking it up from birth location, processing it and delivering it within 48 hours.

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Raw- cleaned and dehydrated (energy boost and milk production)

TCM- cleaned, steamed with jalapenos and ginger before dehydrating (warms the body, healing, + hormone regulation)

Ariel travels within the Twin Cities Metro area (additional fee for further than 50 miles from Fridley, MN.)

www.birthtwincities.com

Ariel@birthtwincities.com

612.807.8363

 

Breast pump.

Almost 10 years ago, I bought my first breast pump off of Craigslist. It was all I could afford at the time and it was used and one side just really didn't have the pumping power that the other side had. Nonetheless, it pumped my milk. My husband was able to feed baby when I went to work for the evening. Janky and all, it did the trick. For the time being. Because it was not a long term solution. It would prove to be temporary. That little contraption soon tuckered out on me and I was left breast pump-less again.

Fast forward many years and I am sitting here with baby #6 in my arms. And I have been introduced to this amazing service that provides moms with a breast pump through insurance at NO COST. I legit wish I would have known about something like this back then verses cruising through the Craigslist files to find an affordable breast pump in decent shape.

I think a lot of moms think it sounds like a scam but I'm sharing about it because it truly is super awesome and was a ridiculously easy process for me to walk through. And it was so fast too!

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Basically, I filled out a form online. Super simple and quick.

Then, I got a call from a lovely representative who needed to verify some information (she was so pleasant) and next thing I know, there is brand spankin' new breast pump delivered right to my doorstep.

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Basically, the Breastpump Specialists do all the really hard work so that the moms don't have to. Which is pretty cool considering we are growing, birthing and nurturing a baby during these precious times in our lives. The fact that this service is readily available to moms to help support them is certainly worth sharing, in my book.

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So, all you gotta do is click here. Just fill out the form.  And you are well on your way to a free breast pump. And the selection you get to choose from is really spectacular as well. I was impressed with the variety they offered.

The truth of the matter is that you are working with people from Aeroflow Breastpumps who really actually care about your well-being and want to get breast pumps in the hands of moms who need them. And this the time in our lives when we need people and community the most. There are so many transitions and changes. Whether it is your first baby or your 6th, your breastfeeding journey is going to look different and feel different and there will be new territory to enter so if there is one place that can ease the transition, I'd take them up on the offer.

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Here is the pump that I got and totally love! 

Go ahead, make your life just a little bit easier and fill out the form today to qualify for your own breast pump. Let me know which ones you choose!

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What I move for.

As a mom... what drives you?

What compels you?

What inspires you?

Really... take a moment. Think about your answers to these questions. With Mother's Day right around the corner, take the time to reflect on your motherhood journey.

I've been taking the time to ponder about what I move for. What makes my heart skip a beat. What makes motherhood feel so profound?

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And for me, its the joy in my kids voices. It's their laughter and their passion for life. It's in the highs and the lows of each passing day. And it's in the way I see them learn and grow in who they are. It's in the adventures they encounter throughout our daily life and their pure zeal for finding joy in every day living.

Those are the things that make me move and want to be better. My kids are what I move for.

There are times towards the end of my pregnancies where I truly have this urge to move more. Where I miss the wrestling and the running and the actual physical activity I can't engage as much in with my kids when I have a big ol' basketball belly in front of me. I enjoy the journey and also look forward to "moving" more with the kids once I give birth. 

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And so, in reality and personally, I love that theory to move. Move forward. Onward. Further.

And in both capacities, Easy Spirit has helped me do so.

Okay, so they've get these great new style of shoes called Geinee and they are kinda the best mom shoes you can find. And when I'm talking about what makes me move in reality, these bad boys help me keep up with kids. Running, jumping, hiking, playing basketball in the driveway. Whatever our activity includes, I'm keeping up with it with my Geinees. 

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And when I'm talking about what makes me move in a more personal and figurative way, Easy Spirit still helps me because they are running their incredible #MoveFor campaign that serves as a reminder to remember that purpose in our motherhood of what keeps us going. 

And seriously, every mom needs a good pair of shoes to keep up with their littles (or bigs). The thing I love about the Geinees is how comfortable, light and uncomplicated they really are. Which truly represents the entire EasySpirit brand. 

You can get your own pair here.

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There are so many times the kids are running out the back door and I'm hustling to find something to slip on. Or we take a spontaneous trip to Target (you know what I'm talking about.) And all I really want is a great pair of shoes to easily and quickly slip on. Oh, and that don't look ugly. And here is right where the Geinees perfectly fit into my hardcore mom lifestyle. Because first, they look super cool. Second, they are ridiculously comfortable because of their great fit, breathability and cushioning. And that is what I truly need in a good pair of shoes. Third, they are easy to slip on and off because of their light fit and versitility. And keeping up with my 6 youngsters is key when it comes to the shoe department. 

I'm seriously loving my Geinees, ya'll. Every mama needs a pair. 

What do you #MoveFor?

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Arrow's Birth Story.

April 27, 2018 - 7 days overdue.

Mild contractions began around 3am that I was able to sleep through. Seborn left for work in the morning and I grabbed my whimpering 2-year-old, Zion, and brought him back to bed with me to snuggle. He fell back asleep and I got up to be greeted by my 4-year-old, Shiloh. We headed down to breakfast and sat at the counter to eat together and chat. Slowly, the rest of the kids began to wake up and come downstairs. I was having continuous contractions that were very mellow. 

I continued on with mild contractions throughout the entire day, normally about 7-11 minutes apart. Around 2:30pm, my husband said he was leaving work early to come home and since contractions were consistent, I called my midwife to fill her in on the progress. She made sure I was eating and drinking and said we would check in with each other later in the evening. I don't know why, but I was stormed with emotions and with the anticipation of my husband coming home, I threw my head down on my pillow in my room and wept. I was overwhelmed with emotion. Maybe fear. Maybe nerves. But I needed to cry. Hard. For just a moment. Then, I bucked up, prayed to God for strength and joined my children back downstairs for some card games.

I was so happy to see Seborn walk in the door around 3pm and I had prepared a meal for us all. After eating an early supper, Seborn and I decided to head upstairs really quick for some "bedroom time" to possibly get things rolling a bit faster. At this point, we've been going on 12 hours of labor and I am wanting to stop and focus during contractions which are now 6-9 minutes apart. Since it was already evening, we decided we would keep the kids with us (instead of having my parents pick them up) and just relax with them before putting them to bed. Praying and seeking the Lord for strength during this time as lingering labor is just not that fantastic to experience. We took a family walk to the park. It was so fun to see the kids running around and laughing and playing. It started to sprinkle so we walked back home and daddy took the kids to get ice cream. We finished off the night with family movie night with The Greatest Showman. We put the kids to bed at 8pm and I tried to keep it cool as my mind was swirling with emotions of this labor as I was kissing the kids goodnight. I had been trying so hard to stay in the present moment with Seborn and the kids all afternoon and evening but the thoughts of impending labor were consuming me as I continually was experiencing contractions and waiting for them to pick up the pace. 

Along with contracting all day, I also had excessive loose stool. I was eliminating every 10 minutes or so all day long. I was constantly on the toilet throughout the entire day and didn't even have much of an appetite to get more food in, but just kept having everything come out. This made for a pretty sore bum by the end of the day.

I took a relaxing bath with some essential oils and my contractions halted during that time and then I tried to relax in bed for a while until it hit about 10pm. I checked in with my midwife and let her know that I hadn't reached any further progression in labor so was going to try to get some sleep. Upon setting my phone down on my nightstand, I had a big contraction while laying on my side and it got super intense at the end and I felt a huge POP and then a gush of water. My water had broken and it was yellowish brown (meaning there was meconium in it.) I picked up my phone to  chat with my midwife about it and we said we would stay connected. Because of this change in labor, Seborn and I decided to head back downstairs, watch a show together and see if things progressed even more. My contractions were 4-5 minutes apart for the next 2 hours until about midnight when we decided to try to get some sleep. 

April 28 - 8 days overdue

Upon getting back into bed, our goal was to get even a little bit of sleep. I was able to calm down enough to "rest" for 10 minutes at a time before I needed to focus on an intense contraction. Everyone 10 minutes, I was awoken from the next wave. I'm not even sure how productive my "sleep" was in between contractions because my mind was overwhelmed with thoughts. This continued on for 3 hours until 3am when my contractions suddenly became more intense, lasted longer and were 2-4 minutes apart on average. I needed to get up from bed and be in an upright position for contractions. We turned our mood lights on, put worship music on and my diffuser. Seborn and I discussed if we should call our midwife and let her know about the sudden change of pace and so, at 3:15am, I called her and we decided I would give it another 15 minutes to call her again and see if labor sped up more. I hung up the phone, had a huge contraction and told Seborn to call her right back and to start her drive to our house. 

Contractions continued to come and were very intense. I am a diehard toilet laborer. Most of my active labor is spent over the toilet. My moans were becoming deeper and longer to help me get through each wave. My midwives arrived on the scene and quietly began to set up their supplies in our bedroom by 4:15am. All the kids were still fast asleep and I felt comfort in knowing they were all tucked in their room safely awaiting their sisters arrival. 

I didn't know how much longer I would be in labor for but I needed to hold onto Seborn for my contractions now. I told Seborn that I wanted her to be born before 6am. I wanted to give all the kids the surprise of their lifetime when they woke up in the morning. Off the toilet and into our bedroom while standing on a large pad, I held on to Seborn's waist during each contraction and watched the blood drip down from me each wave. I had 1-2 minutes between each contraction and would pray and my labor became a worship to Jesus. It felt so peaceful. I knew the next wave would be coming and I would be closer and closer to pushing. I anticipated the urge to push but patiently awaited it because I knew once I started, I would have to keep pushing until she came out.

I wanted to try sitting on the ground so sat between Seborn's legs for 1 contraction. Nope. I leaned up on my knees on our couch in the room for the next contraction. Nope. I needed to get back on my feet and put my arms around my husband while leaning forward. That was my position. And the urge arrived. Each new wave presenting the intense pressure to push. I beared down and pushed gently yet intentionally. I asked my midwives if they saw her head yet and they said, "She's coming soon, Meghan. You are doing great." 

The urge came  stronger and I pushed harder, bearing down as hard as I could. The head was coming out. I needed to keep pushing. I needed to catch my breath and make very purposeful pushes. Intentional on the muscles and force to get her out. Praying and pushing. Finally, her head was out. I always would hope that my babies would just slide right out after this part, but they never have. My pushing was not done yet. I tried to push the rest of her body out but she was so snug and tight in there that one of my midwives needed to hook her shoulder a little bit to help slide her out. After 3-4 more intense pushes, her body came out and I practically lept out to Seborn to hug and kiss him. Then I sat down and turned around to see my baby girl. She was perfect. Absolutely perfect. It was such a miraculous and holy moment.

Sitting there in the calmness of the early morning hours in our bedroom feeling empowered and capable at the miracle God just laid in my hands. There were so many times throughout this process that I wanted to give up, that I wanted to find an easy out but Almighty God brought me through it with such grace and faithfulness. 

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Arrow Journey Gray Yancy was born at 4:54am on April 28. I held her in my arms for 2 hours, sitting on my bed with her still attached to her placenta through her umbilical chord. It was so neat to watch my midwife push all the blood left in the chord back into Arrow's body through her still attached chord. The entire morning was so laid back and relaxed. I sat in bed and nursed her. She instantly latched on and we breastfed there on the bed so sweetly relaxed together. One by one, my other children groggily woke up and made their to our bedroom and rubbed their sleepy eyes to reveal their new sibling. It brought me so much joy to watch each of them crawl onto the bed and gasp with pure joy and gratefulness. I cherish those moments.

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After examining the placenta, Seebz cut the chord and held onto his new baby daughter as I went and took my highly antipated post-birth shower. Upon getting out, I felt so light-headed and needed to get down on the ground and regain some energy. Realizing how my body eliminated so much the prior day, giving birth to a baby and not being able to intake much food in the given timeframe, my body felt so depleted. And I was so grateful to be home. I crawled into my bed, all fresh and clean and snuggled with my family. 

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My midwives did the routine to check up on baby Arrow and she weighed in at 7 pounds 9 ounces and 21 inches long. Big girl all tucked into my belly because even at 41 weeks pregnant, I was only measuring at 35. The exam on me showed no tearing and barely even any swelling. Which means my healing will be even better. 

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I have been dreaming about these moments of after-birth for months. Waiting patiently to live them out. And we spent the rest of the day resting. Napping. Snacking. Snuggling. Family coming to shower love on this new addition and basking in the peacefulness of home. I'm so grateful for homebirth, my amazing midwives, and the sheer miracle of birth. God is so good. 

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The days to follow have been peaceful, calm and relaxed. My instructions are basically to rest in bed for at least the first full week. I love that. I allow my mind + body to rest while my husband and family support that healing time. Plus, I get such sweet time to bond with my new baby. It is pure bliss.

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On day 2 of Arrow's life, we gathered around our bed and my dad prayed a blessing over her life, praising God for every part of who she is. We all prayed in agreement with him and then my dad and husband anointed her with Frankincese essential oil. It was a beautiful moment all together and one that was impactful. God brought this beautiful blessing into our lives and it is with purpose and passion we gather to praise Him for His goodness. 

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