Normal Gabriel and Debbie Mayes
englexas I think we officially have a new tradition! It's been so much fun to take each kid out on a 'date' this week. Today was my middle girls turn and of course we had to see Cinderella...we both LOVED the movie and watching her face light up when she saw the Prince was the best part! It's so nice to get one-on-one time with my little princess and do you see her pose?! she's a total pro! 1d

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Normal Gabriel and Debbie Mayes
englexas we took full advantage of out LAST (right?! ) snow today...sledding with little kids is always an adventure! 2d

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englexas my plan for spring break is to take each of my kids out for a one-on-one date with mama, today I took out little man...unfortunately we woke up to this! My hubby would like you to know that the current snow situation in Illinois is all my fault because I told him there would be at least one more big snow. You're welcome...I guess 3d
  •   madi_mae93 Hahaaaa!! I was out shoveling today "thanking" you for this snow since you so graciously spoke it over the Chicago area 3d

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Normal Gabriel and Debbie Mayes
englexas How do children learn to correct their mistakes? By watching how you correct yours.

How do children learn to overcome their failures? By watching how you overcome yours.
How do children learn to treat themselves with forgiveness? By watching you forgive yourself.

Therefore, your mistakes and your failures are blessings; opportunities for the best in parenting. And those who point out your mistakes are not your enemies, but the most valuable of friends.

You do not have to make your children into wonderful people. You only have to remind them that they are wonderful people. If you do this consistently from the day they are born, they will believe it easily. - William Martin
5d

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Normal Gabriel and Debbie Mayes
englexas @graybenko posted yesterday and I had had the exact same experience and taken a picture of it! I realized my little ones were waaaaay too quiet so I ran upstairs to check on them and found them like this...big sister quietly reading to her brother. In those moments you slowly, silently back out of the room and finish what you were doing! Thankful that these two were bonding and not destroying something! 1w

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Normal Gabriel and Debbie Mayes
englexas back to back appointments for tonsillectomy today...I took a second to just look at him and I can't believe how grown up this kid is! I'm loving spending one on one time with him...7 is my favorite age so far. 1w
  •   brechang Oh I want our 7yr olds to meet 1w
  •   nataliemolock Is he having his tonsils taken out?? Sweet boy looks so grown up!! 1w
  •   englexas @brechang me too...I bet they'd have so much fun!! 1w
  •   englexas @nataliemolock that's what we're thinking...I'm a little nervous! 1w
  •   nataliemolock Praying for your sweet boy. And for you! I know the feeling, when Josiah had his tubes put in and adenoids removed I was so nervous. But it was the best thing for him! 1w

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englexas I received one of the most thoughtful gifts ever yesterday. A friend gave me a wooden box with a feather (that matches our tattoo) burned into the lid and the name of our baby on the inside. Now I have a place to store my ultrasound pics, letters and even all the little feathers my kids bring me to remind me of our baby in heaven. I still cry every time I think of all the time and effort put into this special gift that I will cherish for the rest of my life. 1w

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Normal Gabriel and Debbie Mayes
englexas Healing is such a strange thing. If you would have asked me a few weeks ago I would've told you I was 90% healed from my miscarriage back in October. Things are difficult now and then but for the most part I felt like I had "recovered". But a couple of weeks ago something unexpected happened...I was shopping at target and I accidentally made a wrong turn and found myself walking down the baby aisle. I walked down the aisle filled with everything I should be shopping for and all of a sudden grief hit me right in the heart. One of those darts that I've become familiar with, an unexpected moment will happen and all that grief and pain will come flooding back in an instant and I feel like I'm right back to the first day we lost our baby. I realized in that moment that I'm never going to be completely healed and that there will always be moments when something hits me at the right spot and brings it all back. These moments are becoming fewer but remembering that I'm never going to be completely "recovered" allows me to be able to find a strange sense of peace in those moments. I will never forget because there will always be reminders. This month leading up to my due date (March 28th) has been particularly raw for me, I'm conscious more than ever of my loss and trying to turn my pain over to the One who heals in every moment. I was trying to take more pictures of me with my kids and although I "failed" at a selfie when I saw this picture I realized that I accidentally captured an "in between" moment and do you see my face? That's my "I love you more than anything ever" face...I appreciate and love my husband and babies more than ever right now and these are the moments I want them to remember. 2w
  •   brechang Oh sweet momma! Praying for you. Thank you for sharing! 2w
  •   slightlycosmo Hugs to you! I had a number of losses/failed fertility procedures, and it was just as you described! I'm coming up on 5 years since a particularly major loss at the beginning of the second trimester on Mother's Day, and I'm finding myself in a weird heart space again, quite unexpectedly. I thought I was good, thought I'd come to terms, and I've had two babies since then. But I feel a little raw and tentative again. As I've talked to other moms who've experienced loss, I've come to feel this is normal. It also feels different each time, and I'm thankful that each new season brings a new level of soul healing. I hope you find the same. I'm sorry for your loss! 2w
  •   kukothebrave 2w
  •   hillgaz50 Always in our thoughts and prayers 2w
  •   cassiebryant Grief creeps in unexpectedly...i miscarried a year ago and have a newborn and I still cry about our loss. I think the loss will always be tender, which gives us a new capacity to relate and empathize with others grieving. 2w
  •   breemilrod Someone once told me in response to my miscarriage, there will always be a scar, but it won't always hurt so badly. Praying for you and your sweet family as you continue to walk through it. 2w
  •   withlovekacie 2w
  •   _mckenzie_lee You're in my heart.. you're one of the strongest women I know. 2w

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Normal Gabriel and Debbie Mayes
englexas It's SO refreshing to finally have warmer temps! I'm trying to not get too excited though, I know the snow will return at least two times before spring is officially here. We just had to get outside after being cooped up all winter...boots required, it's a muddy mess out there with all the melted snow! 2w

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Normal Gabriel and Debbie Mayes
englexas After lunch I told my girl "I want to do one of my favorite things in the world right now"...she looked at me and whispered "eat chocolate?!"...ha! She knows me too well!! I actually meant snuggle in bed and take a nap with her so we decided to have the best of both worlds! chocolate in bed and a nap! p.s you need to try Terry's Chocolate Orange...I've been eating them since I was a kid and they're amazing! 2w

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Normal Gabriel and Debbie Mayes
englexas this whole matching with our kids thing might just have to become a Sunday tradition...I feel so blessed today to have such an amazing husband and kids! 3w

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Normal Gabriel and Debbie Mayes
englexas I've been thinking a lot about being "comfortable" recently...it seems like so much of our energy goes into making life as comfortable as we can possibly be. But is that even possible? In my life it seems like every time I start to reach a place of comfortable, something shifts and we're back to being uncomfortable again. I think it's because we aren't created to be comfortable, when your comfortable you aren't growing. When your comfortable, your settling for things just being the way they are.
I'm reading Daring Greatly right now and I love this quote "the big challenge for leaders is getting our heads and hearts around the fact that we need to cultivate the courage to be uncomfortable and to teach the people around us how to accept discomfort as a part of growth." I hope to teach my children that there will always be difficult things in their life and how they deal with them is really the key. We can try to avoid uncomfortableness as much as possible but it will always chase us down. It's better to just accept the discomfort and see how you can grow from it. In yoga we call it "taking it to your edge"...getting so far into a pose that it is uncomfortable but not painful and holding there. If I only ever stuck to comfortable poses, I'd never get any stronger.
3w

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Normal Gabriel and Debbie Mayes
englexas napping ninja...this kid cracks me up all the time. I can't actually believe he fell asleep like this, never a dull moment around here! 3w

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Normal Gabriel and Debbie Mayes
englexas it's been pretty amazing to see big brother and sisters love for reading rub off on him...unfortunately, being the youngest of the three has meant not much 1-on-1 reading time for him but I seem to always find him somewhere in the house, checking out a book. 3w

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Ludwig Gabriel and Debbie Mayes
englexas this morning when we were getting ready for church I realized that she owned almost the exact same outfit I was wearing...lucky for me, when I asked her if she wanted to match she obliged. I'm gonna match her as long as she lets me! 4w

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Normal Gabriel and Debbie Mayes
englexas enjoyed so much good girl time the last few days...I can't even remember the last time I had a manicure! I had so much fun hanging out with you @jodygray, thanks for being such a wonderful host! Hopefully we won't have to wait too long til next time. Thanks for letting me borrow your wife for a few days @zachgray! 4w

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Normal Gabriel and Debbie Mayes
englexas Did you know I LOVE to travel?! Everything about it...flying, exploring and being spontaneous. For the last 7 years of motherhood travel has been few and far between. I'm so thankful, now that the kids are a little older my sweet husband (who knows my adventurous spirit) has been able to bring me along on some of his trips...I'm feeling so blessed today that I have the opportunity to travel with him, explore a new city, meet new friends and it's all because we have friends at home that love and care for our littles while we're gone...hello there Nashville, checking you off my bucket list! 4w

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1mon englexas
Normal Gabriel and Debbie Mayes
englexas we hit a HUGE milestone over the weekend...big brother actually ASKED to read to his siblings!! He had a really hard time with reading but his 1st grade teacher has really encouraged and helped him find confidence...seeing how much she has impacted his learning has been wonderful to watch and we're so proud of him! 1mon

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1mon englexas
Normal Gabriel and Debbie Mayes
englexas Today I thought I would kill two Instagram tags with one stone… since I hate taking selfies of myself! I was tagged by @antlersandroses @syblizzle and @justcallme_tay (sorry it's taken me so long ladies!) for the #20beautifulwomenchallenge
I'm a 30 year old mama of 3 babies on earth and one baby that would've been due March 28th...In the last two years we moved to Illinois, started a church, became a yogi, had another family move in with us, got pregnant, lost our baby, relaunched my photography business and lots of craziness in between...it's been an interesting few years but I've been learning that I don't have the strength to handle all that comes my way in life, it's only by Christ's strength that we've made it through all of these challenges.
I tag @yanpalmer @greybenko @abiqphoto @herwelshness and @mamawatters...all beautiful women who don't show us their faces nearly enough!! I'm also sneaking in my #fridayintroductions with @thetinytwig and @jessaconnolly! The question today is what's one thing that always came natural to you...for me that would be empathy...I've always had a really good sense of people's emotions and wanting to help them, I even struggle in yoga class to not give pointers to the people around me!
1mon

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1mon englexas
Normal Gabriel and Debbie Mayes
englexas I'm not gonna lie, part of me is feeling a tiny bit smug that a lot of the country is (finally) experiencing winter weather the way that it's been for us ever since we moved to illinois! Over here it's business as usual...freezing temps and snow can't keep us inside! 1mon

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