Monday, March 30, 2015

Monday motivation

I used to hate Mondays. I cursed them, loathed them, and wondered why God created them in the first place. They were a terrible reminder that the work week was beginning, and although I loved the kids I worked with, I was about to be bombarded with exhaustion, stress, and politics.

Now, I've come to enjoy Mondays. It's actually a slower pace than our typical weekend and reminds me that I have a fresh start to each week. A chance to be with my kids, a little bit of time for myself each day, and a reminder of how blessed I am.

This is not a post that is meant to be 'braggy'. Nor is it a post advocating for everyone to quit their jobs.

It is a reminder that change isn't always terrible. A reminder that your life may be entirely different and wonderful and surprisingly rewarding even though it is the exact thing you never said you would do//be. A reminder that what works for someone, doesn't work for another. A reminder that God knows what's best. 

My current life can be described as a stay-at-home-mom-shop-co-owner-part-time-waitress. Clear enough for you?? For me, it is the perfect balance of time with kids, time for myself with two dear friends of mine, and time to make a little extra cash//get out of the house.

I used to say, "I could never be a stay at home mom." Ha. Scoff.

Here I am with absolutely zero desire to go back.

My Mondays used to be filled with dread, frustration, and a sense of un-satisfaction. I knew something wasn't right. I knew it wasn't working for me. I knew something had to change.

I realize that not everyone has the luxury to make a big 'change' in their lives. There are bills to pay and responsibilities to carry out. But my guess is, if you really prayed, brainstormed, and listened to yourself, you might be surprised at a solution that all of a sudden rears its scary head, with neon signs flashing and arrows pointing.

Hubster and I moved from a dream home to a smaller home, which most people do not do. We bought our first 'newer' vehicle together after being married for 4 years. I don't go shopping very often anymore, but believe me, I do not lack in any department {just glance at my closet}. We don't vacation every year. We generally do not have the latest and greatest technologies.

These are all things that were so easy for me to give up in order to feel at peace. My goals changed.

Again, I recognize that not everyone has the opportunity to quit their job and still be able to make their house payment or pay off loans. Nor does everyone want to quit working. Some people juggle everything seamlessly and do an outstanding job at it.  

But if you're struggling today, don't give up. Don't shut the door on other possibilities before the door even opens. Make it work. Find something that works for your life right now. You won't get these years back.

Maybe you need a career change. Maybe you are a stay-at-home-mom who desperately needs to go back to work. Maybe you need a relationship change. Maybe you need to give up some luxuries in order to obtain financial peace. Maybe you need a spiritual change//commitment.

Whatever it is, find it. Take that cliche 'leap of faith' and make it your reality. It's not as far away as you think.

My days are rarely easy... but they bring me peace at night and peace in the morning, which for me, is priceless.


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Thursday, February 5, 2015

morning survival guide

Ask my father, mother, hubster, or anyone that has had contact with me before 10 a.m.

Mornings and I do not mix. Not even close. In fact, I'd say we despise each other.

Whether I'm a working mom or stay at home mom, it doesn't matter... I wake up not wanting to get out of bed, get dressed, or communicate with another human being. Throw in Old Man Winter and you have a perfect storm of disgust, cabin fever, and sleepiness.

Honesty, people.

With two toddler-aged children, my loathing of mornings will simply not do. Waking up to a screaming//crying one year old, who has the same morning capabilities as her mother, demanding food, cuddles, and entertainment {simultaneously of course} does not help my state of mind. Throw in a son begging for a cookie and torturing the family pet, and morning has shown her true colors in all her glory.

If you are one of those annoying morning people who dares to talk to me, gets up extra early, and moves about at a pace faster than a tortoise, just stop reading. And for the sake of our friendship, don't comment on this post.

For those of you who share my distaste of the A.M., have no fear.... I have created a survival guide just for you. Do these things and I promise, mornings will move from 'wretched' to 'somewhat tolerable' on the scale of repulsiveness. If you have a sick kid, are sick yourself, or heaven forbid, have a morning appointment of some sort, then unfortunately your morning is a crapshoot and this guide will do you no good.

The Best Motherhood Survival Guide: Guaranteed to Punch Mornings in the Face
{non-violent I promise}

  • Have some breakfast options that the little ones can feed themselves. It can be healthy or unhealthy, I certainly will not judge. Some successful ones in my household are yogurt, bananas, apples, non-organic pop-tarts, and fruit bars. My children love a chance to be independent and I love a chance to scarf down some food of my own before their demands set in. Warning: allowing a one year old to feed themselves will give you a 100% chance of a mess to clean up.
  • 5 minutes in the bathroom. This does not include actually going to the bathroom. While my children are inhaling their breakfast and little miss throws half of her's on the floor, I take 5 minutes to do a very brief 'pamper' in the restroom {with the door closed}. This includes some face-washing, and if I'm feeling extra ambitious, a little foundation. I slap up the hair, put on some deodorant, throw on my workout clothes, and I feel ready to face the day. {I would like to clarify that I typically shower at night, before bed.}
  • Coffee {non-decaf}. Enough said.
  • My daily Bible reading is done on my phone. I know some people would frown upon this heathen use of technology, but it's what works for my life right now. In the morning, I like to take a quick look at a verse for the day. Sometimes it's random... sometimes I look for one that I have labeled such as 'wisdom' {for how to attempt to parent}, 'peace' {when there is little tranquility in the household}, or 'hope' {usually involving a prayer that nap time will occur that day}. I do not do a devotion in the morning, because my brain simply does not function at that time of day.
  • If you are extra lucky, and your kids are occupied {see the next bullet point}, I try to squeeze in a very quick 'workout'. I'm talking 10 minutes max... just a little something to get your blood pumping and your aging metabolism going. I also have learned that I do not have the willpower to get up extra early {unimaginable} and do a full workout in the morning. Therefore, I do a few quick exercises in the morning, and hit the gym sometime in the afternoon, thanks to my baby-sitting father. 
  • Here's where my Mom of the Year award comes in... Find some educational, developmentally appropriate TV shows//videos for your children to watch. My children's favorites {largely influenced by their mother} include: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Baby Einstein DVDs, Curious George, and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. My pediatrician would protest if she read this post, but luckily, my blog is well beneath her intelligence and doesn't register on her daily to-do list. I have no problem letting my kids watch these shows. My 4-year-old has a strong vocabulary, in my opinion, and much of it is due to things he's learned from the television. I am not advocating for sitting your child in front of the TV all day. I am advocating for strategic use of educational programming so that you can reach your peak sanity before the day begins. 
  • Turn on some music. Depending on my mood, I either go for the record player, Pandora, or my favorite iTunes playlist. Not only is it a mood booster, it also has the additional effect of drowning out any whines, arguments, and//or toy-throwing. 
I do not usually have time for all of the above every morning. But I try to incorporate as many as humanly possible. Today, God smiled upon me and granted me a morning napper {little miss} so I have accomplished everything plus a blogging session.

I now must go unplug the pot thanks to junior, his bathroom abilities, and his use of an entire roll of toilet paper.

Eat that winter mornings.

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Saturday, December 13, 2014

mama's day in

Nothing says Merry Christmas to a mom like a kid-less day.

That's right. I said it. I had to take care of a total of zero kids today and it was glorious.

What did I do with my time?


There was some reality TV watching.

There was some sleeping.

There was some Christmas movie action.

There was this video that I watched multiple times {again} and laughed... out loud.

There was some de-cluttering of the house. I found several treausres: my blood type card, cash, and sonogram photos of my now 13 month old child.

There was a long shower. There was also the cleaning of my son's training potty in said shower which was utterly disgusting.

There was the reorganization of my craft room. There was some picture frame filling {is that a thing?}.

There was Christmas present wrapping, quickly & sloppily thanks to my children who don't know any better {hallelujah}. And of course Christmas music.

There was a visit to my favorite local restaurant to place a carryout order 2 minutes before closing time {whoops}. It included caramel choco-latte ice cream.

There was some reading.

There was some closet reorganization. 

And now... there is some blogging.

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Monday, November 3, 2014

H & H: weekly challenge #2

Well look at me. I did something for an entire week! Excuse me while I pat my fully-committed-for-a-whole-week-self on the back.


Last Sunday, I restarted my series on Health and Happiness. I decided to do a weekly challenge that focuses on one SIMPLE goal for mental, physical, and spiritual health.


My goals last week were very simple. Drinking 64 ounces of water a day was not as difficult as I thought it would be, provided I remembered to fill my water bottle. If you struggle with remembering to drink water {or remembering anything at all, like myself}, buy the biggest water bottle you can find. I have to just fill mine twice to get my daily allotment of water.

I will admit that getting up 15 minutes early for devotions//prayer was the biggest challenge for me this week. Isn't that sad? I am not a morning person, which is a lame excuse, so my 15 minutes ended up surfacing mid-afternoon or in the evening.

Listening to more music was an enjoyable piece of cake. In fact, I'm listening right now. Pandora is a wonderful invention and satisfies my extreme spectrum of musical tastes.

So bring on week 2.

Week 2

Physical: Use more natural//healthy food in daily meals. I already have a head start on this goal by visiting the grocery store this morning.

Mental: Blog more. If you don't have a blog, then just write. Or type. Or talk to yourself.

Spiritual: List one "small thing" to thank God for each day on my chalkboard {I choose not to use paper for this goal due to my problems with clutter and losing things}. By "small things" I mean not the easy, obvious ones {i.e. kids, hubster, food, etc...}.

Happy Monday!

Current music: "Each Coming Night" by Iron & Wine

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

H & H: weekly challenge #1

I haven't blogged in almost two months. Apparently when you open a new small business with two of your friends, you become quite busy. Who knew?

To welcome myself back to my dear little blog, I'm restarting//refreshing a series I once had, Health and Happiness.


And if my past performance on blog series has taught me anything, it's that you may see this series for a few weeks at best.

I hope my blog can forgive my commitment issues.

In my experience as a mom, my health has been one of the easiest things to cross off my priority list. I use all the typical excuses: time, money, exhaustion, and my hatred of vegetables and exercise. But I've also learned that to be a high-quality mother//wife, I have to take care of myself, both physically, mentally, and spiritually.

So... starting this week, and hopefully continuing for longer than two weeks, I will be giving myself three simple challenges to focus on each week: one physical, one mental//emotional, and one spiritual. I'll let you know how it goes the following Sunday, report on my progress or incredible lack of willpower, and introduce the next week's challenges. Feel free to join me!

Week #1

Physical: Drink at least 64 oz. of water each day

Mental: Listen to more music {music does a lot for my emotional state}

Spiritual: Wake up, just 15 minutes earlier, for a little prayer or Bible reading each morning.

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

poker face

Don't worry... this post is not about Lady Gaga. If I ever get to that point, please put me out of my misery.

My hubster has been 'blessed' with this ridiculously maddening ability to have the same expression on his face 24/7. Seriously, I can't tell if he won the lottery, ran over a dog, or is preparing for a colonoscopy. Most of the time I am envious of this mysterious trait of his... except when it involves wedding//family photos.

Luckily for him, he married a women who is an expert in non-verbal communication. If I played poker, I would lose all my money in about five minutes. I'm pretty sure I have a face for every feeling from "boy that chocolate cake tastes good" to "I'm going to kick the next person that tells me I look tired". Want to know how I'm feeling? Just look at me.

feel free to caption this loveliness
Somebody once told me I have the facial expressions of Claire on Modern Family, and I can't say I disagree. I like to say it keeps my honest. Unfortunately, it at times means being a little too brutally honest. Like the other day when I loudly announced across the cafe to my boss that a group of teenage boys {who were still in the cafe} left me 5 pennies. I didn't have a mirror, but pretty sure the look on my face was not pleasantness.

There are a lot of verses in the Bible about being slow to show your anger or exhibit your frustrations.



The only time I would use the word 'slow' to describe myself would be while running.

Unfortunately, my son seems to have inherited my talent for the non-poker face. While it has been nice in terms of knowing when something is wrong or when he's guilty, it probably isn't the greatest trait to have in terms of quick-temperedness {pretty sure that's not a word}.

I don't know that I will ever physically be able to get rid of some of my less-than-friendly facial expressions. However, I definitely need to work on having a 'calmer' spirit {my friends right now are laughing hysterically} that perhaps slows my reaction time and promotes some thinking time.

That counting to 10 thing? I definitely need to try that. Except, I better start with 5.

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Monday, September 1, 2014

top 5 reasons to scrapbook

Scrapbooking has become an incredible hobby for me. I enjoyed it a bit in high school and college but have really come to appreciate it since having children. Tonight I was editing my photos and getting extremely pumped for my next scrapping weekend in just 4 days.

Scrapbooking can be very intimidating for those who do not consider themselves the 'creative' type or who have never tried it before. Rest assured... if I can do it, a monkey can do it. I still draw with stick figures and get any creative 'ideas' from Pinterest and even I can make a presentable, display-worthy scrapbook.

Before you discount scrapbooking as lame and falsely describe it as a bunch of old women saving locks of their children's hair and noting their children's daily poop schedule {was I the only one who thought this?}, allow me to convince you otherwise.

Top 5 Reasons to Scrapbook... Now!

5. It helps you capture the moments you won't remember. I do not put a massive amount of pictures in each scrapbook. Instead of just using photos from special occasions, scrapbooking has become a way to capture everyday moments consisting of facial expressions, playtime, giggles, or even nap time. These are the moments that are so easy to forget and scrapping helps me ensure that I am capturing their true personalities and everyday life.

can you feel their love for each other?
4. Scrapbooking is a great way to ensure time with girlfriends. My scrapping took off after spending my first 'scrapbooking weekend' with a group of ladies from my former workplace. I was hooked. Now that I no longer work at school, it also means a chance to see ladies that I so badly miss. We laugh, we eat {a lot}, we sleep in, we wear yoga pants, and we do it all in a beautiful facility. These two weekends a year are exactly what this mama needs.

3. Technology is there for you. I have made three valuable investments when it comes to scrapbooking: a nice DSLR camera, a photo-editing program, and a printer that prints high-quality photos. I have never taken any sort of photography class or editing class nor do I consider myself 'tech savvy'. Yet, thanks to these three investments, my scrapbooks have lovely photos without a lot of extra effort. Do they look as good as professionals? Nope. But I think they look pretty darn good considering my lack of photography background. Also, the Internet is an excellent place to find simple tutorials {remember, so easy a monkey can do it} to help with such tasks. I have learned everything either from my scrapping ladies, particularly Jen, and//or the Internet. There are also tons of album kits, paper sets, and photo layouts to assist you should you not feel confident in your abilities.

pretty good photo for someone who knows nothing about taking pictures

2. Scrapbooking helps with your long term memory. I don't know about you, but there are many days where I wonder how I'm every going to remember anything by the time I'm over 50. Scrapbooking has helped me mark milestones in my children's lives, remember little things that are so easy to forget, and keep a chronological, photo-journal of times I want to remember forever.

who wouldn't want to remember this?
 Side note: It is also a great way to do some journaling. You can include as much or as little journaling as you like in your albums.

1. I hope that one day, my children will appreciate the gift {if they don't, they're out of the will}. I love looking at old photo albums of me or my relatives. They stir up so many memories and emotions and keep us connected to the places we came from and the people who surrounded us. My prayer is that my children will see the albums someday as reminders of the love I had for them, the joy they brought to my life, and the importance of family.

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