Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easter, how I love thee

I think Easter is my favorite holiday. Yes, I get all into Christmas and Thanksgiving and certainly other special days like birthdays but Easter is my absolute favorite. I think it is the combination of so many things that makes it a favorite.
I love that it is always close to my birthday. The spring in Texas is generally perfect (although it feels like summer this year). Flowers are blooming and I love the excuse to get dressed in new clothes. Easter baskets are fun to fill and eggs are fun to dye. Little chicks and bunnies are precious. Most importantly Easter represents the most important message there is. That our saviour Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins and most importantly rose from the dead to ascend into heaven. To be with God, his Father. Prooving his divinity. And opening the door to Grace for us. How can you not want to celebrate that?
We don't have big plans this Easter. Church, easter egg hunting, baskets and dinner with familiy and friends. Not much but wonderful all the same.
This year my children's baskets will be filled with books (and one movie). In years past there have been trinkets and toys, but I was really convicted about toys-and-easter this year. Now, I don't think there is anything wrong with giving toys for Easter. Nothing at all. We will probably go back to it next year. It was just that about a month ago my daughter started talking about "what she wanted from the Easter bunny".
At first I was thinking, "okay-make mental notes". Then I stopped myself and thought that Christmas and birthday's are bad enough. The wants and wish lists get long. Fast. I could not handle what was happening to Easter too. So, one morning at breakfast when my daughter was telling me what she wanted again, I stopped her. I told her that while the Easter bunny might bring her something but that he was not like Santa. She could not ask him for things. I gently reminded her what Easter was all about.
(I never get good bounce house pictures but this one turned out pretty cute!)

Since our discussion, my daughter has not mentioned anything about what Mr. Bunny will bring. She has however made sure to tell me what she wants for her birthday and Christmas though. One thing at a time I guess.
So, what do you do to keep the focus for Easter? Any tips for little ones?
PS- I will likely not be posting until Tuesday or Wednesday. Have a truly blessed Easter holiday.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My birthday wishlist

Birthdays are a big deal in my family. Mine is one week from today. In honor of my 31st (!) I thought I would share what is on my wishlist this year.

In no particular order...

Canon 24-70mm lens

Personal Trainer


Anything from Laura Mercier

These earrings from Designs by Jocelyn

This necklace from Luluka

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3

Someone to design a photography website for me

A tropical vacation

A pedicure
New running shoes- maybe that would inspire me to work out more

A smartphone...not necessarily an Iphone

More patience with my children. With my husband. With myself.

This dining sideboard from House of Hargrove

Chocolate birthday cake.

In all honesty, I have already gotten most of my gifts for this year. They are all very special and came early for one reason or another. So, all I am really expecting is some chocolate cake. And time with friends and family.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Thoughts on mothering preschoolers

I need to get something off my chest. I feel like I have used this blog to complain a lot lately. While I do want to use this as an avenue to share personal stories I do not want you all to think that I am unhappy. Or a generally unhappy person. That could not be farther from the truth.
Truth is, I am a happy person. I try to see the glass half full. I like to be an encouragement to others. I seek out God's promises in the everyday. I am pretty posititive. Most of the time.
The way I see it, being a mom is hard. You are trying to stay positive for yourself. Your spouse. Your kids. It is really hard to be that positive all the time. Sometimes I need to vent a little of the negativeness somewhere. You get the point.
Anyways, lately I have had lots of complaining stories about this and that. They have mainly related to my 3 1/2 year old daughter. I absolutely love her to pieces but she is completely wearing me out these days. In my opninion, this is the hardest age yet. Honestly, there have been many many many days lately where I have been re-thinking my decision to be a stay-at-home-mom. I feel like I can't do it for another minute. I find myself in tears and angry at my behavior. Thinking that I am the worst mom in the world and surely "ruining" my daughter.
(On a side note, all these images are un-edited. Sorry)
While daydreaming of having a live-in nanny or children shipped off to childcare everyday, I realize that as bad as it can be, I still would not have it any other way. This is a phase. My daughter will not whine forever. She will not throw meaningless tantrums and doddle at the dinner table forever. She will also not snuggle me on the couch or adore her baby brother forever. I know that her days of desperately wanting all my attention and thinking I hang the moon are passing. I am certain that I will never regret my decision to stay home with my children. I may regret how I respond to her when she makes me angry (and I often do), but I will never miss all the normal days that we get to spend together.
At the end of the day I generally want to pull all my hair out but it is because I got to spend that much time with her. Then I stop to think, not many parents can say that. That they had too much time with their children. It is a blessing not a curse. And while it sounds like a reminder, it is. I have to constantly remind myself of this.
So, yes, I may share my grumbles and complaints ocassionally. I take breathers on facebook and watching HGTV before daddy comes home. I text with other mommy friends and steal away moments to blog. Those are just my little pick-me-ups throughout the day. The ways that I take a breath. Calm myself. Stay sane.
Having preschoolers is hard work and I am certainly not the most qualified. I don't spend hours teaching life lessons and planning activities. I would be a horrible home-schooler. We kinda just roll with it most days. We watch tv and read stories and do play-doh. On ocassion I do something fabulous like bake cookies.
Regardless, I know that lazy days at home with mom are better than those organized days with a childcare professional. I know that the days where we can do absolutely nothing are fleeting. Before I know it my daughter (and son!) will be in school. Their days will be organized for them. They will be taught fabulous things and get to learn and be social and creative to their hearts content. There will not be another chance to be home with them all day just because. This too is a phase.
So, I just wanted to put this out there. Consider it a semi-apology/explanation as well as an encouragement to all you mothers to young children. Before I go, I want to share a link. My fabulous mother-in-law shared this video with me the other day. It sums up what I am trying to say. (Here is a tip: Have a tissue handy)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Today is not even over yet and it has been one for the record books. Thursday is the one day of the week that we have open. Nothing is scheduled and we use it for playdates, errands or fun outings. Ocassionally it is used to stay home. Today we planned a trip to the zoo with all my daughters closest friends and their mommies (who also happen to be some of my closest friends). 9 children and 4 adults. I was scared before I even got there.

Emerson woke up in a good mood this morning around 7:20 and by 9:00 things were bad. Really really bad. I don't even remember what started it but "it" turned into the tantrum of the century. Thank God we were at home. Everytime it got close to passing something else would happen. It lasted for over an hour. I do not lie.

We end up getting to the zoo an hour late. This resulted in us having to park super far away in "overflow" parking. Awesome. Have I told ya'll how easily I break a sweat? Seriously, I know I am from Texas but I am so warm natured. It was 75 degrees when we got to the zoo and by the time we got to the front gates I was sweating. A lot. Being hot and sweaty does not make me happy.

Anyways, we went through the gorilla/chimp/monkeys-of-all-kinds exhibit and then decided to break for lunch before we got much farther. Lunch went off without much drama. Except the minor detail of Emerson pulling the double stroller over onto its back. While the baby was sitting inside. Thank God (again!) that he was strapped in and didn't even flinch. Phew. That could have been really bad.

After lunch we load up our huge group and begin to stroll through the rest of the zoo. That is when I see them.  Life-sized, super scary realistic, "talking" (I guess roaring is more appropriate) dinosaurs. Right. I remember getting the special flyer in the mail about the dino exhibit at the zoo. Oops, must have forgot.

Let me take a moment to describe to you just how real these things are. Scary real. Cool real. Like disney-land mechanical stuff real. Having to keep reminding yourself that THEY ARE EXTINCT real. The eyes move, the skin is soft and moves, the sounds are crazy realistic, they are life sized. The motions are fluid and realistic. It is truly amazing what technology can do. I could go on but you get the point.

Back to the story, the kids in our group run to see them. Emerson freezes. She is screaming and crying and saying "I don't want to" "I don't like them" "Take me away". Oh man. So, I turn the stroller around and tell her to cover her eyes. We wait while the others watch. I watch because they are cool. By the way, this all goes down at a small exhibit of two "small" ones. As in, not much bigger than me.

You can only imagine how she reacted to the life sized T-rex. Oh my word. Was she being kidnapped? Oh, that's right, I was standing right next to her.

The way the exhibit was done, the different species of dinosaurs were spread throughout the zoo. Cool for them. Not for Emerson. We had to pass one to get from one animal to the next. Needless to say, we left early. Basically, all we saw was the monkeys and the flamingos. And had lunch. Awesome. I left the zoo grumbling all the way back to my overflow parking space. Dripping in sweat.

We get home. Everyone is hot and tired. I put her down for a nap. I go into the kitchen to make the baby's bottle and head back to his room to feed him and put him down. I pass Emy's door and see her light on. I open her door and she instantly freezes and hands me a quarter. She doesn't have money or a piggy bank. I ask her where she got it and she tells me that she took it from mommy and daddy's room. Stealing. Awesome.

That is where we are for today. I wander what post-naptime has to offer.

(Just because I need a reminder of how wonderful she can be)

PS- If you are in DFW and want to see the dino exhibit, I highly recommend it. Amazing. It is here until July 10th. Just make sure your kid actually likes dinosaurs.

PPS- Free registration for the Opposites photo class ends this Sunday, 4/17. You can register here.

PPSS- Please buy the rest of my destash. What if I gave you all a coupon code for $1 off each destash listing? Use "BuyMe" as a code in the comments section and I will refund $1 per destash listing you purchase. Pretty please.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Trying to get caught up

I cannot believe that I have not posted in almost a week! So sorry. Life happened. It never ceases to amaze me how getting behind on one day easily snowballs into being a week behind. Does that happen to anyone else?
Anyways, my husband had surgery (it was relatively minor) last Friday and it threw our family schedule out of whack much more then we anticipated. My in-laws were here to help with the kids but things were still completely crazy. I had no idea just how much more work I would have to do while taking care of my "patient" and not having his help with the kids. Remember this article, well again I feel so thankful for my husbands support in our day-to-day life.
My in-laws left today and my husband is getting back to full speed and I feel like I am climbing out of an overwhelming pit that is also known as my to-do list.
One thing I finally did today (actually just now at 10pm) was upload my images to flikr for my Opposites Class. I was 3 assignments behind. Awesome. Here they are.
 Day 2: New
(My daughter has "newly" learned to do the big girl swing all by herself.
 Day 3: In
My sweet baby indoors...doing baby push-ups. My favorite.
Day 4: Out
Playing outside. My daughter watches adoringly as her baby brother attempts the sippy cup on his own.
If you want to sign up, you totally still can! Remember that it is FREE! Do it here.
Oh and for those interested, yours truly is doing the Wednesday lesson. Maybe you will learn something new. Maybe.
I gotta get some sleep. Will try to catch up a little more tomorrow. Adios.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


I am cutting it short tonight because tonight is TV night for hubby and I. Electronics are to be turned off shortly.

Anyways, I started the Opposites photo class today. Here is my shot. The theme was "old". My cat is the oldest member of our family. I have had him since my husband and I were dating. If you want to join the class, you totally still can. Go here to check it out. Remember that it is FREE!

I have a huge weight lifted today. I finally have an outfit picked out for a function I am going to on Monday night. I have been seriously stressing over this for several weeks now. I love clothes but not on a postpartum body. Anyways, I found something that "works" and is pretty cute too. Hallelujah.

Don't forget about my destash sale. Check out what is left and please help me clean it out. Oh, and don't forget that 20% off your destash purchase goes to help disaster relief in Japan.

One last baby is 7 months old! I cannot believe it. You can read about what he is up to on our family blog here.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Work in Progress

I am going to be honest, I have felt prompted to work on my marriage lately. Don't get me wrong, my husband is fabulous and I am so lucky to have married such a wonderful man but we just aren't in that great of a place right now. Nothing is "wrong" per se we are just in the oh-so-common funk that couples get into when they have a house full of young children. We are just co-existing.

Luckily we make great roommates, but I miss my husband. We are both to blame. We can also put blame on exhaustion, our kids, our jobs, and so many other things but the honest truth is that it is our responsibility to prioritize and get out of the funk.

I am a huge believer that God should be first your priority then your spouse and then your children followed by everything else. I know so many people put their children first before spouses but I believe God calls us to raise our children to send them out onto their own. When we married our spouses we became one body in Christ. Just think about it, once your kids are out of the house...what's left? That's right, just you and your spouse. Ideally, you are still in love when life comes full circle.

I don't want to open a huge debate about this, I just bring it up because it is so easy to get wrapped up in kids activities and conversations about the children's lives. Before you know it neither one of you can remember the last moment you spent with each other where the kids were not on the mind. This is where the challenge comes in. Prioritizing your spouse and your relationship with them. Commiting to finding time to spend alone together. Having adult conversation. Investing in the things that make each other happy and putting your spouse above your children.

I brought up my feelings to my hubby last night. He listened and agreed. We have not put pen-to-paper yet (which I think is so important) and gotten specifics on the calendar yet but we did brainstorm ways to find time for each other. After our discussion yesterday evening, we sat outside together and watched our daughter play. Yes, we were focusing on our child but our conversation was adult and focused on one another.

When my husband came home today he suggested we load the kids up and take them for a walk through the neighborhood. It was great because while the kids were technically there, we still got to have time to focus on one another.

I got the name and number of a trusted babysitter today and plan on calling her this week to get some dates scheduled. We also decided that one or two nights a week, after the kids are asleep we are going to turn off computers and cell phones and sit on the couch watching TV together.

The steps might seem little but I believe that it is the awareness that is the most important thing. I love my husband so much and I want to continue to build our marriage and make it even stronger than it already is.

(While I love these two to pieces, when they are out of the house I want to make sure that
my hubby and I are happier than ever)

Does anyone else struggle with this? Am I the only one? If you have any tips on finding time for one another amidst the chaos of kids, I would love to hear them.


Monday, April 4, 2011

It's Monday

Well, by the time many of you read this it will actually be Tuesday. Whatever.

(This has nothing to do with this blog post but is this photo not hilarious? "Anyone want tickets to the gun show?")

I am the only one still awake in the house. It is totally quiet except for the sound machine doing its thing in the nursery. And the dishwasher buzzer went off.

I have noticed that Mondays don't mean quite the same thing that they used to when I worked in Corporate America. They are differnet now and yet still the same.

Instead of waking to an alarm clock I woke up to the sound of a fussing baby.

While I didn't have any Monday morning meetings or sales reports to review, I did have a check register to balance and some snuggle time with the baby.

I did not have to wear a suit for a business lunch but I did have to pull myself out of my pajamas to meet a friend for a casual walk through Target.

I did not have to repremand any employees for conduct problems but I did have to deal with an unruly toddler.

Instead of water cooler gossip about the weekend I got to chatter with my daughter about her day at school.

I did not deal with frustrating criticism from a boss but I did deal with criticizing myself and some actions that I am not proud of.

I did not get to go to happy hour after work but my family did spend a happy hour playing outside when daddy came home.

While I did not get stuck working late at the office I did get stuck staying up late working on edits from the weekends photo shoots.

Yes, Mondays are very different now that I am at home with my children. I do, on ocassion, miss my old job and the hustle and bustle of Corporate America. However, I have come to realize that we have a different kind of hustle and bustle in our lives and I would not trade it for a thing.

PS: My friend Beth is hosting a FREE photography "class" this month. If you are looking for an excuse to work on your photography skills, this would be great motivation. You don't need a fancy camera or any experience to participate. Sign up to participate here.


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