Saturday, August 10, 2013

Measuring Up




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Do you ever feel that you aren't good enough? That every other mother seems to have it all figured out but you? That everyone looks so put together and with it but you are just barely keeping your head above water? 

Because I do. 

I do a lot.
 
I feel that there is something I am missing when it comes to raising my kids, that the other moms know a secret and just aren't letting me in on it. 

But we're all the same, in that way. 

We are all just trying to keep afloat, some just manage better than others. 

I am here to tell you that I suck sometimes. And my life, my life is so far from perfect. Or easy. That I struggle, just like you. That I feel guilt in giving my kids warmed up processed crap from the freezer or that the laundry is still sitting in the washing machine from two days ago. 

You aren't the only one, friend. I promise you this. 

Throw out the idea that we all have it together, but you. There is no having it together. Somedays, all you need to do is keep the kids alive and survive until bedtime. It's ok..really. I am telling you that somedays that is enough. And you are enough. 

When the boys were little, I had dreams of how my days would go. Fun activities where they would learn about objects sinking or floating. Fun painting with forks or string. Those days, are so few and far between now. Those day, now, don't look anything like they did in my head. 

Most days I am a full-time referee just trying to keep them from killing each other. But that is important too.

Making breakfasts, lunches, and dinners (no matter how) is important. Feeding them snacks and filling sippy cups is important. Rewashing a load of laundry for the third time doesn't make you a failure or a terrible mom. We all do our best with what we have, this whole measuring up is overrated. 

Instead of comparing we should be complimenting. We are all in this together believe it or not. It's not about who throws the bigger, better birthday party with all the handmade decorations found on Pinterest. It's not about that. Because in the end, those parties with the decorations that took you three hours to make are not going to matter. 

How do I know this? Because that was me, I wanted those parties. Was it for my kids? I thought so at the time, but really they don't care. They just wanted me. And Ryan and their family. 

And cake. As long as there are cake and presents. They don't care about decorations that were hand made or store bought. 

To them its about the moments. Kids are simple. It's adults who make it more complicated than it needs to be. We need to stop trying to compare our middle with someone else's beginning or end. We are all in different seasons of our lives. And it would be a very boring world if we did it all the same. 

There are so many things that mom get criticized about. I never realized it until I became a mom myself. 


When I was pregnant with Oliver, I felt prepared for motherhood, as prepared as I could have been, not ever actually being a mother before. The day he was born, I felt this overwhelming fear come over me, a fear that I had never felt before. I was responsible for him. He was mine, and I was there to protect him. The first moment, I found myself face to face with criticism was when I was asked how I was going to feed him. 


I planned on nursing him, but as many mothers know planning on one thing and actually having it happen, successfully, are two different things. 


I tried, believe me I tried. And I cried. And I bled. And we both got thrush that just refused to leave. The first two months of Oliver's life were chaos, for him and me. I knew in the back of my head that I needed to put him on formula. Pumping wasn't working, my boobs, they were defective and in my ear I heard every remark.


"Breast is best." 


"I only want what is best for Oliver." 


"You're not trying hard enough." 


"It worked for me." 


Those words stung. To a new mom who was scared and already felt like a failure. 


It crushed me. 


That was my first encounter with measuring up. Telling myself that I wasn't good enough. That other moms figured it out. Or stuck with it longer and didn't give up. 


I eventually learned to say, "Screw them!" Yeah, maybe it was a four letter word that starts with F and rhymes with "duck" but you get the idea. 


The guilt I felt for not being able to nurse Oliver was quickly replaced with fierceness that I had never felt before. 


Letting the comments roll of your back. Not falling into the trap that is being set out for you. Not stooping to the level of others who play that game, intentionally or not - that is what its all about. 


There will always be someone who thinks what you're doing is wrong or not right because they did it differently. 

I'm here to tell you that I am on your side. Even if you are doing something different than me, I won't judge you. I won't make you feel small in this world of Motherhood. That's not what this is about. 

That is not what I am about. 

We're in this together. 

You and me, I support you, if you'll support me. 
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Sunday, July 7, 2013

six

I'm not going to start this out by saying, "six years ago I married my best friend...." 
Although it is true, I'm not going for cheesy, I am going for real. 
I married a man who leaves his dirty dishes in the sink, who listens to awful music, who takes out the trash and cleans the cat litter because he knows that I hate it. Who works hard for this family and likes (no loves) craft beer. Who is selfless and kind and would do anything for anyone without expecting something in return. Someone that I admire everyday. 
He will tell you that I overreact and swear too much. He will tell you that I take forever to get ready and I am forgetful. He will tell you that sometimes, just sometimes I am a brat but he loves me anyway. That I love him and these two boys with a fierceness that was born the day our sweet children came into this world. 
Our marriage has been an adventure, filled with joy and heartache. Yet, we've become stronger and more determined on making our family work. We aren't perfect, our marriage is a progress but I love him more today than I did six years ago. 

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Thursday, July 4, 2013

You Are Forgiven

Somedays are hard. Somedays are really hard and when you're in the thick of it its hard to determine which is real and what has been made up and all in your head. 
Is it really this bad, or am I perceiving it to be this bad?
I've had those days, I have those days where I long for bedtime and it is only 9am. Where every ounce of my being is ready to cry and scream. Where all my feelings are right at the surface and I might just pop at any moment. 
Somedays I wish I could just shut it off, not think so much. Not worry so much. Stop planning on what will happen in 10 years and just get through these next ten minutes. 
I have all these expectations set for myself, as a person but mostly as a mom. And it seems lately I come up short. I envision these moments with the boys where we're all playing nicely and things are going smoothly. However in reality its messy. 
LIFE IS MESSY. 
Instead of laughs there are tears, instead of sweet words spoken there is yelling and fights. 
We are so far from perfect. We are all a work in progress. Weaving our blanket with love and mistakes. 
With I'm sorry and I forgive you. 
It's funny when you ask for something, the universe gives it to you in a lesson. It doesn't just hand it over all easy and simple. It makes it hard and throws you right into the pit and makes you climb out. 
That is what is happening to me right now. I have asked for more patience, pleaded to make it easy. Just hand it to me I have shouted, I will be so grateful and I'll never ask for anything again. 
But the universe knows me, and knows what I need. I need to learn patience and the best way to learn it is to practice. This is where Oliver and Landon come in. This is why they were sent to me. 
This is why they are mine
I'm working on it, but some times by the end of the day, my cup is full and I am about to overflow. All the annoyances of the day come pouring out and I am right back where I started. Its not until the kids are asleep and I finally get a moment to think, that I feel guilty. That I feel horrible. That the self-loathing begins. 
But it doesn't have to last forever. Its all a lesson in who we are and who we wish to become. So I sneak up into their rooms and whisper my love for them into the cool night air. I kiss their soft cheeks and promise that I will work harder tomorrow. For myself and for them. 
It's not easy, but when the morning comes and they look at me with wonder and love
so much love.
 I know that I have been forgiven. 
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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

perspective

Our dishwasher broke. 
Now its been this way for awhile, not completely broken as in it doesn't work at all. Just kind of broken, like it doesn't clean anything. So you load it expecting it to maybe work and the dishes come out just as dirty as when they went in. 
But its okay, because today I thought about perspective. 
I stood at my sink while the boys played around me and it all came to me. That sometimes the easy way isn't always the best way. Sometimes slowing down, really is better. 
I watched a bee flying around my spirea bushes. Going from flower to flower, just gently touching down. Soft enough not to disturb the purple wildflowers that are growing up between the bushes. I never even knew those purple flowers were there. 
Have they been here this whole time and I just never noticed? Why didn't I notice?
I watched birds perched on the wire outside my window. Softly singing their song or warning each other that a storm is rolling in. I've never been a bird watcher, but I was content just standing there watching them at this moment. 
I could see the neighbors vegetable garden, the one the kids planted themselves. Growing and thriving, drinking in all the water that has been rained down upon us these last few days. 
The gray sky and how even though it was gloomy, I didn't feel sad. I didn't feel the need for sunshine today and how I was alright with the colorless sky.
I felt the water and decided that it was far too hot. That maybe we need to turn the hot water tank down and why I never thought of that before. What if one of the kids were to stick their hands under the faucet and the water was that hot? 
I felt guilt for a moment, for not thinking of it sooner. But I let it go. I knew now and now I can do something about it. 
The warm water, the slippery plates clinking around in our old, white, stained sink. I thought about how very blessed I am for the family that gathers at the table every night to eat the meals off these plates. 
I thought about the laughs and the memories made at our table, the joy on the faces of these two children when their dad walks though the door. I thought about the meals and the moment. The happiness and even some tears. 
Sure there are tears, but its okay. Because they don't last forever. 
We hug and laugh about it and move on. 
I don't miss my dishwasher as much as I thought I would. I will be happy when its fixed and I can mechanically load it full and shut the door and move on to the next thing on my forever long to do list. 
But at this moment I was okay with stopping and taking in the beauty of the dirty dish water. 

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Monday, July 1, 2013

You Are What You Eat


We've all heard it before, "you are what you eat" you eat like crap, you feel like crap. Honestly, its not rocket science - however, I am dense and it takes me awhile to put two and two together. 

When I was younger, I could eat whatever the hell I wanted. I wasn't fat, however I thought I was. I would stand in the mirror and pinch the nonexistent fat on my stomach. I'd like to really go back and throat punch that girl. For real. 

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Since I have become older, and a mom things have changed. My body is no longer resilient to the crap I put into it. It doesn't bounce back like I am use to it doing. My metabolism pretty much told me to eff off. 

Things that were once okay for me to eat, no longer agree with me. Like dairy. I will admit I love all dairy (except cottage cheese, that shit is disgusting!) but since I had Landon I just can't eat it without getting sick. Ryan has been lactose intolerant since he was younger, I always said I would cry if it ever happened to me. I'm not gonna lie, once I put two and two together and realized what was making me sick, I did cry. 

Then I tried to ignore it and that didn't work. So now, I have the choice, eat something that I know will make me feel like garbage for that instant gratification or change my views on it and leave it alone. Its not as enjoyable anymore when I know its going to make the feel like crap. 

We've all really been trying to change our views on food and how and why we are eating. We are a bunch of snackers in this house. All of us would be content grazing throughout the day, and that's okay if its not junk food that we're grazing on. obviously not everyday, meals are important I know this but trying to get two toddlers to sit down at the table and actually eat more than two bites takes a lot off patience. Somedays I just don't have it in me. So graze we will.

For the most part, the boys are amazing with eating fruits and veggies. In fact the other day I asked Oliver what he wanted from the store and he said, "Apples, carrots, kale and chia seeds." However, they have both inherited my sweet tooth so I've been trying (not only for myself) to introduce them to other things that can be just as delicious as cookies or ice cream. 

Oliver knows that junk food causes stomach aches, I've told him enough that eating crappy makes us feel crappy. Its just sometimes, we all want a cookie. 

Since Landon has been born *18 months ago!* I have tried to lose the weight. I have been on Weight Watchers and counted calories. Started (and stopped) the C25K. Been to spinning and stopped going to spinning. I am awesome at starting something, however, I really suck at continuing it. I am much happier holding the couch down. But I am not really happier with how I feel.

That's why, now, I am committed to do this. To actually start living healthier. For the boys but mostly for myself. I love myself too much to not put myself first. I have been everything to everyone for so long that now, I am going to be something for myself. I am determined to push myself past that comfort zone and lose the weight that I have been dragging around for far too long. I'm writing it here for accountability. If it is written here, it is real and not just some idea in my head. People have read it, I have read it (and will continue to read it) over and over until I reach my goal. 

Have any healthy recipes you wish to share? I'd love to try some new things!! 

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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Avoidance


When things are weird or off, I tend to avoid them. Pretend its not as awkward as it seems. Move along and hope things fall back into place.

I've been playing this game of avoidance since, what, March.

Yeah. A while.

Things have been weird. I have felt weird. I have missed blogging, but I have also felt that I was putting to much of myself out there. There are some strange ass people out there y'all. I am not even kidding.

So then I pulled back a bit. Put the breaks on and figured I would just let it sit for a bit and see how everything felt after some time.

Months went by and we've been living our life, all the while Little Mudpies was in the back of my brain. Hanging out, knocking, setting off bombs - trying to come back to life.

I've been going back and forth with how personal I want to get here. For so long, I had like 3 readers. Everyone I know in real life so I felt safe. I'm not stupid, I know that anyone can stumble upon this little old blog and read about all the things. But it just feels different now. Maybe I am different. (getting deep here!)

BUT...

I don't want to get to a point where I look back and realize I missed all this shit. I missed writing down the random crap that Oliver said. The words that Landon is learning or the stupid ass haircut that I gave Oatmeal.

I guess when something is part of your life for a certain amount of time, its just hard to quit it.

So, I am coming back.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

{Project 52} Try Something New


I am behind again. It's pretty much the story of my life. I usually start out so excited and go in full force and then life happens and things get in the way, and excuses are made and I slack and fall behind.

I'm sure I'm not the only one. But sometimes in this bloggy world, I seem like it. I have no clue how some Mommas stay on top of everything and take care of their children. I'm currently rewashing (for the 3rd time) a load of laundry because I keep forgetting about it.

When I started this Project 52 challenge, I really wanted to get into it. I didn't want to half ass it. I've been known to half ass a lot of things, and this one - I really wanted to do wholeheartedly. I hung out on AwesomelyAwake and I loved everything about Shawn. Her stories and inspiration were just that, inspiring to me.

When Cherish the Wow was introduced, I knew I needed to sign up. It was in our budget and it was something new. Something for me. Something to help me focus on the now. Not the yesterday or the tomorrow. To really see the wonders happening around me.



We're on our 3rd challenge this week and I am so happy I signed up for this eCourse. Not only have I been exposed to many different women from all different backgrounds and parts of the world, sharing my stories and actually journaling has helped me find my voice again.

Journaling has always been something I have enjoyed and I have had a journal of some kind for as long as I can remember. Something happened at some point and I stopped writing. I stopped writing here and journaling. And that's when the noise in my head grew louder and louder. It's amazing how reflecting and writing it out, quiets the mind. I think I needed to stop writing for a time to really appreciate how much writing things out actually helps me.

So that's my Try Something New. Joining the Cherish the Wow eCourse and getting back to writing. I plan on sharing some of my Wow moments in the weeks to come. It's amazing how many there are when you just slow down and pay attention.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Easter Activity for Kids


I have to be honest, I don't decorate much for Easter. As much as it upsets my grandmother, who is the queen of decorating for every holiday, I just don't care much about Easter decor. I'd rather decorate for spring and keep it up for awhile, than for one day.

That said, the kids like to make crafts and projects, so seeing that it's still snowing here, and I don't feel like carting them out of the door in 20 degree temperatures, while the snow is blowing sideways and both of them are crying because their noses are cold and they want to eat the snow. Can ya tell I've had enough!? I figured a simple Easter activity would be fun. And it helps beat the boredom, even if it was for only 3 minutes and 17 seconds! Yeah, I counted. When I found this fun activity over at Little Wonders' Days I couldn't wait to try it out! 

So, here is what we made on a cold and snowy March day.




We made this while Landon was napping. Craft time with Landon is more like, fighting to keep everything out of his mouth or away from the dog. Sometimes it's just easier to do it when he's sleeping. He does like to watch but again only for a few seconds.

To make these marbleized Easter eggs you'll need

constriction paper/card stock in your choice of colors
foam shaving cream
acrylic paint
knife/toothpick/stick
squeegee or a piece of card stock








...Linking up to these fabulous parties...

Thursday, March 7, 2013

{Project 52} Say Yes.


I'm a little behind in {Project 52} challenges. Week 8 is Say Yes. I am not going to lie, sometimes it is easier for me to just say no. No play doh. No movies. No we can't go outside. There is no real reason for me to say no. Besides it may be a little too cold outside - it is Buffalo and March. Its still pretty cold.

As for the play doh or movies. Its mainly because I just don't want the added mess. Or noise. But I sound like a real big buzz kill and even I get sick of myself saying no all the time.

So I've been working more on saying yes. Really, there is no harm in saying yes if it's something that's not dangerous. I've been involving Oliver more in the kitchen with me. He loves to help me cook and for awhile I would tell him no, only because it was faster for me to get dinner cooked without the distraction of a 3 year old. Once I stopped to think about the memories I was making with him, how I would always include him in baking or making meals before Landon got here or when Landon was a newborn, I felt guilty. I don't want him remembering me saying no to everything. How fair is that?

So saying yes more. At first, it was a little more work on me. More things to do (clean up all the play doh off the floor) taking longer to make meals etc. But now its actually fun. And he's happier. He just wanted to be included.

Saying yes doesn't have to for big things, sometimes just saying yes to an extra cookie or another bedtime story is all it takes to make a memory and put a little smile on a sweet little boys face.


Yes, we're all made up to look like cats! 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Roasted Cinnamon Chick Peas


I'm still here. Did you think that I packed up and left for good? To be honest, somedays I think about it. But then something draws me back in. I want my kids to know how life was when they were 3 and 1. The problem with that is, they don't give me much time to document anything that is going on in our lives. Demanding little buggers they are.  When I do find the time to write, I find that I don't really want too. Its a weird and dumb cycle. If you're still sticking around, thanks. It really does mean a lot to me to know that people get enjoyment out of reading about our daily life and struggles. 

I'll try to post more. I promise. 

I do have something fun for you today. I figure if I come back I better bring food. Who doesn't enjoy food? 

The boys are pigs. They are eating me out of house and home, I can't imagine what life is going to be like when they are teenagers!! I have been trying to find some creative snack options. The usual graham crackers, animal crackers and even fruit are getting old. 

Thanks to this awesome recipe from Shawn Can Blog, I may have found a new favorite for the kids, and me! 






Cinnamon Chick Peas

1 can chick peas, washed, drained and dried. 
2 tablespoons sugar 
1 tablespoon cinnamon 
1/4 cup honey 

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash your chick peas and dry them on a towel. 
2. Mix the cinnamon and sugar together 
3. In a large bowl add the chick peas and honey, cover with half of the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Stir. 
4. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spread the peas on the cookie sheet. Pour the remaining cinnamon/sugar mixture on top. 
5. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. (I kept mine in for 30 minutes) 




Yes. Yes he does have a cat nose and whiskers on. 3 year olds are strange little creatures. 



Friday, February 22, 2013

{Project 52} Notice the Details


Everyday Oliver plays with his Star Wars guys. He has been collecting these little action figures for months and has yet to get sick of them. Everyday they do something different. One day Chewbacca will be saving Princess Leia from Greedo in the Millennium Falcon. The next day Skywalker and the Storm Troopers are taking over a pirate ship. 

To him. It never gets old. 

I see it daily, I walk around the 'land minds' along the living room floor, careful not to step on anything (ouch!) But I never really stop. I never stop and notice the details of this imaginary play. I mean I see it. I see him and hear him and I will sit and watch him but I never really see it. 

So I have been forcing myself to slow down. It take it all in. To stop looking so much at the bigger picture and start paying attention to the smaller ones. The important ones. 


I am trying to remind myself that this is fun. All of this is fun. Even when it's not. Even when there are toys all over the living room and milk has been spilled for the 3rd time today. Its fun. Even when it doesn't seem like it at the moment. 

I am trying to slow down and take it all in. The way Oliver's face looks when he's concentrating so hard on playing.  How his little bottom lip still gets sucked in and his chin sticks out. The same way it did when he was a baby. 




Landon's cheeks. So chubby and soft. The way that his plump little lips hang open. The roundness of his eyes like brown M&M's. 

Watch it Lindsay. Look. Really look. Because eventually he will look different. Older. He may grow into those cheeks that you love so much. And he will be a boy. Not a baby. 



Watch Oliver play. Really watch him. The way he makes his friends talk. The way they treat each other. How he tries to carefully to get them to stand to protect the Death Star and all the characters who live inside. 

Notice his love for this. His ability to play and imagine. To go to another world where this, to him is the best thing ever. 

When you feel that life is moving a little too fast. That you're trying to balance everything and yet, nothing is going right. When one thing in your life seems to be out of control. Just stop, Stop and pay attention. Notice the details of the life around you. Forget the messy living room or the fact that your children are still in their pajamas at 3 in the afternoon - those things don't matter. At all. 


Sunday, February 17, 2013

{Project 52} Embrace the Moment


Before I move on to this weeks challenge, I wanted to kind of update you on last weeks challenge. My goal was to turn off the computer for a week. I quickly realized that I use my computer a lot and that I had some recipes for our meals saved so I did need to turn it back on and look up somethings. But I kept it simple and I didn't go google 'why do onions make me cry' when I started to get misty eyed cutting the onion for dinner.

The first day was easy. I played with the boys and we watched movies. Hotel Transylvania is hilarious and Oliver loved it so that's all that matters. Things were cleaned during the day and laundry was finished. I did check in at night though, after the boys were in bed and Ryan was at the gym - I spent a small amount of time reading some blogs. However, once he got home, I put the computer away and the phone went on the other side of the room.

I didn't last until Monday, I actually posted on Saturday but I feel different about the computer/Internet now. I am more present in the day to day when I am not playing around on the computer. I seem happier too. Sometimes having all this information thrown at you all at once can become overwhelming. That time away, gave me some perspective that whatever I need to look up, or whoever I need to talk too will be there later.

Alright moving on. This weeks {Project 52} is Embrace the Moment.

I liked this challenge because it forced me to pay attention to the little things that go on daily in our life, and around me.

This particular day, Oliver was very lovey towards Landon. Now, he is generally nice to him (most of the time) but this day he was extra nice. It was the first time that I really saw the love that they have for each other.

A lot of my day is spent explaining to Oliver that Landon is still little and doesn't understand that it's not nice to hit or bite. I've tried telling that it's because he gets excited that he may get a little carried away and end up hitting him or biting him -  kind of like Oatmeal. This day, Oliver reminded Landon of this all on his own.

A few minutes before this picture was taken Landon was being the typical annoying brother to Oliver. He was trying to take that puzzle piece from Oliver and Oliver was getting upset. Then instead of shouting at Landon, he looked at him and said, "Baby, I am playing with the puzzle, but I love you so you can have it!" Yeah, that! I just sat and watched it all unfold. Landon took that puzzle piece, chewed on it for a few minutes and then laid down. Oliver then went over and laid next to him.



I didn't want to move from my spot on the chair but I wanted to get a picture of them laying together. I grabbed my phone and that's when Landon moved his hands. They were holding hands but I didn't get that part.

Taking the time to slow down and really pay attention to everything that is going on around me is important. I want to hold on to these moments and not rush from minute to minute. Everyday the boys change in so ways and I just want to remember everything -- the only way I can do that is to write it down and be present.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

This is Three


Three years ago today, I sat in that hospital bed in labor and delivery waiting patiently for the moment that Oliver would arrive. I was hooked up to the monitors, IVs in my arms, blood pressure cuff on the other side. As we watched the needle jump higher and higher, Ryan would let me know that it was a big one. He didn't need to tell me, they were my contractions - I didn't need a computer screen to tell me how big they were. But I let him tell me anyways, if anything he may have been doing it for himself.

The moment they placed Oliver on my chest, that was it - I was hooked. He was mine and I was his. Forever.

Oliver, you made me a mother. I will admit that I was so very scared when the nurse handed you to me and said, "Here he is, your baby boy!" There have been some rocky roads between us, but every day we learn a little bit more about each other.



Looking back now, bringing you home was the easy part. The feedings and late night diaper changes were simple. Now that you're almost three, your father and I have been trying to raise a person, not a baby. A person who will go out into this world and be something. This is the hard stuff. Because I have no idea if we're making the right choices. There is no manual that tells me what to say during situations. There is no manual that tell me how to react or how to fix it. I just have to go by my gut and I'll admit to you, sometimes I don't make the right choice - sometimes I let emotion guide my decision. Sometimes I am so wrapped up with what is going on in my own world that I forget that this is all new to you. And exciting, and you just want to share your excitement with me. Yet, you're forgiving and understanding. You love me anyways - faults and all.

On this thrid birthday, we have watched you grown into a child. A little boy, no longer a baby -- but always my baby. You are sweet and so very funny. There are moments when I look at you and see your father. It makes me happy to see how much you are like him. Yet, you are sensitive and observant. For a child - this amazes me. Its almost like you have a sense of when someone is hurt or sad. You will go out of your way to try to make them feel better. You heart is huge Oliver, please don't ever lose that.



Watching you is like looking into a mirror. I have to be careful with what I say and do, because eventually you end up doing it too. You don't know any different, you're learning from me and your father. But we don't always make the right choices, and we need to be a little bit more mindful on how we react to certain situations. We're only human Oliver, and we make mistakes too. I will always admit to you if I was wrong. You will learn by my words and actions and if anything I want you to learn that you are loved and are lovable.

You are courageous and compassionate. Keep that, don't lose those qualities that make you, you. Life will be hard sometimes and throw things at you that will make you question everything - hold on to that compassion. But mostly, be compassionate with yourself first. You deserve that. As for the courage, don't ever let fear stand in your way. You have the courage now, as a child - don't lose it as you grow.

You are an old soul, Oliver. Full of kindness and love. Our lives were so very blessed when you entered it. In this family we will always encourage you, to be yourself. On your third birthday and always, we love you -- the most.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Oliver Gets A New Room


This year we wanted to do something different for Oliver's third birthday. We've done the big parties and had everyone over to celebrate, but honestly its exhausting to plan for so many people and in February there is always a chance that the weather won't cooperate and we'd have to reschedule.

So, Ryan and I decided to have a small party on his actual birthday with just family and a few close friends. Then for his gift, we would redo his bedroom. He would get a real, big kid room. And it was going to be a complete surprise. I have spent months picking out paint and bedding, choosing the colors and the little details. This past weekend all our planning finally came together.

Sunday I dropped Oliver off at my grandparents to spend the night, Ryan stayed at the house to start the painting.  Just to give you an idea of what we were working with, here are a few before pictures.



So yeah, as you can see there wasn't much to it. It was cute when he was a baby, he had a woodland creatures theme with the bedding and wall decals. I painted the tree while I was pregnant with him. It was hard to watch Ryan paint over it. It was like closing a chapter. I still remember that day, I remember what I was wearing and I was listening to Jeff Buckley sing, "Hallelujah" while Oliver danced around in my tummy. It was his favorite song, and still is. I was sad to see the tree go, but I was so excited to give Oliver a room of his own.

We worked all day to make sure we had it finished by Monday. Ryan painted all the walls, I did the doors, windows and trim. Then I put everything together. By the end of the night I was so exhausted, but the room turned out better than I had ever expected.




The bookshelf is my favorite part of his room. It includes everything that Oliver loves. I feel that it represents him well and I love that things are at his level now. He can touch them and look at them close up.

Speaking of close up. See that Star Wars picture on the top of the bookshelf? Let's get a closer look at that.


Do you recognize those two people? That picture was taken in Disney on our honeymoon. It's Oliver's favorite picture. For the longest time he would walk around saying, "Daddy is Luke and Momma is Princess Leia" It was only right to include it in his room.


These modern pictures are from boxes of toys Ryan found for Landon. We cut them so they were even and just hung them from string with some clothes pins. I'd love to take credit for this - but it was totally Ryan's idea. I really love it. The shelf was in his room before - the Disney characters were a gift from my uncle. It's an ongoing joke in the family - my side are Yankee fans and Ryan's side loves the Red Sox so every year the boys get something Yankees and something Red Sox. Don't worry, there are a few Red Sox things around his room too - unfortunately when I went to take a picture, they were all blurry ;)

Major transformation going on in this room. We really tried to use the things that we had. The table next to the bed was my grandmothers, and it was in my bedroom growing up. She painted it black for me a few years ago. Oliver really wanted a lamp, so I thought that table would work perfectly next to his bed. The lamp is new, its from The Christmas Shop. Oliver was with me when I picked it out - actually he picked it out thinking it was for me. The bedding and comforter are from Target. The headboard is from his crib. The bed frame and mattress are awesome. We knew we wanted to get Oliver a full sized bed, it was the next step in his whole convertible crib thing so I look around and did a lot of research online. I found on Walmart some great reviews for the Spa Sensations Steel Smart Base Bed Frame it had almost   1,500 reviews and most of them gave it 5 stars. I loved it because he didn't need a box spring. We were on a budget and I really didn't want to spend a ton of money on a bed frame plus a mattress and box spring. After searching for frames I looked at mattresses. The Slumber 1 Mattress In a Box got my attention. This bed had almost 1,200 reviews and most of them were 5 stars. I also loved the concept of the whole bed in the box. I am serious - watch the video, its crazy how this bed works.

This bed is fantastic. It is so comfortable, you would never know it was shipped to my house rolled up and in a box. I am so happy with both of the purchases.

The paint was from Home Depot. It is Behr - the gray is Gentle Rain and the blue is Peaceful Night.
The three prints over the dresser are from Walflower  on Etsy. The two prints over the bookshelf and the other two (not shown) are from Pikselmatic on Etsy. Ryan got the vinyl decal over the bed on Ebay along with the glow in the dark stars. 

We surprised him with it Monday afternoon. Ryan was waiting in his room with the camera while we walked up the stairs. I asked him if he could help me with something in his room. When he opened the door he just stood there and looked around. He didn't say anything but took it all in. Finally we asked him if he liked it and he said, "you did this for me?" That moment made it all worth it. He is so special and now he has a special place, just for himself.



Linking up here

Old Navy's Kids & Baby Sale


With two growing boys, I have a hard time keeping up with their clothing. Oliver is growing so fast, yet his waist is so skinny that finding pants for him is always a challenge. That's one of the reasons, I love Old Navy so much. They make pants that actually fit him. If you aren't familiar with how their kid's pants work, they have the adjustable elastic on the inside so you can size up and still tighten the pant to fit the waist. Genius!

Last weekend Oliver and I went shopping for some new spring clothes, it may still be cold and wintery here but Old Navy had a great Kid's and Baby Sale going on. I wanted to stock up on all the favorites and for some great prices.

 We must have went on the perfect day because it wasn't crowded at all. We were free to roam the section of kids clothes alone without distraction. The tables were neatly covered in T-shirt and their dress shirts with little baby bow ties were hanging nicely. Seriously, is there anything cuter than child in a bow tie?

Oliver is all about picking out his own clothes, so I let him have at it. His first choice was a red pair of high tops. The kid has style, what can I say? They were marked at $10! Ten dollars! That is a great price for kids shoes. Then I let him pick out some outfits. A new pair of jeans for $12 a few shirts and he was done. The I let him help with some clothes for Landon. He had a lot of fun trying to find things for his brother to wear. We got him some shorts and a few shirts too.

When it came time to check out the girl who waited on us was so nice. We were talking about my gift card and she asked how she got it. I told her that I was a blogger and I was given the gift card to shop at Old Navy. She admitted that she always wanted to start a blog but was nervous. I hope I convinced her to at least try - she was so very sweet. I'm sure she's make a great blogger.

The overall experience of shopping at Old Navy was great. The kids got some new clothes for the spring/summer and it didn't cost a lot of money to dress them nicely. I truly love that store and their selection of children's items.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Dont Forget Your List!


Ryan always jokes around with me that I would forget my head if it wasn't attached. I'm not offended, it's the truth. I am forgetful. I can't count how many times we have gotten down the road only to have to turn around and come home because I forgot something, or more importantly the very list I needed to take to the store with me.

Its frustrating, especially when I am carting two kids with me. The last thing they want is to be out and about longer than they need to be, because their mom is forgetful.

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Tracy and Kim, they created the app Don't Forget Your List that works by GPS. So, it actually reminds you that you have a list and its on my phone. I may forget my list a lot, but I never forget my phone. I was excited to check it out.

First of all, its very easy to navigate. The opening screen shows you how the whole thing works.


Once inside it is simple to select your stores.

The black lines aren't part of the list. I just blocked out the addresses.


After the stores are selected. You can click the little gear and select how you want to be notified. I chose while I was in the parking lot. I only had two stores that I needed to go too so I didn't need the mile away option. However, I do love that - because there have been many times I have driven right past were I needed to go. Annoying. 




The All Items tab makes it easy to add to your list. In this tab you can see all the items and what store they belong too.



Overall, I am extremely happy with this app. The ease of using it makes me actually want to use it. And the best part is that I don't have to try to remember my list when I leave home. I've been using it for a week now and I am pleased. I think you should check it out, especially if you're like me and a little forgetful!

I received a promo code to download this app for personal review. All opinions are mine. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

{Project 52} Unplug


Week 5 of {Project 52} is to unplug.

I will admit I am addicted to the computer. Social media. The whole shebang. I feel almost panicky if I leave home without my phone. Its sad, because honestly there is nothing to miss.

So this one is important to me. It's a challenge. I love my computer and my phone, (most of my friends actually live in it!) but I need to put some distance in between us. Its something that I have really been trying to work on more and more. Especially during the day when the boys are up.

I have noticed when I step away from the computer, things actually get done. It's like a miracle, who would of though, really? The boys are happier too. I love them and I want them to feel important. I want them to know that I value my time with them and you can't really do that when your nose is behind a computer screen, or cell phone.




I want to give them my undivided attention, because I expect that from others - my children (and husband) should get that from me. I want to be a good example to them, that it's okay to not have the tv on, or the computer or the ipad. I need my phone on because it is our only phone in the house - but it's alright for it not to be glued to my hip. Its okay to go to the store without it. We all survived years without cell phones, one little trip to the grocery store isn't going to hurt.

So this week I am shutting it down. I am actually going to turn it off, not just close it. I am going to put it away in the back of the closet and not check it again until next Monday morning. I am going to engage in the days with my kids. I am going to really listen to them and watch what they are doing. I am going to talk with my husband face to face and not be distracted by my facebook feed. We can sit and watch a movie and I will actually watch it and not half watch it, half play around on pinterest.

This week will be full of dancing, and crafting. Planning and parties. Next week I plan to share a secret with all of you - its about a little boy who will be turning 3 very soon.



Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sunday Confessions


I thought this looked like fun, so I decided to give it a try. Plus I have a few random things just floating around in this here head of mine.

So, these are my confessions.....[is Usher in your head now?]

1. I am over being sick. I am over my family being sick. I am over boogers and coughing and just the crappy feeling.

2. I have been practicing highlighting and contouring my face and I can see a difference. It's pretty awesome and a lot of fun!

source 


3. I hate snow. It hasn't even been bad this winter but I am over it. It can go eff itself. It's the worst when I know Ryan has to drive in it.




4. I've been forcing myself to drink more water. So far its been working - I feel like I am floating.

source 

5. I've been on a cooking roll lately. I should probably share some of the amazing things I have been making, but I haven't felt like blogging much. I've been spending my down time reading - when it's crappy and cold all I want to do is curl up with a book and blanket and read. All day. Too bad the minions need me to ya know, do stuff for them and teach them things. ;) totally kidding. I love it. [most days]



6.  And then there is the Superbowl. I don't really care about football - but I do like the food. And Beyonce.
source 





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