Thursday, October 31, 2013

Obligatory Halloween Post

So, these past two Halloween's have been total busts. Weather and sickness have pretty much nixed any sort of October fun. It's at moments like these that I am thankful for not being creative enough to make my kids costumes. I would be crying buckets of tears.

"Mama, I want to be a tractor man."

I'm pretty sure my kid is the only kid in America that, at the age of 3, thinks dressing up in costume is some ridiculous form of torture. I literally had to MAKE him keep it on to go to his Halloween school party.

I threatened that if he didn't wear it he would be the only one un-costumed. You know, because I like to encourage the "go with the group" mentality. They jump, you jump. I will be a total hypocrite in his teen years. Parenting is tricky.

Oh, and I might have mentioned candy…

Meanwhile, tonight whether the tornado like winds and rain arrive or not, I will be doing a happy dance because October (the month of sickness, cancelled parties and cancelled trips) is over!

Watch out October, next year…I'm going to totally dominate you.

Click the "Like" button. Tonight I'll be sure to post a pic of Jack in his very first costume...

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Grass is Always Greener

Somedays, between the timeouts and the laundry piles that I'm almost sure I'll drown in, I dream of what life might have been like if I had waited a little longer to have kids. I'll imagine myself hitting some sort of life-pause button so that I can run away to Europe to "find myself". Or, I'll envision myself holing up somewhere to reflect and come up with great plans or write something profound. I know these are most certainly just dreams because I'm entirely "too responsible" to do either of those things.

Other times I live a kid-free, responsibility free, guilt free life vicariously through friends who have chosen different life paths. The ones who have traveled the world, landed important jobs and moved to big cities. Sometimes I regret that I missed out on that adventure. I struggle to keep these friendships. Our lives seem so vastly different. My life must sound so ordinary and mundane to them.

You see, I went straight from college to a job I really didn't enjoy then right to being a mom. I feel like I never found "my calling" so to speak. Some could say that children are my calling, but something inside me tells me there is something else to come. In some ways, I guess you could say, I'm still trying to find the definition of me…"I'm a nurse", "I'm a teacher", I'm a _____. Up until now, I've filled that blank with mom, but lately, I've had a strong desire to fill that blank with something else.

It turns out the grass is greener on all sides. While I'm day dreaming of adventure, these friends of mine have confessed they are day dreaming of settling down. They travel the world and have grand adventures while I find it almost impossible to even get away for a date night with my husband. I fall asleep next to a man I know loves me every night while they are somewhere out there braving the dating world. From what I hear, it's scary out there… but sometimes it's scary here too. We are all chasing dreams… and we are all living them out. We've all made choices. We've all made sacrifices.

Sometimes I wonder if you can have it all. Maybe there is time for every dream. Or maybe life doesn't deliver dreams exactly as envisioned.  

I told my husband the other night that I was feeling "twitchy". I'm ready for something new. A new adventure of my own. I'm ready to do something meaningful. I know I have something to offer, but I'm just not quite sure what. I'm ready for God to open doors and show me where I need to be and I'm praying that He will. 

For now, I'm thankful for what I have. A husband, children and family are dreams come true. I can honestly say that my life is adventurous. My toddler makes certain of it. While I may be restless at the moment, I am certain peace will come. 

Thank you for helping me hit over 150 likes this weekend! I'm continually amazed at your awesome support.

Friday, October 25, 2013

5 on Friday


I'm so very thankful for Nordstrom and their free shipping/free returns because it is insanely hard to order shoes online. I needed a shoe re-haul this season since I've been wearing the same two pairs of $20 Target flats for the past THREE years. They now leak like crazy and was time to upgrade. 

I don't know exactly why I haven't done this sooner...laziness, pregnancy, fear of shoe shopping with toddler? Mainly the toddler. I can just envision shoes spread all over the place just like that time we walked past that oh, so neatly and well organized tie table at Men's Wearhouse. "So many pretty colors mommy!"

Anyways, I'm now fairly set with these new faves (minus a pair of boots I'm lusting after).

Fall Shoe Basics


I am so over Sami the Seal (A.K.A. the nebulizer). Pretty sure my kids despise him too despite his attempt at cuteness. Ethan is down to twice a day, but Jack is up to 4 times a day. Why, oh why must it be so loud and take so long! My children do not like sitting still no matter what bribes I place in front of them.

Over the past two weeks I've...

spent approximately 12 hours in the doctors office,
wrangled a child to use the nebulizer 54 times,
given over 40 doses of antibiotics
gone through countless tissues and wipes.


We have been throwing around the idea of saying goodbye to cable.


In all honesty, Ethan is the one who watches it most. It seems silly to chunk out what feels like major money for kids shows. Although, I do DVR Scandal and Parenthood and the hubs enjoys Gold Rush. Oh my word...most annoying show ever, but for some reason...we still watch.

Have you said goodbye to cable? What do you use instead? What do you do for internet???Tips/suggestions folks...I need them!


Confession*...I can only make things that have specific instructions.

3 Steps were clearly not enough to replicate this "easy" craft.

*This would also be a good time to confess that I have zero ability to visualize measurements without being able to physically compare them together. Hence the extraordinarily large eyes.* 


Could you do me a favor and like my Facebook Page? I find it's an easy place to get to know everyone and I've enjoyed sharing more of my day-to-day there recently. Come say "Hi!"...I am looking forward to growing more of a community there.

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Also, if you live in the Knoxville, TN area you can look forward to a new local mom's blog coming soon! I'll be teaming up with several other wonderful ladies as a Knoxville Mom's Blog contributor. We are officially launching November 4th and hosting our first play-date November 6th. I would so love to meet you there!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Taking Care of Me

My 3 year old has a new habit of climbing in bed with me in the mornings. I have a one is officially up until the sun has risen. So, most mornings I request him to lay with me (preferably quietly) and let mama finish sleeping. The moment the sun shows it's first gleaming little rays, Ethan will be sure to tell me "Mama, sunshine is up!". 

Sometimes, the sun rises before I'm ready. There are days I plead for my son to cuddle just a bit longer..."Mama needs just a little more sleep.".

Ever since I can remember, I've needed to give myself a pep talk to start the age 29 I am still no different. 

There is so much peace in sleep. 

So much quiet.

So much stillness.

My mind craves it. 

No, my soul craves it.

I've always been one that needs quiet. I enjoy spending time alone, hearing my thoughts, making plans and thinking things through. Really being in tune with myself. 

There are times when I feel the busyness of motherhood has robbed me of that. I feel lost. I feel drained. 

The amount of energy in this house is mind blowing. The busyness of our lives is not slowing down. I keep waiting for that time where everything will just settle out. Where there won't be that next event, that next big thing, that next round of sickness, that next project. I've slowly come to grips with the fact that will not happen anytime in our near future.

And when/if it does...I half believe it will terrify me.

I've been on a quest to enjoy more, complain less...take matters into my own hands so to speak and really turn things around for myself.

These baby/toddler years, although crazy and exhausting are precious. While they demand so much of me, they don't have to have all of me. 

I've been enjoying the midnight hours lately. The time after everyone is in bed. The time where I can hear myself think, can do my own things guilt free.

While sleep is not something I've gotten much of lately, I have to tell you I've never felt so refreshed. 

I'm getting myself back. While it may require at least two cups of coffee a day and loss of sleep, it's well worth it. 

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I'm Breaking Up with October

I was up an hour this morning before I got a chance to put in my contacts and brush my teeth. Those things are typically things I must do before I have to interact with anyone. I am not a morning person. 

We are the house of the sick again just like last October. Nebulizer treatments all around. Doctors appointments 3 days in a row.

Mama is over it.

While I know it's not the cause, it probably didn't help that I took everyone and their snotty noses to the Pumpkin patch on Monday. We didn't do any fun fall things last year. No trick or treating, no pumpkin patch and the pumpkins I did buy last minute ended up forgotten and disgusting in my trunk. 

Don't leave your pumpkins in your trunk. 

So, I am determined come hell or high water...or snot in our case...we are doing fun. There are memories that need to be made folks.

Fun must be had.

This also makes the second weekend in a row that we were suppose to go out of town for fun and had to cancel. This is the second weekend in a row that I have planned a birthday party for E (in two different cities mind you) and had to cancel. At what point can we just say the birthday is officially over? This was suppose to be my easy, peasy small scale year birthday-wise, but someone has been talking about their red tractor birthday party for months now. 

I don't think he is going to just forget about it either. kid is stuck underneath a kitchen chair, the other is whining for his 5th snack of the morning and it's only 8:30AM. I'm pretty sure this all means my 5 minutes of zoning out time is up.

October, you used to be one of my favorites, but I don't think I like you anymore.

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Monday, October 14, 2013

I'm Striving to be a Better Example

Last week I sent cupcakes to Ethan's school to celebrate his third birthday. I wanted him to have a chance to celebrate with his little friends. I wanted him to feel a little extra special. Instead those cupcakes ended up causing him pain. You see, due to some reorganization he is one of the youngest in his class this year and my over-zealousness to celebrate ended up bringing attention to this little fact. 

When he got in the car after school that day we went through the routine questions. "Did you have a good day?", "Did you eat your lunch?", "Who did you play with?" all of which he answered until I got to "Did you make any new friends?". He sullenly replied his new go to answer of "I tell you later". I pressed on naming names...we've been on a mission to make new friends. He stopped me at one name and sadly told me that two of the boys in his class called him a "baby" which we all know is a major toddler insult.

I glanced back in the rear-view mirror and saw his sad little defeated face. I wanted to whip that car around and go handle things right then and there. Instead, I took a deep breath and searched and searched for the right words to tell him. He may only be three, but to me this was some kind of pivotal parenting moment. I decided to keep the mood light and stayed upbeat reminding him that he was a big boy and that those kids were just being silly. I told him we would talk about it more later and quickly distracted him with some other topic...more than likely a truck.

I couldn't stop thinking about it that day. Is all this stuff really starting already? Kids can be so cruel. I just want him to keep feeling so very special. We cheer our kids on so much in the beginning. That first year is full of "Yay's!" and smiles and claps and proud parent moments. There is no doubt they feel special. As the years go by though there seem to be so many less "Yay's!" in life, but as a parent you always want them to feel like the star that they are to you.

Later that day, I realized I had seen that sad little defeated face before. I had seen it as a result of my own quick reaction to some typical toddler behavior. Life with a toddler can be so very draining. They test limits, test patience, push buttons. It is the very definition of toddlerhood. It is what they are suppose to do. But sometimes, it breaks you. It brings out a side of you that you never thought would come when you were holding your first squishy newborn in your arms. 

I don't want to be a bully, especially to my own child. It's up to me to choose an appropriate reaction when times get tough. Sometimes I am quick to inappropriately use my words to express my ill-feelings in many different situations when I shouldn't be. I know my sons are going to emulate my behavior. I want that to be a good thing.

Turns out it was definitely a pivotal parenting moment. It was a wake up call for me. It's time to practice my patience. Whether that's counting to ten or a hundred or even just knowing when to take a break. He's watching me. He's watching my reactions. He's learning what is and isn't appropriate from me. He will remember the feelings I cause him to feel. He will learn from me how to treat others and how to react to them. 

That night when I crawled into bed with him to do our nightly book and songs I brought the situation back up. I explained to him that he is in charge of his happiness and it was up to him to make sure those boys didn't take it from him. I too am in charge of his happiness of his confidence of his self worth. Of all the things to get right...those are certainly important ones. 

I'll be practicing patience this week...less yelling, slower reactions, more love and more breaks. I'll be taking a lot more deep breaths. Something tells me I'll be taking in a lot more oxygen...

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Chronicle of the Onesie Stickers Continue

Sooooo, this whole monthly onesie sticker jazz is a little more challenging than I thought it would be. At first it was all easy peasy because, well, he just laid there. Now, it is a whole different story. Jackson is all over the place and I'm just scared someone is going to get injured. But, we have survived so far. I would never, ever dream of wishing baby days away, but a part of me will be relieved when I can give up this monthly onesie picture deal. 

Here is a behind the scenes look of this months session which happened to be extra crazy since big brother was home.

Yeah. Super crazy. Tell me I'm not the only one with this problem.

Oh, did I mention Ethan was armed with a camera of his own? Check out this little budding photographer...

I really think this month is one of my absolute favorite in babydom. Jackson is on the verge of being a toddler (no, seriously he is not far away from actual toddling), but he still has all that wonderful, chubby baby-ness about him. 

I'd love to post one of those cute little monthly cards I do every month with his weight and height and all that jazz, but I forgot his 9 month check-up and so therefore, no "official" stats. Yeah, you read that right...I forgot his well-check. It's on the schedule again for next week but he will be 10 months by then, so I feel like that stats are just all wishy-washy now. Parent of the year right here people.

While I may not be able to give you his actual weight, I can tell you that he has been eating the heck out of some real people food. This baby is a bottomless pit. I feed him something all day long. Or maybe it just feels that way because it seems that every time I try to be productive I have to stop to fetch someone something to eat or drink...the baby, the toddler, the dog...they keep me hopping around here. He now gets absolutely ticked off if we pull out baby food first. That is a last resort these days, but still regularly needed. He isn't too much into formula. We are lucky to get 6oz down him 3 times a day, but I'm not complaining. His big brother goes through 2 gallons of milk a week by himself so my grocery bill is thanking Jackson for potentially evening things out.

As far as growth goes, Jackson has 6 teeth now with a few more trying to make their way in. He's currently wearing 12 month clothing and I still refuse to dress him like a big boy. He sleeps like an ANGEL! How I wish he would teach Ethan this beautiful habit. I can recall maybe 3 times in his life that we have had difficulty putting him down. Naps are a little screwy though. On the days E has school he takes two naps a day in the car on our way to drop off and pick up. All other days he takes only one for maybe an hour. He's generally happy during the day so I'm not forcing the issue.

His personality is so easy going. He typically explores the house during the day completely content. He is starting to want to play with Ethan more and more which sometimes goes over and sometimes not. He rarely cries. He does have a little temper though if you take something away from him. As easy going as he is, I thankfully do not have to worry about him being a push over. 

Favorite things: Hugs, Attempting to Walk, Pushing Trucks, Exploring, Crackers and Tickles from Big Brother

Am I the only one with this monthly onesie sticker fiasco? 

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Monday, October 7, 2013

It's My Time

Do you ever feel like you are just treading your way through life? I do. Sometimes I feel like I’m barely keeping my head above water. I have so many things I want to do, but most of the time I can’t make it past simply taking care of everyones basic needs of sleeping, eating and staying clean. Sometimes...I can’t even accomplish that. How will I ever be able to accomplish anything else if I can’t even get the basics down?

I hate that things have come to this stage. Wait. I hate that I haven’t yet made it past this stage. These past three years have been very transitional for our family. Two babies, several different job positions for my husband and two moves have taken its toll. I have not found my groove and I desperately need to because my soul is calling out for me to do more, be more, serve more. And maybe the truth is we’ve been moving just a bit too fast. Our focus hasn’t been where it needs to be.

I’ve been reading Erin’s series about white space and they couldn’t ring more true for me. I too need to create white space. Space that I can fill with the things my soul needs. A place for me to accomplish my dreams. A place for my husband and I to grow more in our relationship. A place for me to serve others. A place for me to be quiet. Right now I just do a lot of running around, stressing out and accomplishing nothing. That has got to come to an end.

I’ve been struggling with not feeling personally fulfilled. I have a wonderful husband and kids, but I don’t feel like I’ve been a wonderful version of me. Lately my mind has been overcome with ideas and instead of shoving them in the corner like I normally do, I’ve decided to do something with them. I’m rearranging and reorganizing my life so that I can do me. It’s my season. It’s my time. The only person that can hold me back is me and I’m letting go.

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Friday, October 4, 2013

Happy Birthday Ethan!

Can you believe that tomorrow this little guy will be THREE???

Photo by Overbay Photography

I've been referring to him as three for the past several months because in all reality he has already entered into the "typical" three year old state. Saturday will just make it all official and I guess justifiable. Bring on more "Whys?" kid! I'm ready...sort of. He stumps me more than I ever thought he would. And yes, sheepishly I admit sometimes I answer with "Because I said so!".

Although he's "too old" for monthly updates, I do think I at least owe him a once a year letter. And maybe, if I get around to it, another little interview session like this one** which should be quite entertaining.

E Baby,

It is so hard to believe you have been with us for three years. For some reason this birthday hasn't hit me quite as hard as your previous two, but I think it is because I have seen the "age shift" take place a few months ago and in my head you are already such a big boy. No worries though, in my heart you will always be my baby. The first one. The one that made me mom.

You are and most likely will always be my fiercely independent little guy. You are quick to try new things and lend a helping hand. You are a true first born in every way. Once you get your mind on something there is no stopping you. Sometimes you and I butt heads, but only because we are one in the same. You are my mini me in so many ways. 

This year you became a big brother and you have taken on that role with a happy heart. You love your "baby Jack", are quick to show him off and most certainly look out for him. I could not be more proud! It certainly can't be easy to share everyone and everything but you have.

I look forward to embracing another year of "littleness" with you. There certainly won't be many more of these as time seems to be moving quicker than I ever dreamed it could. My favorite moments are watching you run around the backyard truly wild and free and chatting with you about your day on the way home from school. I soak up the moments when you want to hold my hand or put your head on my chest. I know those days are fleeting and I hope to have them in my memory bank for years to come. 

Ethan, I love you so much. You are my wild man, the one who gives me grey hairs and one I couldn't imagine my life without. Happy birthday baby!


**Do you have questions for Ethan? Put them in the comment section. I'll ask during our next video and Ethan will decide whether or not you will be rewarded with an answer!**

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Fall Cleaning Checklist (Free Printable)

A few years ago I put together a home organization notebook and since then I have constantly been on the lookout for new ways to simplify my home keeping practices. A lot has changed since that first notebook in 2011 (a couple of moves, a baby, etc.), but certain things like the seasonal "To-Do's" seem to remain the same regardless of what life throws my way. 

This year I decided to put together a little fall cleaning list for myself as a reminder and thought I would share it with all of you as well. It's not all encompassing, but it includes what I feel are the "must do's" of the season. 

I feel like Fall is the perfect time to tackle these particular chores. The outdoor chores are more "enjoyable" with cooler weather and the indoor cleaning will have you prepared for holiday visitors ahead of time so there will be no need to scramble when things get a bit more hectic later on in the year. 

I hope you find this printable useful. Please be sure to pin it so you can have it as a reminder. The printable link can be found here. If you would like to see more posts regarding cleaning and other home keeping tips please let me know in the comment section. I have several other ideas I'd love to share!

*Linking up with House of Rose and The View from 510

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