Wednesday, March 26, 2014

20 Wishes in March

Back in January, I posted about the 20 Wishes I had for the year. I missed out on last month's checkin to let you know how they were going, but here's where we are this month.

1. Find a new favorite tea. 
Found it! Yogi's Honey lavender. SO good! And incredibly relaxing. I seem to be on a lavender kick lately after Josh and I's getaway trip to the Peninsula.
2. Get a canopy up in our room. 
3. Go geocaching. 
4. Listen to classical music more
Yes! In fact this song "Beethoven's Five Secrets" by the Piano Guys is pretty great.
5. Make ice cream. 
6.Make a signature smoothie
Yes! I'll have to blog about it sometime. Cinnamon is my favorite to add in. 
7.Send just because cards to ten people.
 8. Make time for tea/coffee with the hubs once a week (or more!).
I've been slacking here. I need to make time for this! 
9. More beach trips 
Little cold yet but we had lots of fun going to a beach on the Peninsula!

10. Read a new chapter book once a month with Andrew. 
Make that three so far! He is loving the Boxcar Children and Choose Your Own Adventure series! I also found the Chocolate Touch. That was a fun one to re-read!
11. Girls day with my mom (she lives in Idaho so it will take a little doing but needs to happen!) 
12. Go camping (might be a challenge being 7-8 months pregnant but I'm up for it!) 
13. Volunteer somewhere with the boys
We tried to do this already, serving food at a cafe for those in need, but there was a miscommunication on time! Hopefully next time it will work out! Andrew is so excited to do it! 
14. Homeschool for a year 
I think this is actually happening this next year!
Follow my "Educational Fun" board on Pinterest for some awesome creative 
learning activities
15. Go berry-picking at a you-pick patch this summer 
16. Swim with dolphins on our Florida trip 
Praying that this trip works out! I will be 7 1/2 months pregnant. I wasn't expecting yet at the time of ticket booking! It could be in limbo if Josh gets a new job. Pray that it works out! I would love to go!!
17. Meet at least one bloggie friend in person 
18. Memorize five verses for labor 
19. Get rid of ten pieces of clothes that don't love me anymore
Somehow my laundry pile is really daunting. I would rather, oh, I don't know, read my book, do the winter challenge, or eat some chocolate or something instead.
 20. Show Jesus' love to someone who needs it. Could be making a meal, getting together, watching kiddos, etc. (even if it's not convenient or might be a sacrifice)

Well there you have it! I'll probably make a bit more progress when the weather warms up a little! What is on your to-do wishlist this year?

Linking up

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When good parents don't bubble wrap their kids!

These days, it feels as if "good" parents must be hovering over our kids, practically with virtual bubble wrap, to prevent any mishaps from, well,  happening! A trip to any playground and you will hear about a hundred different admonishing reminders- 
oh no, we don't climb UP the slide!
Oh! Don't jump off that bar! It's too high! You'll get hurt! 
Don't sit up that high! You might fall! 
Don't swing too high! You might fall out!
No bark does not go in your mouth!!
Uhoh! sticks are not toys! Put it down before you jab his eye!
Don't take her toy! That's not nice! We need to share the playground. 

It's kind of enough to give me a headache. I can't tell you how many times I say something so I don't appear to care too little and am making sure to be a good involved parent. Because, that's what good parents are supposed to do, right?!

Now that I think about it, I almost wonder why I put myself through the torture of going to the park where SO many reminders are needed to keep our sweet kiddos safe. I have to wonder though- are we really keeping them safe? I mean, we are sure as heck trying to prevent injuries! But, I wonder if we are cultivating a real learning environment or just teaching them to avoid too much risk because they "might get hurt" in the process. It's not that I want my kids to be injured, but it feels as if they can't just got out there and play and learn and explore for themselves without some well-meaning parent casting a glare for my caring too little.

Check out these pictures.

The Land

A dump? Nope. That, my friends, is a playground. It is called "The Land" and was designed as a place for kids to play and learn. It is staffed by eight full time people who work there to help the kids get the most out of playtime. In other words, encouraging them to do the things we discourage our own kids from doing. Whoa. It's in East Wales. I think it's a brilliant idea. You can read more on it here

Part of me is honestly torn- I want our kids to be safe and don't want to encourage them to hurt themselves or others. I wonder though- are we maybe encouraging too much "safe" play and too little exploration and learning? 

I love this quote from Mr. Rogers. Good reminder.

What do you think?

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Learning to Blend

File this one under: real life. Because, blogging isn't just a journal of the great recipes or photos captured or memorable times; it's about the things that might not always be so easy to talk about too, or make the prettiest blog post.

Ever feel like something you did was completely misread to be something totally different? Yeah? Me too. One of the hardest things is having a sacrificial act turned into something selfish. Something you'd never do. But to talk through it with two so very different viewpoints? Yikes. How do you help someone realize the distorted lens they are seeing things through? I don't have answers, but I do know this- marriage is like a beautiful piece of art. Beautiful and hard and sad and wonderful all at once. It is blending two completely different brush strokes into one incredible painting. Two completely different method of art. One might love big splatter painting while the other one prefers tedious little strokes. It all somehow comes together though. In the times when it seems to be at a standstill, and the lenses are all off and misconstrued, it still blends. It might not be perfect, but that is what makes it beautiful, and sacred. It's learning to love the messy imperfect blending, and realizing that that does not define the quality of the piece- it is just one part of something that in the end, is much more amazing than we could have imagined.

In the mean times though. The times that are painful and you are misunderstood, remember this- it's going to be ok. And sometimes marriage means forgiving even when you don't feel like it or understand and hurt. Forgiveness is the first step to peace and healing.
Some of my favorite quotes-

This article made me smile. Because it does happen. :)

And that whole forgiveness thing? Sometimes things hurt. It's ok to take time. To work through it. It's not just lovey dovey rainbows. Getting there though :)

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

It's a....!!!

We had our second ultrasound yesterday and found out the big news we were waiting for- boy or girl!
I felt like deep down, it might be a girl, but didn't want to cry at the ultrasound (true story last time!)
Everything looks great! Heart rate is at 149. Nothing appears to be abnormal, but no matter what, we love this little one!
It's a baby!
I unintentionally wore blue and pink for the day!

We had promised Andrew we would tell him first.We picked up colored balloons before we picked him up from the bus and then planned a fun little reveal with the boys.

Facebook teaser picture :)

And the video we put together to announce the baby :)


We carried on the color cake reveal tradition for the grandparents here!

Andrew was tickled to get to call the grandparents and great-grandparents out of state to tell them the news. He has wanted a sister this time, said that it was a girl, and was so excited to be right. (He might be onto something with luck! He guessed Adrian right all along too!)

We are so excited!!!  I know a baby is a blessing and either gender is wonderful, but it's nice to finally get a girl too when you've had two boys. I don't think there's anything wrong hoping one way or the other. (Just be prepared for a few tears if you do because I've been through that! It's a lot better when you can think of them as a little person with a name though! My emotions totally changed for the better after the 2nd ultrasound the both previous times. )

Amazingly, I have yet to buy any girl stuff. I might be completely silly, but I'm waiting until I find just the right thing; something to make it special enough! No idea why but things like this are a big deal to me!

How did you announce the gender? Did you find out? What fun traditions do you have celebrating through the pregnancy? 

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Easy DIY 50¢ Dryer Sheets!

I have an easy peasy tutorial for you guys today. (I don't know if you can even call it that because my 6-year old could do this!). So what is that quote? "Necessity is the mother of invention?" Well, cue necessity and invention because this morning, I was completely out of dryer sheets and although it would have been awesome to give myself a day off, our laundry somehow breeds in the blink of an eye and before I know it, it's piled and overflowing and we are having to wash things to wear them! (True story). So, break out the searching for a good recipe for diy dryer sheets. I knew I'd seen one floating around recently! I combined a couple ideas, mixed the ingredients up, tried it out and hey whaddyaknow- it worked! Plus it was dirt cheap (minus the dirt!) Win/win for me! I feel like some things we just go through so much of and laundry items are one of them. DIY recipes can be pretty hit or miss (-miss on the laundry soap and dishwasher soap here), but I will be remaking this one!!

So, the how to:
You need:
1 quart/4 cup size size container or jar with a lid
2 cups water
1 cup favorite fabric softener
3-4 sponges cut into 4 rectangles each 
( I used magic erasers and regular sponges since it's what I had on hand)

Add water and fabric softener to jar.
Shake well (I used a whisk here to help it along. The softener can be thick!)
Add sponges and push into solution to help them absorb it.

To use:
Slightly wring out and toss 1 sponge into a small load 
or 2 sponges into a medium - large load.
Simply put the sponges back into the container after using!

Feel free to double or triple the recipe!
This costs you very little to make (50¢ for my batch!)

Have you tried any DIY recipes of your own lately? How did they work out for you? 

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Monday, March 3, 2014

Favorite date lately

Downton Abbey. With my love. Simple enough, but I am looking forward to these times together more and more, even if its "just" an at-home date night. I love going out and spending time together, but with two kids and life's craziness, it just does not happen as often as we would like! I'm discovering that it's something we really do have to plan and make time for because otherwise, time just flies and suddenly we are a month without really any "us" time. I have no idea how we are going to wait until the next season of Downton Abbey comes out though! These short British series are killing me here! Guess we need to find a new show now! What is your go-to date night idea? 

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Monday, February 24, 2014

Hashtag stop guilt tripping & labeling the parents who do things different than you!

So... I saw this floating around social media land this morning.
And while there are noble points and ideas there, it just made me cringe!
What is with this guilt-tripping parenting stuff? 
This "you are a horrible neglectful parent if you do x" message going on?
This idea that if you let your child cry for longer than x amount of time, you are causing them undue pain and possibly even abuse?
I agree that balance is really important, and am by no means advocating that we let our children cry for hours upon hours on end while we eat bon bons and ignore their physical needs. That truly is neglect. This though?
We have a happy thriving, my better off six-year-old who is a testament to CIO working. 
I am actually not advocating for CIO or any other method because each child is so different and a method that works like a charm for this child might not be such a good idea for another one. The point is just: do what works for you and your family without beating yourself or others over the head for it!
I don't like this trend of "hard things" being turned into "bad parenting." 
You make your kid do "too much" hard work.
Bad parent.
You let your baby cry for longer than makes someone else comfortable (even though they're well-fed and you've already checked on them several times).
Bad parent.
You let your child face the failure of a bad grade that they got from not working hard enough.
Bad parent.
You feed your child food that might be a little processed.
Bad parent.
You let your child sleep with you longer than the experts recommend.
Bad parent.
You forward face your child earlier than 3 years.
Bad parent.
Can we just stop with the "bad parent" labels" and remember that different is not bad?
I love all the information out there but these days there is almost too much information out there and such a huge push to find and promote the holy grail method of parenting. In turn, there is so much fear floating around. Fear that that different might be really really bad. It's not what we know. It's not what we do. It certainly wouldn't work for our kids or be what we would recommend. So instead of agreeing to disagree, we label it as "bad."

I took that little gem of a picture and turned it into this.

Why don't we just celebrate parenting for the hard imperfect thing that it is! This year, my goal is to encourage people more instead of being so concerned about changing everyone's mind (although, I must chuckle at that statement in relation to the content of this post.) I find that when I am more concerned with convincing someone that their idea is somehow lacking, that I miss the point and lose out on the relationship.
This probably sums it up the best.

Love your babies. Do what works for your family. Remember that different is ok.
Most of all just celebrate loving and living life!

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Midweek Confessions: shoes, interviews, and the death of Valentines!

I have a blog post floating around in my brain but it's just not quite done yet, so I thought this might be a fun way to kill some time.

:: I don't know why, but I decided last night that I just had to find the perfect pair of slouchy grey(gray? grey. Darn it. Which way do you spell it?!) boots. Commence a hunt that involved about eight websites, tears, and no boots I liked. They were all either not that style or too simple and over-priced. Argh. I finally found the perfect pair on shoebuy and discovered they are currently running a sale for free shipping + 20% off!

:: I am learning to say no more often to what won't benefit me(or my wallet), but it is sure hard! It's been good though to say "yes" to what matters more. Or at least what should! Insert park trips, yes to more time together, yes to playing more, yes to being a little more patient,yes to saving $5 here and there, yes to eating what I need rather than what sounds good (but I know I'll feel later). Yes to taking time to having moments of slowing down. We all need that. Life can't be go-go-go as easy as it is to get caught up in doing. Sometimes we just need to be and rest.

:: On the other hand, I am struggling with patience on waiting for a yes or no for a second job for Josh. Two interviews. One no. One taking a lot of time to get back. One day at a time though.

:: Writing names on Valentines just might be the death of me! I think it took us an hour to get through writing 12 names & numbers on tags to go on the Valentine bags for Andrew's class. He is so all-or-nothing with how they need to look (and of course it must be on the first try or he is done even thinking about it!!) Insert lots of pen-throwing, scribbled out letters, and a few "quite seriously?!"s on my part and you have a good idea of how things went down. We f i n a l l y finished and they looked great but two hours?! Next year we are so getting a box. Save me some sanity why don't you?!

:: Totally hooked on the new season of Downton Abbey. Can't believe some of the twists they are throwing in!!

:: I keep finding reasons to wash my hands. The coconut lime sugar hand scrub I made up (tweaked from a recipe I found) leaves them feeling so smooth and moisturized plus it smells amazing! I'm in charge of crafts for our MOPS group (Mothers of Preschoolers if you are wondering ;-) ) and have been having fun finding good craft ideas. This was one. You can follow my Pinterest board for more ideas here.

:: I am almost jealous of everyone else's snow, but only slightly. I like to look at it, but not go anywhere with it (mostly because people here aren't that skilled at driving in it, and my studded tires are in the garage. I am too lazy to get them on!)

:: I offered to speak at our MOPS group. What was I thinking?!?! I am so nervous but at the same time, I have a ton of really good ideas. (The topic is Mommy Wars.) I don't know why I get myself into these things, but deep breath. Here we go.

:: Adrian's mornings start at 5:30. Every day. What is this?? :( At least I am good friends with my cup of tea. (it's been more soothing to my sore throat as of late than coffee ever is.)

Learning to slow down and notice the moments like this. 

What is your confession this week?

Linking up here

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Pay it Forward: Because 15 years later I still love snail mail!

Just reliving some memories here:

You remember this.

How fun was it to find a mailbox full of colorful envelopes and letters.
I don't know about you but it was the highlight of my week!
I would race to the mailbox to see what it might contain, holding my breath for something with my name.
(Hey that rhymed.)

I'd love to bring back snail mail at least a little bit! 
So, I'm doing a snail mail pay-it-forward for 2014.
A lot can fit inside an envelope!

Just comment if you'd like to get something in the next year.
(And maybe write back and forth too, like oldschool! )

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Friday, February 7, 2014

Moms' Night Out Movie:Coming May 9th to a theater near you!!

Last night I had the pleasure of attending a movie screening of Moms' Night Out with my mama friend Amanda who writes at Saving 4 Five. If you haven't seen the trailer yet for this upcoming film, check it out below!

As soon as I saw that, I had to go. It captures everything so true about motherhood- it's so messy yet so beautiful. I had high hopes for the movie! I love that the tagline is: "A comedy about chaos life!" So true!!

It was a privilege to get to take in the screening and ohmygoodness. The laughter. The tears. The laughter. The "oh that is so my life!!" moments. The beautiful messy moments. It's one of those movies that wraps you up with sweetness and leaves you feeling all the better for having watched it!

Some of our "real life" moments this week?

I was so glad to have a mom's night out for the movie! It's been a while!

Some of the messy beautiful moments in my life this week so far?
So this morning was a little colorful.

Sweet kisses from my baby.

My treat to myself last night? Enjoying MOPS awesome Hello Darling magazine
 while taking in a hot bath. Hello encouragement and mama recharging! MOPS is also a huge part of the Moms' Night Out movie. If you haven't heard about them, check out more info& find a group near you here. I love this on their site:
"We are moms, and we believe that better moms make a better world."

Making intentional moments watching "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" with Adrian.
Of course, one minute later, he was more interesting in hitting the keyboard and moving the mouse but I tried!

Playing Rook six-year-old style!

Enjoying mama's chocolate that was supposed to be for a craft project!

Moms' Night Out hits the big screen officially May 9th (which, happens to be Mothers Day weekend!!)
It features a stellar cast too including Sarah Drew, Sean Astin, Trace Adkins, Patricia Heaton, David Hunt, Robert Amaya, Harry Shum Jr. & Alex Kendrick.

Check out more info here:

What beautiful messy moment are you reveling in right now?

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