Sunday, June 12, 2016

An Open Letter: Dear Mom of Toddlers

Dear mom of toddlers,

I’m sorry for the times that I judged you. For wondering why you can’t get your kid under control. After all, we are in a restaurant. Maybe you shouldn’t go out to eat if you can’t keep your child from screaming? Stay home, order take-out, call it a night. I was wrong. 

I’m sorry for the times I watched from my food court chair as you tried to maneuver the stroller through the mall doors, not offering a hand. You’re a mom, you do this all of the time. Yes, you may look like a three-ring-circus act trying to hold the door open with one leg and push the stroller through, but you can do it. 

I’m sorry for thinking that you couldn’t hear the grocery store meltdown, or worse, assuming that you simply didn’t care. I now realize that someone being unhappy doesn’t change the fact that you need milk, eggs, and toilet paper. Leaving the store immediately when the meltdown begins would mean abandoning your cart full of groceries and let's face it, I probably would have frowned upon that too.

I’m sorry for smiling my fake smile when I noticed your toddler had remnants of breakfast in their hair. Sometimes, you just have tough mornings. 

I’m sorry for noticing that you hadn’t lost all of your baby weight and for being a little disgusted by the slobber on your t-shirt. Baby weight and slobber are only a few of the sweet marks our babies leave on us. 

I’m sorry for wondering why you were late for church every single Sunday. If you have a problem getting everyone out the door, you just need to get up earlier. Who knew that someone spitting up, throwing up, sticking bubble gum in their hair, or coloring on themselves with permanent marker is inevitable. There is just something about Sunday morning that makes kids crazy.

A child is misbehaving? Discipline them. You have a hard time getting everyone out the door on time? Get up earlier. You still have baby weight to lose? Work out. Before I had a child of my own I was an expert on parenting. I have learned the hard way that parenting isn’t for the faint of heart. Sometimes you’re tired and sometimes things just aren’t as simple as they look from the outside.

I have been blessed with a really sweet toddler. But she is just that. A toddler. Most of the time days don’t go as planned, sometimes we have meltdowns, and usually only one of us looks presentable. Life is crazy and I’ve been the recipient of the disapproving looks I once handed out so freely. So to all of you mommas out there, chin up! You’re doing a great job.

Next time you see a mom with a screaming, messy, or crying toddler, give her a hug. Give her a smile. Tell her she’s a great mom. Because I promise, she’s doing the best she can. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

DIY: $15 Floral Wreath

Spring is officially here in Ohio! There have been several nice days and several rainy days but I am just so thankful that Winter is over! 

Although Spring took seemingly forever to arrive, I left my Winter wreath up for entirely too long. I can't remember what I've used the past few years, but I realized this year that I didn't have a Spring/Summer wreath. I started shopping and quickly realized that Dave Ramsey would definitely say "no" if he saw the price, so I decided to make my own. 

I always forget how simple wreath-making is. I bought all of my supplies at Joann Fabrics but any craft store would have similar supplies. [My favorite place to buy florals is Hobby Lobby but there isn't a local store. So, I shop at Joann's.]

Grapevine wreath
Season appropriate florals [I used three bunches]
Wire cutters
Wire or twisty-ties [I used wire but will likely use twisty-ties next time. The wire was sharp and difficult to work with] 

Buying your supplies: 

  • I started with a grapevine wreath. Mine was regularly $8.50 but there are always 40-50% off coupons. Never buy anything there at Joann's one! Here is the link to their coupon page. You don't even have to print them off! 

Grapevine wreath: $4.25

  • I always start by choosing a base color for my florals. This time I chose light green. Then I add an accent color [purple]. I also found a few light green berry stems to fill in the empty spots. The florals were half-off but if they aren't on sale, use your coupon. :) 

Flowers: $9.00

  • I had the wire on hand from another project, so it didn't cost me anything. I will likely use twisty-ties next time. 

Assembling your wreath:

  • Cut the flowers from the main stem, leaving approximately 1 inch to attach the florals to the wreath. You can leave as much greenery as you'd like.  

  • I arrange them on my wreath before attaching them. I like to place them in the every-other color pattern, but you can arrange them however you'd like. 

  • After you are happy with the placement, use small pieces of wire to attach the flowers to the wreath. I attached the berry stems last so that I could fill in flat/empty areas. 

  • Add a bow or a letter for a personalized touch. Attach to door with ribbon and command hook. Happy crafting! 


Monday, April 11, 2016

I'm Not in Love With the Man I Married

I have a confession to make: I am not in love with the man I married. In fact, he isn't in love with the woman he married either.

AND I AM SO GLAD. Because we aren't that same boy and girl anymore. We have grown and changed and I am so thankful that I am married to a man that will grow with me.

We will celebrate our anniversary later this month and it is fun to revisit the last few years. It's interesting to see how our priorities have changed. It's interesting to see the dreams that came true and the dreams that changed.

It's funny to remember the plan that we had for our lives when we now see how much greater God's plan was. Some parts of the plan we don't understand and some parts we likely won't in this lifetime. But we know that He is good and that it will all be okay. 

It's fun to remember how new and fragile our love was. Like many young marriages, we have had some tough times. We've had fights, lost loved ones, made difficult career decisions and processed some tough life changes. Even though it may have felt rocky, I love to see that our slightly battered and slightly aged love is sweeter than I ever imagined. Not that there aren't rough days. In fact, Steve joked recently that our house quickly escalates from an episode of Friends to WWF! Ha!

Happy 63rd anniversary! We miss you, Bob! 
We definitely don't have it all figured out, but I am so thankful I get to spend the rest of my years learning alongside my husband.

I love the leader that he has become and the woman that he makes me want to be. He encourages me and loves me even at my lowest point.

I am so thankful for the examples and mentors we have. They have taught us and shown us that if we both commit ourselves to the Lord and to each other, no problem is too big. I am thankful for parents and grandparents with long marriages and lots of advice - even when we don't think we need it.

I'm thankful that on the days we make each other want to scream, I can still sit down at the end of the day and write a post like this from the bottom of my heart.

He is the one that is there at the end of a hard day and he is the one that will still be there when the house is empty. He invests in me and in our marriage. He is a great dad and I am so thankful for the example he is for our kids!

The years are flying by and I can't decide if it feels like we've been married for 1 year or for 10 years. Either way, I am so grateful that the guy in the red hat held the door for the shy youth sponsor that October. I am thankful for ice-cream dates and Dariette proposals. I am thankful for learning and growing and changing. I am thankful for Steve.

Happy [early] Anniversary to my sweet husband! Love you to the moon + back again 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

An Open Letter to the Stay-at-Home-Mom

I see you there. Hiding behind the oatmeal in your hair and the screaming toddler. I see you questioning your worth and your purpose. If you are secure and confident in your season of being a stay-at-home-mom, I am so glad. [But keep reading so that you can encourage someone who isn't.]  If you're not, this is for you.

I just wanted to tell you that what you are doing matters. Your work matters. You are contributing to society. In fact, you are helping mold the next generations' society.

Your hair may never be done and your clothes are probably rarely pressed, but that isn't part of your job requirement.

You may not spend your days analyzing tax documents, drawing blood, performing surgeries, or selling houses, but your work matters.

The drawing you posted on the fridge this morning made a difference. The pretend shot you got from the Fisher Price doctor kit made a difference. The fort you built made a difference.

You may not have a tall peppermint mocha with skim milk every morning, but the 6 imaginary cups of tea you drank this morning made a difference.

You may not field important phone calls and respond to important emails all day, but the million times you answered "why?" "what is that?" and "what's for lunch?" made a difference.

You may not travel the world giving important presentations, but the trip to the zoo, museum, and library? Those all made a difference.

You may not edit important books, but reading "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" "The Little Engine That Could," and "Where the Wild Things Are" all matter.

I spent a lot of my first year as a stay-at-home-mom feeling inadequate. I don't believe that staying home is the right decision for every mom. There are moms who are meant to make a difference in the workforce. I spent a lot of time questioning if this is the right place for me this season and after much prayer, I am finally feeling confident in my position.

So on the days when you've changed 10 dirty diapers, no one was happy with their lunch, and you're up to your eyeballs in imaginary tea..... know that you are not alone and your work matters. Even with oatmeal in your hair.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

I am not equipped to be a mother...

Today was a tough one. My daughter spent most of the day screaming for various reasons. None of which I felt were valid reasons to scream.

I decided I needed a vacation so I locked myself in the bathroom and took a bubble bath. After all, a bath is a vacation to a mom, right?

I spent most of the bath thinking of all the reasons why I am a terrible mother. I love my daughter so much and I wouldn't trade her for the world, but I don't know why God chose me to be her mom. I won't invite you to my pity party, but I will say that today I decided I am not equipped to be a mother.

I started talking to God. I told him that I am not equipped to be a mom. And do you know what he said? He told me "No, you're not."

PSA God... This is when you tell me yes I am! That I am a great mom. I've got this! After all, you chose me to be a mom. You created me to be a mom!

And then he said "You're not equipped to be a mom, on your own."

I am with you and I am here for you. I am here for guidance, wisdom, peace, and patience.

I am here to hold you both on the bad days. I am here to love you when you mess up.

I am here to teach you both. I am here for strength in the difficult times and to share joy in the happy times.

When you are weak, I am strong.

You do not have to do this alone. In fact, you are not made to do this alone.

And this unequipped mom finds so much comfort in that.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

[ photo via aimee weaver ]

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Amazon Beach Buys

It is February and it is 44 degrees in Ohio today! I am so thankful for this wonderful heat wave but now I am craving summer. We're in the process of planning an extended family beach trip so I've started shopping for swimwear and summer clothing.

I rounded up five beach items on my summer must have list - all ordered from Amazon! Since becoming a mom, I have done a lot of shopping on Amazon. The prices are great, the shipping is free, and the couch is comfy.

I love this oversized beach towel. It is classy and sophisticated. 

How trendy is this coral nail polish? I love wearing bright polish paired with a neutral outfit + handbag. 

My post-baby body is absolutely not ready for my bikini. This year I'm opting for this vintage inspired swimsuit. It comes in 10 colors, but I chose the black. It has great reviews. I would recommend reading the reviews before choosing your size. 

Although I love the classy black swimwear, I needed some color. I plan to order this swimsuit coverup to brighten up my beach look. I'm usually not drawn to vintage fashion, but I just love this swimsuit and floral coverup! 

This black + white canvas bag is perfect for snacks, books, magazines, waters, and your sunglasses. It is water resistant and also has an inside zippered compartment. 

 [beach bag //  swimsuit // coverup // nail polish // beach towel]
This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

1-Week of Meal Plans // Complete with recipes + grocery list

In a perfect world, my house would have that "deep cleaned" smell at the end of every day. I would never be behind on laundry and my closet would be organized by color. My chores would all be done at the end of the day and my child would read quietly while I prepared dinner and listened to Frank Sinatra. 

However, this is not a perfect world. My house rarely has the "deep cleaned" smell, I am always a few loads behind on laundry, and I am lucky if my clothes make it to my closet. Although there are a few moments when my daughter plays quietly, those rarely fall around dinner time. 

Meal planning has been a game changer for me. Having a plan for each night of the week and having all of the ingredients in my pantry allows me to quickly throw meals together without spending time searching for recipes. 

In hopes of simplifying your dinner routine as well, please enjoy my free one week meal plan complete with recipes + grocery list! 

[*Please keep in mind, this list was made assuming you 
have parmesan cheese, garlic powder, 
salt + pepper, chili powder, + garlic salt in your pantry! ]

On the menu this week will be.. 

M- Chicken + Cheese Enchiladas ; Spanish rice
T-  Chicken tortilla soup
W- Lasagna 
Th-Tacos; Spanish rice
F-Fettuccine Alfredo 

You can access all of the recipes here. Enjoy your week of stress free meals + grocery shopping! 

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