Thursday, January 12, 2017

Number 2 Changes Everything

If I could put into words how much I love this sweet girl (and her brother), I would.  Truth is, I'll never do it justice.  However, having a baby in the house again has adjustment.

If I had it my way I would have babies in the house all the time; I love babies.  However, multiples changes things up a bit.  Now, this time around I didn't struggle with Postpartum Depression and that has been a huge blessing, but there have been other struggles.  Not just the ones we've experienced with L, but ones that I've had to adjust to.

Like just not feeling myself yet.  Recently I hadn't been giving as much of myself as I normally would and a beautiful friend of mine simply stated that she missed it.  And, you guys, I needed to hear it because I was in this place where I felt like I wasn't really worthy of sharing much.  Like, who was I to be lifting others up?  

So, I've gotten back to my giving spirit and I'm so grateful this friend mentioned it to me.  She then also said, "Baby number 2 really changes us."  And yes, yes it does.  In good ways and in hard ways.  Not bad ways.  And it's just navigating the change that takes a little time.

I guess I share this to say if you're feeling the same, you will get through it.  It's what I like to call the newborn haze.  You can't see past it until you're through it and sometimes it takes a good 6 months.

Friday, January 6, 2017

My 2017 Word of the Year

My 2016 Word of the Year was BOOM.  It meant to progress, grow, or flourish vigorously and man, let me tell you, I did just that last year!  We welcomed our beautiful little girl to the family, my team crushed major goals this year in our business, and my relationships are tight.

For some reason, it took me longer to come up with a word this year.  I think I was hoping for some epic rare word to find me and sound uber cool to everyone who knew it.

I almost selected the word, PILOT, but perhaps that word will be for another year because no matter what I did I kept coming back to this one:

PRESENT (adjective)
being, existing, or occurring at this time;
being here

I'm really focusing on some big goals this year after accomplishing so much in my business last year, but I've realized that something I am not 100% awesome at is being completely present in each moment.  I tend to keep a racing mind which doesn't allow me to soak in the moments as they happen.  I typically have my camera out ready to capture memories in the making rather than enjoying them as I'm making them.  

So, my goal this year is to be present in everything I am doing.  This will mean when I'm working my business, I'm 100% focused on it.  When I'm playing with my kids, I'm not answering messages or checking in on my challengers.  When I'm with my husband, I'm not texting or searching Pinterest.  

I will be present.

See my 2015 word here
See my 2014 word here
See my 2013 word here

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Healthy Freezer Meals

healthy freezer meal busy mom

Before I had Laurel, I spent some time putting together freezer meals.  I had never done this before and I really wanted to focus on having healthy, hearty meals so that even when things got crazy with a toddler + newborn I could still put dinner on the table.  There's just something about putting a meal on the I right, ladies?!

So, I compiled some of my favorite recipes and put them together for a free group I can a few months ago.  I'm preparing to start another free freezer meal group in February and I asked myself, "Why have I not shared these on the blog?!"

Honestly, this was a lifesaver for me as a new mom of 2 and it worked so great, I plan to start doing it quarterly throughout the year so that we can still have a home-cooked meal on those crazy busy nights.  I hope you find it helpful as well!

For those interested, this is the first compilation I put together or 10 meals and 2 snacks: Healthy Freezer Dump Meals and this is the shopping list that goes along with it.

If you want to participate in my free group starting in February, please fill out this form so that I can send you the information as we get closer!

Friday, December 16, 2016

You've been socked.

We started a new tradition at our school this year.  Instead of Secret Santa (which I looooove), we "socked" one another.

In essence there was a stocking going around that was repeatedly filled and delivered to coworkers around the building.  It was a nice, little unexpected surprise.

I'm sharing the rules because we intend to start this tradition with our neighbors in our cul de sac this weekend!  They have no idea, but I think it will be fun to do each holiday season.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

This Christmas...

So far this is the best Christmas ever.

I have a feeling I will say that every single Christmas for the rest of my life because in the moments, WOW!  You guys, life is magical.  Seeing my son get excited about Santa and his elf, watching the Grinch with him, making Christmas cookies...all of it. is. the. BEST.

Last weekend we took the kids to see Santa and CT immediately walked to the front and attempted to get on Santa's lap to talk to him.  I had to run up there and explain that there were others in line and we needed to wait our turn.  He was very much ready to tell the man in the big red suit what he wanted for Christmas!

He has repeatedly expressed his desire for monster trucks and race cars.  Hopefully Santa can provide.

With his birthday party just last week, he really understands the meaning of the word "present" and I think Christmas morning is going to bring great joy to this sweet boy.

You may or may not want to see the spam of Santa pictures to follow.

Monday, December 12, 2016

A Race Car Birthday Party

In October we took CT to his first NASCAR race (not including the one he went to in my belly or the one he went to before he was a year old) and actually got to watch his excitement as he took in the sites and sounds of a race track.  It was amazing to see him get excited about the hauler trucks, the racers, the cars, the track, every little thing.

So, it seemed like a no-brainer to have a race car themed birthday party and as soon as I mentioned it, he pretty much freaked.  Mom win!

It was a relatively easy theme, but I didn't want to just order some cookie-cutter decorations so I set out to make it as easy on myself as possible while keeping it unique and fun.

The food was easy.  I tried to make everything have a cars related theme so I served:

  • Spare Tires - mini chocolate covered donuts (you could use Oreos)
  • Air Bags - clementines (marshmallows would be cute)
  • Nuts & Bolts - trail mix
  • Dip Sticks - pretzels with dip
  • Race Car Cake
  • Fuel Up - juice boxes and mini waters
Like I said, I was keeping it easy on myself since I have a 4 month old right now.  I don't think I cut any corners by doing so though.  The party was from 2-4 so it wasn't necessary to serve a meal or large snack in my opinion.

I think 2 hours is just about the perfect amount of time and although we had invited a ton of kids only about 7 or 8 showed up which is also just about perfect at this age.  Laurel decided to sleep through the whole party which is mostly unheard of so that made life a little easier although our guests didn't get to see her.

In the kids goody bags I sent home:
  • Hot Wheels car
  • Build Your Own Race Car sticker sheet
  • Race Car rubber duckies
I think the goody bags were the most stressful part for me.  I didn't want to fill them with junk, but I also didn't want to spend $5/bag.  I think I did pretty good in the end thanks to Amazon Prime.  

I ordered my birthday banner off Amazon and got the rest of the decorations from Hobby Lobby.  I found the food labels online where a blog offered free printables.  I purchased green, yellow, and red plates to look like a stop light on the black table cloth.  The red bowls/plates came from Dollar Tree and I used a black table cloth with reflective duct tape to make our front steps into a road so guests knew to come in the front door.  And an amazing local woman made the cake to which I added some flags (CT added about 30 more) and some race cars.

We had a blast and I think it's safe to say CT was very happy with his race car birthday.  He's still talking about it almost a week later.  

Sidenote: if you're going to a 3 year old birthday in the near future, Hungry Hungry Hippos was by far the favorite gift of the day.  As soon as it was open, the boys all got down on the floor and played until their parents took them home. And I think I've played at least 30 rounds since then.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

How I Sabotaged My Own Dreams...

Or almost did anyway.

Something you may not know about me is that I'm a "play it safe" sort of gal.

I like to have money in my savings account, I never buy lottery tickets, and the only gambling I've done is $20 on slot machines in the Bahamas (using $20 my husband gave me).

I wear my seatbelt no matter how far I'm going, I lock every single window/door in my house when I'm home alone, and I wore knee pads playing high school basketball.  No really....I did.

Many people would call me conservative, but I believe it's truly due to my introverted personality.

So, this is how I almost sabotaged my own dreams!

That and the fact that, as a mom, I saw very little need or means to invest time or money in myself.  Boy, did I change my mind about that one.  And I'm so glad I stepped outside my comfort zone to do it.  Best decision ever.

I just started thinking about this recently because Laurel just turned 4 months old and we are just now getting through some pretty tough days weeks with her - more on that later.  And I'm just SO grateful that I'm not in the mental/physical space now that I was in at this point with my son.

With CT I struggled with postpartum and was in a pretty dark place emotionally for a while.  I cried a lot and secluded myself from almost everyone and really just stuck to myself.  I was sad for lack of a better word and I didn't know how to communicate that without people thinking (and me feeling) like I was a terrible mother.

Thinking back, I should have sought help much sooner.  I should have taken the survey at the doctor's office more seriously and really considered the questions as I answered them.  I should have reached out to someone, but I didn't know how.  I eventually found an incredible group of positive, empowering, supportive women who completely changed my life.  Cliche as it may.

Shortly after finding this group I decided I was destined to share it with other women just like me.  I'm talking women who are not fitness experts, who fail in the kitchen, who prefer jammies and wine to clubs and heels, who went to school or didn't, who mom hard or don't, any woman.  All women.

This group helped me in SO many ways; ways they didn't even know about and I didn't realize I needed.  I lost the baby weight and gained friendships, financial security, self-confidence, pride, community, knowledge, and so much more.

I just think about how much my life has changed in the last 2 years and how it has positively impacted me as a mother this second go-round.  I'm not sad anymore.  I'm not crying in the Old Navy fitting room.  I'm not having an anxiety attack in the line at the grocery store.  I'm not self-sabotaging or filled with self-hatred.  I'm not saying life's a peach.  It's definitely been tough and there have been some really rough days figuring out what's going on with my sweet baby girl, BUT nothing like what I went through with CT (who was the easiest, happiest, go-luckiest baby in all the land).  And I'm grateful because I do understand that hormones have a lot to do with it, but I also know even if I had had a similar experience this time, I have the support, friendship, and LOVE that I was lacking as a first time mom.