Left Photo

Left Photo

Middle Photo

Middle Photo

Right Photo

Right Photo

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.