Not To Be Taken For Granted

As we pulled into the parking lot chomping on one more bite of my roll-up from El Pollo Loco, I grabbed my heels from the back seat and attempted to cram my swollen feet into them.

Oh, this was going to be comfortable. 

Dumping most of my weight onto my poor hubby, we walked ever so carefully up to where everyone was waiting….and I was home.

At a beautiful wedding site I’d never been to, in shoes I couldn’t walk in, with makeup put on hours before that was barely clinging to where I’d put it, I knew how lucky I was.

Lucky to be surrounded by these people.
Lucky to get more hugs and kisses than I could possibly deserve.
Lucky to get the same joking insults slung at me that we’ve been slinging for 20 years.
Lucky to know that my flip flops in my purse were going on moments after the “I do’s”, and no one here would think twice about it.
 

For 25 years I’ve been lucky enough to call this bunch of goobers more than my friends, but my family. We had the unique experience of getting to grow up together on the same street, go to the same schools, carpool, cheer each other on, fight, and all the dysfunctional awesomeness that we could come up with.

Sometimes it’s months between when we are all together, sometimes years, but it never matters. We pick right back up like we’re still kids running around playing tag in the cul-de-sac.

Goober with the garter on his head at my wedding…. one of the first people I remember seeing after waking up from a very drug induced nap after LJ was born.

Maid of honor, oldest friend, can’t imagine my life without her.

Uncle RoRo, thanks for getting married, you gave us a reason to be inappropriate and awesome, as usual.

Maybe it’s being a mom. Maybe it’s just time. Maybe it’s all these killer hormones, but it’s been almost 23 years since this picture was taken, and I love these guys more now than ever. Though some of us are rarely home, home is wherever we are.

For that, I’m blessed.

 

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A Little ME Time {Stencil Discount!}

I don’t think I ever really learned how to take time for myself. Growing up I was always involved in a ton of activities. Dance, soccer, cheer, yearbook, ASB. I loved doing them all, but they were scheduled activities. I don’t really remember ever doing much of anything when I had down time at home except watch TV.

Growing up with my hubby allowed me to have special insight into his love of video games. Love, obsession, addiction, what’s the diff?

While he’s definitely learned what an appropriate level of video game love is, and I’ve learned to accept that he will always be an overgrown kid, I’ve also learned the value in having something that is just “you time”.

But there’s always dishes to be done, laundry that (still) needs to be folded, outgrown clothes that need to be packed away. While logically I know that I can’t do it all, and a happy me makes a happy mommy, it doesn’t mean I can put the soap down and do something else easily. There’s been so much that I’ve had to do, that it’s been forever and a half since I’ve gotten to do something that I’ve wanted to do. But isn’t that how it always goes?

Now that LJ has started school, I’m determined to reclaim some ME time. Get to all the projects I’ve been dying to do around the house, unpack those last few boxes, and create again.

A few weeks ago I did do my giant canvas pictures to fill up the enormous 2 story blank wall that is our living room.

An old picture that no longer works in our house became an awesome board to display all of LJ’s artwork (if he ever does any!) from school.

I’ve sanded and stained the board to create one of those giant rulers that I’ve seen a million + 1 times on Pinterest.

Source: pincookie.com via Nina on Pinterest

 

While I’m sure I’ll never get to it all before this kid comes or I change my mind, there’s a few projects that I’m excited enough about to force myself to get them done. Paint the kiddo’s dresser, recover our ottoman, make a cushion for our new window bench seat/bookshelf.

Next up on the list: killer picture frames for my still packed in boxes photo wall.

Source: etsy.com via Alison on Pinterest

 

Now I just have to decide which stencils to do! I’ve narrowed it down to these three but only want to do two. Which ones do you vote for?

Moroccan Tile Stencil from Your Memories Captured

 

Lattice Linked Diamonds Stencil from Your Memories Captured

 

Houndstooth Stencil from Your Memories Captured

Wanna get crafty too? Just for MGR readers I’m offering my biggest discount ever! 25% off all stencils in shop! Any pattern, any design, any size! Patterns, French shabby chic, holiday and more are all on sale from YMC Stencils!

Use code MOMMA25 for discount.

 

 

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I Promise, I’m Still Alive

Well that was unexpected….

3 months. It’s been 3 months since I’ve sat down to write a post.

It wasn’t a planned break. It just sorta, happened. I left for a week in Cabo with my family with no posts scheduled, no friends filling in, and frankly didn’t care.

I was JUST starting to feel human again, had a garage full of boxes that still weren’t unpacked (guess that’s what happens when you find out you are pregnant 6 days after moving), and had a busy summer ahead filled with cousins in town, trips to the beach, potty training, and growing a human…cause that’s no big deal ;) Frankly, blogging was the last thing on my mind.

To be honest, I didn’t really miss it. In fact, it’s been rather liberating.

I’m short, therefore go from “is she just getting fat” to “daaaaang, girl is pregnant” in a heartbeat. I’ve let myself wear the same 2 dresses a million and 1 times, rocked 3 day old ponytails more than I should admit, and haven’t missed busting out the camera or tripod one stinking bit.

I’ve played a billion and one games of Candy Land. Watched Shrek/Puss in Boots/Smurfs so many times I could probably recite them. Gotten overly excited for days where I wasn’t cleaning pee off the floor. I’ve celebrated giant adult size poops that clog my toilets simply because they have made it in the toilet. I’ve played trains, cars, read endless “Stein” Bear books, swam, rock hunted, started preschool, gone to T-ball, and any other little thing my baby has wanted to do.

And I loved every minute of it.

There are only 3 more months until this baby of mine forever becomes a big brother, my time is forever split, and impromptu movie dates just the two of us become a thing of the past. I’ve soaked up this summer, trying to burn it into my memory forever. To let my little guy know he will always be “my favorite Boo in the whole world”, and that no matter what, mommy is always there.

What does this mean for this little ol’ blog of mine? I don’t know yet. I guess that’s why I’ve been so reluctant to post. Why post until I know what my plan is?

The thing is, it’s been 3 months and I still have no idea what my plan is. I do know that outfit posts will only be when I feel like it. I’m no longer going to put pressure on myself to post 5 days a week, or even at all that week if that’s what life is dictating. I’m simply going to go with the flow and see where it takes me.

If you feel like sticking around, cool! If not, cool too.

As for me, I’m reclaiming my life. I’m no longer going to live my life so I can blog about it, take pictures of it, do an outfit post about it.

Cause if there’s one thing this summer has taught me, it’s that I love being a mom to my BOYS, yes, plural ;) , and that comes before anything.

 

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A Lesson In Humility

I’d been looking forward to the other night for years. 10 years to be exact. I proudly admit that I called in every time Ryan Seacreast and Brian Dunkelman (yeah, remember that guy?) told me to.

Source: amazon.com via Lilia on Pinterest

 

And that hair, I totally rocked it. Please, be gentle….it was Freshman year of college….going to the “White Trash Bash”…..I know….

Needless to say, I was beyond excited when my dear friend told me she could get tickets and asked if I wanted to come. DUH!!

I was expecting a fun night out with my girl, dinner without the kids, and a blast at the concert. What I wasn’t expecting was a lesson in humility.

Kelly’s a superstar, has a 10 year career to back her up, and could totally get away with being a diva if she wanted to. What I found was someone truly honored to have the support, thankful for her fans, success, and those who support her. Someone who took time out of her show and the attention being on her to highlight a cause she cares about and highlighting those less fortunate. An artist who will never remember my name or face, but made 1 minute of my life 1 minute I will never forget with a smile, a hug, and genuine gratitude that I would come to see her show.

Kelly’s ability to make it so clear to everyone in the theater that night that she is so thankful for all of this really struck me.

Am I thankful enough?

Do I tell people thank you enough? Am I grateful enough for where I am? Am I teaching LJ to be humble?

cell phone pic…whatcha gonna do?

 I am so blessed in this life, but sometimes it’s so easy to loose sight of that. To get lost in the disappointments, the struggles, the things that don’t go my way.

Thanks Kelly for showing me how humility is supposed to look.

And the show was AH.MAZ.ING, so thanks for that too :)

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What It REALLY Means To Be A Momma {C.Lee}

Today I am super excited to share with you a blogger who I simply love and devour every post. It’s not often that I come across a blog that speaks to me as though we were sitting in the same room.

Christy Lee from C.Lee is an amazing woman! Momma to 3 gorgeous kiddos, killer fashionista, Christy shares her insight, positivity, and ability to always look for the silver lining has me in awe. Too many times I lose my temper, don’t handle situations the best way possible, or simply get down…and I look to her on how to be better.

Without further ado, here’s Christy….

 

I am Christy Lee and I blog over at C.Lee

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My blog is all about joy.

The joy I feel since becoming a mother,

finding myself again through fashion and learning,

joy in God and in life’s little moments.

 

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As mother’s we have a HUGE calling. One that does not end at 9 p.m, or even when our kids turn 18.

We are mother’s forever.

When our children are grown, hopefully they will continue to trust us and call us for advice.

At any hour of the night, knowing that we will continue to be there for them.

We develop their faith in us while we do little things.

The mundane day to day tasks that sometimes as mother’s we don’t think they notice

or we deem unimportant.

It is through the little things that we show our love for them.

Leaving our house work until later to enjoy our precious time with them.

Waking up in the middle of the night to comfort a scared or sick child, changing messy sheets when they have been thrown up on and loving them back to their dreams.

Taking time out from whatever we might be doing to answer simple questions they might have.

Letting their little hands help us prepare dinner, even if it takes 30 minutes longer to complete that task.

Having conversations in the car with our kids as we run our daily errands.

 

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Teaching them to trust in God and know that he is also someone who will ALWAYS  be there for them 

and never fail them.

Allowing them to pour their heart out in prayer,

even if it is a simple prayer that asks God to bless their action figures.

They are all things that develop our bond with them and build their faith.

I love the journey I am on in my life.

A  journey of learning things for myself and teaching those experiences and lessons to my children.

Through this I have the most loving, wonderful man by my side.

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A husband who is on the same page as me.

We have the same priorities and goals, the same wishes and desires for our children.

Life is a incredible adventure and I am so blessed to have him by my side for it.

I would love for you to journey with us and share your stories with us along the way!

Every Thursday I host a link up party titled “Share your joy”.

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Every week I am so touched by the things that are linked up and I read.

Sometimes they make me laugh out loud and sometimes they pull so hard on my heart.

It is one of my most favorite days of the week.

I would love to have you come over and share your joy and life lessons with us!


Hopefully I will see you soon! 

XOXO

 

Thank you so much Christy! I’m so glad that we aren’t the only ones who spend a good portion of prayer time each day blessing our toys (every.single.train).

Thanks for sharing your joy with us, and making my day a little brighter!

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The Twilight Zone

Our big move is quickly approaching. With boxes being stuffed, paperwork to be signed, bubble wrap to buy, it hadn’t really dawned on me that LJ wouldn’t understand what was going on.

He’s been to the new house a few times. When I say “new house” he reminds me that he did his new Curious George floor puzzle on the kitchen floor. I knew he understood that the new house was a place, but did he really get it?

 

Somehow we had ended up “The Bearenstain Bears Go To School” book, and if I had to read it one more time I was going to lose it. Love the bears, could go without Handybear Gus and the giant clay donut for awhile. So a few weeks ago, I stole borrowed a big stack of my old Bearentain Bear books from my parents. I  was obsessed with these books as a kid, so they literally had every.single.one.

As I was talking to my mom the other day, she suggested that we start reading the “Moving Day” book. DUH, why hadn’t I thought of that.

When I opened the book to the first page…


Instantly I was in the Twilight Zone. There I was, standing on the doorstep of our first apartment, taking one last look at the only home I’d ever known, just like Brother Bear did. Choking down the tears, trying to be brave, just like Brother Bear was.

Yet there I was, sitting on the floor of the only room LJ has ever known, reading him the same book that helped me. I was exactly the same age when we moved from that apartment, and Brother Bear helped me to understand.

In the last few days we’ve read that book more times than I can count. We’ve pointed out the box of his books ready to go to the new house, just like Brother Bear’s. We’ve talked about how he can say goodbye to his room, just like Brother Bear. I only hope that he will understand and be brave, just like Brother Bear taught me.

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That’s All I Have To Say About That

I sit here struggling to write this post, as I want to accurately convey my feelings in a respectful manner.

As you know, I’ve been excited for the past few weeks about attending Creative Estates this past weekend. There have been a lot of long days and nights of Hubs working, tons of orders from my shop, and just life in general. I was already pretty fried and looking forward to a break when the news of getting our new house and having to get everything done in under 30 days came down the pipeline. I truly debated as to whether or not I could leave for 4 days with so much going on. But the trip was paid for, Hubs had scheduled the days off, and he insisted that I go and have a great time.

Ashley, Ashley, Me, Nicole…I will love these girls for.ev.er.

Ashley of 5ohWifey….seriously a rockstar!

Me, Nichelle, Lisa, Elise, Ashley, Elisabeth….most down to Earth adorable lovers. Couldn’t have asked for better roomies!

Me and Ilene being turds with our pillow haul

I’ll start with the positive, cause that is the way I would like to remember this weekend. I went to CE with my best friend, and came home with many more amazing girl friends who I’m simply counting down the days until we get to hang out again. There is nothing quite like being together with a big group of girls who “get you”. No having to explain what a blog is, why you are taking pictures of yourself with a tripod, or why you tote a giant camera around with you everywhere you go. These talented crafters, writers, and photographers are “my people”, and there is simply no pricetag that could be put on the friendships I came home with.

Sadly though, that is not where this story ends. For the last few days, I actually considered glossing over this issue and not saying anything. There are others who have, and I wasn’t sure my story was necessary. But the longer I thought about it, the more I realized that I would not be doing anyone a service by staying quiet and letting you all think that CE was nothing but an amazing weekend.

I would like to believe that the event was planned with the best of intentions. I would like to believe that there was no malicious intent, simply mistakes and oversight. I would like to give the benefit of the doubt.

When it comes down to it, there were serious flaws that lead me to not be able to stand behind this event. No drinks all weekend except alcohol and tap water. No fruit, vegetables, or protein. Not enough beds, air mattresses, pillows, or blankets. No toilet paper or hand soap.

These wouldn’t be fatal flaws if the event hadn’t been advertised as including lodging, food, drinks, and craft supplies.

My girl Ashley of 5 Oh Wifey wrote an excellent post about the event that goes into far more detail if you care to read, so I won’t re-hash what she has so perfectly stated.

I feel it is important for me to share with you how the event went, not to bash anyone or hurt anyone’s feelings, but because I’m saddened for the girls who spent far more than I did to be there. I’m hurt that my money was taken for an event that did not happen at all the way it was advertised. Most importantly, I’m scared that if I don’t say something, some of you will go to this event in the future and feel the same way.

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A Little Honesty

Lately, I’ve felt a little off. Short tempered, easily annoyed, run down, tired, and generally not happy. I’m not miserable, just not myself. I feel here in blogland it can be so easy to sugar coat life and only show or talk about the good things. So many bloggers give off the perception that life is nothing but rainbows and butterflies….I call BS.

I’m hurt cause other bloggers I reach out to often reject me. Why? I have no clue, but it sucks.
I’m worn out cause we have rarely seen hubby during the week lately. All day and all night, I’m on.
I’m tired cause LJ has decided that it’s a blast to get out of bed 1-4 times a night and come wake me up.
I’m stressed because I stretch myself too thin and don’t know how to say no.
I’m annoyed cause I’ve been busting tail at the gym and can’t seem to lose a pound.
I’m overwhelmed by my to-do list that never seems to get smaller.
I’m frazzled cause if I have to hear that LJ would like Edward, Salty, Belle, and Flynn (Thomas Trains) for his birthday one more time my head might explode.
 

My story is no different from thousands of other moms out there. I refuse to be another “mom blogger” who does nothing but show pictures of happy kids, perfect crafts, amazing parties, and stunning outfits. That’s not reality, that’s not my life, and this blog is an extension of all parts of my life.

 Here’s a little honesty about this outfit…

I bought this jacket almost a year ago and I’ve worn it once. I shortened the sleeves the night before I left for Bloggy Boot Camp and the sewing is total garbage. I got this shirt for $.25 out of pocket at Old Navy and I love it, even though I have 2 sweaters in this same color from ON that I’ve also gotten for chump change lately. I hate these jeans. Got them at Gap in Nov ’10, washed and dried them, and they have never fit the same. I had a nice button imprint on my chub by the end of the day. These pictures were taken in a parking structure while LJ snoozed in the car. He refused to nap once we got home, so the day went to HE** after this.

Jacket: Marshalls, Shirt: Old Navy, Jeans: Gap, Boots: Comfortview, Necklace: c/o Lisa Leonard Designs, Headband: True Birds

To some of you, this maybe seen as complaining. To me, this is the cheapest therapy I can think of. Cause whatever is going on with me, I’m sure one of you can relate. And for that, I thank you. I thank you for commenting day in and day out, reminding me that I’m not alone. Letting me know that while we may never meet, when I need someone who understands, you are there.

My life may not always be rainbows and butterflies, but it is a little sunnier now than when I first started writing this post. And THAT’s the TRUTH.

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Great-ful {Blogging}

What’s great about blogging….everything!

I never in a million years imagined that a year and a half later, this is where I would be. I never really intended to have a “blog”, just a little site to promote my shop. But I was bit by the bug, revamped (again and again), and here we are today!

So why am I grateful for my blog…

#1 YOU GUYS!!!!

with Lindsey of The Pleated Poppy

with Cori of La Vie Petite and our boys at Disneyland!

with Cyndi of  InCircle Interiors, Michelle of LMM’s Momma, Ashley of Little Miss Momma, and Lauren of I Heart Andy Gross at Bloggy Boot Camp

While I’ve been lucky enough to meet some of you, most of you I haven’t and it doesn’t matter one bit. Your kind words, your encouragement, your lack of anonymous crappy comments, your comradery. It’s all more than I ever could have imagined.

I’m blessed beyond words that my Hubs has an amazing job that he is incredible at, but that often leaves me home alone for days on end without help. But you are there, you are always there, and I am so grateful.

Thank you for the encouragement when I try something new.
Thank you for the wonderful advice when we have a full blown nuclear meltdown in Dollar Tree.
Thank you for the sweet comments that make me smile.
Thank you for boosting my shaky style ego ;)
 

THANK YOU!!!!

 

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Great-ful {Friends}

As a momma, Thanksgiving has taken on new meaning for me. 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still all about stuffing myself with crescent rolls, turkey, and my Grammy’s apple pie, but the GRATEFUL part hits home a little more.

So this week, I want to share a few of the great things in my life, the things that this year I am most grateful for.


Friends.

I’m gonna go all Middle School style on ya for a minute and take a trip down memory lane to share why I’m so grateful this year for our friends.

2005: At the ripe old age of 21, Hubs and I get married. We have a select few friends that are engaged or married, but to mostly everyone else, they look at us like we are growing second heads out of our necks.

2009: LJ joins our little crew. Hallelujah that Ashley is pregnant too, but we are some of the only people we know our age with kids.

Best Friends Meet - LJ (3 months) and Lil W (6 Days)

 2010: I start to struggle with being in such a different life stage as most of my old friends. My dear friends from HS and college do their best, and are always there when I need them, but they simply can’t understand. It gets very lonely being  just me and LJ (and my momma) all day most days.

2011: Ah, the power of Facebook.

We live a whopping 10 minutes from where we grew up. Our parents still live a street apart. We eat at the same restaurants, shop at the same stores, visit the same places we did as kids. It really is a wonderful place to live… and our HS classmates think so too.

Through the power of Facebook, a beautiful thing begins to happen. Those of us who went to high school together, whether in the same class or not, reconnect. We have kids of our own, families we are growing, yet we all have common roots that tie us together. We get one another.

Friends from many years ago. Friends we simply said “hi” to in between classes. Friends we knew only sort of. Friends, of any kind, are now coming together to create a new generation of friends. To dig those roots deeper and give ourselves, and our kids, someone who just gets them.

This year I am thankful for friends. Near and far, old, new, and new to this world. Thank you for loving us. Thank you for supporting us. Thank you for letting my giant child kiss your kid’s face off.

You are great. I love you.

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