September 21, 2016

SO WHAT! Wednesday

This week I'm saying SO WHAT if...

  • I don't like PSL.  Tried one, hated it, never looked back.  Gimme all the chai lattes though {soy, no water}.
  • I've never seen Hocus Pocus.
  • Every night Kendall has soccer I secretly hope it rains.  
  • I am like a grumpy old man and like to eat dinner by 5 o'clock.
  • I'm asking for a bike for Christmas.
  • Yes, I'm already thinking about Christmas.
  • I'm really pissed that CBS is making us pay for BB19.
  • I am shocked about the Brangelina news but more so I'm happy {Brad+Jen 4 eva}.
  • I'm obsessed with Chalene Johnson's Snapchat.
  • We won't be listing our house till spring time but I can't help but look at houses on the market right now.
  • One episode in and I'm obsessed with This Is Us.
  • I've been craving Shepherd's Pie for over a week and now that I'm making it for dinner tonight I don't want it.
  • I want my house to always smell like Scentsy coconut pumpkin pie. 
What are you saying SO WHAT to this week?

September 20, 2016

Better Things

"You're gonna find your own path because we're {women} tough and we can take it. And as long as you believe in yourself and you take care of each other and watch out for each other, you just make the rest up as you go along. That's all there is to it. That's it." -Sam Fox {Better Things}

How many times, as a woman, have you felt defeated?  Like you are doing a less than perfect job at life?  Judge by other women?  Like you have no flipping clue what you are doing?  Judged by other mothers?

Raises hand.

For me, my biggest fear is that I'm not being a good enough mom, even after 6 years of raising tiny humans.  I have days where I literally feel like I'm in a fog, this can't be my life, what the heck am I doing?  My kids are running around, hitting each other, jumping off the furniture, crying, watching too much TV, and I'm over here feeling like my nose is barely above water {and I only have two kids!}.

Most of motherhood is making stuff up as we go along, am I right?  Trial and error is my parenting style.  What works for one kid doesn't work for another.  What one kid likes, the other doesn't.  It's like a three-ring circus some days and I'm the ring leader.  Sure we can all read the books and join the moms groups and buy the organic everything but when it comes down to it, we are all just learning as we go {and doing the best that we can along the way}.

There's so much drama and mommy wars going on these days and it's like, why?  Why, instead of criticizing other moms for their choices, don't we celebrate them?  Can you even imagine what kind of world we'd live in if we applauded moms for breastfeeding?  Encouraged moms who co-sleep that they are doing what's best for their baby?  It would be a much different place that the world we currently live in, I can tell you that much.

As moms, as women, we put up with a lot.  We have pretty thick skin and we take a lot of crap.  BUT it can tear us down.  The endless arguments.  The numerous uneaten meals.  The protests to take a bath, get dressed, do homework, go to bed, etc.  I know there have been days/weeks I have felt defeated and like I couldn't take anymore.  But then I remember I have to and I can take it.  I can take it and I can learn from it.  I can learn how not to do things, how not to react, how to do it differently the next time.  I can show my kids that I am tough and I can overcome my obstacles.

As a fellow mom, I hope that when you meet me you feel encouraged.  I hope to never meet another mom with judging eyes.  I want to be the type of mom/friend who you can talk/vent to and never feel criticized.  Often times we can feel like we are the only one battling these things but I want to assure you, you are not alone.  I want you to know that we are all making this up as we go, no one is the perfect parent and we are all doing the best that we can.

I think that's why I can relate to Better Things so well.  Sam Fox is a single mom to three young girls.  She's busy, she's imperfect, she feels like she's not enough and she's doing the best that she can.  Life can throw us curve balls but I think if we learn to believe in ourselves, that what we are doing is the best, and lift each other/other moms up, then we are going to be OK.

To celebrate our perfectly imperfect lives, I have an amazing swag bag to giveaway to one lucky mom who comments with her most rewarding mom moment.  If you follow me on Snapchat you saw how cool this prize was!  Inside the swag bag includes:

Ray-Ban Sunglasses
Chipolo bluetooth keyring
Leather Clutch for mom’s things
Emergency Beauty Kit
Hypoallergenic travel pillow
Ultra-Soft travel pillow protector
Essential Oils Blend Mini 
Skinny Lip Balm
“Credit Card” Mints

Everything a busy mom needs to get through live a little easier.

To be eligible to win the swag bag, go to this link, watch the trailer for Better Things and come back to share the most rewarding thing about being a mom in the comments.  Winner will be announced September 29.  Good luck!!

September 14, 2016

Guilty Pleasures

What is your favorite guilty pleasure?

Mine has always been reality TV.  I always describe myself as a reality TV junkie and proud of it.  I mean it's part of my tagline for crying out loud. But is it really a guilty pleasure e if it's something you don't feel guilty about?

Until recently, that is.

As you know I love me some Bachelor/Bachelorette, who doesn't?  I had never given into Bachelor In Paradise {BIP from here on out} franchise and really never thought twice about it.  This summer I thought, "what the heck?" and decided I'd enjoy this train wreck too.  Except after watching the first episode I felt so icky.  I guess I should have known what I was signing myself up for but this was so much worse/gross/traumatizing/sad than any season of The Bachelor/Bachelorette {in my opinion}.  I gave it until episode 3 {or maybe it was 4} before I finally gave up on it.

Shortly after I had 4 or 5 episodes of KUWTK recorded on the DVR along with 4 or 5 episodes of Botched and 3 episodes of UnREAL {I know it's not technically a reality show} that I just clicked 'delete' on.  You guys, IT FELT SO GOOD.  I can't even tell you the feeling just seeing those shows on my recorded list gave me.  I literally felt wrong watching it.  Like I'd be embarrassed if someone came over and saw those shows I recorded.  I guess I do have a moral compass?

Recently I've been making lots of changes in the guilty pleasure department.  On top of getting rid of some {let's face it I can't give up on my Housewives} reality/trash TV, I've changed up my morning rituals.  I used to wake up and grab my phone of the nightstand first thing, doesn't everyone?  I'd gaze into that screen all sleepy-eyed and squinting until my eyes adjusted to the brightness.  I'd scroll through the last 9 hours of my Instagram feed, catch up on all my Snap stories, check my email and maybe even entertain Twitter if I was really avoiding my feet hitting the floor.  I realized that when I did that, if there was something I saw/read/heard THAT early int the morning it kind of, sort of affected my day.  Some days I'd see/hear/read good things and that was fine but the days where I'd see/hear/read something that wasn't necessarily uplifting to me it kinda put me in a funk for the whole day.  It probably sounds pretty sad that I could let social media affect me that way but I'm sure someone can relate.

So instead of grabbing for my phone first thing, I simply turn off my alarm and head to the kitchen.  I make a cup of coffee and I sit down with my journal.  I've never been much of a journal person so I didn't know exactly how I was going to like journaling but I have found it to be very therapeutic.  I've been doing daily affirmations/mantras every day right when I wake up with my cup of {hot} coffee.  Once I am done I pray over them and I start my day.  I cannot tell you the difference it has made in my life.  It's helped me be more successful with my job, it's helped me control my poor eating habits, it's helped me stay focused on the good rather than dwell on the negative, it's helped me be more present with my kids.  It's definitely a better way to start my day than scrolling through other people's lives.

I've also started reading more.  I've always liked reading but I never made time for it.  I used to only read at bedtime which was not productive because I'd fall asleep after 10 pages and then wonder why it took me months to finish a book.  Since I've cut out some of my trash TV I've started reading more, randomly, in the middle of the day and it feels good to get lost in a book again.  I just started reading The Passenger and I'm already hooked and I'm only a few chapters in {what is going on with this woman?!}.  I'm sure my brain is happy to be doing more constructive things than watching young singles hookup, break up and then hookup again.

So what are some of your favorite guilty pleasures?  Do you feel guilty about them?  Does that still make them guilty pleasures?

September 1, 2016

School Daze

Well folks, we're officially one week into the 2016-17 school year and I still feel like I'm in a total daze.

Part of me was excited for the school year but mostly it was excitement over the cooler temps {which have yet to arrive} than anything else.  I do like having a schedule/knowing what's happening for the day but not as much as I like being carefree.  I am not one of those mom's who is doing a little dance in the car on my way home from drop-off.  Nope, I'm the one sitting in the car-rider line watching until I can no longer see my girl and she's safely inside the building.

I vividly remember my aunt being sad about the start of school each year my cousins had to return.  I remember her saying how she didn't want school to start and how she just loved summer break so much.  She liked being able to stay up late, skip a bath here and there, come and go as you please, that carefree-ness of summer.  It was a much different tune than most moms sang and I always thought it was sweet.  It took for me to become a mom of a school-aged kid to really appreciate her sadness for school starting.

Guys, we bring these tiny little humans into the world.  We have no clue what we are doing as new parents but one thing we instinctively know/do is protect them and love them.  We pick our registry items based on what is "safest" and we google "best infant car seat".  We are our babies number one source for all things from kissing boo-boos to feeding them breakfast, lunch, and dinner to squeezing their guts because they're so dang cute.  They rely on us and we love them unconditionally {as they do us} and no one else has that bond with them.

The school years start and for the first time they have to rely and trust someone else.  They are out of our care more hours of the day than they're in our care.  All we can do from that point on is hope and pray that the lessons we taught them up to this point have prepared them {somewhat} for this new phase of life.  That, to me, is terrifying.

Did I talk about stranger danger enough?
Did I talk about it too much?
Did I teach her how to open her applesauce?
What if she misses me?
Will her teacher know what she needs?
Who will she eat lunch with?
What kind of kids will she befriend?
What if she can't find the bathroom?
What if she get scared?
Does she know how much I love her?
When will she have a snack?
Will she be kind to everyone she meets?
Will they be kind to her?
Is she happy?

These are just some of the thoughts I have throughout the day.

Just as I know that the sky is blue, I know that this phase will come and go and we will survive.  I'm sure a time will come when I am blasting "I'm So Excited" as I pull away from the front doors of that school.  But for now it is bittersweet even if I am a "seasoned" 1st grade mom. I also know that I will have these same exact emotions when James starts school so #HelpMeTomCruise.

August 31, 2016

Currently I Am...

Reading: Carnal Innocence by Nora Roberts. My mom really loves this author and recommended I try one of her books and I am so glad she did.  This is my first Nora Roberts book but it won't be my last.  The way she writes is so descriptive, I feel like I can visualize everything that is happening.  I have realized I like books that keep you guessing/suspense/thrillers and this one has a love story kinda mixed in there too.  I'm almost finished with it and I'm going to be sad when it's over.

Watching:  We just wrapped up Stranger Things.  YOU GUYS!  Are you watching?  This is normally not up my alley {Sci-Fi?  Aliens?  No thank you!} but I was obsessed.  We finished it in four days and I hear there is unofficially going to be a second season {fingers crossed}.  Now I think we're going to give The Night Of a try, anyone?

Listening to:  First of all I can't get Megan Trainor's 'Me Too' out of my head, ever.  But in real music I'm obsessed with the new Twenty-One Pilots song Heathens from The Suicide Squad soundtrack.  Josh {the drummer} is my brother-in-laws best friend so we've known of them since before they were on the VMA's and if anyone deserves fame its these two.  So stoked about all their success!

Shopping for:  I am on the hunt for the perfect pair of booties.  I don't want a heel {I don't think anyway}.  I want a neutral color that I can wear with everything.  I'll mostly be wearing them with jeans.  I don't want them to have any cut outs or a super pointy toe.  Specific enough?!  Geez.  So if you see anything tag me!

Craving:  The weather needs to cool down a bit {OK a lot} first but I need some of my spiced/spiked cider ASAP.  My aunt always made spiced cider in the fall and now it's become a tradition that just signifies fall, cooler temps, and time spent with friends.  I love it.

Looking forward to:  Halloween.  I get so excited every year, I love Halloween.  The kids {and Jimmy} think we should all dress up as Star Wars characters {they all think it would be hilarious if I were Chewbacca}.

Practicing: I started doing daily affirmations/mantras every morning right when I wake up.  I'm trying to avoid getting on my phone right away and instead focus on me/my mind for about 15 minutes before I start my day.  It has helped TREMENDOUSLY.  I feel mentally healthy and it's affecting all areas of my life. If you do daily affirmations and know of a good resource let me know!

Working out:  I started doing PIYO again about a month ago.  I wanted something a little more mellow, less intense, after finishing 22 Minute Hard Corps and PIYO was the perfect thing.  It's been a while since I have done the program from the beginning and I forgot how much I love it and how well my body responds.

Smelling {that sounds weird}: I'm welcoming fall even if the Ohio weather isn't.  That means I'm warming fall scents in my Scentsy warmers starting today!  Always a favorite is the pumpkin marshmallow and their newer coconut pumpkin pie.  I'm also changing out all the hand soaps to fall scents from B&BW. My favorite? Toasted vanilla coconut, hands down!

Dreading:  Jimmy decided to have a garage sale this weekend.  Labor Day weekend is HUGE for garage sales where we live however we've never participated in 6 years.  Guess that changes this year.  I am scared and unprepared.

Drinking:  I think I've talked about these k-cups before but they're so good I don't care.  The Donut Shop Nutty Caramel, go get it!  I'm assuming it's a seasonal flavor because I just saw it for the first time last week and instantly started singing, "reunited and feels so gooood".  Yeah...

OK so that's what I'm up to/loving these days!  How about you?

August 23, 2016

The Un-Pinterest Party

This weekend we celebrated Kendall turning six and James turning three with a very un-Pinterest worthy party.  I actually kept thinking to myself, "Wow, this is like an old-fashion birthday party" that whole day.  It was wonderful, actually.  So, if you came here for beautiful party pictures of perfectly placed decorations, adorable party favors and custom birthday tees, you came to the wrong place.

Since the Dew babies birthdays are just two days apart we still do a combined birthday party while we can.  In the years past we've been lucky and the themes have been neutral {Paw Patrol & pool party} but this year I knew we might have stronger opinions.  Kendall wanted Shopkins {of course} and James is obsessed with all things Star Wars.  That should be easy to combine, right {sarcasm font}?  Top it all off Kendall decided she wanted to do it at the beach.  OK, Shopkins+Star Wars+beach birthday party.  You got it kid!  I knew no such invitation existed {trust me I checked} so I used my ultra creative side and came up with an invite all on my own and I actually loved how it turned out.

The party was at a state park so we had no event coordinator or reservations to be made or even a deposit to pay.  When I called to ask a few questions I was basically told we just show up the day of and that was it.  Honestly the days leading up to the party felt really weird and I kept thinking, "I feel like I should be doing something!".  But it was so nice to be so stress-free about this party, for once.  Normally I feel like a chicken with it's head cut off days before throwing a party {all the cleaning!} and this year it was the complete opposite.  It was glorious.

The extent of my decor included the ultra adorable cake pops and thirty-two {I may have over estimated} balloons.  No coordinating party plates, no food labels, heck I didn't even use the tablecloths I bought due too the high winds on the beach.  We had hot dogs {I may or may not have forgotten the ketchup and mustard}, chips, pretzels, fruit, veggies and fruit snacks.  The kids swam, played Frisbee, blew bubbles, flew kites, and the adults played corn hole.  It was actually quite perfect.  I didn't even take any photos during the party but I'm thankful my mother-in-law snapped a few for the memory book.

You know the best part of this good ole fashion birthday party?  Everyone had a blast!  I wasn't worried about decorations getting ruined or making sure food was staying hot or whether the party entertainment was flowing.   We just had a nice, easy couple of hours with our closest friends and family members and I think all of the kids went home tired {win!}.

August 16, 2016

Happy Birthday Kendall Paige

My sweet Kendall,

Today you are SIX.  No longer an age that fits on one hand, you are now a two hands age and that is crazy.

Sweet girl this day is bittersweet for your mama. On one hand I can hardly believe we are here but at the same time I can't and never want to remember life without you in it.  It makes me so proud to watch you grow into the fine young lady you are.  You are my first born and I tell you {almost} every day that you will always be my baby, even when you're thirty-five.

You're daddy and I had no idea what we were doing when we brought you into the world six years ago- the joy of being the first born.  You were a dream baby and everyone always told us but since we had nothing to compare you to we didn't realize just how lucky we were.  You had a little rough patch around age three {could have had something to do with the addition of your baby brother right around then} but we overcame it and you have been such a blessing.

You have the type of personality that everyone loves and wants to be around.  You are shy even around people you know well and see often.  Once you warm up, however, your spunky personality comes out.  You are quiet and listen well around others.  You don't like to push boundaries and are usually the most reserved kid in the group.  You recently started becoming really protective of your brother and I find it super endearing.  I love how cautious you are.  I love that you think before you act {in most situations}.  I hope you carry those traits with you throughout the teenage years {wishful thinking}.

This year you started {and rocked} kindergarten.  We were nervous to send you, knowing you'd be the youngest in your class, but you proved that we made the right choice in sending you.  You love school and doing homework {for now} and made tremendous strides this year.  Math seems to be your strong subject and that makes me so happy seeing as that's where I struggled the most.  You made a lot of new friends and even though there was some drama here and there you never let it affect you.  You don't really like getting caught up in the petty stuff and for now just let it roll off your shoulder and move on from it pretty easily.  I love that about you.

You are my tiny peanut girl, always the smallest in the group.  You still fit into some 4T/5T clothing and your shoe size is just barely an 11.  I tell you all the time that you are my tiny peanut and it drives you crazy.  One day you'll appreciate your petite-ness, I promise.

Right now you really love swimming and soccer.  This summer you have blown everyone away with how well you are swimming.  From being a timid little girl who didn't even like putting her face under water to diving into the "deep end" for diving rings, you have done a 360 this summer.  Soccer season is almost here and you can't wait to get back on the field with your friends.  I love that you have a sport you are passionate about and with your determination I know you can be an excellent player.

You love all things you can collect- Shopkins, Twosies, basically any figurine on the market {especially animals}.  You don't care for dolls, Barbies, American Girl or otherwise.  In fact, when we were cleaning out the playroom you donate all of your baby dolls.  Your love for animals runs deep though.  You would own every stuffed dog, kitty, cheetah, bear, etc on the market if you could.  You want to be a veterinarian when you grow up, you love animals so much.  When we see a dog out in public you immediately want to reach out and pet it.  If you had it your way we'd have about five dogs of our own.

Kendall Paige you made me a mom.  You taught me what true, unconditional, selfless love was.  You will always hold a special place in my heart as my first born.  You were the answer to my prayers, the one thing I waited for my whole life.  You are the sweetest, spunkiest, deeply caring, silliest, fun-loving, energetic girl I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.  I am so lucky to call you mine.

I hope you have a wonderful day, you deserve it!  You are SIX!