Only Good is Happening Here

I’ve written this, what feels like a million times in my head.

We.Have.A.New.Baby.In.The.House

***

Crazy how my last post was so long ago and all about Chris and I can no longer have anymore biological children. Well– since that last post, a lot has changed.

We have a sweet new babe in the house.

We are temporarily caring for this sweet babe.

Foster care, or in my case “kinship fostering,” is not something I could have imagined we would take on. Without giving too much detail (because I can’t), we have taken the responsibility of her primary caregivers for an unknown amount of time. She came to us at 2 weeks old and since then it has been a whirlwind.

I remember when B was little– my first few months with her were sweet, tender, and basically a cycle of naps, diapers, bottles, and cuddling. My life with this sweet babe, whom we will call “Little B,” is nothing different in that aspect– except this time around I did not get nine months to prepare for her arrival, I am going to school, I am learning a trade to create a business of my own, homeschooling B, and raising B. This time around it is a lot different for me. With so many obligations and me pursuing my dreams and goals– I have to take a pause. A pause to focus on raising this sweet precious babe that has been entrusted to us. I have to take a pause from all the things that will be there for me later– to just love her. To give her the same amount of love and attention that I give B. To pour into her all the love we have.

Biologically Little B is not mine– but she doesn’t know that. She doesn’t know that my life was filled with busyness and tons of obligations. She doesn’t know that I am not an early riser and a night owl. She doesn’t know Chris and I like to go out and try new restaurants around town (more than we should). She doesn’t know that I spend all my time with my B and that we like to go shopping and hang out for hours on end. She doesn’t know that I am pursuing my education and trying to own my my own business. Nope– she doesn’t know any of these things.

I will tell you what she does know…

She knows that she was taken from her mother. She knows that she no longer hears her heartbeat. She knows that she needs love. She knows that she needs cuddles. She knows that she needs constant comfort. She knows that she needs reassurance that she is being cared for and wanted. She knows that she needs to look over from her bassinet and see someone there. She needs to know that all her needs are being met and then some.

And I know that want to take care of her. I know that I want to comfort her… love her… care for her.

I don’t know what her future holds. If you know me, I don’t do well with unknowns and variables. I like my life to be in constant control. I want my life to be exactly how I plan and anticipate.

But God has other plans.

I do not know what the future holds. I do know that she was entrusted to us to love.

Love big. Love grand. Love with everything we have.

***

I will love her and care for her like she is my own– even with the possibility she might not always be ours. That is okay. I will not hold back my love and affection out of fear of us getting hurt. I will not close off my heart to protect me. We have been called to LOVE. I will do this without reservation. I want B to grow up seeing what selflessness really is. I want B to know first hand that she can make a big impact in this world. I want B to feel so deeply for another person’s need that it calls her to action.

B sure loves her “Little B.” She knows that one of these days she might not be with us– and my big-hearted beautiful babe always reassures me that “As long as we love her, that is all that matters.”

It isn’t easy. Having to do this all over again, is by no means easy. But we’ve been blessed with “easy” long enough and it’s okay to be stretched. And boy, am I being stretched. She is a high needs baby– when B was the easiest kid ever. She doesn’t like to be put down while B was better at being in the swing or on a play mat. You have to do everything exactly how she wants it while B was a little more chill. So… this is work. A lot of work but a labor or love. I love that sweet baby that should be waking up at any moment. I love her smiles and her coos. I love when she sees me in the morning and gets happy and starts kicking her legs and flinging her arms around. I love when I smell her in the morning and she still smells fresh from her bath that night before. I love how cute she looks with a pacifier in her mouth. I love how she stares at me when I feed her. I love how when she sees me enter a room she arches her back and complains until I pick her up. I love when I wear her and I can kiss the top of her head a million times.

I love how she lights up when she sees B and tries to full on belly laugh when she talks to her and dances for her. I love that B is always wanting to help me with her. I love that she is always wanting to hold her and entertain her. I love laying her in B’s bed right before bed time and we all sit and laugh-talk-and pray.I love when Chris has her and baby talks her. I love when my mom cuddles her. I love when my family gets so excited to see her. I love that doing this all over again is reminding me of moments with B when she was baby that were lost in my sea of memories. I love when, late at night, I look at pictures of her and think that all the work and putting my life on pause is so worth it. I am doing something good. Only good is happening here. This is about pouring love into a little person– being stretched into a better person– denying my selfishness– and doing good.

Only good is happening here.

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My Miracle

I haven’t been able to blog for a while.

I don’t have writer’s block– it’s more like writer’s dam.

I have a barrier in my brain from thinking about writing anything other than this one thing.

You ready for it?:

After having Brooklyn, we have found out that we cannot have any more children. 

***

This isn’t to say that with the help of medical intervention that we cannot possibly achieve the goal of another bundle of joy. We possibly can. We just don’t want to go that route because the risks far out way the benefits.

Why do I feel the need to even write this?

Because well-intentional people via social media or in my life always ask me when we are going to have another kid or why we don’t have one yet. The inquiring doesn’t bother me in any way but I am sick of avoiding it. Avoiding it, for me… makes me feel shameful. Like I am ashamed that my body cannot do what God made women to do. But that isn’t at all true. I am not ashamed. Nor should any woman that cannot conceive feel ashamed.

Am I sad?

Yes. Well, at first I was. Now there are just very few moments of sadness. I have come to terms with it. I am blessed beyond belief because I realize that to even have B is a miracle in itself. I am blessed that I was able to carry her and give birth to her.

Am I mad?

No. Not at all. I guess I can see why people would assume I would be. “God, how could this happen?… What did I do wrong?” I am not mad at God at all. I know very well His answer is “no,” and I am okay with that. I do not need to know His reasoning but only that I am happy where I am, blessed with what I have, and cannot drive myself crazy with the what-ifs and whys. I realize I gave birth to an amazing little girl and I am grateful for her. She is a miracle.

Am I hopeful?

Of course. I haven’t lost hope but only gained contentment. I am so content with just having B. More than content, really. Satisfied, happy, joyful. Yeah, that is it… I am so joyful. 

***

My purpose is to be transparent and encouraging. I want to be transparent because I want to be encouraging. I want to let those know who might be struggling with infertility that each journey is our own. One is not like the other. I only hope that those of you on your journey do not feel ashamed. You will have your moments of sadness, anger, and hopelessness. Then you might even have your moments of happiness and acceptance.

When we found out I wasn’t able to conceive without fertility drugs– I was in denial. I didn’t really take it seriously. I just conveniently told myself, “God will heal me.” It wasn’t until a few months later with no results that I thought back to that day. I started researching about the drugs I would need to take, my condition, and the condition of my health when I delivered B. Chris and I talked about it and we decided on not using medical intervention. It was not a risk we personally wanted to take. We kept living life and every now and again I would convince myself by some miracle I was pregnant and buy pregnancy tests. They were always negative.

A little over a year ago I had a serious run in with anemia. It changed my whole life– not because of the condition itself, but because it forced me to really deal with the fact that I will not be having anymore children. That I couldn’t bear a son to carry on my husband’s family name, that I couldn’t bear a sister for B to be as close to as I am to all of mine, or even for myself– one more chance to snuggle a baby that was all mine.

I felt the Holy Spirit comfort me. I felt a undeniable force of peace. I felt something telling me “no” when I wanted the answer to be “yes.” That was the catalyst that helped me freely cry, feel sadness, acceptance, and then lastly comfort in talking about it.

I have the most amazing family. My husband is amazing. He is so encouraging. He reassures me anytime that I need it that he doesn’t need another baby to feel complete. That he is far beyond blessed and happy with our family of three. We joke that we could never love another like B anyways. He offers me comfort with his humor. Comfort through his silence when I need to talk about it and he just listens. Comfort through his big big hugs and kisses on the forehead.

B is so comforting as well. She tells me she wouldn’t want me to put chemicals in my body to have another baby. She tells me that she is so happy with being the only child (no surprise there). She says that she is happy to just be us three.

I realize I am blessed to even have B. I realize that there are many many women who will not get the opportunity that I have been given so I do not and will not ever take it for granted. Here are a few things that I remind myself of on days that I need it the most:

Not being able to get pregnant does NOT make me less of a woman.

Not being able to get pregnant does NOT make me less desirable to my husband.

Not being able to get pregnant does NOT indicate I have done something wrong.

Not being able to get pregnant IS a hard thing to accept.

Accepting not being able to get pregnant does NOT mean you have given up hope.

***

Every journey is different. One is not like the other. This is not an outline of how anyone should or will feel. This is my journey. I am not ashamed. I am complete. I am happy. I am blessed.

Here is my miracle on the day she was born:

My Miracle

Thank you for reading!

Oceans of love to you and yours.

xo

When Does She Have Time To Play?

… Someone asked me that via Facebook the other day when I over shared our activities for that day.

Tennis at 7:00 AM

Swim at 10:30 AM

School for B at 11:30 AM

Volunteering (just me this time so she could rest) at 2:00 pm

Dance at 4:30 PM

A Show as a Family at 7:30 PM

***

Granted, that Tuesday was exceptionally busy, so no.. there wasn’t a whole lot of playing going on for her that day. But in general– this kid plays A LOT.

Even though I know she does play a lot, I couldn’t help but question myself…

::: Is she too busy?:::

It prompted me to ask her if she feels too busy at times…

“No Mommy. It’s fun. I like to work hard.”

Can a six year old have a good work ethic? Is it possible that she thrives off the hours of hard work she puts in in a day? I think that she does. It makes me proud that no only does she willingly do all her activities and schoolwork without a fuss but that she is so dedicated to it and actually enjoys it. She makes me proud constantly. And if I am being honest here, she would make me proud no matter what she does/did. Even if she wanted to not do anything and chill at home all the time I would be like, “Wow- you chilled so good today! You’re the best chiller in the whole world!” Haha.

***

That’s nice Aushrielle, but does she have time to play?

Yes.

This kid has an incredible imagination.

This gigantic empty box stayed in the living room for a week. It was a spaceship, a car, a camper, and a house. With her play kitchen and kid table she serves up a mean four-course meal complete with handmade menus. With her dollhouse she runs a rug store, a daycare, and a restaurant. If she helps me cook– she turns whatever we are doing into a cooking show… making me talk to the fake audience in front of me. Because she isn’t very maternal, her babies and dolls are used as fashion models– complete with individual makeovers and hair-dos (all her hair accessories and accessories end up on her dolls). With my blow dryer, towels, brushes, and combs she turns my living room into a full-service hair salon for her Daddy. She has way too many toys and enjoys playing with every single thing she has. She loves to play alone, with friends, and with us.

Yes.

She plays.

I just happen to have a kid that enjoys being busy too. She sets out her clothes for tennis and swim the night before. She makes sure I have all her needed items like her racket, towel, and goggles. She will run over to check my planner to see what is going on for that day and even take a peek in hers if she put any of her schedule down. This kid thrives off of the stimulation of “hard work” and play.

Her dedication brings me joy.

Her work ethic brings me joy.

Her incredible imagination brings me joy.

Heck, even the Whole Food paper bags filled with all her “groceries” after her character “Samantha” went shopping that I have to put away brings me joy.

***

The question I was asked on Facebook did not offend me at all. I will use it as a healthy reminder. A reminder for balance. A reminder to relish the days we stay home and play or do nothing at all and to be grateful for the days that we get to run around to all these activities.

Oceans of Love.

XO

Thank you for reading!

10 Reasons Why I Homeschool

I feel like there are really countless reasons why I feel homeschooling B is the best option for her and our family but let me preface this post my saying that I do not know what is best for your child– and public school might be the best option for you and your child. I do not have anything against the public school system. I actually really enjoyed my time in public school and wouldn’t have changed a thing.

***

ONE:

Let me get the really obvious reason out of the way:

I don’t have to get B up super early.

I love this! My kid is  a sleeper and will sleep in pretty late if I let her. I’ve experienced a handful of times having to get her up super early and it was okay… I mean she wasn’t “herself” in the morning– it took sometime for her to wake up so to speak. And a bonus reason: Cuddles! I love those morning cuddles. She wakes up. Finds me. Cuddles in my arms. No rush. This is my favorite part of everyday.

TWO:

Flexible schedule.

My husband is self-employed and I am a SAHM. Therefore we have a lot of flexibility of when and where we can get away. Disneyland in early February and early December are the best; short lines and great weather! Little mini getaways are also the best… we get to just relax and be together as a family. B’s summer break is only six weeks versus traditional school, which has a longer break, so we shuffle the additional time outside of her summer break for our vacations and mini getaways throughout the year.

THREE:

A lot of time for extra-curricular activities.

B is in tennis, swim, ballet, dance group, and gymnastics. It is a lot. It is nice not having to run her here and there after a long day at school and then have to come home later that night and do homework. There are plenty of kids that do this, I realize this, and they might thrive on it– but for my extremely chill kid… her not rushing here and there suits her well. Although, she doesn’t mind working hard and being busy… I would never want to over-work her on the daily.

FOUR:

Lunch dates with Daddy.

This is one of my favorites. We generally start school at 9:00-9:30 every morning (this is dependent on how long it takes her to eat breakfast). We are done with school by 1:00-1:30 pm every day. That happens to be the time B eats lunch. (Her belly is like clockwork by the way. I have always had her on a schedule so her body has certainly adapted to being fed no later than 1:30.) So, being that it is generally lunch time when she is done with school… Chris occasionally takes her, and sometimes me, to lunch with him! We love when Daddy takes us out! We love Thai and Mediterranean food so it’s a nice break from the pretty normal lunch menu we have like sandwiches and mac n’ cheese.

FIVE:

Volunteering.

While I think a good solid curriculum is good for B’s mind; volunteering and helping others is just as important. The flexibility from doing school at home allows for B to on some days start later or finish up earlier to accommodate our volunteer work. Currently, we assist with an amazing woman whom is visually impaired. She is so full of love and life and we enjoy spending time with her. B opens her mail, I help her pay her bills, B will read her the advertisements, and we both just offer her our company. B shines so bright in this environment. She knows that (we will call her “Ms. Sunshine”) cannot see so B is excellent at being very descriptive in how she speaks to Ms. Sunshine. Social and emotional skills are imperative and B is gaining these skills by leaps and bounds and all by simply helping in the way that she can and just simply “being” there for Ms. Sunshine. She has so much love and grace for those in need– she teaches me daily how to be better. On the days I question myself about whether or not homeschooling is still the best option, she reminds me that it is the best thing for her simply by being her.

SIX:

One on one learning.

B has my undivided attention in class which she loves. She likes that I pull up a chair next to  hers and we work on school together. I love that when she is interested in something we can take a few minutes from the current task and dive into what she interested in. For example: she was reading a reading comprehension passage that was discussing different types of fish. Two of the fishies discussed were the angler and lantern fish. She had never seen them before so it resulted in us watching YouTube videos of the angler and lantern fishes. Not only did the lesson reinforce comprehension but doubled as a little science based on the time we spent watching how amazing these creatures are in the deep deep sea.

SEVEN:

Tailored Curriculum.

I love love love that I get to chose her curriculum based on how she learns. I love love love that I get to change the curriculum if it isn’t working for us. Granted, it can get pricey so I make sure to do my research ahead of time, but at least the option is there to change it if I need to. There are so many different learning styles and different approaches to teaching. For example: B is a visual hands on learner when it comes to science so we do a lot of reinforced experiments along with a Charlotte Mason approach. She is not visual when it comes to math (believe it or not) so I do not need to use many manipulatives for her– she can understand the concepts simply by reviewing the material in the textbook and completing a few exercises. I can also add Bible to lesson plans in the week. This I love love love because she is able to learn about the beliefs we have and learn for herself what her Daddy and I believe in and hopefully what she will believe in also and take with her into her adult life.

EIGHT:

Light bulb moments.

You know the times when you are trying to remember something or think of the name of that one actor in that one movie and all of the sudden you remember and you get that look on your face? That look is what I call the light bulb moment. Like, “Ding! I know the answer!” or “Ding! I get it now!” Well, I love those moments. When B and I are working on a new concept and she makes the connection and she gets that look on her face…. Man– I love that look. I thrive off of it. I would be terribly sad if I missed that look.

NINE:

I am stingy.

It is no secret that the amount of stinginess I have for this kid is insane. Haha. My mom always reminds me that I am stingy with my kid. It is true. So so true. She isn’t too attached to me or anything… Like to the point where she hides behind me in public or can’t carry a conversation with an adult but she doesn’t care to be away from me for too long either. I guess you can say we are attached to each other… but in a healthy non-Norman Bates kind of way. She’s my little sidekick and I am super blessed she’s so smart and funny– because she is excellent company!

TEN:

The smart cookie factor.

Don’t get me wrong– there are brilliant minds who have and are currently going to public school. Again, I don’t have anything against public school. I loved it. BUT– B is very intelligent and I feel that she is really able to blossom academically because we homeschool. For example: she started showing early signs of reading when she was four. Based on her age she would have started Kindergarten at five and a few months. I just didn’t want to wait that long so after hours, days, weeks, and months of research– Chris and I decided on homeschooling her. So, basically she started Kinder a year early. I wouldn’t have been able to do that here in the public school system. We continued onto First grade and this is when “stuff” got real. She just blossomed! (Mommy brag alert!) This kid just turned six and is reading at a Fifth grade level. I mean– she is killing chapter books. She is reading everything and anything (not always a good thing LOL). She is doing math in her head. She is doing multiplication… and not like the times tables we grew up committing to memory– she actually understands the concept and can answer multiplication questions in word problem format! She can tell you the type of atmosphere Venus has, where Mt. Rushmore is, correct my grammar like a boss… and I could go on and on. I won’t. I will spare you. Haha. Homeschooling B has been a big, tremendous, monumental blessing for all three of us!

This isn’t a good choice for some but for us this is the best possible choice! I hope to share with you more explicitly what we do in class, schedules, curriculum choices… etc. Online resources and homeschooling communities have been tremendously helpful and if I can help another family out just a tad, I want to!

Thanks for reading and oceans of love and blessing to you and yours!

xo

Anything You Can Do… I Can Do Better…

I kid, I kid. This is totally false.


But if I do end up doing something awesome, it is because I have access to the world wide web and some brilliant mind created something awesome and put it on said world wide web and it inspired me. Isn’t this true for most people though? In the age of the almighty Pinterest, it is very easy to find inspiration.

How do I re-purpose this ugly old dresser?

BAM!– Pin a 1001 pins on how to at 1:00 AM.

How do I make this plain ol’ Ikea furniture into something that looks like I dropped some big money on?

BAM!– Pin a 1001 pins on how to at 2:00 AM.

How do I get my kid(s) to eat their veggies?

BAM!– Pin a 1001 pins on how to at 3:00 AM.

I love Pinterest.

What I do not love is this:

People that do not give credit where credit is due. 

There are some hard-working, brilliant, and creative people that are kind enough to take the time to give us step-by-step directions on how to re-purpose that ugly dresser, hack that Ikea furniture, and hide those veggies in your kid’s dinner. I value all those creative minds because I am not one. I am not artistic. I cannot paint. I cannot even hang a painting straight.  I lack the motivation to sand a dresser for fifty hours and to stain if for another fifty.

Pinterest is a great resource but it is not a soap box for you one-uppers out there. I bet you that you were inspired. I bet that you took a gander at Pinterest and found some influences. Most of us do it. We are a big melting pot of ideas, thoughts, and inspiration. There is no harm in saying, “I saw this on Pinterest…” because I know you did. Per the site, so did 385 other people.

Anything I can do, you can probably do better… but don’t forget to give a shout out to the person whose blood, sweat, and tears went into showing you how.

And if you are just supernaturally creative– I envy you. I hope to tap into my inner “artist” some day.

It has to be in there… right?

Thanks for reading xo

Monkey See. Monkey Do.

If you are a parent– you know this to be true. Almost everything you do is mimicked by your little (or big) one. There are the obvious things that your child may have picked up from you like language usage, characteristics, habits, or even facial expressions. Have you thought about the not-so obvious things that your child will emulate? I have. It scares the crap (ya- I said crap. so poetic, eh?) out of me.

My kid is almost exactly like my husband and I… But better. She is kinder, more positive, more considerate, and more of all the good things I aspire to be but fall short of on the daily.

I have been noticing more recently her desire to be more like mommy. While I should be flattered; it is not necessarily a good thing.

You see…

I fear almost everything. I have a long list of irrational and bizarre fears that inhibit me from being the adventurous care-free person I know I can be. I am working on it. It is a slow process– but I definitely feel the pressure to step on the gas on this one because B is growing so fast and I don’t want her to be like me in this aspect. I want her to be more fearless, take more risks, and enjoy things without constantly worrying about the “what-ifs.”

Her eyes are forever watching me. Ever observant. Looking to see how I react. Watching my face to check for a wince or a snarl. That kid, I tell you, she is like Nancy Drew. Always asking so many questions, wanting to understand everything… she is one inquiring mind. I love her for it, but the pressure is on. I need to not fear every.single.thing. I need to be better. I will be better.

I will take chances.

I will take risks (within reason of course).

I will put myself out there.

I will try new things.

I want her to grow up to view me as an inspiration and not as a reason why she didn’t accomplish something.

My little monkey will see Mommy being brave and she will too.

My little monkey will see Mommy take risks and she will too.

My little monkey will see Mommy crush her goals and she will too.

My little monkey will see an example of what a healthy relationship is and have one too.

My little monkey will see Mommy fall but never give up and she will too.

My little monkey will see Mommy overcome and she will too.

***

Here’s an example of B doing what Mommy does. I love to plan and she just had to have a planner of her own too. My five year old is a total planner addict now and loves to write down all her play dates, performances, and anything else that happens in her life– all adorned with tons and tons of stickers. Between the both of us we do have a pretty gnarly pen collection. Maybe my organizational skills are good for her to copy 🙂

Thanks for reading xo

Teflon. Bleach. Advice. Oh My!

I recently came across an article about how bad Teflon on cookware is so bad for your health. I was concerned. I did some more research and then three hours later at 1 in the morning I decided that I had to rid my house of all things Teflon (PTFE) and anything with PFOA in it. I showed Chris the research and he agreed. The next morning it was gone. Chances are that nothing was wrong with my cookware that had Teflon. More than likely, I could have kept it and it would have been just fine, but this is how I am– I am crazy… I know.

Any who…

My next step was to find some new cookware. I am so crazy that I got rid of everything before I actually bought anything new. As much as I would have loved to eat at our fave Thai place every day in the meantime– it just wasn’t realistic. So I got back on my crazy train… did some research…  and then did some more research… and then finally settled on some new awesome pieces. I am all about monochromatic white in my kitchen so I was pretty stoked to find some enameled cast iron pieces in white.

Back on the crazy train… I started researching how to care for my new cookware. There are some people that do not like cast iron and there are some cast iron swear byers that wouldn’t use anything else. I started reading how so and so has this piece passed down from fifty years ago and that I can give it all to my daughter in twenty years and etc.

It got me thinking… 

In twenty years, will I give my old cookware to my daughter?  Then it lead to be asking myself if in twenty years will she even care what I have to say or even listen to even the smallest piece of advice like how cast iron is awesome?

I started thinking about my mom. About how the advice she has given me throughout my lifetime has become apart of who I am and I hope that B might take and apply the same from me as I have from my mom.

I wanted to share with you some simple advice that my mama has given to be over the years that are relevant to my every day…

1. Bleach

Just like Windex was the answer to everything that ailed the dad in My Big Fat Greek Wedding… Bleach is my mom’s Windex. I have gotten rid of all chemicals in my house recently and switched to all-natural cleaners but I cannot rid my home of bleach. After I cut up chicken– I need bleach to kill the salmonella that is probably not breeding in my sink and on  my counter tops.

2. Never Cross Contaminate

This one is obvious and pretty standard but the degree in which I go to to ensure that nothing ever touches another is insane. I cut my chicken on a cutting board that is specific for meat only and then cut my veggies/fruits on an entirely different counter top on a cutting board specifically designated for veggies/fruits.

3. Coupons

I am getting better at this. My mom has always been so awesome at saving money. She always clips coupons and shops sales. She can do a lot with a little and it is pretty awesome. I am trying really hard to be better. She actually clips the coupons for me. Haha. I just have to try hard to remember to use them.

4. Cook For Your Family

One of the many ways that my mama shows love is by feeding the ones that she loves. She has always expressed to me how important it is to cook for my family. I hold this advice really close to my heart because sitting around the table with a good meal and great company is one of the best feelings.

5. Pray

Prayer is the answer for everything when it comes to my mom. It inspires me to worry less and pray more.

6. Just Clean the Kitchen Before Bed

I love a clean kitchen. I just hate cleaning it after cooking for what feels like an eternity. I do clean the kitchen after we eat at night and I’ll tell you what… as much as I don’t like it, it is better than waking up to a dirty kitchen. That is just the worst.

7. Always Tell The Ones You Love That You Love Them

My mom will not say good-bye without a hug and an I love you. I realized a few years ago when I had B that I was the same way. I absolutely cannot leave without telling whomever is around me that I love them. You just never know.

8. Ibuprofen, Hand Sanitizer, Water, and Tissues. 

The basic essentials for your purse because you just never know.

9. Be Safe. Be Aware. 

My mom is super big on safety. Her safety speeches have impacted me so much so that this is my routine going into a store and leaving one: Park as close as possible (preferably under a light). Don’t park next to vans. Don’t lollygag in your car. Lock it. Look around you as you walk to store. Before leaving the store, have your keys in your hand. Look around you. Have your phone out but don’t stare at it as you walk. Unlock your car. Lock it as soon as you get in. You are alive. Yay!

(See… crazy. I know.)

10. Family Comes First

Need I say more?

***

There is much more profound advice that I hold close to my heart but these are the bits of advice that go with a lighthearted post about me and my crazy train.

I really hope that B can laugh at all the OCD tendencies her mama has/had and that she can apply some of them to make her laugh or to be of some help in the future because I doubt she will inherit my cast iron cookware but I hope she inherits just a smidge of the crazy. It keeps things interesting!

***

Curious about what cookware I went with?

Here you go 🙂

 Le Creuset Stock Pot in Caribbean. I went rogue. I needed one punch of color.

West Elm Dutch Oven 

 West Elm Saute Pan (On sale!)

 West Elm Skillet (On sale!)

West Elm Grill Pan (On sale!)

 Lodge Large Skillet 

Lodge Wok

Michael Graves Sauce Pot (On Sale!)

I bought a few silicon utensils from World Market and West Elm as well.

Aren’t they pretty? I love the clean white look. I don’t know how long that will last though. Maybe I will have to apply my mom’s advice about bleach to keep them pristine. LOL.

Do you have any advice that you apply to your every day from a parent or family member?

Thanks for reading xo

Mom Friends

I commonly joke that B “whores” me out because if she finds another little girl she wants to be friends with she will tell the little girl that I will be her mom’s friend and they can have play dates and be friends. So she will run up to me with said girl and in front of the other mom say something along the lines of, “Mommy, this is my new friend _______, get her mommy’s phone number so you can text her and we can have play dates.” Me and the other mom will awkwardly smile at one another and wait for the other to make the first move. I don’t think I am the only one that has ever experienced this but I could be wrong. Haha. It is so awkward for me. On the inside I am like, “Yay! A potentially new awesome mom friend!” But on the outside I smile and wait for her to ask for my number. Making new mom friends, for me, is just as awkward as dating. It’s a delicate tango of “how do I tell this person I want to be their friend without seeming desperate!”  I mean come on… B has been in dance for almost four years now and I am just barely getting around to being comfortable with making new mom friendships out of the blue with my fellow dance moms.

Being that I am on a journey to build friendships with moms of little girls that my kid just adores…I have compiled some truths for myself (and maybe for you) that I want to live by when it comes to dating making new mom friends:

1. I have a really good kid. I am not just saying that. She really is. She will be good to your kid. If your kid doesn’t reciprocate the kindness– I cannot see you for future play dates. It isn’t personal. It wasn’t a good fit. It’s me. Not you.

2. If you need to run to the bathroom or take a call– I will watch your kid(s) for you. Take your time. I got your back girl.

3. Put your phone away. Let’s chat. It’s okay if we aren’t going to be the best of friends, let’s at least be good examples of how people should interact with each other.

4. More than likely.. I do like you and I want to talk. Let’s talk. Not about other moms or about who you don’t like or why. Let’s just talk. Again, let’s be a good example for the kids.

5. Don’t be overly sensitive. I promise I won’t be. If my daughter or I do something that upsets you, please tell me. I will tell you if your kid does the same.

6. Approach everything with kindness and consideration.

7. Honesty. I will be honest. Please do the same. It is okay to tell me you want to hang. More than likely I do too. It is okay to tell me you don’t. I won’t get my feelings hurt.

8. Support. I support you. Please support me. We may not agree on parenting styles and that is okay but it is not my place to judge you or talk about you.

I have been very blessed to have met a certain few moms that have become my true friends. I think it is so important to have someone in your corner like a fellow mama. They usually won’t get upset if you don’t reply for a week to their text because your kid is sick. They usually understand when you are ten minutes late for a play date because you couldn’t find your kid’s matching shoe. They usually have a long to-do list like you do and feel overwhelmed like you might be also. I think it is most important to surround yourself with people, especially moms, that love and support you. Ones that don’t give unsolicited advice about what juice you give your kid or tell you what time they should be in bed by. We are moms… all just trying to be and do the best that we can.

I am excited to report from the front lines of “moms” that I do see a forward movement of support and love. I have seen in more recent years; mothers supporting each other versus judging and critiquing one another. We just need more of it. Being a mama is tough and rewarding but with the right people in your corner, it makes it even more rewarding and a little less tough xo

Shopping Buddy

Grocery shopping. Ugh. I really do not like it. I try to motivate myself by making my shopping lists really cute with pens, markers, and even by paying money for a cute list template! I still cannot get into it. Some people, like my mama, are grocery shopping champs. My mama prepares for grocery shopping like a total professional. She is scouring the ads and clipping coupons the night before then she gets up early the next day and knocks it all out– all while wearing some kind of platform wedge (she’s cool like that). She does it without complaining… whining… procrastinating…she just does it… and does it well!

…Then there is me… well aware that I have to feed these people and I still cannot find the motivation to get out of the house to do grocery shopping. I should be more like my mom, I know. Today, however, was different.

I was putting on my makeup and I realized I didn’t make my list. I have to have a list — I will buy whatever looks good if I don’t. It was already 2:00 pm and I knew that I didn’t have time to make a list and finish up getting ready so I kindly asked my five year old to give her dear old mother a hand.

Me: “B, can you do me the biggest favor and pleeeeeeease make Mommy a shopping list?”

B: “Sure mommy. Can I use your papers and pens to make a list (she is totally my offspring)?

Me: “Go for it.”

She runs off. I can hear her digging through my desk to find exactly what she wanted. She came running in with my yellow notepad set and an orange gel pen. She has excellent taste in stationary 🙂

B: “Tell me what to write and I will write it.”

Me: “Sounds good to me.”

I began dictating the list to her. I could see in her face she was struggling with some of the words. She is a perfectionist like me. I put her at ease when I told her she can spell it the best she knew how and not to stress. She smiled and kept taking down my items. She meticulously filled two pieces of paper up with all the things I asked her to write down. As we walked out the door she said, “Mommy, I am bringing my purse so you don’t have to worry about carrying the lists. I got them in here.” So she did, folded neatly in her little black cross body glitter purse.

First stop: Target. If I am being honest, I didn’t mind this stop so much. Haha. That place is my mother ship. I may have strategically put Target first so we could have a little fun before the dreaded grocery store. When we got inside, she whipped out the list and that orange gel pen and started telling me where to go and what to get. Here are a few of the things she had down and how she spelled them:

1. Londry Sope

2. Apple Juice (Simply Balanced Organic Apple Juice for the kids is awesome!)

3. Mackin Cheese (because we say mac n’ cheese)

We filled our cart up with the few items we needed and with a lot of items that we didn’t need. I know I am not the only one!

Second stop: Sprout’s. I love this store. What I do not love is that it is forever busy. It is the closest one to a lot of people so all those people have no choice but to go there. Ugh. It was 4:something so it was busy like “I just got off of work and I need to feed my family… Move out of my way people.” I would normally rush B in this store. The aisles are narrow so I would normally tell her to not read every label because people are behind us. I would normally not have a conversation with her in this store because it is loud and I would normally want to get out of there as soon as possible.

Today was different. I saw her carefully going over the list. I saw her little hands work to find the item on her notes and put a check mark next to the bubble she drew for each item. I saw her curious eyes scan the products of the store, wondering what everything was. I saw my little baby girl as the big girl that she is becoming. I took a deep breath and slowed my pace. I asked her engaging questions; “what is next on the list?” “does this look good to you?” I wonder how this tastes, what do you think?” She slowed her pace too. We began taking our time. Talking to each other about something as simple as… groceries. She started being silly, laughing, hugging me, hanging on me, and saying things like “I just love you Mommy, I can’t even handle it.” We were no longer on a mission. We were just hanging. I realize so many of our errands together are more like missions versus opportunities to spend time together. I want more opportunities. I want her to always enjoy her time with me. Even if it something as simple as picking up groceries for dinner.

Today was different for me. Today was a great day. I found joy in the simplest of things today. I loved it. I love her. I love being her Mommy. I love the opportunities I get to love her. I thank God every day that He gave her to me. I pray that I see more opportunities to laugh and just soak her in.

PS: On her Sprout’s list; two of my faves were “letis” and “torteas.” Man, I love her.

B's Grocery Lists
I love her additional decorations and the arrow indicating that she needs to flip it over 🙂