June 1, 2015

Mommas Makin Moola #7...Yoga Instructor!

It's that time again!


Here's a post that Sarah is featuring on her blog this week...written by a momma who earns money as a yoga instructor! Pretty cool, huh? Check it out here!

Momma's Makin Moola #7: Yoga Instructor 

Till next week!


May 27, 2015

Momma Makin Moola #6! Kim the Craft Blogger

Hey friends! Time for another...

I love this post. Not just because Kim makes me laugh, (wait till you see her blogging in pjs pic...ha, classic!) but I also love this cause she is addressing a topic that I find pretty fascinating/elusive: making money blogging! It's pretty crazy when you see all the time, hard work, and expertise that truly goes into a blog that makes decent moola. Not for the faint of heart! But, for a creative, tecnho-savy soul, it can be super fulfilling and tons of fun! So, here's Kim's story. Enjoy!
-Amy
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By Kim: blogger at "A Girl and a Glue Gun".

Please tell us about you and your family.

I have three kids...11, 9, and 7...and an overgrown manchild. We live in Chubbuck Idaho. We eat copious amounts of chocolate and spend far too much time making fun of each other.

xcards

What do you do to earn money as a blogger?

Publish blog posts. (ha!) Blogging has changed so much from when it started. To make money you had to contact people and get ads on the sidebar and rotate them and jump through a bunch of hoops. Now I just have an advertising team that runs the ads. My only real job is to get people to my blog to see them. The more people that see them..the more money I get. And when I pin..people repin and I get traffic to come over from that...so essentially...I get paid to be on pinterest!! (aka...best job ever)

Why did you start blogging?

My husband was actually commuting at the time...gone for two weeks...home for one. I had a one year old, 4 year old and a 6 year old....So it basically was a sanity saver.--true necessity to keep me out of the nut house. (ironically...I feel like i'm living in the nuthouse sometimes!)

How did you get started?

I had a family blog...and loved it to pieces. I spend so many hours putting together funny posts for it. But when my crafts started to take it over I decided to start a craft blog...(and now my little family blog is sooo neglected!)

What is your work schedule like?

Ah. This one makes me laugh. I probably work about 80 hours a week. I wake up and get the kids off the school and craft and take photos and edit photos and write posts and then get all my social media sent out and answer emails and repeat. I try to really stop when the kids are home from school...but I usually just do crafts with them as well. I run them to dance and soccer and track and try to answer emails while waiting for them to be done! And then when they go to bed and are all tucked in --it's back to the computer I go! (heigh ho. heigh ho.)

What do you love about blogging? 

I love creating. I love to show people fun things I have done and see it get remade. It's a fantastic outlet for me (cause let's be honest...I could redecorate my whole house and the only thing my husband would say is "how much did that cost me?") and I've actually made SOO many awesome blogging friends! And as an extra bonus...free crap! I get fun packages in the mail every week! It's like Christmas all year long!!! 


happy-mail

What do you not like as much about blogging? What is hard?

Um...I get some realllly random emails that I have to respond too...Questions about something I made (and the answer is usually IN the blog post if they would just read it!) Rude comments. And I think the feeling that no matter how much you work...there is always something else that can be done. It feels like it's never ending. My husband gets to clock out at 6 and not think about it again until the next day. I go to sleep thinking about a roundup I can do and how to use this craft product.
oh...and html. it's a $%$&*.

Would you recommend this path to other mommas? Why or why not?

I'm actually pretty torn with how to answer this! Let me start with telling you this: Don't get into it to make money. Do it because it's your passion. If you don't love LOVE LOVE it...you will HATE it quickly. Blogging is a blast. I love that I get to be in my pjs. and go on a vacation without having to get time off...and be home when my kids are sick. But it is a lot of work. and it can be frustrating. You can put so much time and effort into something and then you get zero comments or pins or likes....!


living-the-dream


How can a momma know if she is a good fit for blogging? If she is, how can she get started?

Do not think that you shouldn't start a blog because there are already so many--You have a secret weapon that no other blog has--YOU! I think everyone has something unique to add to the blogging world. But it's super duper hard to get your voice heard (or crafts seen)
If you are going to start--I would say--
A.make sure you use AWESOME photos...pinterest has made this such a visual world.
B. Think to yourself, "how can I set myself apart?"
and c. make sure to find yourself some blogging friends. It's so nice to have someone to shoot an email too and ask for help with something! I have a whole group on a hidden secret facebook page where we can just ask questions or promote each others stuff. And honorable mention: join some linky parties to get your blog out there!!!

What do you see as your future in blogging?

I have no idea.
really.
I don't know where this path will take me. I would love to do it for as long as I can. But that being said...who knows in 4 years if it loses it's appeal or other different opportunities arise! I used to paint murals on walls and I want to write a children's book... so I have backups...(I will never get a real 9-5 job! It is just not in me!)

What is your favorite way to recharge and relax?

Uh...blogging? I do read. and I love board games. But I really relax by getting on the computer and getting stuff done. It soothes me to check off stuff on my list of things to do. It's a sickness I tell you!

How do you find balance in your life between home, family, making money, hobbies, taking care of yourself etc?

Let me tell you something I heard, " Balance is Bullcrap" Finding balance is about as elusive as finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. You will never feel like you are doing it all...well. Sometimes you are doing it all...and feeling like you are sucking at each thing... There are only so many hours in a day and days in a week. I just try to put the priorities first...blog and kids... (uh..kids first) and if dinner is mac and cheese then so be it! Luckily my husband motivates me to clean the house often enough that I'm not living in complete filth. The only piece of advice I would say is ORGANIZATION. Write everything down. keep everything organized. It saves times and sanity.
AND if anyone finds out the secret to perfect balance in your life...please share!!

Just for fun, what and where would be your dream vacation?

Hawaii.
with a pile of books.
and no computer in sight.
Husband can come along I guess.




agirlandagluegun.com  Twitter  Facebook  Bloglovin  Instagram

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Ha, I love her. So, are you surprised by how much time a successful blog takes? (She said 80 HOURS PEOPLE!) Pretty mind-blowing. But, if you love it, you're having fun, right? Nonetheless, this is not an easy moola-making route--a blogger who makes money off their blog freakin EARNS every penny they get! I heard a successful blogger once say that for how much time she spends on her blog, she ends up getting paid two dollars an hour(!!!) Ha, personally, I've never gotten my crap together enough to make a dime off of this blog. But, even though I do put a good amount of effort and time into it, I guess I'm not willing to put in the work/time it takes to actually make moola in the blogging world, and that's fine with me. I have a ton of fun and find it super fulfilling to read/share other ladies' stories, as well as sharing my own--on about 5 hours a week. :) I really like that blogging lets me be social while being a SAHM hermit at the same time. Ha!

For the bloggers out there, do you make income from your blog? How much time do you typically spend per week blogging? What do you love/not love about blogging to earn money? We'd love to hear! :)

If you're interested, here's another post by a blogger who realistically shares what goes into making money off of blogging...Cami is my husband's aunt! I love her post and her honesty.

Anywhoo, I hope you loved this MMM edition as much as I! We only have a couple more posts in this series, so stay tuned! :) And if this is your first time hanging out with us here, then--where the heck have you been!? :) We'd love to have you party with us. :) Like SOM on Facebook, and/or follow us on Bloglovin for more stories from mommas like you!


May 21, 2015

Momma's Makin Moola #5! Mother and Writer

By Amy

Hi friends!

I just got back from a trip to Arizona to visit family (a baby and a toddler in the car for 14 HOURS! I know, we must be cray cray!) But it was a wonderful trip! We had so much fun--zoo, waterfights, plenty of toddler boxing matches, lots of delicious food, and lots of board games and funny stories for us adults once kiddios were finally tucked into bed every night.

And the car rides weren't even too terrible! A little crying here and there, but the only real rough patch was the couple hours that I developed a migraine. But I prayed, drank a lot of water, took a bucketload of IBUProfen, and finally the weird eyesight, sensitivity to light, headache, and severe nausea went away after a few hours of sleeping in the car. (If you saw some pathetic lady puking her guts out on the side of the freeway in Arizona or Nevada--that was me. I'm a pretty glamorous person you know.) We had a lot of fun on this trip, though, puking aside. :)

Since I was in Arizona, I missed the Monday post of another...


So here it is, better late than...well, ya know the saying. :) It's an awesome post that Sarah is featuring on her blog this week...written by a momma who works from home as a writer. I love her thoughts on balancing her work and home life. Good stuff! Be sure to check it out. :)

Momma's Makin Moola #5: Mother and Writer 

Till next week! And if you're new to Swag On, Momma, welcome! We'd love to have you keep hanging out with us, so feel free to follow along and come back soon! :)


May 11, 2015

Mommas Makin Moola #4: Abby the Mary Kay Queen

By Amy


It's time for another Momma Makin Moola post, one featuring my college roomie, Abby.

You guys. I love this girl. Seriously, she is smart, kind, loving, an amazing mom, spiritual, and soooo dang funny! Abby and I were roommates while both of us were dating our future husbands. We loved hanging out as couples and laughing till my abs were sore and my face hurt! (Probably WAY too many bodily function stories, thanks to Jacob, Abby's hilarious husband) Ah man, I would love it if they would just live by us forever. :)

Abby's made a successful business for herself, while staying at home with her kids during the day. And so...I wanted her to share her story with all of us! Enjoy!
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Please introduce yourself and your family!

My name is Abby and my husband’s name is Jake. He is my best friend and the most embarrassing husband…especially on social media. He absolutely adores me and I him, so it all works out. We have three darling little boys Henry (4), Isaac (2), and James (1). They fill our lives full of happiness, laughter, poop, tears, and so much more. Jake and I both graduated from BYU-Idaho a year ago. I graduated in Elementary Education, and he graduated in Biology. I love teaching and would definitely consider it one of my greatest passions in life alongside motherhood. I guess I like being in charge and influencing young minds.

Why/how did you start Mary Kay?

When we first got married I worked part-time as a Development Specialist for Mrs. Fields/TCBY. Then when we got pregnant with our second baby, the company decided they wanted someone who could dedicate more time to the job. Jake worked really hard to pick up the slack for the next two years as we both finished school. Upon finishing my degree, I was offered a job here in town. It was very tempting because it was at one of the best schools in the district, but I have always wanted to be home with my children. So I decided to stay home, and the first months were bliss. (Especially since I was 8 months pregnant with our third and ready for a rest!) About six weeks after the birth of our third baby boy I was at story time at the library and met a girl who was telling me about how she had just earned a free car and was making money so that her husband could go to graduate school. With Jake headed to a PA program next year my ears perked straight up! I thought it was way too good to be true. We both decided to take a chance on ourselves and start something, and just see if anything would become of it. About 6 months afterwards I earned our first free car, and a couple months later tripled my income by promoting myself to Sales Director. We are so glad we took a chance.

What makes Mary Kay a good fit for you?

Jake and I were on an extremely tight budget, and there is very little risk in starting a Mary Kay business, so that was very appealing to both of us. I loved the idea of creating my own hours and really doing with it what I wanted. I basically work while my children are napping during the day, or sleeping at night. I was worried about the sales part of the business, because I don’t consider myself the “sales type”, but the product sells itself and I already loved it—that also made it a good fit for me. There are no quotas or have-to’s and nobody to answer to. I also love that the business is dual-marketing and not multi-level, so it is very unique in comparison to other sales opportunities. How did you get started? To get started there is a $100 starter kit that comes with over $420 worth of retail product to show at parties and start selling from. There is so much training available to beauty consultants including: online training, in-person weekly training from experienced consultants, an entire scholar program that is recognized by Harvard Business School, and so much more. I am literally in business for myself, but never by myself. There is so much support and training to help in getting started, and I started by holding a couple parties a month showing the product.

Abby's family with the car that Abby earned!
What is your work schedule like? 

I make phone calls during nap time for about an hour. I do a bit of office work as well, but now have a hired assistant who does a lot of the work for me. Then at night I do parties or other appointments 3-5 times a week and they each last about 2 hours. I am now a Sales Director for the company and so I put on a weekly success event for my consultants that lasts about 2 hours where we train, facial guests, and recognize achievements in the unit.

What do you love about doing Mary Kay? 

I love that I get to design my work around the lifestyle that I want, and I also get to make as much money as we need/want. I also love the recognition, the fun jewelry and purses—I love getting things for free that I would never spend on myself. I have always loved influencing children, and although I don’t get to do that directly, I get to make women feel beautiful and be more confident. I train women every week how to be more emotionally, spiritually, and physically there for their children and husbands’. The company was founded on the principles God, family, and then career. So I am in an environment with other women have very similar morals. It is a contagious and exciting place to be and it makes me a better wife and mother. There is no competition in Mary Kay, there is instead a spirit of “Go-Give” where we live the Golden Rule and strive to treat others as we would like to be treated. The list could go on and on.

What do you not like about doing Mary Kay? 

I honestly and truly cannot think of one thing that I do not like about my business. When I first started I would almost hyperventilate to call random people on the phone and talk to them, but as I have overcome that I have become way more confident in myself.

What are you future plans for your business? Is this a temporary thing or more long-term?

I see this not so much as a career, but as a savings and financial pillow for our family. I love the security of knowing that if something were to happen to our family, I could stand on my own two feet financially. I see myself continuing for the long-hall because of the confidence it gives me, the financial security it allows me, the relationships, and the social outlet.

Would you recommend this path to other mommas? Why or why not? 

Most definitely. It has made me better at money management and time management. I think that sometimes moms are home all day in the same room with their children, but not really with them. I have learned to be really present for my children and that time with them is so precious. It also gives families some more financial freedoms, and also gives moms a safe place to grow and improve without taking them out of the home.

How can a momma know if she is a good fit for it? And, if she is a good fit, how can she get started? 

I have seen beauty consultants be successful who never wore makeup and cried when you asked what their name was, so in my opinion this is an opportunity for any mom. In order to get started, you would need a beauty consultant to send you an agreement online. If you already have a consultant, feel free to contact her and ask more questions. If you don’t already have a beauty consultant, feel free to contact me and I can send you some free product samples and would love to chat with you. 

What is your favorite way to recharge and relax?

I recharge on Sundays. I love spending time with my family uninterrupted, and sitting around talking and reading books with my boys.

How do you find balance in your life between home, family, making money, hobbies, taking care of yourself etc? What helps you to feel happy instead of stressed? 

I love this question! In Mary Kay we actually have weekly plan sheets that we are supposed to fill out with our husbands. They are color-coded and each color represents the priorities we should set: God (Yellow), Family (Blue), Career/School (Pink). Jake and I sit down each week and first plan out everything that has to do with our relationship with God: scriptures, prayers, physical activity, church. Then we prioritize our family activities: family time, activities, date nights etc.. Then finally our school/work responsibilities. Then we keep this on our refrigerator so that we both can make changes and have access to the schedule. It has been such a blessing in time management and it is the only way we can truly accomplish everything that we have been able to in the last year.

Just for fun, what and where would be your dream vacation? 

Right now my dream vacation would be anywhere with my man and a really slow-going itinerary. I have always wanted to travel Europe, but I think as a mom I want to just lie on a beach for an entire week with nowhere to go and nothing to do. :)

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Oh man, I want that week long beach vacation. :) Isn't she awesome? Thank you Abby! :) And if you are interested in learning more about Mary Kay opportunities, you can contact Abby at abbylyn3(at)gmail(dot)com.

Well, friends, I hope you all had a fabulous Mother's day with plenty of hugs and kisses! :) I'm eternally grateful for the two munchkins that call me momma! I'm also so grateful for my amazing momma, momma-in-law, grandmas, aunts, and sisters, as well as the other women who have supported and taught me throughout my life. It's pretty awesome that we don't have to be a person's mom to make a great impact on another person's life! For all of you who are not mommas yet, know that YOU have unique gifts and strengths to offer to those around you. We love you and thank you for all that you do to love others, especially us and our children! Love you all!

PS. If you are new to Swag On, Momma, welcome! We'd love to have you hang out with us. :) To read more posts written by other awesome mommas, Like us on Facebook to follow along! :)



May 4, 2015

Mommas Makin Moola #3: Opera Singer!

Um, WHUT???? Opera singer? 

I know, that's what I said when I saw the title of Sarah's Mommas Makin Moola post this week. Pretty freakin awesome way to make money if you ask me! :)





April 27, 2015

Mommas Makin Moola #2: Amber's Childcare Business

By Amy

Hi friends! And, welcome, new friends who are coming over from Sarah's blog. :) We're glad to have you here!

It's time for the second edition of the...


I'm so happy to share this momma's moola making experience...Amber was my across-the-street neighbor for three years and I love her! She is so fun and a fellow book nerd. She was cool enough to tell us about her childcare business! Enjoy. :)
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Ok, Amber, tell us about you and your family.

Amber and her daughter Paige!
My family consists of me, my wonderful husband Shayne-who also is a small business owner, my twelve year old daughter Paige-who loves composing her own piano music, my ten year old son Payden-who is super duper artistic and comes up with the most creative idea's, and last but not least my six year old daughter Mara-who is the barefoot girl in the dress, wearing lipstick, outside playing in the dirt. Man I love my family, I am so blessed!

Please tell us about your business and how you got started. 

I make money as a full-time licensed childcare provider. I run a daycare out of my house and have been doing so since October of 2004. In fact I just celebrated my ten year mark this past October. Up until October of 2004, I was a licensed staff member for a State Farm Agent. I loved my job! The best part of my job was working along side my mom who was the office manager :). Even though there was so much I loved about my job, I really wanted to be home with my almost 2 year old daughter Paige and soon to be born son Payden. And honestly paying for two kids in daycare full-time is expensive and I wasn't sure how we would afford it even with us both working. Around this same time my sister-in-law decided to go back to school full-time to work towards her LPN degree and needed someone to watch her two kids. This was an answer to a prayer! My husband Shayne and I had been trying to figure out a way for me to stay at home with our kiddos and make it on one income...it seemed impossible until the opportunity arose to watch my Nephew and Niece. This would help me to still contribute while being able to stay home and I would be watching my Nephew and Niece which made it even better. Income would still be tight but if we budgeted right and had Faith, it would be OK. The best part was being able to fulfill my dream of being able to stay home! So I had my son Payden September 22, 2004 and started my daycare October 2004 and never looked back.

What is your work schedule?

My work schedule is 8am-6pm Monday through Friday. I do take Thanksgiving and Christmas off from watching kids. Plus I also take a few days off each summer for family reunions, etc. It works out to about 2.5-3 weeks off each year.

What do you love about your work?

I love being able to stay home. I love having the freedom of setting my own work schedule. I love having a fairly flexible schedule if I choose to. My husband Shayne fills in for me occasionally which is nice. But most of all, I LOVE kids!!!

What is hard about your work?

One of the toughest things about my job is that I hardly ever get to put myself first. In fact there are days I realize I forgot to make myself lunch. It can be exhausting...there are days that I'm just DONE by the time 6 o'clock comes. Sometimes I feel like my kids have to sacrifice a lot of what they want to do because of my job. Staying on top of cleaning and everyday chores is tough with several small children. It is definitely a balancing act. Although it's tough, I definitely believe the good out weighs the hard times.

How does a momma know if being a childcare provider is a good fit for her, and if so, how can she get started?

Deciding to become a childcare provider is not an easy decision and shouldn't be made hastily. You must have a genuine LOVE for children. You have to be consistent, dependable, and organized. Taking care of kids is NOT easy. I would recommend this to anyone who has the above qualities because there is nothing more rewarding than taking care of children. Not to be cliché but they are our future. If you think this would be a good path to take for you and your family here is what you'll need to get started. You'll need to contact your City offices to find out about getting licensed. I had to have a background check, be fingerprinted, pay a fee, 12 hours training each year, semi-annual and annual inspections by the Health Department, Fire Inspector, and Licensing Enforcement are just a few of the requirements. You'll also need CPR/First Aid training. It involves quite a bit of time and paperwork to get started.

What are your plans for your business in the future?

As far as the future of my business goes, I'm not sure what the future has in store. All of my kids are now in school full-time which gets me thinking of a possible change. But I have parent's begging me to keep watching their kids and honestly thinking about working outside the home now gives me a little anxiety haha. I do know that my goal is to eventually go back and finish my degree since I have all my prerequisites done. But first I have to decide what I want to get my degree in...which is the reason why I never finished.

What do you do to take care of yourself, de-stress, and find balance in your life?

 My favorite ways to recharge and relax are a hot bath and a good book. I also like to treat myself to a massage and pedicure every so often. I'm also guilty of Netflix binge-ing.  Don't know what I'd do without good friends always willing to listen, good friends are a must. I have 2 girls crafting retreats that I participate in each year with lots of friends...this is my out that I look forward to and it helps me de-stress. I've taken up running and love to get outdoors, there's just something that's so uplifting about being out in nature. My husband and I try to go on weekly dates, sometimes they are only 5 minutes but it's something. We try to plan family activities on the weekends and the kids look forward to that and the time together. I don't feel like I have the key to being perfect at balancing everything in my life. But I think being able to recognize when I need a break or time to myself has helped so much.

Alright, last one...just for fun, if you could take a vacation and visit ANYWHERE, where would you go?

If I could go anywhere I would take a vacation to Ireland. One of these days it will happen, I'm sure of it!!!

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Thank you, Amber! She's amazing, don't you think ladies? How many of you have have been paid to watch children while caring for your own kids? How was your experience? Would you consider starting your own childcare business?

I've babysat for friends while watching my own kids a few days here and there, and by the end of the day I'm pretty freakin exhausted. Seriously, I think it was easier for me to manage a class of 7th graders with paintbrushes than 4 toddlers and a baby. Ha! :)

Thanks for reading, and check back in for another Mommas Makin Moola post next Monday! You are awesome. :)


April 20, 2015

Introducing the....

By Amy

All mommas work. Hard. No doubt about that! But, every momma's work looks a little different. Yes, we all take care of our home and family, (and that is SUCH an important work!) but the day-to-day routines vary a lot. Some mommas also have employment outside of the home, some are stay-at-home moms, some do outside work from their home, and some have part-time employment that they leave their home to do. Bottom line; we're all taking care of business. The choice of what work each momma does totally depends on what feels right or is necessary for her and her family.  And let me just say, you can be a great momma and a successful person in all of those scenarios!

But what about the mommas who want to earn money, but don't want to (or can't) have a traditional outside-of-the-home job? What kind of options do they have? Well if that's you, this is your lucky day! That's what we're gonna talk about in our new series: non-traditional ways that moms can make money. (And I'm not talking about selling your kidney on the black market, or anything crazy like that...) :)

Sarah, a good friend who is the sis-in-law of my sis-in-law (got that?) was cool enough to let me join her for this series! :) Sarah and I are both mommas who've chosen the "SAHM"route, but both of us have sought out ways to make money while being at home. This has been a lifesaver for me. I feel a lot better when I am able to create things and earn some money, cause it gives me an outlet for my restless, artsy, creative self. And when I feel better emotionally, I'm a happier/better momma! Plus, if I can make any money to help my little family financially, then I am very grateful. My random avenues of income, even small ones, have helped my family get through the past 3 years while my husband was working his tail off at grad school. So naturally this topic is important to me, as well as Sarah.

That's why we are super excited to bring you the Mommas Makin Moola series!  Every week on Monday we will take turns featuring a momma with a non-traditional way of earning moola. I'm excited to hear each of their unique stories...it's gonna be cool! :) Oh, and just to clarify, we are totally NOT saying that every mom should feel the need to make money. Cause being a mom is a big job by itself! But, for those of us who want to or need to, (or if you just like to hear other ladies' experiences) then stick around! :)

Our first momma making moola is Jenni Martz, a yard sale-ing treasure hunter! Pretty dang cool way to make money if you ask me! :) She will be featured on Sarah's Blog...check it out here!  

Bring on the moola. :)








April 2, 2015

King or Queen? Cuddle or No?

By Amy

Guys, my baby is starting to sleep through the night! Wahooo!!!  It is soo luxurious to wake up from a 5, 6, even 7 hour stretch of blissful sleep. I'm no longer falling asleep sitting up during the day! And, I no longer want to die when morning comes! It's awesome and magical to finally get quality, uninterrupted sleep again. :)  And, I don't know if this is just me, but when I wake up in the morning and my baby slept through the night, he is like twice as adorable! :)

You may remember my little family is staying in my parent's basement right now while my husband has his last clinical before graduation. (He's almost done! GLORY HALLELUJAH!)  One decision we had to make when we moved in was, which bedroom would my husband and I (along with our baby in his crib) sleep in?  My old bedroom or my sisters' old room?  The bed in my old bedroom is a King.  When I was in high school, my parents got it so that my room could be turned into a guest room after I headed off to college. I was super cool with having a giant King bed. It was so fun to sleep all sprawled across it; I felt like royalty! Like I was Louis the 14th or something! (Except no servant ever showed up in the morning with a breakfast tray. Such a bummer.)

But, after getting married, whenever my husband and I would visit and sleep in my old bed (which is a little strange...sleeping in my old bed, in my childhood bedroom...with A BOY! EEK! Haha!) we'd lay in that huge bed and I'd think, "It's too big! My babe is too far away from me!"  I'd have to scootch over halfway across the bed to finally reach my husband for a cuddle! (Or--let's be honest--leach his warmth and stick my icy feet on his legs! Oh he loves that.) Nope, after getting married, I definitely prefer a Queen bed. When we moved in to my parents place, we put our bed in storage and chose my sister's old bedroom as our room now, cause it has a very comfy queen. I do miss our own bed, but the one we're using is a great substitute for now.

Our comfy bed which is now in storage. The headboard is perfect for sitting up against to read, feed the baby, or just relax. :)
This is my room in high school...can you believe our crazy cat sleeping on it's back!? Ha! Hmm...books, The Beatles, globes, paper lanterns, a table for art projects...I haven't changed much. :)
Even though I love Queens, I can see how if you or your spouse is a light sleeper and the other a thrasher, a King bed would be ideal. And, some people don't sleep well while cuddling or touching, so they like a little extra space. (While I'm pregnant, it's so hard to get comfortable and I'm NOT cuddly at night. Not at all. Like, "I love you!"--insert 30 second cuddle--"Ok, good night, and please don't touch me now.")

On the non-practical side, having a King just seems so awesomely posh! I mean, who doesn't want to feel like Louis the 14th? And since none of us could ever live in Versailles, at least we could get ourselves a fancy bed! :)

So, I am curious...if you are married, do you and your spouse prefer a King or a Queen? Anybody out there have a California King? (Those seem sooo big...like it belongs in Elvis' bedroom at Graceland or something. Ha.) Does anybody squish into a Full with their spouse? Oh, and do you cuddle or just sleep to your own side?  Is that too personal to ask?  Ok, I can see that I'm pretty much a totally nosy person. :)

I thought it would be hard to sleep with another person in my bed, waking me up whenever they moved.  Plus, I was VERY non-touchy in jr. high and high school, and struggled with dating anxiety, so the thought of sleeping with a dude in my bed was kinda mind-blowing!  Haha!  It took a little while after we were married to get used to it--to not wake up from a deep sleep and be all HOLYCRAPTHERE'SAMANINMYBED!" But, now I totally hate sleeping without my hub!  Sleeping alone in a big bed used to feel posh, but now it just feels...lonely.  Funny how things change.

Well, friends I hope you have a fabulous day! I'm excited cause I've got some pretty cool stuff coming to this blogity blog in the next couple weeks, so stay tuned! :) OH, and don't forget to tell me your bed preferences, cause I'm curious. :) (Please, no TMI, mm'k?) Ha.

 Love you all!





March 10, 2015

Moving!!! ...Into my Parents Basement. Womp wommmp.

By Amy

Well, it's a bit humbling to admit, but we just moved in with my parents.  I feel like I should take up video gaming and quit taking showers since I'm almost 30 living my parent's' basement. Haha. My toddler's room is all set up in my old bedroom, my husband and I, along with our baby, are in my sister's old bedroom, and we have a little kitchen/living room set up in the room that used to be my brothers' bedroom.  Which is kinda weird.  I never thought I'd be cooking meals in my brother's old bedroom.  It was a freaking pigsty growing up.  (Ha, sorry Billy and Aaron!)

My parents converted their basement into a little apartment for my grandma, and she lived with them for about a year.  She moved back to Utah a few months ago, and it got us thinking....  Since Patrick's last clinical for his physical therapy program is at an office 10 minutes away from my parents' home, it would work so much better to stay with them!  So, we brought it up with them and they let us weasel our way in!  We'll be staying for about 2 months. We're saving gas money by avoiding a daily 2 hour commute, as well as paying NO RENT! Wahoo! My parents are awesome to let us come, and--even better--my mom wants to watch and play with my boys for an hour everyday while I exercise and shower!  She is even the one who brought it up!  She's a saint, I tell you.  Hayden is very happy about that arrangement.  In fact, we had to put a child-proof knob on the door for the stairs that go up to the main floor, otherwise Hayden is constantly escaping to find Babba and Poppy (my dad) all day, haha.  It's not the easiest thing to take your fam and live with relatives, but this is a pretty good situation.  We're on our own floor, and we will have our own separate space for meals so we can still feel like we're our own little family unit.

Moving is so bittersweet.  I've always loved change and get super excited for new things on the horizon, but I am heartbroken to leave the friends we've made in the past three years of Patrick's Grad program.  I will miss the people we went to church with more than I can even express to them.  Plus, I worried about how this change would affect my very sensitive, routine-driven two almost three-year-old.  He likes things to be familiar and comfortable. We moved with him when he was a little baby, but not since he was about 6 months old.  At least with this move, thank goodness it's to a familiar place. But when we started packing the weekend before leaving, just as I suspected, he got realllly upset. We'd had already talked about moving several times with Hayden, but I don't think it became real till he saw the boxes piling and our stuff getting packed up.  And the crazy tantrums started.  And the terrible stuttering which he hadn't done for months, started again.  AND he got a bad cold.  Oy.  The week of packing totally sucked.  Then our baby Miles got sick too.  Patrick and I had had lots of hugs and discussions with Hayden that week and I kept trying to remind myself through the stress, "You are rocking his world.  Be extra gentle."  (I was NOT perfect at this.  I was pretty overwhelmed myself, and a few times I got pretty frustrated...especially during his 100th melt-down in one morning.)  But I tried to help him through.  So, instead of doing much in the way of packing while Patrick went to the clinic everyday, I would often end up sitting on our couch, surrounded by piles of boxes, and more piles of unpacked stuff and reading books and cuddling, to calm Hayden down.  We had some good talks, like when he asked, "But can we bring Doodle?" (his baby brother.) and "Is Dadda coming too?"  OH, it's enough to break your heart! So I kept reassuring him, "YES!  Of course, we are ALL going--Momma, Dadda, Hayden and Miles! Our whole family!"

Now we are settled into my parent's basement, (living the glamour life! haha) both boys are finally healthy again, and we're getting back to the normal routine.  Hayden seems happy but the stuttering is still pretty bad.  We keep talking through the change: "This is our home now!  We have all of your toys and your special big boy bed and we have your books and we get to live here! Babba and Poppy live upstairs and we live downstairs." He seems to be adjusting.  (Oh and, is it strange that he's been wearing his fuzzy comfort blanket on his head like a shepherd for the past week?  There's gotta be some deep, psychological meaning to that...Or he wants to be a Jedi.)  Here are a couple examples:




Ha, it's pretty cute, huh?

It's crazy how mind-blowing moving is for a toddler!  (It's kinda nice that my baby wasn't even phased...haha.  He's such a happy little roly-poly sausage!) For a toddler, moving is usually taking them from the only home they've ever known--their place of security--and their whole concept of life is suddenly transplanted into a brand new setting.  In May or June, we will move to wherever Patrick finds a job....and it starts all over again.  

So, any tips?  

I'd love to hear from you...have you moved with young kids? Or even older kids? What do you do to make a move an easier transition?  



February 17, 2015

Two Second Garland Tutorial

By Amy

I spend a lot of time in my kitchen.  Feeding kids, washing dishes (curse our broken dishwasher!) using my laptop at the table while Hayden draws, etc.  I also spend a good amount of time gazing into the fridge, wondering and worrying about what to make for dinner.  (I'm working on the meal planning stuff, but it's been slow going.) Then last-second, I'll whip up a box of stove-top stuffing and put a handful of baby carrots on each plate so I feel like I made my family a healthy meal.

Since I spend so much time in my kitchen, I figured it should be at least aesthetically pleasing.  Heck, I can't cook to save my life, but maybe my husband will be so dazzled by our artistically arranged kitchen walls, he won't notice that I cooked up a frozen pizza again.  But, there are carrots too, so, it's cool, right?  Right??  (For the record, he knows cooking is straight-up stressful to me, so he is always appreciative when I do cook, even if it is frozen pizza.  On his nights, he makes stuff like enchiladas or fancy pork chops...and I am in heaven.)

Well, recently I realized that something was missing from the wall above our table.  After some pondering, here's what I made--the two second garland!  Now the wall is so dazzling, I'm pretty much set for making frozen pizzas for eternity.  Who cares what you're eating when you have such a feast for your eyes before you at every meal?  Ha!

I love that my garland is gold, cute, and simple, but best of all--it was quick.  I'm no elaborate crafter cause I lack the patience and work space.


Ok... it took more than two seconds, but it was quick.  And since my blogging lately is pretty dismal, I'm sure nobody is surprised that I didn't even think of taking pics documenting the steps.  Really, the process was really simple--let me break it down.

Step 1: Buy pretty paper from the craft store and come home with 4 other crafty items which you don't need--this will cause your husband to roll his eyes.

Step 2: Find something round of the desired size (I think I used the bottom of a spice bottle) to trace circles on the back of the paper, then cut them out while watching "The Paradise" on Netflix.  (Which will also cause your husband to roll his eyes.)

Step 3: Use scotch tape to tape the circles to whatever piece of string you have handy.

Step 4: Scotch tape the garland to the back of some pictures hanging on your wall.  Voila!  Done!


Disclaimer: If you assemble according to my instructions, don't let ANYONE touch it, or it will probably fall apart.  You have been warned.  Hey, I said it was aesthetically pleasing, adorably gold, and quirky...I never claimed it was structurally sound.  Sorry.

Check out the Napoleon Dynamite quote...tutorial is here.

Well, that's all it is!  What do you think?  You could have fun adapting this simple garland, especially if you have one of those scrapbooky shape cutter-outer punch things...you could make a bunch of garlands for a birthday party or use shamrocks for St. Patty's Day...or you could just put up a cute circle garland just because you need a little more "dazzling". :)

Love you, friends!  I'm off to assemble another glorious meal!

January 28, 2015

12 Things I Miss About Being Pregnant...and 12 Things I Really, Really Don't Miss.

By Amy

My little dude is 5 months old.  He is a chub chub chub!  And so sweet.  He's soo much easier than my first. (Hallelujah!)  And my toddler is obsessed with him, in a loving, slightly stalkerish kind of way.  :)  We're so glad he's in our family!

I gotta say, I enjoy having energy again.  Even with the tiredness of waking up in the night with a newborn, I still have bucket-loads more energy than I did when I was pregnant.  However, every time I see a pregnant lady I kind of get this twinge of nostalgia, which got me thinking about the things that were awesome about being large with child.

Things I miss about being pregnant:

1. Feeling special.  (Does that sound cheesy?  People just look at you and smile, and you feel that way too, cause you are carrying a new little human...It's such a cool feeling!)



2. Feeling cute.  (Pregnant women are just cute, cause they have awesome big bellys!)

3. Never ever sucking in. (You can totally wear shirts with stretchy material that show off the preg belly...you never have to worry about looking fat, cause--of course you're huge--you're preg!  Wahoo!  PASS THE NACHOS!)

4. Stuffing my face. (Cause the bigger the belly, the cuter the preg!  Again, PASS THE NACHOS!)

No, I didn't have twins. Ha!
5. Being able to go wherever I want with my toddler.  An infant is super portable when he's chillin' inside of me. :)

6. Having an instant camaraderie with all other pregnant ladies.  ("When are you due?  Boy or girl?  Have you been sick?"...easiest conversation starters ever.)

7. Baby name brainstorming!

8. The happy anticipation of having a new member of your family on the way! (For the first 7 months.)

9. Thick hair and clear skin.  Oh how I miss pregnancy skin.

10. I can blame eating crap (Oreos) on pregnancy cravings.

11. An excuse to take a daily nap.

12.  It was much easier to feed and care for my baby when he was inside me and hooked up to a 24-hour all-you-can-eat buffet.  (I'm sure he appreciated all the Oreos.)

But then I remember all of these little details and feel so glad my baby is born.  And that I'm totally cool waiting a while for baby number 3...

Things I definitely DON'T miss about being pregnant:

1. Feeling sick and weary to the bone.  Being just. so. tired.  Like crying just because you can't believe how exhausted you are.  (I did that once when I was super pregnant hangry too...ha, anybody else?)

A non-posed pregnant pic.  So glamourous.  Am I glowing?  Ha...more like drooling.  Sooooo tired.
3. Ginormous boobs.  (And having to buy bigger bras every trimester.)

4. Worrying about how the things I do might hurt my baby. (Shower too hot?  Lunch meat or cookie dough??  Medium steak??  Fumes in the paint???  Sleeping on my back????  EVERYTHING IS DANGEROUS!)

5. Feeling insanely hot, and sweating like a greasy weasel all summer long...when everybody else feels fine.

6. It's just harder to move.  Like, bending over to pick something up kinda makes me want to swear.  (I got pretty good and picking up stuff with my toes.)

7. Running to the bathroom to pee ALL. NIGHT. LONG.

8. Disagreeing with hub on the baby's name.

9. Waiting and waiting and waiting for baby to come.  The anticipation gets old.  By the last 2 months, I'm like, "PLEASE COME OUT TODAY."

10. Just the general worry: Is my baby ok in there?  Have I felt any movement this hour?  Am I having contractions?  How far apart are they?  How much spotting is worrisome?  When is my labor far enough to actually go in to the hospital?  Will my water break in the middle of the grocery store and if so, should I break a jar of pickles on the floor to hide the fact?

11. When you get sick, you can't take much for it, and your immune system is lame when your'e pregnant (that's a scientific fact, folks.) so you are out of comission for like two weeks. Ughhhhhh.  Being sick when you're preg is wretched.

12. Indigestion, nausea, and other unpleasant digestional issues...(*cough* extra gas...please tell me I'm not the only one!)

Well, those are my lists...what can you completely relate to?  What else do you miss or not miss about being pregnant?  Or if you haven't had a baby, what do you look forward to?  I'd love to hear. :)









January 22, 2015

6 Easy (and Awesome) Pillow Makeovers

By Amy

Let's talk pillows.  I've got to talk to somebody, cause my husband is less than thrilled with my obsession.  Pillows are such a great way to change the look and feel of your room, without spending too much dinero.  A quick fix for a design junkie like me who is trying to live frugally.  So I thought I'd tell you about...


Remember these pillows from Goodwill?  Well, I knew when I bought them that yellow chevron wasn't really how I wanted them to stay, (I feel like chevron's kinda overdone at this point) but for the time being, I wanted to modify them without sewing.  This is the best kind of project: a quick and easy make-over.  Let me introduce you to my leettle friend:

1. THE FABRIC MARKER.


Here are the marker's masterpieces:


From Chevron to Herringbone!


Now there's some variety to lessen the overdose of chevron.  So easy with a marker!  (That's how I did the love song lyrics on this pillow...)  Except my son saw me drawing on a pillow, and got a little too excited, so we had to have a talk about how only MOM can draw on the pillows.  Ha.  (Should have waited till after bedtime.)  With their simple make-over, these pillows will work until I find the perfect fabric and the motivation to actually sew new covers.

These navy blue pillows have been laying dormant behind my couch for about a year--they looked too plain and matchy-matchy with the curtains--so they too got little mini-makeovers!  I used....

2. Fabric paint. I loved what I could create with this, but I need to find a better brand cause the paint dried hard and scratchy.  Ain't nobody wants a lacerated face after they cozy up to a pillow.


I love the dots!!!


While I loved the dots, the paint dind't work as well for lettering.  I just wasn't happy with the scratchy texture on the "hello" pillow.  (Especially since three family members ended up in the ER with bleeding faces.  Ok no, but it COULD have happened!)  Also, since the fabric was a little fuzzy, the writing on the cursive didn't have nice edges.  It just looked crappy.


So, nope.  Luckily, I had 4 navy pillows...so I tried:

3. FELT!

I traced out "hello" on a piece of felt, cut it out, and used fabric glue to set it; I loved how it looked, but the word kept peeling up and coming off. :(  So when my husband's grandma visited, she noticed, and like the saint that she is, asked for a needle and thread and made tiny little stitches all the way around the letters.  It was so easy for her, she just stitched while chatting it up with everybody!  That woman is a sewing wonder. (She also saved my wedding day; I couldn't fit into my wedding dress, so she let out the seams so I could zip it without passing out cold.)  Thank you Grandma Vione, your magical sewing fingers saved me again!


I seriously love my "hello" pillow so much, I would grab it while running out of my burning house. (Of course after making sure my family is all safe...come on, I have SOME priorities.)

As for the source for the sultry pillow coyly lounging back behind the "hello," my advice it to just...

4. Splurge and BUY a dang pillow.  Does everything have to be DIY???

Sometimes, you need a certain color or a specific size of pillow to make the arrangement perfect.  I've tried to explain to my husband, it's not a WANT, it's an aesthetic NEED.  This year, I bought these iconic black and white IKEA beauties, ($15 a piece...so worth it.) cause I LOVE geometric prints and I needed a little black and white in the room.  It's not always easy to find the fabric you want, and pillow inserts are spendy too, so....if you find the perfect pillow, already made, I say it's worth the money.  So just cough it up.  And apologize to your husband later. ;)

Then I matched all these up with the teal, diamond...

5. Used-to-be-a-sweater pillow that flatters my couch much better than it did my figure.  For you that find sewing simple, this is such an easy fix.  Find some lame pillow that fits the width of the sweater, then sew up the top and bottom.  (Hence why I hoard old pillows...they can easily be covered!)  Also notice my teal...

6. Scarf Pillow.  It's made out of a pretty scarf my brother brought home from Europe that I'm just really not posh enough wear.  Another easy way to make a cool pillow--use fabric from something you already have that has a great print, but doesn't get much use anymore, like a blanket, scarf, shirt, etc.

Oh, and I almost forgot the hand-me-down white, furry pillow I snuck from my parent's guest bedroom.  (Ha, It's ok, I asked my mom and she didn't care...She's pretty cool like that.)

Well, there you have it!  My happy little pillow family, updated and made-over.  Voila!  But I'm still not sure...with the yellow or without?  (And don't mind my couches...they aren't my favorite, but until it's in the funds, I gotta make what we have look the best it can!)  Truthfully, I usually end up with the yellow and teal pillows behind the couches.  I don't like to feel crowded sitting on the couch. But when I want the house to look cute, I pull them all out. :)



I should probably include the following pic, cause that giant monkey is on the couch almost more than the pillows are!  It's from my big brother.  It's pretty much Hayden's best friend.


I like "Monk" too--it's fun to leave in awkward places, like sitting on the toilet to freak out my husband when he comes home after work, or tuck him into our bed, or leave him lurking around a corner...good times.

Alright friends, what other pillow transformations have you seen/done?  I'd love to hear!  Post any links to your pillow projects too! :)  And, be sure to tell me if you like with the yellow or without.  Peace!


January 5, 2015

Breakin Up is Hard to Do.

By Amy

A couple months ago, my son said goodbye to his soulmate: his beloved binky.

The time had come.  My son was 2 1/2 years old--too old for a binky--but I'd let him keep it this long cause I was so afraid of the repercussions of taking it away.  I envisioned nights of bawling, possible thumb-sucking, losing trust in his parents forever, years of counseling, a lifetime of repressed grief...etc.  He's a sensitive little guy, and I know this change would throw him for a loop.

Now, I know 2 1/2 years old is too old for a binky obsession.  Many moms are like, "Get rid of the binky no later than 12 months..."  But, he seriously loved the thing.  And, I must admit, so did I!  He only got it for sleep time since he was like 18 months, but man when he popped in that binky at nap and bedtime, it was like a magic sleep switch.  When he'd wake in the night, I hear him fuss for like 5 seconds, then he'd stick his bink in, and then...blissful sleep.  That's how it had been since he was 10 months.  Now, when your kid can put themselves back to sleep like that, (especially since he was such a wretched sleeper before that, waking and bawling till I came to rescue him up to 12 times some nights) you're not too eager to do anything that would upset that routine.  Sleep is so important for toddlers! (And mommas.)

But, he really was getting too old for a pacifier and I worried about his teeth getting messed up.  Also, towards the end, he started to act like an overly-clingy, needy boyfriend...he'd cry and whine every time they were separated, ask for it multiple times a day, etc.  So I had to be the firm "no binky besides sleep time" enforcer, while he had meltdowns; that was getting on my nerves in a bad way.

So, my brilliant idea (aka, pinterest's brilliant idea) was to float his binkies away on a bunch of helium balloons.

Now I had prepped Hayden for a couple days, telling him that he was too old for binkies now cause "You are such a big boy!" (insert overly enthusiastic mommy voice.)  I knew that we couldn't just pull a sneaky move and cut his binky or something...cause we have a few others in the house since we have an infant.  Plus, I knew he'd just say, "Ok, it's broken, let's go to the store and get a new bink."  No, he needed to understand that HE was done with binkys--that he was simply too old.   I also knew, because he's a sensitive little dude and needs time to adjust and make peace with changes, that he needed a way to say goodbye.  I figured fun balloons would soften the blow, or distract from what was really happening...or something.  Every time I told him that we are going to float his binky away, and he would just look at me kind of confused.  Little did he know I was fer real.  I also prepped him with bribery, of course.  I told him after we floated his binky away, we'd go get some fries!  That part he did understand.  (He looooves fries.)  So, on a Monday afternoon, I busted down to the dollar store and bought a pack o' heliums.  But I forgot the minor detail that it had been getting dark earlier.  (oops!)  So it was pretty much dark outside when I got home with the shiny mylar balloons.

Turns out that minor detail saved our bacon.

As Patrick (my hub) tied the binky to the balloons, we were both talking like this was the happiest adventure ever: Yahoo!  Balloons!  Binky is going for a fun trip!  SO cool!

Sorry for the crappy phone pics.

We let Hayden carry the balloons as we trooped outside.  Then, we told our little dude it was time to say goodbye.  With no hesitation, Hayden said, "Bye, bye bink!" and released them.  (He probably had no problem letting go because of the anticipation of getting to see the balloons and bink float up into the sky...I was shocked he didn't cry!  haha...Gotta love distraction!)


It rose about 15 feet...

and got stuck in a freakin tree.  

Patrick started whacking the branches with a rake to get the bink and balloons unstuck.  And then...

the rake was stuck in the tree too. 

This was getting ridiculous.


After a few minutes, Patrick was able to get the rake out, and then he hit the branches over and over till the balloons started to break loose and float away!  The bad part: the balloons broke free but the binky was STILL stuck in the tree.  The good part: it was dark enough that Hayden couldn't tell.

So we said, "Bye bye binky!" again and waved to the balloons floating away.  I said, "Ok, Hayden lets go inside, it's cold!" and whispered to Patrick, "Finish it."  Then, he came in a few minutes later, nodded, and said, "It's done."...like we're in some old time mob movie.  Poor binky was supposed to have a glorious end floating into the clouds, but because of the dang tree, he was laid to rest amid the garbage in our dumpster.  (I actually am pretty sad typing that.  What a crappy way for Bink to end after 2 1/2 years of loyal service!  I'm a monster.)

Well, we went out for burgers and fries, and he seemed pretty chipper--until bedtime and reality set in.  He was sad, but still went to sleep.  The next day's naptime, however, was a sobfest.

After that first night, Hayden had about 3 days of tearful bedtimes and naptimes.  He started waking up scared and weepy, and even begged through tears that his Dada go up in the sky to get binky back.  (So freakin sad.)  Whenever he asked for "binker" I just told him, "Oh, you're a big boy so you don't need binkies anymore! It floated away in the sky.  Yay!  OH, wasn't that so fun watching the balloons?!"  Now, I adamantly believe in not lying to my son, but I can truly say, "Your binky floated away in the sky!" because it DID float in the sky!  (...ok, so it only went up about 15 feet, but it still floated in the sky.)

During the three sad days, we reassured him with lots of hugs and told him that he is so so safe in our home, that he still has his favorite fuzzy blanket and stuffed animals, and that if he is scared he can pray and ask Heavenly Father for help.  One of these mornings, he told me, "I got scared and said, 'God, God, help me!" :)  So, I guess the lesson sunk in.  I love that kid. :)  We also got him a special little nightlight for his room at night that he loves.

After about a week, he didn't talk about binky anymore.  He doesn't steal his brothers and he's doing great!  After how attached that boy was to his bink, it's nothing short of a miracle.

Would I tell other moms to not do a binky?  Will I skip the binky with my second child?  Nay.  It saved our ever-lovin sanity with Hayden.  He cried so much as an infant, and the binky was one of his only comforts.  As a desperate, anxious, first-time mom, the bink was a life-saver.  Plus, babies have a need to suck, so it is very soothing for them.  So, no, even though it was a hard few days to go through during the separation, it was worth it for 2 1/2 years of comfort.  And heck, a binky is way better than the thumb!  Cause you can't cut off a thumb and send it into the sky.

Goodbye binker!  You were a good bink.  RIP.

His first binky.  Oh my gosh, a sleeping baby is THE cutest thing. In the World.
Moms, what is your take on pacifiers?  Love them?  Hate them?  Have you had to go to desperate measures to get rid of the bink?  I'd love to hear! :)

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