September 20, 2015

Sunday Thoughts: Art and Potty-Training

By Amy

About a year ago, I set a goal for myself: to actually finish a work of art and display it at our regional fair. So naturally I didn't start working on it till 5 days before the fair submission date. Ha! This goal was actually kind of a big deal for me, cause I haven't done much art since graduating with my degree in Art Education about 5 years ago. I have taught plenty of art and done face painting, murals, family cartoon portraits, house portraits, etc for pay, but I haven't done a serious project just for me in a while. My greatest love in all my art classes was head drawing, so I decided it was time to get past my "but I'm so rusty and it will probably turn out hideous--WAHHH" insecurities along with my "but I'm a mom to littles and I'm pregnant and I have no time and I'm just SO TIRED--WAHHHH" excuses and just GET IT DONE. Plus, since moving into our new home, I have a room in our basement where I can leave out my projects and shut the door (baby-proof handle!) and not worry about little hands "helping" or making a huge mess (remember this paint disaster?) therefore, I have one huge hurdle out of the way.

SO. I did it. Now, this piece means a lot to me--I wanted it to embody the love of a mother. It is a picture of Sherie, who is one of my awesome sisters! :) But, I wanted every mom to see it and remember her own perfect mom moments, like the delicious feeling of a sweet sleeping babe in her arms. I wanted to remind others of the divine blessing and importance of being a momma. And, because I wanted this piece to be meaningful and uplifting to others, I prayed before I started and many times throughout, asking Heavenly Father to help me render this piece well enough to portray the meaning I intended. I knew I'd be rusty, and I was expecting that I'd need to work through a re-learning curve--and I was ok with that!--I just wanted the end product to be good enough that I could be happy with it. Cause I didn't have enough time before the fair for a do-over if it tanked! Plus, serendipitously, I found out my sister and her family would be visiting from out-of-state and wanted to go to the fair, so that really made me want to get it finished in time for a fun surprise! :) My parents knew I was working on this project, but my sister didn't.  (It was so hilarious to see her shock at her picture randomly at the fair! Thank goodness she liked it!) :)

But the ironic thing--as I was working on this piece, I was having the hardest time actually feeling fulfilled, positive, and even grateful for motherhood. Ughh, that sounds horrible, I know but, you see, that week, while I tackled this drawing after bedtimes, my daytimes were spent in POTTY-TRAINING. This was my little dude's 2nd week at it...And it was going ROUGH. I'll spare you the details, but I was trying my very best to be positive and upbeat (my boy can be VERY stubborn and emotional) but progress was agonizingly slow and I was sooo tired. Plus, I also have a l-year-old into everything and I'm pregnant... (which means I feel like a crabby 80-year-old most of the time.) So every night, as I went to work on this drawing, I felt like I was fighting, not only my own rusty skills, but even worse, my own frustration with the often thankless, gross, messy, demanding job of being a mom to littles. I didn't feel all warm and fussy about it. But, this was the therapy that God gave me during this week: a time to create a piece that required me to deal with my emotions, pray for peace, and clear my heart and mind so that I could be in the right place to create this art.

There was another disappointment I was dealing with...I found out at my 20-week ultrasound that we are having another boy. Of course, I am SO grateful for a healthy baby!--but it took a couple good cries to deal with my disappointment. I have pregnancy-induced blood clots, so every pregnancy is a big risk for me, so this may be our last. So here I am drawing a picture of a mother and her daughter, trying not to dwell on that special bond that, for me at this point, it looks like I may never experience. But, I listened to a gorgeous little song that truly brought me so much peace and gratitude for my two little dudes and my sweet little fella on the way. :) I was also dealing with enormous guilt that I even care about the gender and that I was feeling anything but gratitude-- but as I listened to this song and drew, I realized that it wasn't that I didn't want this little boy inside of me, NO! I want him so much!!! I was just processing and letting go of the dream of having a daughter who I can share all my girl life experiences with: reading Anne of Green Gables together, getting ready for prom, helping her navigate getting a first bra, talking about boys, helping her as an adult prepare for kids of her own, going on girls' nights, and always helping her feel confident, beautiful, and strong just the way she is. Ya know, those moments where daughters need a mom. (Well, my boys better pick some awesome wives so we can have rockin' girls' nights!!) But, I also thought of the gift and trust God has given my husband and I in raising boys to love and respect others, to be strong men of faith, and to always honor and protect women and children. I do not take this lightly. I am truly am grateful for the chance to raise good men!! :)

So, here I was working every evening with this sweet song and my Heavenly Father melting away my frustrations and lifting my spirits. As I studied my niece's sweet face, my heart softened from the day's drama and I thought about my own boys and the perfect moments with them that shine in my memory. I got lost in the work--the curve of an arm, the light and shadows, the lost and found lines in soft flowing hair--it was highly fulfilling, even though it was so difficult to be re-learning a skill that used to come so much easier for me. I had to be patient with myself--but, it was also wonderful to be creating again! I thought several times, "*Sigh*...I've missed this." :) I felt my kind Father in Heaven bringing back little helpful thoughts from art classes and helping me to try something different when I'd get stuck. Granted, my picture didn't turn out perfect, but I am happy with the end product and proud that I actually finished something! :)

I think that often when we want to accomplish something hard, all kinds of opposition pops up--both from the outside and internally. Procrastination, fear, laziness, ANYTHING can stop us! Whether it's facing potty-training our child or learning (and re-learning) a skill when we know we might fail. But, God wants us to use our gifts and abilities, no matter what they are, to serve and uplift others and ourselves. :) We ALL have much good to offer this world and our families! And what a better place to start than by nurturing and loving our precious little children in our own home? Motherhood matters. Our kids will be the creations we are most proud of when we look back on our lives. Even when there's pee and tantrums and long nights and sore nipples and fevers and worry...We get to feel little sweet arms and hear the cutest little stories and OH the little baby laughs! Most of all, the love we feel. Ya know?

So the title I chose for my picture after this week of simultaneously suffering through (ha!) and loving motherhood, describes the feelings and thoughts I have during a heavenly moment like this:

"It's Worth It."

Love to you mommas, mommas-to-be, and women who nurture others everywhere! What you do matters and is so needed!! I know that God sees us and our daily efforts and loves us for all that we do.

July 19, 2015

Sunday Thoughts: On Following God and Having Babies.

By Amy

Friends. I've been MIA lately.

I miss you and our fun conversations! I hoped you liked the Mommas Makin Moola series--I know I loved hearing from all those mommas!

But then the radio silence. So, with my first post in like two months, I want to tell you a story.

Once upon a time, I had my first baby and was humbled and blown away by how much it rocked my world. It was hard. Like, very emotionally and physically draining. My baby cried alllll the time, he couldn't nurse, and I felt like a big, humongous failure at motherhood. After a few months, he chilled out and I chilled out, and life became better--but it was still a long, hard adjustment for me. During that first year, the thought of becoming pregnant again would literally give me anxiety. I repeatedly said, "Other people can have their kids close together. But I just KNOW that I am not capable of having like 4 kids in 5 years. I chose sanity." Then, the year before my second was born, life with my toddler was awesome, and I got excited to have another! (I now see that my first was just a very strong-willed, difficult baby, but he became pretty darn fun as a toddler, then a kid! Plus, I'm just more of a toddler/kid person then a baby person.) Our second baby came 2 1/2 years after the first. Thankfully, the transition from 1 to 2 was MUCH less jarring than from 0 to 1--I had already dealt with the emotional hurdle of becoming a mom. It actually was pretty cool to have two kids! :) I mean, yeah there are crazy moments (ok, more like days) but it's pretty good! And I felt very happy with the age gap. It was just right. I figured I could give it another 2 1/2 or 3 years so we could catch our breath, then have two more with two years between them. 4 kids. Done by the time I'm 34. Perfect. I mean, still challenging, cause kids always are, but manageable.

Then, a funny thing happened. I, who always wanted my kids AT LEAST 2 1/2 years apart, became....pregnant. 

Yep, I am 11 weeks along in my third pregnancy. I feel like I JUST had a baby!!! I kinda did. He's ten months old. My #2 and my #3 will end up being 17 months apart.

I am pretty scared. I would never have chosen this myself. And yet, we weren't "surprised". At least, not by the pregnancy. But, boy was I surprised when my husband and I both started getting little, "You should try to for your third soon." nudges. I was like, "OhhhHHHOOOOHHHH nope. Nope. Nope. Not me, God. I'm not the mom who is good at being chill in the midst of chaos. I am the mom who gets overwhelmed by two kids. I'm the mom who forgets to change one of her kids at least once a day till their soaking through their little shorts. I'm the one who is at her wits end thinking, "Why are you being so cranky, child?" and then I realize, "Oops, I never fed you lunch!" I'm the mom who forgets to sunscreen their baby, and they end up with a sunburn. :( I'm the mom whose body sucks at breastfeeding. I can't even get my 3-year-old fully potty-trained! I am not that good at this. I am absent-minded to a fault and easily overwhelmed. At times, I feel super guilty cause I really miss things I used to do like college classes, dance, and doing art. I don't feel like I'm a "natural" at being a mom. Who in the world am I to handle 3 kids 4 and under?" (Actually, for two months, it will be 3 kids 3 and under. Oh the insanity....)

Yeah, I was not too thrilled with the idea of having another so soon. Truthfully, I was scared that I would just do a terrible job with three littles. That I wouldn't enjoy my kids and be kind and fun with them like I want to, cause I'd just be so frustrated and overwhelmed by the constant needs, the daily tasks, fights, bodily fluids, and monotony of raising toddlers/babies. I don't want to be some raging, scary mom! They don't deserve a mom like that. And I don't want to be a mom like that!

So I pushed the feeling aside for a couple months. My husband actually was the one who often brought up the fact that he felt like it was time and kept encouraging me that everything would work out. Slowly, I started to get a little more guts. I have always wanted to do what God wants me to do and to follow the guidance He sends through the Spirit, and I knew I was putting this one off. I was just preeety scared.

Also, I knew I was being a little prideful. I wanted things MY way. And I didn't want to be looked at like, "Man, all that girl does is pop out babies!" or "Oh jeez, there goes Patrick and Amy, popping another baby out!" Ok, fair warning--anyone who says the "popping out another baby" phrase around me just may get the scary result of my pregnancy hormones. Seriously, my rage will terrify you. NO WOMAN EVER just "pops" a baby out. That makes it sound like it's no big deal. And let me tell you, it is a big deal. Every mom has to make many personal sacrifices. Many women deal with the heart-wrenching struggle of infertility. Pregnancy is HARD and LONG for most. Many women experince the sorrow of a miscarriages.  Labor and delivery is NEVER easy, and can be quite terrifying if there are complications. Then, you actually have an infant, sometimes with health issues, always with their own specific needs to figure out. Seriously, I feel like that phrase is so condescending and disrespectful to the pain, turmoil, and risk that is involved for every mother and baby that goes through pregnancy and delivery. Every baby who makes it here to earth is a miracle, and every momma who brings a baby into the world is a champion. Especially those with the strength to do it many times! Personally, I know that every time I'm pregnant, I have a high chance of developing a life-threatening blood clot. Therefore, it's a decision my husband and I pray and ponder about very carefully. So, no I'm not "popping" out another baby. Say that again, and I WILL pop you right in the mouth.

Ok...rant over. Back to the story....

Finally, I decided to chose faith and trust in His plan for my family and I. So we said, "Ok, let's go for it. month." Ha! But, as soon as we made that decision, without even consulting a calendar and calculating ovulation like we had to do the other two pregnancies, I was pregnant. Wow. For some reason, God wants this baby here soon. And, it's been a doozy these past 6 months. My husband graduated, started a new demanding job as a physical therapist on the Neuro rehab floor of a hospital, we moved into my parents' basement, we found and closed on a house then moved out of my parents basement 4 months later, we moved into our new home, and we're trying to get us and the boys settled. The last two months I've been dragging my body through a haze of queaze and exhaustion. Hayden is FINALLY willing to work on potty-training, which is a blessing, but also a huge task, with lots of set-backs and my super easy baby suddenly started waking up multiple times a night....which, when you're pregnant and you live with the fatigue of an 80 year old, makes you just distraught. I'm lucky I don't puke much--if I eat every two hours I can keep the nausea at bay. (You ladies that puke everyday...I don't know HOW you do it!!!) My sickness is more of an aching, all-consuming fatigue that makes me so weary, I can barely function in life. It makes me sit down in the shower cause I can't stand any longer. Then I have to take breaks while blowdrying my hair. And, when my child runs off when I'm trying to get him settled in his bed at bedtime, I just lay down on their floor in defeat and cry cause I know I don't have the strength to chase him. And unfortunately, my patience level is not good.

So I went into survival mode. I haven't hung one single picture on the walls of our new home yet (which is VERY unlike me...I LOVE designing my space!) I haven't blogged, I haven't taught any art lessons, I've rarely seen friends, I wear huge stretchy pants every day, I shower WAY less that I'd like to admit, but...we have survived. I feed my kids and myself, I take a nap while they nap everyday, I let my dishes pile till my mom comes and has pity on me and washes them all (*sob*thank you, mom sooo much!!!!) and we STILL haven't bought a couch for our living room. So for more than a month we've been sitting (well, I lay) on the living room floor. Decisions and coherent thought haven't been very prevelant around here. But, ya know what? It's getting better.

I have felt the Savior lifting me through this pregnancy. I feel closer to Him, as I pray with true need for His help everyday. We're pretty much moved into our home, thanks to friends and family who have helped so much! My rock of a husband has come home from long shifts at the hospital and worked for several more hours on things that need to be done around the house--painting, unpacking, organizing, mowing lawns, killing weeds, etc. Sometimes I cry, I'm so frustrated that I can't accomplish anything around the home to lessen his burden. He hugs me when I tell him I'm so sorry I'm so pathetic right now, and tells me to just take care of me and the boys everyday and that's all he cares about. I love that man. Plus he tells me I'm still his cute babe when I look like a greasy weasel, still in pajamas at dinner time. (Which is probably a frozen pizza. Or when it's a nice meal, he came home after a long work day and made it. *sob*)

God has been guiding us. I've made it my goal this year to be more in tune with the Spirit and seek God's guidance. (ha, which goal probably led me to this pregnancy in the first place!) I felt strongly that I should find a doctor who would be good for me, since I'm in a new place and I had some scary complications  in my last pregnancy. So I asked a bunch of ladies from my church on facebook, and prayed to know who I should go to. And one doc's name just stood out. I thought, "Yep, that's him!" And at my first appointment (earlier this week, I was putting it off cause I didn't know who to go to!) he was completely friendly, knowledgleable, and down-to-earth and I felt so at ease. BUT. He said something I REALLY didn't want to hear.

I was bound and determined that I wasn't going to take blood-thinner shots this pregnancy unless I got a bloodclot--there's no reason to take them preventatively, since there was no guarantee I'd get another clot. And I hate taking those shots. Poking my belly with a needle and shooting in stinging meds everyday...*shudder*...not fun. But as soon as I said I'd had a blood clot in my previous pregnancy, he said he wanted me back on blood thinners. Like now. I was a bit frustrated, and wanted to get all huffy, but immediately the thought came to me, "Maybe this is why I needed to go to this doctor. Because he would push me to get on blood-thinners--and maybe I need to be." But, I was still bugged. (My pride!) He said it was our choice in the end, but that was his recommendation. It was sobering to hear that a mom who'd previously had a blood clot came to the clinic he was at during his residency--she was not on blood thinners yet and ended up dying from a blood clot during her first trimester, hence his strong feelings toward preventative blood thinners.

So I went home, thinking about it, and dreading the shots again. Plus, who knew what our insurance would pay for now that we're not poor college students who qulify for wonderful medicaid? These daily shots cost $50 EACH. I still wasn't convinced. But as I pondered and prayed, later that evening I got a clear, strong impression that I needed to start the shots immediately or I would soon have a serious blood clot. YIKES. I knew that thought wasn't from me, cause I DID NOT want to consider that I would have another clot. And I don't usually get answers to prayers that clear and strong! But, really, I was very blessed with my first clot to have no bad effects after the initial month of pain in my leg. I got off easy--clots don't always end so happily. So, the next morning, we called the insurance company, and the generic version of the drug is %100 covered. MIRACLE! I called the doctor's office, they called in the prescription, and I got my first shot that day. I feel sooo incredibly blessed that God got through my stubborn soul and kept me from another blood clot. I need to carry this little baby! I need to be here for my family, cause--as imperfect as I am--I'm their momma and wife.

Anway, so here I am, again pregnant. I'm often so confused at how God times things. Why should we be able to have three kids so quickly, while others I love so much would give anything for one child? Or who ache for a second child to come to their family, but still wait. And I'm over here like, "Too quickly Lord, it's too quick!" It almost seems "in your face" or greedy to let others know that we are expecting AGAIN when they are struggling with infertility. Seriously, it breaks my heart. I feel like I'm an ungrateful jerk that I didn't want to have another yet, when I should be SO grateful that we are able to have another! I feel so guilty when I'm trying to keep the panic at bay when my toddler is throwing a fit on the bathroom floor cause he won't poop in the potty and my baby is bawling at my feet and and wave of nausea rolls over me and my mind is screaming, "And we are having ANOTHER ONE in 6 months?!!!" Like I have any right to think that it's hard to have kids, when others know just how hard it is to NOT have kids. But, I just try to remember, hard is hard. We are all dealing with differnt things, and every stage has challenges.

I also know that my perspective is like an inch at a time, and God sees miles and miles...He sees eternity. I know and I trust that He is guiding us and teaching us. I already know it will be super challenging. I'll probably cry a lot when I have three kids 3 and under. But, I also KNOW it is right. I'm going to grow A LOT. Haha. And our Savior is guiding us and helping us through. He brings me strength beyond my own to pick up my crying baby, calmly persuade my toddler to sit on the potty, and get though the day before I collapse into bed.

So whether those blessings you yearn for come agonizingly slow, or if they come much faster than you're ready for, I guess we just have to trust that God knows what He's doing and has a master plan for our lives. He understands us perfectly. He obviously sees I have much to learn, cause He's putting me in the exact situation I have feared since the day I first became a mom! But, when we let go of fear, and cling to faith instead, He will be there for us. And He sends other amazing people to share our burden!

I love you friends!

>>>Update. Since I obviously was feeling quite crappy when I wrote this, I only wrote a first draft and never published it. 3 weeks later, I am posting this! :) So I am currently 13 weeks, almost 14...wahoo! :) Anyway, I am feeling SO much better. Besides a cold which knocked me flat for a few days (why does EVERY sickness have to hit you harder when you're pregnant? Stinking immune system goes to pot.) I've been feeling pretty good! I have hung up a few pics! We've now got used couches in awesome condition hanging out in our living room! We have a working dishwasher! Miles is sleeping through the night again! Hayden is making progress in potty-training! Life is good. :) I am loving our new home, I'm enjoying my two sweet, silly boys again, singing and dancing (slowly) with them in the kitchen again--everything is so much more doable and happy when I'm not sludging through a haze of intense fatigue, achiness, and stomach pain.

Hayden on the 4th of July!
Sweet Miles aka Doodle!
I am getting more excited for our new baby to come in January. (Maybe a girl??? I'm trying not to get my hopes up, cause we'll love whoever comes, a girl or another boy. :) I feel blessed and grateful that we get to grow our family and add another sweet little spirit, especially one who is so eager to get here! :) I know God will help me and Patty. Three kids 4 and under...whew. But we will make it through. I probably won't get to do much of the other things I'd like to do, which actually makes me pretty sad (make artwork to sell, teach art lessons, take a dance or singing class, blogging, reading, etc) but, ya know, I believe that doing my best to raise my children well is probably the best accomplishment and contribution I could give. Not that I'm giving up on my other passions and dreams, but they will just have to come a little at a time. :)

Anywhooo, I love you guys! Please tell me your did you know when you were ready to have a baby (or any subsequent babies?) If you have three kids or more, how was the transition to three? Any advice? If you've had kids close together, what do/did you love about it? What is/was the hardest part? Be real with me, but, please give me a silver lining, cause it's too late for us to change our minds! Ha!

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!

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.


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 essentially...I get paid to be on pinterest!! ( 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 crap! I get fun packages in the mail every week! It's like Christmas all year long!!! 


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 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....!


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.
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 and 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?

with a pile of books.
and no computer in sight.
Husband can come along I guess.  Twitter  Facebook  Bloglovin  Instagram

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!

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. :)

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. :)

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 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!!!

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'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 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 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 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. :)