2014 | Being Jane

Monday, December 22, 2014

What Is Our Purpose In This Life?

What are you here for? Are you just here to live a life or do you feel like you are supposed to do something with that life that makes living it worthwhile?

We could easily go through life making it about us. You know the drill: job, kids, significant other, pets, friends, yoga, the gym, coffee dates, Netflix consuming your nights, iPhone consuming your days.

Are we making an impact with this lifestyle? Sometimes we can! We can be a light to others just by living life. Or we can continue to go to Target and Starbucks with our personal needs in mind, completely ignoring or missing any opportunity to shine God's light to those around us.

How can we make our days worth it? Not everyone feels led to volunteer or serve in certain ways, and for some there just isn't time. How can you serve within your commitments and routine?

Friday, December 19, 2014

I Taught My Girls To Say "No"

"Can you give me the keys?"


When we hear our children respond this way it can be infuriating but have you ever stopped to consider what they are hearing?

Until a couple of months ago, I never realized that I was setting Emma up to reply this way. I was ASKING her to give me the keys, not telling her.How many times have I gotten frustrated with her obstinate reply to my request? How many times have I gotten mad at her and had a conversation about how it is not okay to tell me "no" when she had the perfect opportunity?

I absolutely do not mind ASKING her things when it is appropriate for her to have a choice in the matter. But when I need her to obey when I speak, I need to phrase the request properly.
This situation really opened my eyes to how I speak to my girls, and made me realize that I need to think before I speak, and talk to Emma in a way that will produce the results I am looking for.

Next time our conversation will go more like this:

"Emma, hand me the keys, please."

"Okay, mommy!"

Lord willing of course, ha! Don't we all wish for our little ones to comply joyfully when we ask things of them? But how do we act towards them? Are we joyful and positive as much as we can be? If we get an agitated tone with them over a question they have (for the miiilllliiooonnntthhhh timeeeee), are we teaching them to speak to us, and others that way?

And again, this is not to say that I don't let my girls say the word "no", but I do want to teach them to be respectful, and to talk things out with others, instead of using their words in a rude manner. Don't we all? Isn't that our goal? To train up our children the way they should go, so that when they are grown they won't depart from it (Proverbs 22:6)?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Transitioning From Co-Sleeping To A Toddler Bed

The decision to transition from co-sleeping to a big kid bed is a tough one to navigate. Below are some steps to take to start the process, but first, here is a little bit of what got us to that place.

My husband and I didn't make the decision to co-sleep with our first. We fell into the concept while in survival mode as new parents. Emma had severe sensitivities to dairy, egg, and soy protein in my breastmilk. She night-nursed constantly to alleviate the pain in her belly, and I never slept.

I found that by keeping her in the crook of my arm, I got a lot more sleep. I didn't have to get up and get her for feedings, and I didn't have to stay up long enough to put her back in her bed. Genius! Soon I realized we had become a co-sleeping family. And we loved it.

We decided to keep up this style of sleep parenting until it no longer worked for one of us in the bed. I always made a point to put Emma down in her crib, but once she woke up for her first feeding it was into our bed she came. Once she grew out of herbassinet that was against my side of the bed, I bought a toddler bed rail and attached it to my side of the bed to keep her in. 

The next steps are what ultimately moved her out of our bed:
  • We put her crib next to our bed so that we could start having her use it more regularly, and if I happened to be awake after she finished feeding I would put her back in the crib. We didn't start doing this until she was close to a year old.
  • Next, we decided to give us all some more space. We took one side off of her crib and side-carred it to my side of the bed. She would roll to me to nurse and I would roll her back to her pillow afterwards so that she could learn to sleep in her own space. I was still close enough for her to find me if she needed me, but I could still guide her back to her pillow.
  • A few months later: we turned her crib into its toddler bed version because she was old enough to climb in and out, around 13 or 14 months, keeping it against my side of the bed with the toddler rail up on the outer side of her bed. We also started to put her asleep with a "buddy" so that she could have something to make her feel like she was not alone. 
  • When Emma was 15 months old we decided to teach her to go to bed without falling asleep on us first. We wanted to "parent" Emma to sleep, but within reason. A routine we implemented involved us holding her, saying a prayer, and singing one song just like we used to when we rocked her. We would then lay her in her bed and tuck her in "nice and cozy" while putting her buddy beside her. Then we would kiss her on the head, tell her to stay in her bed and go "night-night", and that we would see her in the morning. [it wasn't all fairytales and unicorns, let me tell you, but eventually she adjusted and it became normal for her] She would cry initially, and since we didn't encourage "cry-it-out", we would go in after 30 seconds to a minute, say the same mantra, and leave. Each time she cried, we would lengthen our time until we went in again. 
  • Next we moved her toddler bed against the wall by our bed so that she couldn't roll over to me during the night. If she needed to get up and come to my side of the bed that was okay, but we didn't want her automatically defaulting to the habit.
  • Once it was time to move to her own room, we made a big deal out of picking a toddler bed (we went with IKEA) and special bedding that made her excited to sleep there. It really worked! Each night we would talk up the big girl bed and her comfy, cozy heart blanket and heart pillow. She ate it up!

Obviously she still came in our room in the middle of the night for a while, but as she got older she started sleeping through the night unless she had a scare, was sick, or teething. It really has been wonderful. Just remember that there are always setbacks. Sometimes these are in your control and sometimes they aren't. Never go at a pace that isn't right for you and your little one. It is your family, and no amount of pressure from outside sources can dictate how you parent. You do you!

I wish you the best of luck in your journey to transition your little one, and if you have any questions please feel free to email me at beingjaneemails@gmail.com

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Easiest Fudge for Parents of Active Children!

Let me just tell you that it is hard to make detailed treats with small children. I have put off a lot of holiday baking and candy-making because I just don't see how it will get done in a reasonable amount of time! 

Daniel brought home this fudge kit and I was extremely skeptical. I grew up making fudge with the marshmallow creme jar from "scratch" and this box looked cheap, so I did not expect good results. (By the way I am posting about this simply because I wanted to! I was not compensated for this post.)

The process was so easy, so straight-forward, and it didn't involve constant stirring or a candy thermometer! As you can see, Emma was able to help, and we even had time to be crazy. I did the majority of the prep with one arm!

Another thing I liked was the ability to toss all the trash back into the box as I used each ingredient. Super simple clean up!

And yes, I was shocked to admit it, but it was some darn good fudge.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

I Resigned

I quit. Yep. I put up my hands and said "I can't do it today"...

Today I didn't do one lick of laundry. Not a dish was washed. And believe me, they need washing. I have no pants to wear, because they are all in the dirty laundry pile. The catbox needs to be done or my snotty, stuck up cats will start peeing on the dirty laundry that I haven't washed. Toys are all over the house. Groceries are on the counter instead of in the pantry. The fridge is almost bare.

But today I said NO. I looked straight at Daniel and said "I am stepping down as wife and mother today. Yes, I will still be a responsible adult in the home, but for today nothing is getting done". And therefore nothing got done. 

And it was glorious. 

Tomorrow will be a different story. I'll have to face those piles. The glass of wine in my hand is encouraging me to forget that tomorrow is coming, and just enjoy the now. The now that involves two sleeping children, a severely sick husband, candy, clementines, and Property Brothers.

I'm enjoying the now.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Where's Selfie Christmas Game!

My sister and I have started an annual Christmas game on Instagram for the month of December!

IT'S HERE! Starting today, a Christmas adventure right here on my and Tiffany 's Instagram feeds! It's called "Where's Selfie?", a Christmas game with Selfie the elf. Selfie will be taking pictures of himself and with us at different locations each day throughout December. 

• Every day those to comment and guess his location correctly on our photos (both @questforahusband and I will be posting pictures, so double chances!) gets their name put in a raffle at the end of the month, to win a $20 Visa gift card! 

• If you want to join in and post photos too, we would love to use this to bring people together in a fun way this holiday season! If you post your Selfie with Elfie, tag both of us and use the hashtag #WheresSelfie, you get an extra entry (one per day) in the raffle!

WHERE'S SELFIE TODAY? Go to our Instagram pages to play! Tell your friends!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Good Morning, Friends

If you were sitting on my couch right now you would be forced to snuggle with my 3-year-old. Daniel Tiger would be on tv. Crumbs would be on the couch from her breakfast. My hair would be standing on end in a messy, dirty bun. Yesterday's makeup under my eyes.

But I have coffee! You wouldn't mind all that would you? I'm always good for a chat. I would love to actually have each of you over individually to chat, drink some yummy coffee, and relax together. But oh man, the miles that separate us are long! Schedules get in the way. And we resort to social media to stay in touch.

I've been feeling good lately. On Tuesday we found out we were approved to lease our first house! I am beyond thrilled, and we move in on March 7th. The neighborhood park is across from our house, the pool has a gated splash pad, and the neighborhood has a soccer field, volleyball court, and tennis courts! 

Do you want to help me pack? I'm the worst at packing motivation. I love unpacking, putting away, and organizing... But I have the process of cleaning up! My house is a reflection of that. It is clean, but not mess free. 

What state do you live in? Maybe you aren't so far after all.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Getting Back To Basics

I'm going old school here. I've decided to blog for me, and wrote about what comes to my mind and heart each day, regardless of how mundane or exciting it may be for others to read. 

I started this blog to be my space. And even though it has kept up that expectation that I set, I have fallen into the classic trap that all bloggers face at some point... Worrying about numbers, readers, content, photo quality, and monetization. 

Even though there is nothing wrong with those things, it can consume a blogger and make their blog feel unrelatable and cookie cutter. 

I don't want to be that. 

I want to write, relate to you friends, and enjoy this space that is mine. The name "Being Jane" was such a great switch for me, because I feel that it fits, it encompasses how I want this blog to come across... Classic and authentic, with a welcoming, nostalgic feel.

How do I make sure that that is my voice? By writing from my heart and head, without worrying about whether or not the post is pin-able or tweet-worthy. 

I love all of you and I feel blessed that you're still reading. Thank you, it means so much.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

I've Lost It

I've dropped the ball in every area except my home life. Even though I am struggling with the reality of that statement (see: guilt) I guess that isn't so bad. If I was neglecting my family for blogging and social media I could see how the guilt would be valid. But instead I know I have my priorities right. 

Regardless of that, it doesn't make me feel any better to know I am behind in blogging, blog design orders, mailing items, responding to all of your sweet comments....

I hope you know that I am here, I am just struggling to stay afloat. 

I missed a homework assignment this week because I am trying to juggle too many things at once, therefore dropping every ball instead of maintaining a few important ones. This isn't the first time I have missed an assignment in this class this semester. My grade is at 55.3% and I only have a couple of assignments left for the semester, so I am hoping I slide through with at least a C.

How embarrasing right? There is a reason I am taking next semester off. Between being a mom and a wife, leading a Thrive Moms group, taking Emma to school and the girls to swim class, caring for two other girls in my home during the week, maintaining the house (which I am failing at severely), and trying to take care of myself at the end of each day... Homework is getting forgotten. 

I have two blog designs to do and I am two weeks behind. That is not professional or fair. My excuse is the fact that Aidrey's double ear infection has been taking every ounce of my "free" time away since she will only sleep next to me, and she wants to nurse constantly because my milk supply is drying up.
Those two aspects have made it impossible to get any online design work done.

Oh, did I mention that I had one of the designs ready for installation and my computer fell and the hard drive crashed? I didn't? Well then there is another factor that is prohibiting my success in that department. I have my iPhone, no wifi until Tuesday, and my husband's laptop that likes to freeze when forced to be used with heavy programs.

Do I sound like I'm whining yet? I am. I'm sorry. On a lighter note the girls' birthday party was this weekend and family drove in for it, and my best friend flew in for the event... It was lovely and the girls had an amazing time. I promise you all a huge photo do this week some time.

So, in retrospect, I guess what I am trying to say is: do you forgive me? 

When analyzing what I could step back from and how I could minimize the load on my plate, this blog never climbed to the top of the list. You all are my saving grace (after God of course)... My sanity... My little world of people who peek in to my life every week without having actually met me (most of you). 

That means a lot. So I'm here. Just a little quiet. But I'm always craving this space, and the ability to meet with you, and chat with you, however far away we may be from each other.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Everyone Likes Giveaways, Right?

Of course we do! Ali at Our Happily Ever After blog is giving away something different every day this week in honor of her birthday! Isn't that selfless of her?!

Today I am featured on her blog giving away a custom header for a Blogger-hosted blog! 

Head over and enter here!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Anniversary Date Night

It's 5AM and I want to sleep, yet I'm wide awake in the stillness of our bedroom. This has happened the last two mornings, and as heavy as my eyes are, my mind won't let me sleep.

This photo is a month old but I couldn't resist sharing one of our anniversary date photos ... That night was so fun and so needed. We went to dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings, raced to the movie theater next door to see Guardians of the Galaxy, and then perused Barnes and Noble until they closed. 

Those kind of dates are my favorite. They feel like the old days, when we could be spontaneous and carefree with our time.

He makes me smile. We are definitely our goofiest together, which I find comforting. Who better to be your true self with than your spouse, am I right? Before we had little ones, Daniel and I frequented the movie theater. Every movie we wanted to see, we saw. There was no waiting for Redbox.. we just went. Sometimes even double-features happened!

Sorry for the quality of these photos but I never get pictures with my guy, so these will have to do.

We happened to snag a family photo that night and I just love it. I'll leave you with it, and I hope your day is full of relaxation and whatever rejuvenation your body needs. Take that time for yourself. You deserve it.

Friday, October 24, 2014

They Come In Threes

Today I thought I would pull a "flashback Friday" of sorts, and share three of my favorite things from different categories. Remember those? We used to make MySpace "bulletins" and Facebook "notes" with those long surveys that were so fun to fill out, and you only read your friend's to see if they put your name in anywhere. So walk down memory lane with me, and if you want, share your "threes" in the comments!

Three Favorite Movies:
• Singin' in the Rain
• Pride and Prejudice
• Devil Wears Prada

Three Favorite Songs Right Now:
• Greater by MercyMe
• All of Me by John Legend
• Come With Me Now by Kongos

Three Favorite Foods:
• Pizza
• Pasta
• Chinese

Three Favorite TV Shows:
• White Collar
• Revenge
• Pretty Little Liars (I am ashamed to admit it)

Three Books I'm Reading:
• Desperate
• Snow Falling on Cedars
• Mending the Soul

Three Dislikes:
• Sushi
• Mushrooms
• Cleaning bathrooms

Okay friends, your turn! I want to hear about you now!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Mothers, I am talking to you

Good morning friends! I prayed for you this morning. All of you. As you read this I pray you feel encouraged.

You are not alone in your days, because God is always there for you even though He can feel so far away. I struggle with that most days because I want verbal responses and affirmation from Him to make me feel better.

When my frustrations are at their highest and the girls are having their worst day, all I want is to throw things and punch pillows. I can get very overwhelmed and some days it feels like my medication isn't working at all! But I know that I, and God, are bigger than these frustrations. I try to remember that each day is redeemable. Just because something has gone wrong, or if someone is in a bad mood, doesn't mean the whole day needs to continue that way. This applies to my attitude. If my attitude is poor, and I am grumpy and snappy, it doesn't mean I can't change that.

Sometimes our mornings start out wonderfully and it can be a breath of fresh air. Then by afternoon something has tipped someone off and we are all up in arms. On the other hand, other mornings start out grumpy and emotional and it looks like their is no way to salvage the day.

During those times I take a time-out. Yes, me. And I am honest with Emma, my oldest, about it. I'll usually sigh loudly and grab my hair, and that will remind me to take a long, deep breath. I'll excuse myself for a minute and step into our bedroom, take some breaths, and think about how I am the girls' teacher. I am their point of reference. I am their mom.

The Merriam Webster definition of "mother" is a woman in authority; maternal tenderness or affection. Doesn't that change how we look at our role? We are in a position of authority, and are to be full of tenderness and affection for our families. Being in an authoritative position doesn't mean we make rules and banish our children to their dungeon bedrooms. The definition of authority is the power to give orders or make decisions; the confident quality of someone who knows a lot about something or is respected and obeyed by other people. 

Isn't that cool? As mothers we are to be full of tenderness, affection, and teach our children as we walk with them through life. One of the biggest wake up calls for me as a mother is realizing that I am my child's guide. It is not my place to tell her how to think or what she should like or dislike. It is my job to teach her respect, morals, societal expectations, etc... all while guiding her to become the woman she is destined to be. Teaching her, and walking her through difficult situations and disobedience, that is my job. Not to punish. When she does something wrong, we do take time to collect our emotions and think about our actions, but we don't punish. That is a post for another day, though.

My point in all of this is that you matter. You are here for a reason. Motherhood is not just a lame lifestyle where you sit at home and clean-up messes all day. You are shaping people. You are shaping our future generations. That is a beautiful calling.

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old is will not depart from it. -Proverbs 22:6

Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. -Deuteronomy 4:9

Thursday, October 9, 2014

And They'll Keep On Loving Me

I am wearing my favorite pants. Getting ready to pour my favorite wine... oh wait, I finished it last night. That really stinks! I have four shows waiting for me to press play, and thankfully tonight's homework was easy and is submitted. Wait... is that the distant wail of an infant? Sometimes having the two girls share a room is harder than I expected... especially when the older one doesn't go to bed quietly and wakes the younger one from overdue, blissful sleep!

I have had no patience today. None. It makes me feel AWFUL. I had a moment of sheer anger and frustration at myself (thankfully alone, lol) and threw all the laundry on the floor.

"Ooooo... she's so scary! She threw laundry on the floor!"

Seriously. I was mad. And it was there. And I was mad at it. So I threw it all on the ground. I'm not apart of this system.

Unfortunately I had to pick it all up later. The plight of a homemaker. Don't make a mess you don't want to clean up, right? At least it was easier than picking up food off of the floor.

Do you ever explode? Do you ever get so angry at the to-do list and the mess and the lack of patience that you boil over? After I leaned my head against the wall and took some deep breaths, I walked out of my room like I had just taken a short trip to the bathroom, and the girls smiled up at me. Emma said "Look mom! My baby is going down the slide!"... and Audrey walked towards me with her arms up to be held.

They had no clue I had been fuming minutes before. They love me. I'm their mother. They need me. I teach them how to grow up "right" (whatever that is), and I feed them healthy food so they can actually do all of that growing and learning that I am supposed to make happen...

I got down on my knees and looked at Emma. I said "I'm sorry I got mad earlier"... and she said "That's ok mom! I love you!".

My heart melted. I asked her to forgive me, and she said "Can we hug now?"... so we had our Full House moment. And that was that.

She still loved me.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Love Dare - Day 3 - Love Is Not Selfish

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love;
give preference to one another in honor. -- Romans 12:10

Love is not selfish. That is tough to swallow when you're thinking of yourself in a relationship, because the most common thing we start to think in relationships is "what about my feelings?"... "what about my needs?"...

God wants us to serve our spouse/significant other. That doesn't mean waiting on them hand and foot, or not standing up for ourselves, but it means being positive and encouraging in their efforts to excel in life.. it means taking care of them as we want them to take care of us.. it means putting our wants on the backburner to devote our energy to their wants. By doing so they are more likely to feel appreciated and loved, and more likely to want  to dote on us as well. If your partner doesn't give you attention, respect, or love, do you feel more inclined to treat them that way or does it make you want to ignore them as well? When they are kind and loving to you, and take your needs into account, does that make you want to do the same?

I am convicted of this. When my husband isn't doing what I want him to do for me, I don't want to do things for him. When I don't take care of him, he doesn't want to take care of me. That is a normal feeling. Neglect and selfishness fuels discontent, frustration, and hardened hearts. Love, attention, and affirmation fuels romance and joy in a relationship. 

If you haven't watched Fireproof yet, I challenge you to do so this week. Even if you feel your marriage is wonderful and not struggling in the slightest, it is a GREAT reminder of how things can spiral if we aren't careful to tend to our marriage. Also, take the Love Dare Assessment here. It opened my eyes to the areas that I need to work on. That will improve my marriage as well, if I am actively pursuing positive change in my actions. 

This post is apart of a 40-day Love Dare series that has been put together by Tausha at Taush.O, and each day there is a printable with that day's dare on it. Tausha will be posting all of the printables on her blog each Sunday, and a different blogger will be expanding on each dare on their personal blogs each day of the week. Join in and improve your marriage along with all of us! 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Custom Blogger Design Giveaway!

If you haven't seen my announcement on Instagram last week, I will let you in on my new business venture here!

I am officially in the blog design business! For now I am only offering Blogger designs, and I would love for you to enter to win a complete custom package! Enter the giveaway below and good luck! If you want to see an example of my designs check out my very own blog design, as I made it myself!

If you're interested in any of my Blogger design options please email me at beingjaneblog@gmail.com and I would love to chat with you about your needs! Thanks for stopping by and please think of me next time you need something done on your awesome blog!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway runs from October 7th at 12am MST until October 14th at 12am MST! Open to U.S. Residents only, and only Blogger designs can be created for the winner. Ages 18&up only. This giveaway is sponsored by Leanne, and no other social media site is affiliated. Prize valued at $30.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

10 Minute Mexi Bowl and Daquiri

I don't have time to make big meals during this season of my life. That sounds funny because my life is at home. But add in the appointments, errands, duties at home, the kids... I resort to delivery pizza more than once a week. 

Last night I threw together a quick Mexican-style bowl and blended up an impromptu daquiri all from things we had in the house! 

To make the Mexi bowls you need:

• refried beans
• Uncle Ben's 90-sec whole grain rice 
• salsa
• guacamole

I had some mini Wholly Guacamole single serve cups in the fridge and I scooped out a dollop for the four of us from just one little cup! I microwaved the beans and the rice, and poured the salsa over. Once served, we all mixed ours up and even Emma gobbled it all up!

Now for the quick daquiri:

• one Strawberry Banana Naked Juice
• Smirnoff vodka
• ice
• blender

I threw all of the ingredients in a blender, I only used one shot of vodka which made it very light on the alcohol content, and blended it up until the ice was fine. We loved it! 

I hope you can have fun with this idea and possibly tweak it for your own tastes and pantry! Olé!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Emma's Adventure In Potty Training Continues!

This article is sponsored by Pull-Ups®

You all know how much Emma has struggled with potty training and the reward system. I think we tried every pull-up, every princess and Tinkerbell underwear, and every kind of reward possible. She gets the concept, but the upkeep just doesn't stick.

Enter Pull-Ups Big Kid Academy! I was so excited to find out they had revamped their app and Pull-Up reward system. Emma loves the timer that reminds her to go potty, she loves the encouragement, and most of all, she loves the Disney-themed games that she gets to play when she successfully goes in the potty! 

One thing I really like is the option to give Emma a game even if she doesn't actually go. If she tried, didn't wet her Pull-Up, and just wasn't able to go, she still did a great job so I get to choose to give her a reward game anyway for the effort!

Their progress chart let's your customize your chart based on your child's needs and the way you want to reward them for certain actions! 

The Big Kids Academy was shaped to be able to work for your child, and to encourage your child, with customizable options and your choice of reward games! 

Every Kid is Unique. That’s why when you enroll at the Big Kid Academy, you’ll get a personalized “My Pull-Ups®” page with potty training activities and advice customized to your point in the potty training journey.

The Big Kid Academy has a world-class library of potty training tips and advice from parenting experts, medical professionals and our brightest alumni: parents who have been there. Subjects include:

• How to talk to day care providers about potty training
• Solutions for nighttime
• Potty training on the go
• The best clothing for potty training

Our top 5 tips for potty-training are:
  • Set a timer (which we use the Big Kids Academy app for! Emma loves it)
  • Make it fun (no scolding for accidents or disappointed words when they don't succeed)
  • Create your own potty dance (we have one for running to the potty, and one for successes!)
  • Accidents WILL happen, keep trying. If you keep stopping your child won't get the idea that this is the new normal. (I am totally guilty of this)
  • Don't jump to underwear too soon. Let your child learn the concept before putting the pressure of staying dry on their minds!
We hope you feel encouraged to try this concept with your child. The minute I got the opportunity to try it and share it with you I was excited for Emma because I knew this system was good for her! We are still learning and practicing, but it is MUCH more fun and way less stressful. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Ain't She Cute?

She's telling you that she is 2. She only has two months left before she has to figure out how to get three fingers up!

It's time for a q&a with Emma! 

Emma, what is your favorite color? Hmmm... Pink!

Where is your favorite place to go? Hm... To the play place! ( I have no idea what she is talking about ).

What is your favorite show to watch? Daniel Tiger!

What food do you NOT like? I don't like chicken. (Good to know, lol!)

What is your favorite toy to play with? Hmm.. Daniel Tiger and Katerina and Prince Wednesday and Daniel Tiger! (We have two Daniel Tiger figurines)

What is your favorite Bible story? Hmm... The Bible! Everything Bible!

What is your favorite food to eat? Chicken! (Hmmm... Sounds fishy, er... poultry to me)

Who's your best friend? Ellie! (Pronounced Ewl-wie)

Anything else you want to say to the people reading this? I will tell them on your blog about daddy. My Daniel daddy. See? I drawed a rainbow! (Okay then, I think we are done).

Tune in next time to read Audreys take on these questions! It'll be a lot of ba and dad, but I'm sure you'll understand.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I Am Talking To You This Morning

It's true. I love blogging. I love Instagram. I love the community of fun and encouraging women I've met and been enveloped by over the last 1.5 years... Wow, has it really only been that long? I started blogging January 2013. It feels like a lifetime ago. Three different blog names, countless giveaways, tons of linkups and blog hops... So many friends. Even a blogging conference!

Sometimes I just want to text each and every one of you every day and have hundreds of personal conversations. Sometimes writing a post to the masses and hoping it's read by it's intended audience isn't enough! Sometimes I just want to text or email all of you and check-in with a "Hi, how are you doing?"

And yes, even YOU. Even the YOU that I haven't met or talked to before. You're here. You're reading. I want to talk to YOU! How are you? Is your day going well? Did you get your morning coffee? Do you even like coffee? Do you have kids hanging on your pants right now? Do you have kids?

Regardless of whether or not we do get to talk, I want to say hi. And if you would like to talk let me know. I LOVE VOXER.

Have a beautiful day!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

I'm Enough.

My tongue is burning from the coffee I just tried to drink straight from the Keurig. 

Emma is at the table with Bubble Guppies on the iPad, blueberries on the table, and Puffins chocolate peanut butter cereal, all being my attempt to keep her quiet because Audrey is asleep on the couch.

Audrey, as mentioned, is asleep on my makeshift couch bed I construct every time we have a bad night, which has been every night for a month. Add together front teeth making their appearance and a double ear infection and I haven't seen my bed in a while.

I laid on the living room floor this morning as Emma ate and just tried to get through a little of my new book Desperate. I finished a whole chapter in one sitting. An amazing feat right? Let me just tell you that if you are exhausted, overwhelmed, or anxious within your role as a mother, this book is something you need to get. NOW. I suggest you get a real copy because if you're anything like me, you'll be underlining the crap out of almost every sentence because it resonates so deeply within your heart.

I sure adore my sweet girls. My Bean. My Bumblebee. If given the chance to change my life I wouldn't. But regardless of my all-around blissful perception of my life, I am still exhausted. Totally normal with two little ones under 3 years old. But nevertheless it is something I wish I could change. I wish I had the energy to do big projects and cooking experiences. I wish I had the energy to cut out a bunch of construction paper images for Emma to make things out of. 

I don't.

Sometimes my excuse is that she gets this at preschool so at least she gets it somewhere right?

Having worked in the Childcare field as a nanny and caregiver and babysitter for over 12 years I always thought I would be an amazing pro-active mom with my kids who fostered tons of creativity and excitement at home.


I mean I try really hard but it definitely doesn't fulfill that picture I always had in my head of my constant awesomeness.

When they are older I think my girls will remember my hugs, snuggles at night, trips to the library and museums, silly dancing to Pandora stations, and Target trips.

And that'll be fine. :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I Want To Be Present

I've checked out a lot lately. Floating through days. Going through the day to day motions that ensure everyone is taken care of. Everyone but me.
I'm not the best version of me that I can be right now.

I dropped two classes this week, at the encouragement of my husband. My days are filled with the girls, the other two girls I watch, homework, housework, Thrive Moms, swim class... This doesn't include trying to make time to find a LifeGroup at church, spending time with the husband I am ignoring, or finding me time. I dropped my two most difficult classes, and that puts me at half-time. 

It was an incredibly hard voice but it was worth it. My husband could see that I am stretched too thin and he wanted to help me find a way to make some room. 

Every day I want to be present for my girls. I want them to have mommy involved in their moments and not on an iPhone. Not buried in the computer. I have been blogging less often than I want to because the "free" time I have needs to go to my family, if I find any free time. 

I went so far, the other day, to print a calendar full of all of my daily responsibilities. I went so far as to put my husband on the calendar. That's when I realized how busy my days are, and I don't want that. I am still trying to find ways to cut busyness so that I can focus on what is most important: my family and myself.

Finding the balance is always the struggle isn't it? Where do you need to find balance?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Your Sunday Smile

As you enter a new week, enjoy these fun pictures from the last week. The girls have been so fun and silly lately. With Audrey nearing her first birthday I am seeing big changes in how she interacts with things throughout the day, and also with the things she tries to do. Emma is flourishing being in preschool two days a week and it's so fun to hear the things that come out of her mouth these days!

She climbs up and sits in this chair constantly throughout the day. It melts my heart.

Late night shopping with just mom! She was so giggly.

Her face was pressed against the rail. I just couldn't understand how that was comfortable.

So happy with her new purse full of fun things from Aunt Tiffany and her cousins!

 I love their wonder.

Sisters in awe of the sting rays.

Emma could stay in this area of the aquarium the whole visit and be so happy.

In awe of all the Nemo fish ;)

Happy Sunday! I pray your week starts off with peace and joy.