Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015


2015 you were a strange year, filled with many highs but many lows. It is my natural tendency to focus on the negatives. This year has been extremely difficult and an adjustment with losing my Nana. However, it is nice to look back and see that in spite of a great tragedy we did not stop living our lives. My Nana would be so pleased to hear/see all the things we did. She would have wanted us to keep on living our lives to the fullest and have fun! So below is a quick little recap (along with some links to previous posts) of our year!

  1. Started blogging
  2. Traveled to Texas for TxSC
  3. My Nana passed away
  4. Went to the beach 
  5. Finally felt at home in Morganton
  6. Started making friends in our town!
  7. Started volunteering with the Burke County Literacy Council
  8. Found a church we like!
  9. Attended the Maiedae Mixer in Rome, GA
  10. Attended the Carolina BalloonFest
  11. Went Apple Picking
  12. First family vacation
  13. Daniel got a promotion
I can't forget the endless trips to the Grind Cafe for coffee, park trips galore, so many books (children's books that is) that I can't see straight, and tons of netflix. The year was certainly full of the mundane too! 

It is nice to look at this list and see the things that we did throughout the year! I might not have lost weight like I wanted to, had as many date nights as I would have liked, or put on real clothes as much as I should, but dang did we have some fun! In between the tears, lack of sleep, long days, endless laundry, and grief there was love, family, and community.

I hope your next year is filled with just that love, family, and community!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Grace



I have never been one for New Year's Resolutions or yearly goals. New Year's Resolutions feel so cliche and yearly goals... well they are the worst for a perfectionist procrastinator. If I set a goal for the year I will put it off because that is who I am. And then by December I will see this list of goals that I haven't accomplished and all the sudden decide I MUST COMPLETE THEM ALL! Because behind this procrastinator facade is actually a perfectionist who wants to do things right and also really hates losing (my competitive spirit).

I have heard of people picking a word that will be their word of the year, a word that will guide you through the year. Doesn't a word that is your touchstone sound absolutely lovely? You can't break a word like a resolution. You can't have a cheat day from a word. Your word doesn't focus on the number on the scale, your pant size, job promotions, or how many things you can check off your bucket list. I feel like picking a word for the year is pressure-free, but still helps you have focus on the year to come.

In an attempt to make sure I am growing as a woman, as a mom, as a wife, and as a person I have decided to select I word that embodies what I need, what I want, what I want to be, and what I think the world could use a little more of. The word I have chosen for 2016 is Grace.

In the past I only thought of grace in terms of God's grace. Don't get me wrong, I am literally eternally thankful for the grace God has given me. That in spite of my shortcomings, imperfections, and natural inclination towards sin God has loved me enough to extend me grace in the form of his son dying for me. That there is nothing I have done, will do, or could think of doing that makes me deserving of His Grace.

But since becoming a mom I have started viewing grace in a broader sense. Daily I am reminding myself to give myself a little grace. That these expectations and picture of perfection I have conjured up in the mind are a little far-fetched. That some days good enough is really good enough. I do not have to be perfect, to have it all together, to have it all figured out.

I am currently reading Jen Hatmaker's new book "For the Love" and there is a quote at the beginning that I absolutely love "Folks who thrive in God's grace give grace easily." If God has shown grace to me then I should be able to show a little grace to myself. And you know what else? That grace extends to the people in my life.

So one of my friends didn't wish me happy birthday? Guess what- here's a little grace because I know you've been overwhelmed with work. Daniel didn't take the trash out? Here is a sprinkle of grace! Someone in my family didn't behave the way I think they should? You get some grace, you get some grace, GRACE FOR EVERYONE!

I believe in having standards for people and I am not saying lower your expectations. But I am saying extend a little forgiveness and grace to other's when they are not meeting your unknown expectations. Maybe our friends, family, and loved ones don't deserve that grace because they have burned us too many times. But I know that I don't deserve an ounce of the grace God has given me. I have cursed him, stop attending church, not loved my neighbor, and some many other sins. But he has never turned me away.

Grace y'all. Let's give ourselves and every one else a little bit of it this year.

What is your word for 2016? 

Monday, December 28, 2015

Rest


I didn't plan on taking an almost 2 week break from blogging, but it was much needed. The holidays are great for spending time with family and loved ones, but it is also jammed pack with ALL THE THINGS and can quickly become overwhelming. In fact after arriving home from our sixth holiday gathering, I sat in the floor and cried because my little introverted heart was spent. I cried from exhaustion (lack of sleep with all the traveling and fun), a messy house, lack of routine, and all the gifts that needed to be put away. I know I know, it is very first world problems to have.

I know without a shadow of doubt that if I had tried to manage social media and blogging during this time I would have just lost it. My holidays were so much more enjoyable because I accepted the fact that I could not do it all. I decided to opt out of social media for a little while. I decided to not make a dessert for Christmas day. I decided to by store bought everything instead of cooking. And I was a happier person for it.

So today I want to remind you (and myself) that it is ok to step back sometimes. It is ok to decide that you might just need to "lean out". It is ok to say "I can't do it all right now". And it is more than ok to buy the damn store bought dessert.

I hope every one had a Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Creating Christmas Traditions


Growing up I didn't have as many Christmas traditions with my grandparents that raised me. Unfortunately they got the short-end of the stick around the holidays. I was busy going around to all my other family and working with their schedules that Joan and Papa (my grandparents who raised me) really didn't have the opportunity to create much of a tradition. Some years I would barely be home on Christmas day.

When Daniel and I got married I was determined to start some traditions and create some boundaries for our family. Over time our traditions have changed and grown with our little family. I thought I would share some of the traditions we are creating and that are evolving!

1. Get a real Christmas tree. We bought a 4 foot artificial tree the Christmas before we got married (perfect for apartment living). But once Landry once born we knew we wanted a full size tree and we decided to get a real one. I love the smell of a fresh tree in the house! I hope in the future that we will add cutting our own tree to our tradition.

2. Attend our town's Christmas Parade. I love feeling like we are plugged into our community. I jump at every chance to participate in town wide events. Our town's parade is at night and Landry loves seeing the floats with all the lights and the fire trucks.

3. Send out Christmas cards. My favorite Christmas cards to receive are ones with actual pictures of the family sending them. So I love sending out cards with a little snapshot of our family.

4. Buy gifts for a child Landry's age. I want Landry to grow up knowing that the true meaning of Christmas is giving with love. This year we bought presents for a girl Landry's age at the nursery where we volunteer. Landry and I went and picked out all her toys and even though Landry struggled with wanting to keep a few things it was a great experience.

5. Stay home on Christmas Day. Since being married Daniel and I have spent every Christmas at home. We do not go to any family's houses. It was so important for me to start that tradition from the get go. I love that we can have a day at our house every year.

6. Chinese takeout on Christmas night. We usually have some family come visit us on Christmas day and have a tasty Christmas lunch. But come Christmas night I do not want any more holiday-ish food and Chinese is the only thing open. We call it in and take home and have a Chinese food feast while watching movies.

7. Stick to 4 gift rule. The 4 gift rule is Something I Need, Something I Want, Something to Wear, and Something to Read. I am going to be honest, this year Daniel and I haven't done well following this for each other. We did well sticking with it with Landry. I am determined next year to really stick to this rule.

8. Read the Christmas Story. This is something new I am wanting to add to our Christmas. I want us to read it together every Christmas morning before opening gifts.

Next year I hope to make an Advent Calendar for us to count down the day till Christmas. I also would love to make an Advent Wreath to light every Sunday in our home to have a reminder right in our home of the virtues Jesus brings us.

What are some of your Christmas traditions?

Monday, December 14, 2015

Beauty Tips



Most people are surprised to find out I love beauty/hair products! I think it is because of my hippyish persona. People assume I am only using natural products (which I do incorporate into my routine). Nonetheless I love discovering new beauty/hair products! And I am practically religious about my skin care. Whenever someone compliments my skin Daniel quickly adds "she spends enough time on it, it should look good!". But what can I say, the better I take care of my skin the less makeup I need!

I thought I would share some of my beauty/hair tips with you. They are things others have taught me or I've discovered along the way on my own!

Don't spend on your shampoo and conditioner.
I personally use Soapbox Shampoo and Conditioner because they are available at Target, affordable ($5 a bottle), and for each bottle sold a month supply of water is given to a community in need. If you want to spend some money do it on your hair care products, like your leave-in conditioner, styling cream, hair oil, etc. I skimp on my shampoo and conditioner but tend to be a little more splurgy with the other stuff because that is really what determines how my hair looks. Same goes for face wash. Spend less on face wash and more on face masks/treatments. 

Start using eye cream.
I started using eye cream after I had Landry. I swear having a child aged me over night! It is never to early to give the skin around your eyes a little extra moisture. I was intimidated by all the expensive eye creams out there (and all small the containers were!) but I love Air Repair Super Hydrating Eye Cream. I bought my current tube back in July and it is still over halfway full.

Apply eye cream with your ring finger. 
The skin under your eyes is very thin and has to be treated extra gently. You don't use your ring finger as much so it is much more gentle when applying eye cream. Also rub the cream inwards instead of out so you are not pulling on the skin as much. 

Use natural chapstick. 
As much as chapstick gets applied why not avoid unnecessary, nasty chemicals. Also, if you are mom and have a little one who loves to have some chapstick after mommy puts it on you can feel safer knowing that when they inevitably lick it off it isn't as bad. Here are a few of my favorites S.W Basics Organic Chapstick, Revive Peppermint Chapstick, and Burt Bees Coconut Pear Lip Balm.

Apply products to face in upward strokes. 
When applying face wash, creams, makeup, sunscreen, etc make sure you are pulling upwards, not down. Why pull your skin down when gravity is doing it enough for you? 

Makeup free days. 
I strongly believe in having at least one day a week where you don't wear a stitch of makeup. No concealer, mascara, or even my favorite blush. Mondays are typically our day of staying around the house or just running errands so I try to avoid all makeup that day. It allows my skin to breathe! I don't wear a ton of makeup anyways but every other day I guarantee I have at least concealer and blush on.

Multi-purpose products. 
I highly recommend beauty products that can serve more than one purpose. Not only does it make traveling easier because you can grab one thing instead of two, but it also saves money and takes up less counter space. Some of my favorite multi-purpose products are the NYX Wonderstick (bronzer and highlighter), coconut oil (use it on your face, lips, hair, and as an eye makeup remover!), and theBalm Stainiac (lipstain and blush in one!) 

Use a makeup organizer. 
When I was in college I bought a makeup organizer and never looked back. It sits on your vanity and you can put all your makeup in it. No digging through your makeup bag every morning. Everything has it's own little home and sits there beautifully so you know what you have. I highly recommend if you have the space to get one! The Container Store is where I got my most recent one, but Target also has a few like this one.

What are some of your favorite beauty tips? 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Wonderful Web Round Up






I've been really embracing a more minimalistic lifestyle. I love this piece on Minimalism for the Mind.

I finally decided on a backpack for Landry (it's wrapped under the tree!). We ended up getting the Fjallraven Mini (found on super sale!) because it is high quality, can withstand the rough and tumble life of a toddler, and if she tires of carrying it I can extend the straps to fit me!

Just like everyone else in the world I want to be best friends with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. So naturally I loved these 17 Female Friendship Truths as Told by Amy Poehler and Tina Fey.

“This experience is meant for you to be fully present. Put your phone down, treasure this time and give all the love you have." Great article on why Not Everything is Meant to be Shared. It can be hard in this day and age to remember some moments are a little more special and sacred when kept to yourself.

Did y'all know llamas are my favorite animal? Like one day I want to own one! So naturally I need these bowls.

I don't read nearly as much as I used to, but after reading through the 51 of the Most Beautiful Sentences in Literature and seeing some of my favorite literary quotes I am determined to make time to read a little more.

A few weeks ago I shared "What I'm For" and some of my blogging friends joined in! Be sure to check it out, especially if you are needing an extra dose of positivity today. What Emma's ForWhat Nicole's ForWhat Hilary's For, and What Kathleen's For.

I've been back and forth on whether I want to add a Chemex to my coffee brewing arsenal. But now that they've partnered up with TOMS I might just have to give in after Christmas!


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The First Christmas


We decorate for Christmas Monday night. Well, we did the outside lights Sunday and they are really simplistic, but I think you would like it. I know you would be proud of me getting into the Christmas spirit. Who would have thought this Grinch would one day have Christmas lights on the outside of her house? I want to get a Moravian Star like the one you always had on the front porch. It automatically makes me think of you. 

Anyway, we laid Landry down for bed and got to decorating Monday night. I know you have always been a fan on having everyone help with the decorating, but I wasn't about to attempt decorating with a wild toddler running around. Don't worry, we have a little fake tree in the basement set up just for her to decorate. We'll use some of the shatterproof ornaments you gave me. I remember the Christmas you gave me those ornaments. I was so annoyed. Why in the world would you give the girl that hates Christmas the giant set of Christmas ornaments? I was a jerk. You knew one day I would come around and those things would be useful. We've used them every year since we've been married. 

As we unpacked our ornaments I kept thinking about you. Seeing all the personalized ornaments you have gave me over the years. And then this past Christmas, each one of us getting our new and shiny Christmas ornaments. I love all of ours but especially Landry's. I remember you getting up the strength after chemo to go to pick out the ornaments. You facetimed me to show me the different options so that you were sure I would love them. You were going through hell but you still thought about me and my happiness. Some might think that is silly, but I think it just shows the kind of person you were. The amazing woman who cared more about others than herself. Me, being not nearly as selfless as you, wonders if there will ever be anyone to give me a personalized ornament again. You were always the person to do that kind of stuff for me. Thank you.

As we continued unpacking Christmas I found the book. I had forgotten about the gift you gave Landry last year. It was tucked away in storage after Christmas and tucked away in the back of my mind, "The First Christmas". It isn't just any book, it is a recordable book. You and Pawpaw recorded yourselves reading the Christmas story just for Landry. I knew as soon I opened it and heard your voice I would lose it, but I did it anyway. 

I know the book was a gift for Landry but it is something I will treasure more than you could imagine. I haven't heard your voice since April, since you spoke your last words to me "Don't cry". I'm sorry Nana but there has been a lot of crying over here. When you gave Landry this book did you know the next Christmas would be our first Christmas without you? Did you know Landry would not grow up with her Nana on the sidelines cheering her own? Whatever your reasoning for giving her that book thank you. 

Since Monday night I have opened that book and listened to the pages you recorded over and over again. Nana, I don't want to do this first Christmas without you. It shouldn't be like this. But know that I am constantly thinking of you. I see you everywhere this Christmas. In the ornaments you gave us, in the memories we have made. I think back to all those Christmases, the good, the bad, the silly... the scavenger hunts, your family's Christmases at Indian Grove Baptist Church, crying as a child begging you to go to all my Christmases with me, and to all the oranges, apples, and nuts in my stockings. 

I love you Nana and miss you more than you could ever know. I'll try to make the most of this first Christmas...

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Landry 16 Month Update


Landry, 

If you could maybe stop growing up that would be cool? Don't worry, give me a couple of tantrums and I will be begging you to be 5. I know life can be a little frustrating right now, you can't communicate what you are wanting/needing. You're getting their baby girl! You are using your words more and more and using your signs which helps some with our communication barriers. You are such a sweet, vibrant little girl. People always comment how much personality you have. You are fully of energy and life! Every day is an adventure with you little one! We love you so much! 

-Mama 

Weight 
25.5 lbs

Height
I would guess over 33.5 inches at this point!

Clothing Size 
18M- 3T

Shoe Size 
5-6

Teeth 
14!! Next will be 2 year molars. I am definitely dreading it.


Development 
Can go down the stairs without holding our hand (but prefers holding our hands and so do we) Started correctly doing her puzzles
Stack blocks
Signs eat
Helps put clothes in the drier
Helps mommy stir things when cooking
Wipes down the counter
Enjoys "coloring" and playing with art supplies
Wants to CONSTANTLY read books
Will sometimes tell me when she poops


Health 
The congestion just keeps lingering. We went to the doctor a couple of weeks ago because her coughing was so bad during the night and it was disrupting her sleep. They said her lungs were clear, ears great, and throat fine. They prescribed her an anti-histamine to help with the congestion which they said was causing the coughing. It has definitely gotten better but still not great.


New Words 
Boy (Bo)
Snack (Nac)
Clementine (Tine)
More (Mo)
Bird
Fish
Joe (her stuffed Gorilla)
Yellow
Blue (If you ask her what color something is it's blue, no matter what!)
Car
This (dis)
That (dat)
Daniel aka Daniel Tiger (Da)
Papa
Beth (Daniel's mom, her grandma name is Bebe but Landry seems to be saying Beth instead)
Two
Quack
Baaa (like a sheep)
Rawrrrr (any animal that growls)
Juice (ju)

I feel like her language is really starting to explode. There are a lot of words she will say if I ask her to but she won't just say them on her own. Granted, a lot of the words I am the only one who understands her. But I know she will get clearer in her pronunciation over time.

Sleep
Sleep is getting a little better. Naps have been pretty much fine. We really are on one nap schedule unless she is up super early and fussy. Then if I can get her to go to sleep by 9am I will let her sleep an hour then wake up her. If she sleeps past an hour or past 10am she will not take an afternoon nap and she will be a little terror. Most naps are around 11:30am-12pm till 2-2:30pm.

Since we've gotten the coughing a little more under control and all her canine teeth are finally through she is sleeping through the night again which is so nice! I was going crazy with the middle of the night wakings.

She is still waking early most mornings. Some days we get till 6am and every now and then we can get her to go back to sleep and she will sleep till 7:30am-8am, but that is few and far between. We are actually going to try for a week or so limiting her nap time. I've noticed a pattern that she will sleep 12 hours at night if she has less naps during the day. I am going to limit her nap to 1.5 hours a day and no let her go past 2pm. We will see if doing this will keep her sleeping 7pm-7am.


Eating 
Still 6-8ozs of milk first thing in the morning and right before bed in a straw cup. Landry has started being more interested in drinking from an open cup and she does better about not getting too much. I definitely need to offer one more at meals when we are home. Her eating has been great. We've had to reign in the snacking a little. When she snacks too much she doesn't eat her real meals as well. So I am trying to do a small snack around 9:30am and then a larger snack around 3:30pm. She's really digging pomegranate seeds right now. Beans are another favorite!

We've pretty much given up highchairs in restaurants. The meal is more enjoyable for everyone if we can sit in a booth and have her sit beside me. We asked for this booster seat for her for home for Christmas so hopefully we can start using it and be done with the high chair (she has started standing up in her high chair again). Right now we have a pub style dining room table which doesn't work well for letting Landry get into a chair herself. We are on the lookout for a new (or new to us) dining room table that is a normal height. I think it would be a lot better with her booster seat.


Favorite Toys
Learning Tower
Doll
Wheely Bug
Stuffed animals
Sand table
Bags
My makeup


Mood/Personality 
She is such sweet and goofy girl. She tries to hug and kiss other kids when we are out (most are not a fan haha). Any animal she is going to be incredibly gentle and sweet with. She has also taken a huge likening to little babies so when she sees one she freaks. It is adorable.



Parenting 
Landry is definitely getting to the point where she is testing boundaries. Seeing if I will follow through on what I say. She had been doing really good cleaning up after herself but lately she is ignoring me when I tell her to pick up her toys. I've been having to refuse to let her move onto the next activity until she has cleaned up the last. There was resistance at first but she is finally starting to give in.

Overall she makes parenting pretty easy. She is a pretty good listener especially when we are out places. Which I am very appreciative of! She is more likely to misbehave when it is just me and her and no one else to witness haha.


Things I Want to Remember 
The way she gives me the most mischievous grin when she is doing something I've told her not to (I don't let her know but it is the cutest thing!)
The way she runs to the top of the stairs when she hears Daniel coming through the door
Landry helping me cook in the kitchen
The way she is willing to try any new food
How she runs down the hall naked
How she spins and gets super silly when she is tired before bed
How she loves pretending to drive the lawnmower

Things I am Looking Forward To
After Christmas I am most likely going to sign Landry and me up for a Mommy and Me gymnastics class which I think my little monkey will love!
We are going to start playing around with potty training some after Christmas. We asked for this potty chair and I am going to first just leave it in the bathroom for her to investigate. She seems kind of interested in the potty so I thought we could just kind of take it easy and see how to goes.
I am hoping we get snow sometime this winter and I will get to see Landry's reaction!






Monday, December 7, 2015

Choosing to Enjoy Christmas


This picture might not mean a lot to you. But to me it is everything. 

When I was younger I hated holidays.. particularly Christmas. It was a time of year filled with bickering, who could out-do who with presents, and be shuffled around to family. 

Over the years I've slowly been able to make Christmas into what I wanted. This weekend due to some family drama I really just wanted to throw in the towel with this Christmas. I wanted to say there was no point in celebrating because people are not focusing on the true meaning. People are being childish, selfish, and all around unpleasant. This weekend I felt like I was transported right back to my childhood and some of the less than pleasant memories surrounding Christmas. 

But then I remembered my little family of three. I remembered all those other people don't matter. Because this Christmas (and every one of them here on out) I have my wonderful husband and daughter to celebrate with. We will spend time together as a family picking out the perfect tree, going to church, decorating the outside of our house, and singing Christmas songs. 

We are building memories over here. Memories and moments tied together with love and Jesus and gosh darn a little fun. 

I am choosing to enjoy Christmas. I am choosing to enjoy Christmas with my family and my extended family. And nothing and no one will steal my joy during this holiday season. 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Bullying Starts Early


This morning we went over to the Family Resource Center. It is this great place in our town that is provided free for parents and children 5 and under. It is pretty much a giant playroom. There is building centers, trucks, ride-on toys, instruments, slides, playhouse, etc. There is even a full kitchen for parents to use to make snacks, store snacks, make coffee, etc. It is the perfect place to go for playdates or just when you need to get out of the house on a cold or rainy day.

This morning there was a bunch of people from the same church who have a standing playdate every Thursday morning. It was nice to see the Resource Center filled to the brim with children (most of the time there is very few people), even though most of them were a few years older than Landry.

Landry was running around watching the bigger kids play and doing her own thing. I see her walk up to one little boy and another little girl (roughly 4-5) yells "Don't play with her, she has cooties" and further instructs the rest of the kids to do the same. Any time Landry would go over to play near/with other children they would run away. The same little girl also would take toys from Landry whenever she was playing with them, and without parental supervision there was no stopping her. Of course Landry was clueless to the situation, but it completely broke my mama heart. We left shortly after (Landry was getting tired and fussy).

I called Daniel and told him what happened and cried, "How could the excluding someone be starting so early? It just wasn't nice!" I know I am extra sensitive to bullying and feeling left out having experienced it so much in my pre-teens/early teenage years. It brought back all of my personal feelings and honestly is causing me so much heartache.

I don't want Landry to ever hurt or feel excluded. It was simply children being children, but what about one day when it is more? What about when Landry gets to middle school and mean social media messages start. When other kids call her ugly, or dumb, or annoying. It happened to me. I pray it doesn't happen to her.

Once I laid Landry down for her nap I took a minute to cry. To cry because my baby will not be able to be a my protective bubble forever. To cry for the future, when Landry's feelings do get hurt. To cry for the pain I felt as a child/teenager from being bullied and made fun of.

Then once I let the emotions out I prayed. I prayed that Landry will not suffer the same kind of torment as me. I prayed that if she does she will be tougher and stronger than I was. That she will know her self-worth is not found in who accepts her and the words they same about her. That her self-worth is found in God and in the kind of person she knows she is. I pray that one day when she comes home hurt that I will have the right words to say, or I will know when to be silent and let her speak. And then I prayed for our world. For the hurt, for the pain. I prayed for extra healing and I prayed that everyone would be just a tad bit kinder in their daily lives.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

December Goals



December is here and I am shocked. I swear having a child speeds up time. First let's do a little recap of my November goals and how they went.

1. Go to a Christmas Tree farm✖ We had every intention of doing this. But money was little tight the weekend following Thanksgiving (and I don't believe in going before Thanksgiving) plus Landry went and spent the night with Daniel's parents. We are hoping to go this coming up weekend to get our tree and finally decorate! 

2. Get a massage✖ I didn't even get around to thinking about scheduling a massage. Daniel reminded me a couple of times to do it, but I never did. This goal might get tabled to the new year, there is just too much going on between now and the New Year. 

3. Go to the doctor✓ I proud of myself for accomplishing this goal! I hate going to the doctor but I hadn't had a physical in forever. I also had a few things I wanted to talk to the doctor about. I saw a fantastic PA that I felt super comfortable with and everything looked good. Yay for making my health a priority! 

4. Get my hair trimmed.   Never got around to it. I am so picky about who does my hair and I have yet to find someone I like in Morganton. A friend suggested someone for me to try so I would really like to try to get my hair trimmed this month.

November, you were a crazy month. I am glad I got the most important thing on my list accomplished  (going to the doctor) but the other things were just thrown to the wayside.

Onto December goals:

1. Go to our town Christmas Parade. The longer I live here in Morganton the more I fall in love with our little town. Our downtown is my absolute favorite part of the town and I look forward to our Christmas parade.

2. Only eat out only twice a week. We have been doing good the last couple of weeks about limiting our eating out. It had gotten out of control which also resulted in unhealthy eating (we eat so much healthier when I cook). I would like to really stick to only eating out/take out twice a week. Also our budget is a little tighter with the holidays (gifts and gas to get everywhere) so limited our eating out would also be good on the wallet. 

3. See MIPSO in Concert. MIPSO is a NC based bluegrass band. One of the members of the group is a Morganton native and they will be performing in concert here in Morganton at CoMMA (City of Morganton Municipal Auditorium) this month. I have listen to a few of their songs and they are really great! I have wanted to go to CoMMA to see a concert or production for awhile now and I think this would be a great date night for Daniel and I. And I would love an excuse to get a little dressed up and head out on the town. haha

4. Be Present. I really prefer tangible goals with very clear yes or no if I accomplished them. I like being able to put my little  or  mark letting me know what I achieved. So making the goal to "be present" is very different for me. I mentioned in November that this time of the year is not my favorite. I get so wrapped up in being exhausted from the running around, worrying about Landry's routine and sleep, stressing about family, and this year really grieving the loss of my Nana during the holidays. It has the potential to be a very miserable time of year for me. However, with Landry around I do not want to impart my grinch attitude onto her. There are so many good things to soak up this holiday season if I can just be present. 


What are your goals for December? 

Monday, November 30, 2015

In the Moment

We used to own a keurig. A cute red mini keurig. We used the re-fillable k-cups to be a little more environmentally friendly. Pop it in with some coffee grounds, fill with water, and run around the kitchen getting the 50 million other morning tasks done. Our mornings are always mildly hectic. Landry crying, dogs needing to go out, fix Landry breakfast, Daniel makes his lunch, change a poopy diaper, grab our coffee and gulp it down between telling the dogs not to eat Landry's breakfast.

I struggle more than Daniel at slowing down. I have also fixated on the future, I have always worried about what's next. I find myself frequently saying "have more of a sense of urgency" to Daniel. We need to do things quickly and efficiently, even when we are not on a time table. 

After 4 years our beloved little red keurig had stared acting wonky. In a fit of sleep deprived rage one morning I threw it in the trashcan and said we were done. We temporarily used a small drip coffee maker until we could figure out a permanent replacement. 

I hem and hawed over my choices for a coffee maker. Finally, I decided on the Aeropress (obviously not for it's looks). Reviews hailed it as one of the best coffee makers and friends spoke of it's wonders. I will go ahead and tell you, it makes a smooth cup of coffee. I am pretty sure you could put dirt in this thing and out would come luxurious coffee.

Of course tasty coffee is of utmost importance, but I must tell you my favorite part of the Aeropress. It forces me to be in the moment. For just a few minutes I am completely consumed with the task of making mine and Daniel's coffee.

Putting together the Aeropress.
Scooping out the exact measurement of coffee.
Bringing our water to 175ยบ.
Pouring the water into the chamber.
Slowly stirring our coffee for 10 seconds.
Letting it sit for 20 seconds.
Pressing the plunger all the way in.









And then there was coffee.

There is something oddly satisfying about not letting a machine make my coffee off on the side while I run around like a mad woman. It is a gentle reminder to be in the moment. I savor that cup of coffee a little bit more when I drink it.

Maybe, just maybe, I can spend a little less of my time multi-tasking and instead be in the moment. When I change a diaper it is not a task to rush through but a chance to tickle Landry's belly, a chance to take in her toothy grin. Instead of carrying Landry down the stairs because it is quicker, I can hold her hand as she slowly slides from one step to the next. When we are playing outside instead of checking emails or worrying about when nap time should be, I can help Landry collect the leaves.

Simple changes to your daily routine can really change your perspective...

*After reading my post I realized this might completely come off as a post sponsored by Aeropress. IT'S NOT. I bought my Aeropress myself and they did not pay or coerce me to write this. I am pretty sure they don't know I exist. I just am in love with this little device and the coffee it makes. 

Friday, November 27, 2015

Wishlist: Comfy Cozy

*Brittany tested and approved! 
After Thanksgiving I am officially in winter mode. The trees are bare, days are shorter, and it's finally getting colder. All I want to do is cozy up in my comfiest clothes and sip ALL the warm beverages.

I have really been wanting to step up my loungewear game since becoming a stay-at-home mom. Some days when I know we don't have a lot on our agenda I prefer to stay in something comfy and easy instead of jeans. I could just wear pjs but I feel so less productive in pjs and I like being in something that if someone dropped by I would be presentable or if I needed to run out really quick I wouldn't have to change.

My Hello sweatshirt is one of my favorite sweatshirts! It is so soft and comfy and I love the buffalo plaid. Joggers have become all the rage and I love that they are a more presentable sweat pant. I know leggings as pants is a huge controversy, but sometimes you just gotta do it (as long as your butt is covered). These leggings are my favorite become they are super thick so no see-through and I love the yoga pant waist band. Also after a year of owning them they haven't faded in the wash.

In college I was all about buying packs of white men's v-neck tees to wear under sweatshirts, by themselves with scarves, etc. Well, since having a baby white is not the best color (so many stains), but this pack of grey and black v-neck tees is perfect for mixing and matching with a variety of outfits without paying a lot. This open-front cardigan would be perfect paired with the tees and leggings. Doesn't it look perfect for wrapping up in and sipping some hot chocolate?

I love my Lane Bryant bras but when hanging around the house I would love a wireless bra that is a little less structured. For the days I haven't yet gotten out of my pjs (we all have those days) I would love a lightweight robe to throw on when letting the dogs out.

Accessories are a great way to make a laid-back outfit look a little more appropriate when running errands (and added warmth). I have had this blanket scarf for a year and it is perfect for snuggly with when watching Landry play or for wearing. Moccasins are the best for throwing on with your big fuzzy socks. My Minnetonka's get tons of wear and are a perfect real shoe/slipper. I love the look of beanies for the winter time. They are functional but also cute and fun. 


What's your favorite comfy cozy items to wear?


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Gift Guide for Dad

What is it about men that make them to hard to buy for? In my case I am pretty lucky, Daniel is so easy for me to buy for! I always am seeing things and thinking "that would be great for Daniel!". I actually keep a secret wishlist on Amazon of ideas of presents for Daniel that I can pull from for different occasions.

Number one gift giving tip... make an amazon wishlist for either individual people or presents in general and add present ideas through out the year so you won't be racking your brain at the last minute. I will listen to what family and friends say they like or need and then add it to the wishlist for later. Amazon wishlist can be used to add things from other sites too which is really convenient.

Anyway, below is some ideas for the men in your life aka things for Daniel.

Want

Big Bang Theory Season 8 Favorite tv show is always a good option for a present. I love buying sitcoms because they are the most fun to rewatch over and over again. Bonus points if it is a show you love watching too so y'all can watch it together.

Kayak Cart Men always have hobbies that require stuff to go with it. Daniel and I both love kayaking so a kayak cart would make a great addition!

Ticket To Ride Board Game Games are always fun for a variety of ages. Most people have the classics, but there are a lot of really cool new games out that are great for smaller groups and large groups.


Need

Socks It can be hard to find XL socks for Daniel that are not athletic, so these argyle ones are perfect!  Men are also notorious for not buying themselves essentials like socks and underwear.

Watch Daniel's watch (exactly like this) broke so he needs a new one. He likes this one because it works for work and casual. Perfect in between! I love to make little notes of things that I know Daniel needs because they have worn out or broke so that I have present ideas.

Storage Cabinet Daniel's little tool knick-knacks really don't have a nice home. So something to help organize would be great!


Wear

Dad Shirt What Dad wouldn't love a shirt that proudly declares he is a dad along with cute descriptor words about dads?

Shoes A nice pair of dress shoes to replace a old worn out pair that he will not get rid of on his own!

Papa Bear Shirt Daniel always gets jealous of Landry and I's coordinating/matching outfits. So this would be perfect to go with the cub shirt I want for Landry!


Read

Date Your Wife I usually buy Daniel a book that I want him to read, kind of like a subliminal message haha. I bought him last year a book Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters for him to read after we had Landry and this Date Your Wife book seems to be pretty perfect.

Game of Thrones Daniel loves series of books and he has heard so much about the show (but not seen it) that he has mentioned it would love to read the books!

Maze Runner Another great series to read!

What are some of your go-to Christmas present ideas for the men in your life? 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Day of Rest


I don't know about you, but I'm an all or nothing kind of person. Some weeks are filled to the brim with play-dates, volunteering, adventures, and go, go go. Other weeks I wake up and it is Thursday and we haven't left the house and we are still in pjs at 4:00pm.

Those lazy weeks, I feel guilty. I feel like I am not giving enough to Landry and that I'm lazy. However, when you go nonstop sometimes you crash and burn.

So what to do? I recently read Jamie's post on Taking a Stay at Home Style day Off. Essentially, you schedule yourself a day of rest every day. This concept of scheduling a down day completely blew my mind! So simple but something I had never really considered! I never thought to preemptively plan to have a day to rest, instead I usually wait till I am sick and run down and literally have to take a day of rest.

2 weeks ago I took my first a "day off". I gave myself permission to rock the leggings as pants, wear a messy top-knot, and not leave the house. Instead of making elaborate meals we simply had sandwiches. Instead of running to play groups, story times, or to a nearby park, we played in the yard and in the house.

It was so nice. I didn't have to worry about laundry sitting in the washing machine too long while we were gone, I didn't worry about nap-time working with what we had scheduled or planned for the day.  I was able to get some things done around the house (but without a checklist or feeling pressure to complete a certain amount of things).

Most weeks my "day of rest" is going to be on Mondays. Weekends are usually busy with us running around and doing things, so having a down day on Mondays is perfect. I am trying very hard to guard this day. No scheduling activities, play-dates, or visits from family or friends. Having Monday be my rest day really sets me up for a week of success. I feel more put together and ready to tackle everything we have going on the rest of the week.

The most liberating part for me is the decision to not leave the house on this day. Most days I feel like I need to be going and doing things with Landry so I make sure she is getting stimulation and social interaction. But it can take so much out of me (especially with my introverted tendencies) so leave the house every day and make small talk with other moms and find new ways to entertain a toddler.

Instead, I am filling our rest days with lots of reading books, cooking together, watching Daniel Tiger (GASP... TV), and unstructured play. I am taking the time while Landry naps to maybe do a little light cleaning, blogging, or watching Netflix. Pretty much our day is structured around what we feel like doing, not what we feel like we should be doing.

I give you permission to find your own day of rest and cling to it! That day might look different from mine. You might wake up and go to work but then not make any plans for after work and order take out and sit in your sweats. Or your day of rest might be going hiking or visiting with friends you rarely see. You day of rest is about what you WANT to do and what leaves you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

What makes you feel refreshed and rejuvenated? Do you have a set aside day of rest? 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

What I'm For


It's been a little while since my last What I'm For post and right now with all the pain and evil in the world I think it is important for us to focus on what we are for, instead of what we are against. I've decided to make this week my first ever link up because I would love to see what fellow bloggers are for (and for those of you who don't blog, please share in the comments a few things you are for this week).

Smiling at Strangers. Maybe it's slightly creepy, I know it can definitely catch people off guard. But I really believe in smiling at people you pass in the store, on the street, etc. If you happen to make eye contact why not give a little smile. It always makes me feel better to smile at other's and to have someone smile back at me.

Day of Rest. I am for taking the time you need. Some days you need to cancel the plans you have (even if they are just plans you made in your head to do today) and focus on taking care of yourself. time to recharge and refuel is so necessary.

Having a Pet. Ok this one might not be for everyone, but I really am for having pets. I grew up with chickens, goats, dogs, cats, hamsters, turtles, rabbits, ferrets, birds, etc. It taught me so much about caring for another living creature, it taught me about death and grieving. It taught me about life in watching our goats be born and the newborn kittens being taken care of by their mom. We now have two dogs and they have taught me so much about unconditional love and having fun. They have already taught Landry how to be gentle and kind. I just get the warm fuzzies talking about them!

Taking a Drive While Listening to Music. When life get's too much or I just have too many feels taking a drive and listening to music is my ultimate therapy. I cry, I scream, I laugh, I dance, and I feel understood. When I'm done I feel a little more centered and like everything will be ok.

Link-up below to share what your for this week!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Gift Guide for Toddler

* denotes the presents we are getting Landry. 

Want 

Slide With winter right around the corner I thought this slide would be perfect for having indoors (and then in the Spring outdoors) for climbing and playing on. Bonus- it folds up for easy storage!!

Melissa and Doug Cleaning Set Isn't this perfect for getting your little one excited about helping mommy clean? One of my friends has this for her little girl and it looks so nice sitting in the kitchen and it is fully functional!

Learning Tower* These things are not cheap! But I found one in excellent condition (for a steal) on Craigslist so this is going to be Landry's big gift. Learning Towers are pretty much fancy/safer step stools that are perfect for letting your little one help you in the kitchen or with other projects. Landry always wants to see what I'm doing when I am trying to cook or wash dishes so the tower will come in handy.


Need 

Herschel Supply Co Backpack Landry loves bags. She carries some of my old purses around to play with. She is also getting to the age where she wants to take her own "stuff" with her places. A backpack would be great for her to carry her things.

Babybjorn Potty Before I get heckled... yes we are going to start talking about potty training. Yes Landry will only be 17 months old at Christmas but I thought we could just have the chair sitting in the bathroom for her to start experimenting with. I wouldn't call it full blown potty training.

Aqueduct Faucet Extender* I saw this awhile ago and I just kind of dismissed it. But now I completely see how much easier it would be to wash Landry's hands if we could extend the faucet out a little bit!


Wear 

Training Pants These have a little bit of padding in them so that they can soak up a little pee if there is an accident but the child can still feel the wet sensation. When we get a little further in potty training these will be a good transition between diapers and real underwear.

LL Bean Rain Pants * We love playing outdoors, even when it is raining. However, Landry loves to sit on the ground and her pants get soaked. These would go great over her pants to keep her drying when playing outdoors.

Baby Bear Shirt I just love these shirts for the whole family... don't judge me for wanting us all to match.


Read 

Potty* According to reviews this book is great for getting your child use to the idea of the potty! Any little bit helps, right?

This is Washington DC DC is my absolute favorite city to visit. I am a huge US History/Politics nerd so being in DC just makes me all sorts of excited. I love this book series and would love to share my passion for different places with Landry.

Babybug This is a magazine subscription for little ones. You get 9 issues over the course of a year. Each magazine is a cardstock material (durable!) and contains numerous short stories. It would be a cool thing to look forward to and a great way to constantly be refreshing your book selection!

What are your favorite gifts for little ones? Any recommendations for must-have items for a toddler? 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Crazy, Messy, Beautiful


Whoah... unexpected blogging break last week. Last week was a tough one. In all honesty life has felt a little harder than normal since coming back from vacation 3 weeks ago. Landry's sleep has been all over the place which in turn means our sleep has been all over the place. Daniel has dealt with the lack of sleep pretty well, me on the other hand... not so much. Sleep is so important to my well-being, the times in my life I have struggled with depression usually have coincided with me not prioritizing my sleep. Landry and I have also both been sick in one way or another since vacation which doesn't help matters. Throw in world crises, pain and suffering of others and you have yourself a nice little breeding ground of heaviness for a person who has a tendency to feel too much.

So this week I laid a little low and tried to just survive. 6 months ago I would have said I was beginning to thrive in motherhood but God has a funny sense of humor and has decided to remind me that I don't have everything under control, that I never did. I am not the perfect parent for Landry and never will be. Instead he is teaching me that he is indeed enough (for Daniel, Landry, and I) and that he will help guide me through this crazy world of parenthood. In church yesterday the sermon discussed three types of prayers we pray "Help, Thanks, and Oh Well". Help being pretty obvious, asking God to aid us in our time of need. Thanks being praising God for what he has done and showing our gratitude. And finally oh well which is a prayer that is essentially saying nothing is going as planned but "oh well". Because life is crazy, messy, and beautiful most of our prayers are composed of all three.

The sermon really echoed how I feel about this season of our little family's life right now. There are so many good things happening in our little family, so many mind-blowing, can't believe this is happening things. Things that I can tell are only happening because of the crazy plan God has for our lives and his grace and mercy. But then, then there are things that leave us drained and isolated and feeling so alone. I guess you really do take the good with the bad and then you have the facts of life (good show!). I think that is part of growing up. Realizing you can't wait for that moment in your life where everything is perfect because it doesn't exist. There will never be a point in time where everything is going exactly as you have envisioned or happily. Even if your own family isn't dealing with trials and tribulations there will be something going on in the world at large that will weigh so heavy on your heart. Instead of dwelling on the bad and letting it be a constant dark cloud hanging over, you learn that there will be those dark days but the sun is still there. There will be those hard weeks and months and by god, maybe even years. But there will be sprinkles of happiness and joy through those times. Cling to those moments because they will be what push you to keep going on. They will be your life-raft in a wild, tumultuous ocean.

So with this week ahead, in the face of my personal struggles, our chaotic family, and the suffering in the world, I promise to not make camp in this heavy feeling. I promise to acknowledge it's existence, but to see there is hope and there are still so much good.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Landry 15 Month Update

I know I said after her 1 year update I was done with monthly updates. However, it seems like Landry is developing so quickly and this is the best way for me to keep up with it! So for now I am going to continue because my little toddler is blowing my mind with everything she is learning. I can just see those little wheels a turning and her brain soaking up everything around her!



Weight 
25lbs

Height
I would guess over 33.5 inches at this point!

Clothing Size
18M- 3T

Shoe Size
5-6

Teeth
12 working on 2 more canines!


Development
Can throw trash away (without being prompted!)
Knows to go to her high chair when it is time to eat
Follows commands (like picking up toys or going to find something)
Started using a fork on her own some
When finished eating will put her fork on her plate and hand you the plate
Tries to put her socks and shoes on
Can unzip her sleep sack and take it off
Pretends to feed her Lorax and put him to bed


Health
Landry had her first official cold. Fever, congestion, coughing, etc. And it seems like she has another head cold right now minus the fever. It is probably because we are volunteering in a nursery so for the first time she is really being exposed to other kid's germs. I keep telling myself it will build her immune system! But she is so pitiful. She also threw up for the first time twice in the middle of the night. :(


Words
Da-da
Ma-ma
Dog
Duck
Bear
Cat (sometimes, sometimes they are dogs)
Down
Up
Mil (Milk)
Na-na (Banana)
Ap (Apple)
Bae (baby, or she is really up on her slang)
Bye bye
Hey
Uh-oh
Go
Done
Book
Ball
Yes
No

Signs
We've never really pushed the sign language hard. I've been pretty casual about using it. But she's picked up several along the way. 
Done
Milk
Eat
Diaper
Dog
Girl's gotta have her coffee with all her lack of sleep (it's empty). 
Sleep
If you are my friend on facebook or follow me on any form of social media you have heard my whining and complaining about Landry's sleep. It has not been the best.
She keeps waking up between 5-5:30am most days. She also has been going through a spell of fighting bedtime and us actually having to go in and rock her (we never have to do that! We lay her down awake and she self-soothes).

She is pretty consistently only sleeping 10 hours at night, usually around 7:30pm-5:30am. It seems low to me. We've tried pushing her bedtime back to make those 10 hours at a more optimal time but she usually wakes up even earlier which means less sleep.

We've also been going through a bought of night wakings which have been the worst! We were super lucky because Landry started sleeping 12 hour stretches at night at 2 months old, so her waking up now has really thrown us. When she wakes up at night there is really nothing you can do, she will most likely be awake for 2-2.5 hours. We think it has mainly been from sick and teething.

Naps have been pretty good, but a little difficult. She no longer will really take 2 naps, but when she wakes up at 5-something it makes it really hard to make it till after lunch for a nap. But if we do an early nap she is incredibly irritable by the afternoon.


Eating
Landry has 6-8ozs of milk in a straw cup first thing in the morning and then 6-8ozs of milk in a straw cup before bed. She won't drink milk with meals or any other time. Which is fine by me! She drinks water throughout the day and at meals sometimes she gets a tiny bit of apple juice mixed in.

Eating has been all over the place with teething. But overall she is a good eater and really has a well rounded diet. She is willing to try almost anything (especially if it is on mommy or daddy's plate).

Besides avocado there isn't really a food she doesn't like. She loves blueberries and bananas!

I feel like our highchairs days are slowly numbered. At restaurants she really does not like sitting in high chairs so I've started letting her sit beside me in a booth. It makes for a more enjoyable meal for everyone. She still does pretty good with her high chair at home but I feel like it is a matter of time before she will be wanting to sit at the actual table with us (which I'm fine with!).


Favorite Toys
The Lorax
Wheely Bug
Lion and Polar Bear figures
Stickers
Crayons & Coloring Book




Mood/Personality 
When she is well rested she's great! She's plays independently well and is such a sweetheart. She is incredibly goofy and silly which is so much fun.

Unfortunately with our sleep deficit over here things have been not as great. She has been fussy and clingy. Makes for some long days.



Parenting
It's here, time to start actively parenting! Haha Discipline and setting boundaries is definitely the game right now. Landry is all about testing boundaries and giving me those mischievous grins when she is doing something she isn't suppose to.

We try to limit saying "no" and "don't" and instead redirect or tell Landry what we would like her to do or what she is allowed to do. I definitely try to make my expectations clear to Landry. People might think I am little crazy because she is so young but she understands so much more than people realize.

I also try to keep Landry busy and out of the house. She behaves better in public most of the time! It makes our days go quicker and keeps us from going stir crazy.






Things I Want to Remember 
First family vacation just the three of us.
How she spins and spins in the kitchen and falls down in a fit of giggles.
The way she kisses Daniel and me goodnight.
The love she has for her dogs.
Her first Halloween Trick-Or-Treating.
Our fun adventures to museums and science centers.