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mom life

How to Make a Party in a Box

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How to Make a Party in a BoxIt’s that time of the school year already…the end!  Summer is approaching (if you live in the south like we do, it’s already here) and it’s time for teacher gifts.  Now, I’m a teacher myself and get a few gifts and I’m not one bit opposed to getting a gift card.  Those are awesome and so appreciated!  With that said, I just can’t stop my creative side from wanting to do more.  I got this crazy idea in my head about a party in a box for Gav’s teachers and I had to run with it.  It’s so simple, can be relatively inexpensive, and it so fun!

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You Don’t Need Me Like You Used To

In Mommyhood

It feels like yesterday that you needed me for just about everything other than walking.  I would wake you up, change your diaper, get you something to eat or drink, give you cuddles when you were tired, get you dressed, etc.  I would push you on the swings and you would crawl up in my lap when you started to get sleepy.

Now things are different.  Not a bad different just…different different.Continue reading

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Too Many Plates

In Mommyhood

image via Unsplash

My alarm clock goes off somewhere between 5:15 and 5:30 everyday.  And by alarm clock, I mean Ro and/or my phone.  Sometimes my phone will actually beat the little man to the punch but lately, it’s been Ro who wins.  I used to get some time in the morning to myself but more often than not, I have my little buddy with me.  My mornings start right away because Ro waits for no one.  Changing the diaper (if he’ll let me), getting him milk, trying to make my coffee, and sometimes getting the dishwasher emptied and filled from the night before.  Gav has always been a late sleeper so I can pretty much depend on him to sleep until 7:00 most mornings.  But before I know it, it’s out the door we go to get to school.  After drop off, it’s on to the next.

Mondays are Gymboree for Ro, Tuesdays and Fridays are workout days for me, Wednesday is small group, and Thursday is usually grocery day.  Somewhere between these things and work, Ro takes a nap and I try to do house work and any orders or projects that need to be done.  Unfortunately, Ro has been refusing a second one for awhile now so I haven’t been getting that extra time.  Three days out of the week I work at the dance studio and then there’s tae kwon do for Gav twice a week and church activities on Sunday.

Why in the world did I tell you all this?  Maybe to give myself a little perspective, maybe to cut myself a little slack?  But it’s basically to say that I’ve had too many plates spinning in the air.  That’s why I haven’t been able to find the time to sit here post about, well, anything!  That also had a lot to do with the fact that we had a computer that was 10 years old and was slowly but surely dying before my eyes.  Like seriously, that thing was on life support!  This meant that any time I wanted to post something, I would need a block of about and hour just to boot the thing up and get the page open to type.  Add another hour if I wanted to add pictures, which, of course, I do!  But I’m happy to report that we took the plunge, made the investment, and I’m posting from my shiny, beautiful, and super fast new computer!

I’ve been feeling like I’ve been drowning in “plates” and I haven’t been able to get a balance but I’m figuring it out.  I’m often asked how in the world I do it all.  I don’t.  Often times one thing gets sacrificed for another (a lot of times it’s the laundry because that requires climbing two sets of stairs) and that’s just how it is.  Sometimes I have to sacrifice a chore and the blog because I have a deadline for a shop order.  It all depends on the week but I’m starting to find a bit more of a balance.  I have a fabulous new planner (thanks bestie!) that I make a point of looking at each day.  I find little moments to brainstorm and have a nice list of ideas ready to go.  I’ve also learned the beauty of saying no.  It’s still not easy for me and I totally need to finish reading The Best Yes, but I’m working on it.  I’ve picked my plates back up one at a time and they’re starting to spin again.  I’m one of those people that likes to be busy, no idol time for this mama.  I’m ready to get back to pouring more time into this happy little space of mine.  If you’ve stuck around, you’re the best and I love you!

XO, Kelly

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Body Image + Being a Boy Mom

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I’ve see many posts about the importance of teaching young girls to have a positive body image.  With all of the magazine covers, social media, and all of the things we watch on TV, there is plenty of of fuel for negativity to thrive.  Our social standard for beauty in America is a bit twisted and realitively unattainable, even for the rich and famous.  Once I found out I was having a boy the first time around, I was relieved.  Thank goodness that was one thing I wasn’t going to have to deal with like girl moms do.  Thank goodness I wasn’t going to have to worry about a daughter having an eating disorder or constantly worrying about her weight and appearance.

But later, after another pregnancy and getting back my body after breastfeeding stopped, I started to think much differently.  Boys can have these same problems.  Just because the statistics are much higher for girls, doesn’t mean my boys are exempt.  I already see a perfectionist streak in Gav and it worries me.  I know what that feels like and it’s not that fun.  The urge to constantly be the best, or do everything, or be good at whatever you try can be exhausting.  Part of that, at least for me, was in my appearance.

Part of me hesitates to write this because I do realize that I am not a big person.  I’m short and have a realitivly small build but I can honestly tell you that that is not what I always see in the mirror.  I can’t help it.  I struggled with bulemia in college and that was a very hard place to be.  I grew up in the dance studio where being thin is longed for and praised.  I still struggle with it at times but never act on it.  Having a positive body image is a constant battle for me but I’m getting there.  Oddly enough, I’m the most confident in my body now, after two children.  But what does this mean for my boys?  I want them to learn two things from having a positive body image.  One is the obvious.  I want them to love themselves exactly the way God made them.  For them to know that they were fearfully and wonderfully made.  That they’re worth lies in the Lord, not some image that they feel they have to meet.  I want the same things for my boys that girl moms want for their daughters.  I want them to have self confidence, to own who they are.

To add to this though, I want them to see me as a woman who values herself.  Who finds her own worth in the Lord, not some image I feel I have to meet.  I want them to see a woman that respects her body and that a woman’s body is to be respected.  It is why I don’t ever act on my negative thoughts.  It’s why I pray for self control and courage.  It’s why I eat as best as I can and stay active.  I have to model this behavior for them as their mother.  I know that I can’t shield them from ever feeling badly about how they look feeling doubtful about they’re appearance.  Self consciousness is natural, especially in t hose oh so glamourous teenage years.  Not to mention how grateful I am that I didn’t have to be a teenager when social media came about!  (Seriously, thank goodness!).

As an adult, I have witnessed the negativity on multiple occasions.  I watch my students at the dance studio complain that they are “fat”, when they’re clearly not, more times than I’d like to count.  It breaks my heart, yet I know how they feel.  I’ve seen girls go through feeling hurt when the boys they hang around with or once dated call them names or belittle them.  Neither situation will be my boys.  They will learn that all bodies are beautiful.  That all bodies are on a journey.  It’s that old cliche, be nice to everyone because you never know what they’re going through.  I’m not naive to think that they will never have these feelings.  I just pray that when they do, that I have set the example of positivity. That I have been an example of finding my worth in God and not the cover of a magazine or movie poster.  I pray that they see that others are to be lifted up, not torn down and that each body is sacred, made in God’s image.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”  Psalm 139:14

XO, Kelly

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Boss Mom with Annie The Real House Wife of Fresno

In Mommyhood
There are days that I feel totally overwhelmed.  I have a lot on my plate which is mostly self inflicted but regardless some days it has me bonkers.  I have to juggle being a wife, mom, friend, professional, aunt, daughter, cousin, granddaughter, sister just to name a few.  I also juggle being a taxi cab driver, chef, therapist, jungle gym, babysitter (and I don’t mean my kids, this has more to do with work), financial planner, professional shopper, and maid.  If I try to sum up all these roles I would say I’m a BOSS mom.  To successfully get through the day I have to take charge and be the boss.  Otherwise, days would slip away and I think I would get trampled on.

Being a BOSS mom means that I have to get up every morning and take the reins.  My husband is gone by the time I get up so the morning routine is all up to me.  I try very hard as a BOSS mom to have a positive outlook on the day and set the tone for the girls.  Also as a BOSS mom I have to be as prepared as possible.  Speaking of the morning routine it’s always chaotic but I try my best to prepare as much ahead of time to take the chaos level down.  I pack lunch and pick out everybody’s clothes the night before.  I also think about what we will have for breakfast the next morning.  Having a routine in the morning helps move things along because Emily, my oldest can help with getting things done and she knows her responsibilities.
Part of my preparation is looking at the calendar for the next day every night.  I also look at the whole week every Sunday night.  This is when I make sure I have babysitters at the right times, I’m prepared for any presentations, I’ve got my errands mapped out, etc.

As a Realtor my schedule is very unknown but I utilize nap time to get as much of my work and blogging done.  As soon as naps are over it’s back to the juggling act (or struggling act).  My girls take late naps so by the time they get up we might have time for a little activity and then it’s dinner prep time and the girls might watch tv while I do that.  The crockpot is my favorite tool ever to make dinner time a bit easier but I can’t use it every night.
My husband gets home pretty late each night so dinner is literally ready to go on the table when he walks in the door.  This means full dinner preparation is up to me.  Luckily, Emily is old enough now to help with a few small tasks around dinner time like setting out placemats and filling up water cups.
We have the same routine almost every night after dinner, which includes bath, nightly medicine, brush teeth and hair, use the restroom, say prayers, read a book and go down for bed.  If Emily has been good she sometimes gets to stay up a little later than her sister and then the three of us will play a game after the other routine stuff is done and Madison is down.
Being a BOSS Mom means that I have to delegate at the end of the day to survive.  My husband frequently does dishes while I do baths.  He also helps with the rest of the bed time routine; we make a good team.
From 6:00 am-6:00pm I’m on my own so being a BOSS Mom all day can be exhausting so getting some help at night is such a relief.
As you can see our days can be very busy and routine so part of being a BOSS mom is finding “moments” to share with my girls so the days don’t slip away.  Sometimes I get home from work and don’t even get a chance to change but want to spend special time with my girls.  I even try to spend one-on-one time with each girl.
This is a time that Emily and I made homemade strawberry ice cream.  She talked about that experience all summer long.  It was so fun and tasted even better! 
One way I spend one-on-one time with Madi is taking her to a mommy and me gym class while Emily is in school.
To sum up being a BOSS Mom in one simple sentence it means I have to manage it all. 
And let’s be honest one of the greatest struggles of all is the FAMILY PHOTO!!!  Family photos crack me up because you’re dying for that perfect photo but the behind the scenes is a very different reality…”If you don’t smile and look at the camera no TV for a week!…Smile and I’ll give you 5 lbs of candy…Act happy Darnit!!!”
Anyways every family photo shoot I sweat bullets and my blood pressure goes through the roof but getting that perfect family photo makes it all worth it.  This is our most recent family photo and what do you know we never got one with both girls smiling!  This was a close enough winner.
But this right here is what makes the struggle worth it!!!!
Ultimately being a BOSS mom means keeping my family together, happy, and healthy.
As a BOSS Mom I:
1. Take Charge
2. Prep
3. Plan, Plan, Plan
4. Have a Positive Attitude
5. Rely on Routines
6. Delegate
7. Find Moments
8. Live for my Family
I am Annie, the author of The Real Housewife of Fresno.  I am a wife, mama, Realtor, and lifestyle blogger.  I share about family, friends, food, fashion, and my favorite finds.  I was born and raised in Fresno, CA and I truly love this place I call home.  I married my high school sweetheart, Kevin in 2009 and we welcomed our first bundle of joy, Emily Grace in 2011 and our second baby girl, Madison Anne in 2014.  I wear a million different hats a day but typically love all my roles.  My obsessions include reality tv, anything sweet, high heels, handbags, arm candy, sunnies, lip gloss, buffalo chicken salad, hot tea (I hate coffee), Instagram, Pinterest, and a good book, a pool, and a cocktail!
I love connecting with new people so stop by and say hello:
Twitter: @RHWifeofFresno
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Last Baby Syndrome

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In less than one week, 6 days to be exact, our sweet little Ro will be one.  One whole year has passed and I can’t help but be super nostalgic about it.  I remember, with Gav, feeling so excited about him getting older and each new stage.  Not that I’m not excited for Ro’s new stages but I’m almost sad at the passing of the younger ones.

For me, not necessarily God’s plan but in my head, we’re done having kids.  I feel totally complete with my two boys.  I have no desire to “try for a girl”, I’m fairly convinced if we actually did that it would be another boy anyway.  But I don’t feel like I am not fulfilled by not experiencing having one.  Our family feels whole, the boys get along so well, for now that is, and I’m very happy with the dynamic of our little family.  This is also not to say that we would be up in arms and upset if something “happened”, we’re just not planning on anymore and don’t want to try.

So this leaves me knowing that this is my last baby.  The last time I will carry my child everywhere because he can’t walk yet.  He also has zero interest in it and would rather just watch big brother do stuff.  The last time I will cut things into little pieces for mealtime or make airplane noises with a spoon.  Hopefully it’s not the last time I’ll have a kid who will try anything I put in front of him.  I hope that one sticks!

My days are numbered for baby wearing and cuddles.  Soon he won’t be falling asleep on me and sucking his thumb.  He’ll start talking, which will be so wonderful, but along with that comes tantrums and the “terrible twos” and “threenager” phases.  For now I still get to listen to the playful babble, the sweet “mama”s and “dada”s.

With Gav, every stage seemed like it took forever.  Not in the way that he was behind but in the way that I looked forward to each stage and could barely wait for him to do something new.  I swear it took twice as long for him to turn 6 months than it did Roman.  With Ro, everything is seeming to go so much faster.  Except for his teeth.  He didn’t get his first tooth until he was 10 months and then I found myself missing his gummy smile.  I was almost hoping he wouldn’t get them until later than that!  It’s just little silly things like that that start to pull on my heart strings.

To know that I’m done carrying a life inside me is hard to think about sometimes as well.  I was blessed with two wonderful, very easy, pregnancies.  No morning sickness, no complications, etc.  So if we weren’t done, that definitely wouldn’t be a factor in our decision.   I loved being pregnant for the most part.  I got super uncomfortable towards the end but that’s normal.  Feeling the kicks, hiccups, and knowing that your body is growing theirs.  It’s such an incredible experience.

But now I’m moving on to the next stage of my life, just like my boys.  I’ll be a mom of a preschooler and a toddler and I know that life is about to get a lot more rowdy.  I’m ready!

XO, Kelly

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Favorite Apps For Every Day Mom Life

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It’s no surprise to anyone these days that our phones/apps play a huge role in our every day life.  We take pictures, we have all of our social media on there to keep up with, email, etc.  So it makes sense to get as much as we can out of it.  I wanted to share some of my favorite apps that I’ve been using lately that help and entertain me through the day!

Wunderlist – For Productivity

I found this app not too long ago and have loved using it!  It’s really helped out with planning Ro’s first birthday and keeping up with all there is to do with that.  Plus, who doesn’t love checking things off their to-do list?!  I think my favorite part of the app is the little sound it makes when you check off an item.  “DING!” So satisfying!

This App has also helped me because I always have my phone but I don’t always remember to bring along a list I may have written at home.  I can’t tell you how many grocery lists I’ve left at home while rushing out the door.

Fooducate – For Healthy Living

This app is awesome.  My dad introduced me to this one.  Not only do I trust him because he’s my dad, he’s also a personal trainer, he knows his stuff.

There are two features on here that I use constantly.  The food finder and the health tracker.  Food finder helps you while you’re shopping to find the best possible choices.  You scan the product and it gets a grade.  We try very hard to stay within the A/B range.  You’d be surprised what some of you favorite products get!

The health tracker is great if you’re trying to lose weight or just trying to be more conscious of what’s going into your body.  You can add your own foods, keep track of your water intake (something still very hard for me), and add in your workouts.  They have a huge variety of activities that burn calories including some very realistic options for stay at home mamas or daddies.

Timehop – For Memories

Warning: this app has the capability to cause nostalgia induced tears

If you aren’t already using it and you use Instagram as much as Facebook, you need the app!  I love this app for the shear fact that there are many moments that I have forgotten.  Especially since Gav is closer to five than four.  There are pictures from when we still counted his age in months!  It’s fun to compare how he looks with Ro and there are videos that melt my heart.  One that popped up months ago was a funny video of something Gav used to do as a toddler.  We would tell him that we had to go to the bathroom and he would run and flush the toilet and yell “Pee Peeeeeeeeee!”.  I must have rematched that video a hundred times!  (Dear teenage Gavin, sorry but I will be telling that story to your girlfriends.)

Also, as much as it pains me to think that my baby is going to be a year old, Ro will soon be in the Timehop feed with his brother!

Pinterest
– For Bordom Busting

I love having this one on my phone specifically for carline.  If I’m not reading a book or I’m only five minutes early, I pop on Pinterest.  I’m always looking for new ideas, home projects, or like right now, planning a party!

What are some of your favorite apps for your every day life?

XO, Kelly
PS: All of these are free apps!

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Screen Free Week Review

In Mommyhood

We made it through screen free week and everyone is still alive!  Hard to believe right?  (I kid…but seriously this wasn’t easy.)  But it was a great way for me to spend extra quality time with my kids and enjoy them being this little.  It ended up being a much busier week than I had anticipated but we definitely fit in some fun activities.  Here’s a break down of how the week went:

Monday

As expected, the first thing Gav did when he woke up was ask to watch TV which is exactly why I decided to do this challenge!  The answer was, of course, no but we sat and read some of his chapter book.  And by some I mean just about 50 pages worth.  He was really into it and it was awesome!  Then we were off to the dentist.  No big deal right? As soon as we walk in, Zootopia is playing on the TV in the waiting room as well as all the screens above the chairs where they clean teeth.  *facepalm*  Gav’s eyes got pretty wide as he looked at me.  I told him that this was ok, not everyone is doing screen free week, just us, so it’s ok if it happens to be on somewhere that not our house.  He liked that rule!

We didn’t really do much in the way of creativity and I had to work a little that night. All in all, day one went pretty well.

Tuesday

The same can be said for day two as well since we were out of the house most of the day.  But one thing that was very difficult was entertaining Gav and Ro while I tried to workout.  My father is a personal trainer and trains me two days a week.  It’s been great having my mom home over the summer, she’s a school teacher, because she takes the boys down in the playroom they have for them and it’s nice and quiet and easy.  Plus, that’s usually the only time Gav has extended iPad time so he’s preoccupied.  This Tuesday, however, my mom had a doctor’s appointment and the iPad was not an option.  So I basically shot myself in the foot on that one!  But we got through it, my dad had prepared a simple, compact workout for that reason.

Then we went to visit my new niece!  Sweet Mason was born just before we went out of town so I didn’t get to see her.  Then both boys and I had some crud going on so we couldn’t go see her for even longer!  But finally we were able to go meet the sweet little peanut.

Luckily, we had a good amount of time between getting home and work so during rest time, which we also started this week to prep him for pre-K, I made his new “SAND” BOX.  He loves playing in it and, I’m not gonna lie, I do too!

Wednesday

FINALLY!  We had a day where we didn’t have anything going on.  We headed to the store to pick out plants for Gav’s garden.  After careful consideration, we brought home a couple of cacti, a succulent and some pretty flowers that happened to be on clearance.

We planned them in Gav’s very own pots and have been taking care of them.  We then spent the rest of the day painting, resting, and playing.

Thursday

Thursday was a fun day because I decided we would have a mini half birthday celebration for Gav.  Normally, we would just say, “Hey!  It’s your half birthday! Yay!” and then get on with the day.  But since we were smack in the middle of screen free week, I thought this would be something fun to do.  Together we baked a cake and Gav even cracked two of the eggs! (no shells!)  We also made ziploc bag ice cream which was delicious, if I do say so myself.

The half cake was pretty darn good too and, no worries, I won’t be going into cake decorating as a new career any time soon!  Although, in my defense, it took too long to bake and I didn’t quite have time to let it cool.

Friday

Thankfully my mom didn’t have a doctors appointment on this day and she was able to entertain Gav down in the playroom while I worked out.  Then it was time to swim!  We haven’t really been able to swim all that much this summer since Gav has been pretty busy between day camps, tae kwon do, and soccer so we had a lot of fun!

And then, that was it.  Gav woke up on Saturday morning and asked if it was still screen free week.  When he found out that it wasn’t, he smiled really big and went straight for Netflix while he drank his morning milk.  I can’t say I blame him, I know how hard it was for him to not have TV at all.  And he didn’t even have it while the grandparents watched him which was awesome!  Over all, it was a great way to challenge both Gav and myself and I’m glad we did it!

Have you tried a screen free week/day?  How did you like it, or not?
XO, Kelly

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3 Things You Need to Get Over When You Become A Parent

In Mommyhood

It pretty much goes without saying that life changes when you have kids.  It most definitely and overwhelmingly changes for the better but there are things within that change that are, I’ll say it, not so great too.  And it changes with each child you have too.  Of course it does!  Life is totally different now that I have two then when it was just one.  Everything takes a little more time, there are more little people that need my attention, I’m constantly moving, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  These are things you can easily roll with and they’re not that difficult to deal with.  But I’ve found that there are three things that are so drastically different once you have little ones that you just have to get over them.  There’s no changing these facts, they’re inevitable, and there’s no way to get around them.

POOP
Once you become a parent, the “ish” can figuratively, and LITERALLY, hit the fan.  In our case, with Gav, the “ish” literally hit the curtains.  Your life becomes more about poop than you ever knew it could.  You are analyzing it, talking about it, checking for changes, checking its consistency, etc.  You’re buying diapers to catch it, getting special trash cans to dispose of it or, if you’re cloth diapering, you’re washing it. Even if you’re not cloth diapering, there are these things called blow outs.   You’ll be washing poop out of something/everything in no time.  You even worry about poop.  You worry if they’re pooping of much, pooping too little, if they’re constipated, and so on.  And last but not certainly not least, you’ll be wiping poo for a loooooong time.  Even when you get to that wonderful point that is potty trained (cue singing angels!), you’re still on tush duty.  And then if you decide to have more than one child, well, the cycle continues.  The book Everybody Poops becomes your reality but with the added reality that you’re the one cleaning it all.   You are the unpublished and unpopular sequel, Everybody Poops 2: Mommy and Daddy Clean It All Up!

MESSES
They are, and will continue to be, everywhere.  Kids don’t really get bothered by the mess either.   From the car, to kitchen, to the bathroom, to the diaper bag.  If it has space, that is space to fill with a mess.  That includes the children themselves.  Now this is not to say that you should just throw your hands in the air and let it go.  This is just saying that for the next 18+ years, you will be cleaning.  ALL. THE. TIME.  It’s inevitable and enjoyable all at the same time.  Sometimes, watching your child make a mess is fun.  They’re exploring.  But in the back of your mind, you know that it will be your duty to clean it up.  That’s mainly for young children though.  I know that once my boys are older, the messes they make will be less about exploring and little more about destroying and then I can hand them a broom or a wet towel and say, “Have fun!” Technically I can do that now, but I still have to go back behind Gav and get what he missed, he’s only 4.

But in the kitchen there are food messes and dried Play Doh, in the diaper bag there are crumpled receipts, crumbs, and countless straw and food wrappers, in the car there is spilled cereal and forgotten sippy cups.  Just grab a big ole’ bag and chuck it in there (Yes, even the sippy cups.  Those things get nasty!) with a smile because some day your car will be empty because they will be driving their own.

YOURSELF
This is probably the hardest one of all.  It’s no longer just you or you and your SO.  There’s a little being that needs you and depends on you.  Someone who needs to be watched every waking second and, for most of those first 18 years, can’t do certain things for themselves.  This is not saying that you should just forget yourself and everything should be about the baby/kids, but I am saying that you have to get over it.  Get over not getting to leave the house whenever you please or at least as fast as you used to, get over not being able to hang out with friends as much.  You’ll definitely have times where you can get out and those times will mean so much more to you.  Get over not sleeping (no seriously, if you take anything away from this, let it be that!).  Get over relaxing each night and winding down from a hard day.  That just becomes passing out in relief that you can blink without fear of someone hurting themselves.

But in all of this, it is truly and unbelievably worth it.  You become MORE than yourself.  These little things will test every particle of your being but fill them all with an incredible love you’ve never known.  So, take a deep breath (if you’re dealing with poop, breathe through the mouth) and just know that one day you won’t have to take care of any tush but your own and maybe one day you can hire a cleaning service.
XO, Kelly

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Something I didn’t see coming for awhile…

In Mommyhood

Last week, I brought my boys with me to work.  I’m not really sure why I thought it was a good idea but I really just wanted to give my parents a break from watching them two nights a week.  It was picture week and I thought it was going to be fairly easy, but long story short, it wasn’t.  For the first hour or so, it was pretty chaotic trying to figure this that and the other out.  Gav was playing in an empty studio, no big deal.  Ro was strapped to me in the Tula, also, no big deal.  Well, there was so much back and forth that I had to call my mom for help.  She said she’d be on standby if I needed her and thank goodness she did!

After they had been gone for another hour or so, I got a text from my mom saying that Gav had told her that two boys, he described them as a boy in a red shirt and a boy with longer hair, had told him they were going to kill him and steal his stuff.  As I read those words, I was mortified.  I felt my body get hot and anxiety started to rush through me.  Then the next words crushed me.  “He’s scared.”

My sweet boy had been bullied.  He had been threatened.  He’s only four, how is this happening now?  Why was I not there?  The thought of him being scared and me not being there to comfort him broke my heart.

Based on his description, I knew exactly who these boys were.  They are at least 3-4 years older than Gav and, of course, bigger than him.  Cue mama bear!  I could feel it coming on like watching Bruce Banner turning into the Hulk.  If this were a Marvel movie, this would be the close up of my arms getting all hairy, my claws and teeth coming out, and then that awesome close up of my eyes as they flash with natural instinct.  (Yeah…a bit dramatic but it’s how I felt.)

One of the young boys had already left by this time but the other was still there and so was his mother.  I knew where she was and I headed back to inform her of what had happened so that it could be dealt with.  But this is where the mama bear in me clashes with the “flee far away from conflict” side of me.  I don’t like confrontation or conflict.  I avoid it at all costs, in every aspect of my life.  I also can’t be around others in a confrontation, even if it doesn’t involve me.  A lot of it may have to do with my perfectionist personality, or my incessant need to people please, but whatever the reason, confrontation causes me serious anxiety.  So as I walked to the back where the other mother was helping someone else’s child, I was waging an internal war with myself.  As the anxiety began to rise at the thought of telling other mother that their child had done something wrong, something that had hurt and scared my child, mama bear was telling that little voice to buck up because my son is way more important than my little insecurities.  As I was breathing faster and trying to push the fear out of my gut, I was telling my self that I must protect my baby.  As I was rounding the corner, mama bear was in a slight lead and I walked up to mama number 2.

I quietly (ok let’s be honest, it was probably pretty timid.) asked the mom if I could speak to her for a moment.  She looked surprised and, I assume she judged the tone of my voice, concerned.  She could tell that this wasn’t going to be a pleasant moment of conversation.  I explained to her the situation, how my son described the boys, and added to it that I didn’t know if it was true but that I felt she should know.

Now let’s pause for a sec here and discuss that.  I know my son didn’t make it up.  HE’S FOUR!  He watches PBS kids and Paw Patrol.  Occasionally he’ll watch the Ninja Turtles (the cartoons, not the “live action” ones) but that’s not where he would get that kind language.  If anything, it would cause him to kick or fight, which he doesn’t do.  He also doesn’t play video games.  But I added that it for good measure and maybe a little out of fear of back lash.  Please forgive me…

She looked at me with stunned eyes, said ok, and asked her daughter to go get her son.  I assumed she was going to talk to him about it.  So I went back up to the front desk, feeling the anxiety wave crash over me, and sat down.  Now it was a waiting game, to see who the mom handled it, how the kid handled it, if he would own up to it.  As with any confrontation, after it’s over, I stew in it.  I began to breathe heavy breathes and felt like I was going to throw up.  Sadly, I never spoke to that mother again that night.  She left without saying a word.

Eventually my mom was able to bring the boys back and we ate some dinner, I finished up pictures with my kids and we headed home.  While driving, I told Gav how proud of him I was that he knew to tell a grown up.  He said thank you and told me that he was proud of himself too.  As well he should be!  I asked him what he did when they told him those things and he said that he asked them to please stop and, when they didn’t stop, he walked away.  I was so amazed by how he handled himself.  I asked him if he knew who was with him when he was scared.  Without missing a beat, he said “God!”  That’s right buddy.

Then we began to have a talk about bullies.  Sitting on the couch, I told him that those boys were bullies, a word he told me he knew from TMNT.  (See!  He knows those guys are bad!)  We talked about how what they said was wrong and that you should never say those words to someone and he, of course, agreed.  This was obviously becoming a teachable moment now that he wasn’t scared anymore and I asked him what he thought he should do if he ever saw someone else being bullied.

“Run the other way!” (I had to hide a little giggle because it just struck me funny.)  I suggested that maybe he should help that person.  Here’s his response:

“Yeah, because two is better than one.”

Surprised by his answer, I told him that he was right.  “I learned that in church.” He said.  Instead of guilt and sadness for my child, I began to fill up with such pride.  But it didn’t stop there.  He started telling me more about his exchange with the two boys and how they told him that he was little.

“But you know what I told them?” He asked me.
“What sweetie?”
“I might be little, but I’m stronger than you.”
“You said that?”
“Uh huh.”

He’s four.  FOUR!  The pride that had been slowly rising may as well have trust out of the top of my head like a cartoon character.  This “little” boy had courage to stand up for himself, to not give those boys the upper hand, and knew to tell a grown up.

I had no idea I would be dealing with this type of situation so soon in my mom career.  To most moms, I’m still a rookie!  I didn’t know that I would have to prepare him for this type of behavior at this point in his life.  Maybe a kid not wanting to play with him or sticking their tongue out but not this.  Not bullying and threats.  But I forgot that he could be around bigger kids.  Kids who, nowadays, see too much and hear too much.  These kids use words without thinking, they repeat things they hear without know what they mean or the impact they can have.  Words that can frighten and, these days, can’t be taken lightly.  But the way that my son handled the situation is beyond what I could have ever imagined.  More than I could have imagined for kid, let alone a four year old.  I have never been more proud of my son.

And don’t you worry, I’ll be talking to the other mama just as soon as I can.  Confrontation or not!
XO, Kelly

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