Friday, February 21, 2014

Avery and Her Scooter (Among other things)

We have a pretty spacious one story house with lots of hard floors, which is quite condusive to three year old, tri-wheel scooter riding. Avery rides hers everywhere she goes these days!! 

She also takes her unicorn every where with her!
I just can't believe how big she is. She is tooling around that thing on one leg, people. She's three. She simply must be the next ice skating Olympian.
This picture is a bit late, but look at our cute girls in their new chevron scarves!!

This was on a recent trip to Canton. Loads of fun.
And in other news, look what I have!!
I am officially official! I am so excited and I can't wait to get started!!!


Friday, February 14, 2014

Mommy Guilt on Valentine's Day

A few friends of mine posted on Facebook yesterday about feeling guilty about not doing super cute stuff for their kids for Valentine's day. Man, I know that feeling. Avery has now had four Valentine's parties in her life. Some years, I've sent really cute things with her. Other times, I haven't. It just really depended on what my week was like and what time I had to work on things. This year, I decided to have surgery the day before, so I sent FunDip Valentine's and store bought cupcakes to her party. My mom, luckily, made Avery a super cute shirt, so that was one less thing I had to worry about. Still, even though I was laying in bed, recovering from surgery, I still had the twinge of mommy guilt too, like, "I could have put more energy into this." "I could have come up with something cuter." Then, the Pinterest comes in, and you realize just how little you are measuring up to every other mom in the world.
I think going all out for holidays is great. Sometimes, I find myself going all out. One year, I made those melted crayon hearts in the oven and made a little gift bag of homemade treats I had created myself. It took me all night and I enjoyed it. It was fun for me to do that for her. But when it really came down to it, I did it for me. I did it because I loved to do it, it was fun. This year, I didn't feel like doing all of that. I didn't have the ability, anyway, so I just got stuff for the kids I thought a bunch of three years old would like - Fun Dip - and sent that. I "splurged" and spent a little more on the cupcakes with the rings on top to send to her class. And this year, that was OK. I had surgery and I still managed to get Valentine's to school and Valentine's to my kids at home.
Why, then, do we still feel like we could have done more? More, more, more?
I think it's wonderful when I look through my Facebook feed and see friends who have done all kinds of cute things for the holidays. And you will see, that some moms love some holidays more than others. A mom who might truly love Halloween and spends lots of time making a beautiful costume and does a great party might not do much for Valentine's. Or a mom who really loves July 4th will make big red, white and blue bows and spend 4 nights in a row to go see fireworks, won't get all in a fuss about Christmas. I feel like, we all have these grandiose ideas about the things we want to do for our kids for all of the holidays of the year. But ultimately, when it comes down to it, we celebrate and go "all out" for the holidays and events WE love the most, not necessarily what our kids love the most. Our kids could really care less what Valentine's we send with them to school. After I spent time feeling bad about not putting in more effort, Avery came home with the standard suckers and Valentine's. And that was great, Avery loved all that cheap candy. But you know, there are moms who truly love to go all out for Valentine's, and that's how they celebrate that holiday now. Their holiday is made complete because they came up with super cute ideas for treats and they spent time doing them for their kids. And that's OK too.
It's hard to keep up with everything. It really, really is. My mom is amazing at being proactive about holidays. She has probably already started looking for Easter stuff. She started working on that Valentine's shirt probably during Christmas. Her brain just works like that, and some mom's brains do. My brain doesn't always. I think I am doing good to have all of my kids Valentine's stuff bought a few days in advance.
But the bottom line is: no matter how much effort you put into going "all out" for holidays, or how this year, you just couldn't quite manage to get it all done to your own expectations, your kids will not love you or your efforts any less. Your kids will look back on their childhood and say, "I loved that my mom always made me great treats for Valentine's Day." or they'll say, "I loved that even though my mom worked 50 hours a week, she always managed to get my class Valentine's." Whatever memory it is, they will love it, because it will be a memory with you in it. They will know what you did for them, no matter how big or small, and they will look back with fond memories. So, when you are sitting at home looking over Mommy Guilt Website Pinterest, just remember. You are the best mom in the world to your child, and everything you do for them is special. And they love you the same and appreciate you the same, no matter what you could or couldn't do this year for Valentine's Day.
Happy Valentine's Day From Texas!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

My funny Valentine

Avery had her Valentine party at school today. Gigi made her a cute heart shirt to wear!!
I just had to post all of the pictures I took today because they are so darn cute.

This child. She is such a funny kid.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

My Birthday Lunch

My birthday is Tuesday, but the kids wanted to do something for me while they were here. So, they planned a lunch for me with Jason as a surprise. I came home from church (Jason stayed home with Avery cause she was coughing) and there was this sign on the door...

I went to my room and I saw this sign...

So, I happily changed into some comfy clothes and got under the covers to await my surprise.
The kids came and got me, and I came out to a fully prepared Italian meal of spaghetti parmesan (spiral noodles, with spaghetti sauce with cut up chicken nuggests) and it was DELICIOUS!!! I got to open my presents, and I got my most favorite things from each of the kids - COUPONS!!
From Avery:
From Sophia (sorry for the sideways shots)

And from Jordan (upside down? Sorry. He had several more, I really liked his, especially the one that says "1 free Harry Potter movie with me."

Then I got a beautiful chocolate cake, complete with trick candles and sprinkles...

Man, I am lucky to have these cutie pie munchkins in my life!!

And this guy, who put such thought into helping the kids give me a great birthday lunch.

I think Avery liked the cake.
I would say this birthday rivaled even the best birthday party, even ones where my meals cost a lot, at a professional restaurant. So glad I have such a great family!!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

An Open Letter To The Women Waiting For "That Guy" To Change (AKA, My 25 Year Old Self)

I've been sick this week. Coughing, not being able to sleep, congested, just not feeling good at all. It's been one of those weeks (like every other week) where I've needed the help of my husband for things, like dishes and laundry, taking care of our daughter, taking care of me. Much like any other time, my husband steps up without even having to be asked and does everything that needs "doing." He rubs my shoulders and fixes me dinner. He gets my medicine together. At 4 am, when I couldn't breathe and was coughing up a lung, he fixed me hot tea to soothe my throat and made sure I was comfortable so I could sleep. I know I don't talk about all of the wonderful things my husband does for me, it makes me sound spoiled (which I am) and lazy (which I probably am, too). My husband enjoys doing things for other people. It's just in his nature. If it wasn't me, it would be one of the kids. He rubs their backs to go to sleep, he fixes their plates, he watches anything they want on TV. He is just a giver at heart and loves to do things for other people, especially ones he cares about and loves. He makes me want to be a giver, too. I woke up early this morning, still coughing, still sick, and let him sleep in. I did the dishes and cleaned up, so he could get some much needed rest, too. It's a two way street in our house.
As I sat in bed, at 4 am, sipping the tea my husband so selflessly made for me, I couldn't help but think of myself at 25, in relationship after relationship with men who treated me terribly and couldn't care less about my well being. But, they said "they loved me."
Since I have been with Jason, I've been in the hospital three times. Once to have a baby, once with an infection, and once for surgery. Turns out, I am about to have surgery again, and I haven't once questioned whether my husband will be there for me. I've had surgery before in another relationship. Just a day surgery, but surgery. My boyfriend at the time took me to the hospital and took me back home. He was supposed to be taking care of me, I was taking pain pills and couldn't get around very well. He took me home, and put me in bed, then proceeded to tell me he'd need to leave to go play in a softball game with his friends. A game he never mentioned before. A game that was so important, he would rather leave me, freshly stitched up and floating on pain pills, by myself for several hours, while he went with his friends to play a game. I was furious. I was so disappointed. I couldn't believe it. He made me feel like I should have been grateful for the time he spent that day with me already, that somehow because he'd spent the majority of the day taking me where I needed to go, that I shouldn't be asking for more. He made me feel selfish and awful, begging him to stay with me, to take care of me. He left anyway. I was at home, alone, under the influence of pain pills, crying. Sobbing. So upset that a man who was supposed to love me would leave me when I needed him the most.
As I am thinking about going into surgery again, it's not even a question that my husband will be there. That he will take care of all of the little things that need taking care of. That he will be there to help me, to keep me comfortable, to lay with me, to love me. I never thought, when I was in the process of being treated awfully all those years, that this was what true love was.
I thought that true love was that "stomach flip" feeling of waiting for the guy you "loved" to call you or give you attention. Or show up somewhere you were at. Or to invite you out on a date. I thought love was giving the guy space to "change," accepting him for who he was, even if the person he was is a selfish, narcissistic, manipulator. I thought love meant waiting years for a man to change, to show you he really could be "that guy" for you. I spent so many years in relationships like that, never being abused per se, but just always settling for being treated less than how I deserved to be treated. I was always just accepting that things couldn't really be better, that there was no guy out there in the world that really would put my needs above his own, who would look at me and love me for every single thing I was, despite my flaws and shortcomings. I always thought, "He isn't really that bad of a guy, I mean, he doesn't hit me or abuse me, he's OK..." and it wasn't that these guys were bad guys, they just didn't love me the way I needed to be loved.
I never looked at the men I dated as husbands or fathers. I never thought, while I was waiting for them to change, what it would be like if we ever had children together. While I was begging them to love me and take care of me, that I would probably have been suffering through motherhood on my own. That I would be doing all of the things around the house without help because if that guy can't love you and take care of you the way you need now, he will never be able to do it for his family. I never thought at the time of the type of marriage I wanted. The type of marriage where we both listened to each other, wanted the best for each other, would do things for each other. The type of marriage where God is the center. I wasn't thinking that far ahead. I just saw the person I was with as the best I could do. The best I could get. And I accepted it for so long. It was so hard. Every day was a struggle. Every day was "what kind of person would this guy be today?" Never the same. One day, he was loving. The next day, he was distant. It was heartbreaking. It was less than I deserved.
When I met Jason, things were easy. He was the same way, every single day. He loved me from the start, wanted to marry me from the start. I never questioned his love for me. I watched him be a dad, the kind of dad I wanted for my child to have. I watched him be a boyfriend, then a fiancée, then a husband. I have watched him, now, for four years of marriage (almost!) and I never, ever take for granted his love for me. I always try to give back to him what he gives to me. He makes me want to be the best person I can be. He tells me to pray to God when I need guidance. He prays for me. He is a Godly man. He is a man I never thought could exist, until one day, I told God, "No more guys that treat me badly, God. I promise. I will stop thinking I know the guy that's best for me, and I will accept the guy you send for me." A month later, Jason came back into my life. I knew this relationship was different, it would be better. It ended up being better than I ever dreamed it would or could be.
So, if you are in a relationship right now, and that person wouldn't get up with you at 4 am to take care of you when sick, or wouldn't be there for you, without a doubt, when you needed it the most, or you couldn't imagine him as a father to your children, or he has shown you time and time again how selfish he is, run. Run away. There is someone out there that is SO MUCH BETTER. There is someone out there who'll love you and accept you and be there for you. You just have to know you are good enough to deserve it.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Why I Love "The Goldbergs"

I don't see a lot on Facebook or in the news about the ABC TV comedy "The Goldbergs," and frankly, it makes me sad. This show is one of my new favorites and I'd like to think I have pretty great taste in TV shows, especially TV shows that aren't always on the "grid" of popularity.
Why do I love "The Goldbergs," you ask? Well, for starters, what is this show about? This show is about a family of 5, along with their grandpa, set in the 80's. Yep, the 80's. Score "1" just because of the decade. Basically, the creator, Adam Goldberg, used to video record home movies of his family as a kid. He uses a clip from these actual moments and creates an episode around them (at the end, he shows the actual footage, which is the coolest part, in my opinion). This show is incredibly inventive with storylines and incredibly nostalgic. Every episode transports me back to my youth - the music, the clothes, the décor in the house, the toys, the movies they refer to, the TV shows, everything - it just brings me back to a time in my life I remember vividly and love to see.
The kids in this show are really funny. Barry, the older brother, is as dorky as they come (but doesn't seem to realize it), but positive and annoying to his other siblings. Erica is the typical, cool, pretty older sister, complete with sideways ponytails and fashion as cool as slap bracelets. Adam is the youngest, and the one whose older voice (much like The Wonder Years) narrates the episodes. The mom, Beverly, is a stay at home mom with great sprayed-stiff hair and awesome clothes. The dad, Murray, is the typical sitcom dad, with the grandpa, Pops, as the retired widower reliving his dating days at dark bars and with women half his age.
I just love this show. I love this show because each episode refers to a time of now (2014) and how things were different back then, before social networking, blogs, internet, and cable TV. For example, they had an episode about the wonder and greatness of visiting the local "video store," and the saga of renting a video (late fees and an actual video card). Another episode focused on Beverly being "the original E-Harmony and, with a passion for setting people up with their soul mates." Every single episode takes me back to a time in my life and gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling.
I really encourage you to watch this show. Yes, the kids will say an occasional "curse" word every now and then, but for some reason, it never bugs me, it just adds to the charm. And it makes me want to look at old pictures and wear shirts with shoulder pads.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Family Photo Shoot

So, since Jason and I have started taking professional pictures, we have always had a family photographer. Allison is wonderful and we love her dearly. She shot our very first family photos, our engagement pictures, my bridal pictures, and our wedding, along with other pictures along the way. Allison is so talented and I KNEW when I got her for our wedding as a college freshman, we were in good hands. A few months ago, she decided to move out of Texas. I was so sad because I knew she'd be here sometimes to visit family, but not always. But, I was always hesitant to find another photographer because I felt like I was cheating!! Well, this wonderful photographer has been photographing families at our church and her pictures have always turned out beautifully, so when she was giving away a free Valentine's mini-session, I just had to throw my name in the hat! And I was so psyched when her adorable daughter pulled my name out of the hat and we won!! The name of her business is 3 Birds Photography...Meg is wonderful. She knows what she is doing, she is organized and she knows how to handle kids!
We just LOVED how our pictures came out. I am so thrilled!!

Thank you Meg!!!