You Time

You’ve heard of “Me Time” I’m sure. Finding ways to do something that you enjoy or that helps you relax or that is fun. It can be something you do alone or something you do with friends. It can also be a bubble bath or a little shopping trip or a pedicure. Anything that makes you happy and helps you unwind.

Some people, especially women, don’t make this a priority. They are so busy putting everyone else’s needs ahead of their own that they continue putting this on the back burner. That’s a bad thing, and here’s why. Doing something just for yourself is not selfish and it doesn’t mean that you are choosing to push your family’s needs behind your own. It’s actually healthy. Now, I’m not talking about going out every night or anything extreme – but once a month or once a week or once a day finding little ways to do something for yourself is healthy. Constantly sacrificing and doing things for everyone else is taxing and exhausting. If you don’t occasionally take a break you are likely to get stressed. And this means you’re more likely to get sick, get bad sleep, and feel resentful. None of those things are good.

I’m not saying you need to do anything extreme. Here are a few examples of how I handle “Me Time.” Sometimes after a long day when my husband gets home, I’ll go upstairs and take a bath. It’s nice for me to just sit for 20 minutes and be alone. Sometimes I read, but usually I just sit and enjoy the quiet. Another thing I do is at the end of the day, when everyone else is in bed, I’ll light candles in the fireplace (it’s not a fireplace we can actually burn wood in), put the heating pad on my back, lay on the couch with my softest blanket, and watch an episode of something I love on Netflix.

It’s also important that your spouse gets this time too. My husband will occasionally just lay on the bed and play games on his phone for 20 minutes. Sometimes he’ll take his kayak out for a few hours. These times are equally good and healthy for him.

The point is this. You need to make sure that you are giving yourself some time or fun or whatever you need to recharge and relax. Occasionally doing that is good for you and necessary. You can be your best self when you are happy, healthy, rested and fulfilled – and taking a little time for yourself here and there is an incredibly important part of being all of those things.

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How Do You Do It All?

How do we parents (Moms & Dads) manage to raise our children, work at our careers, keep the house clean, have a strong marriage, be a friend who is ever present, take “me” time, have date nights, and always be caught up on the laundry and the dishes?  The answer is: we can’t.

Throughout our lives all things will rank in one of four places. And they are:

  1. Immediate Need
  2. As Soon As Possible
  3. Eventually This Needs Done
  4.  Someday…hopefully

Now, many things will ebb and flow all over this list. Some days paying a bill or taking your child to practice may be sitting at number one. But let’s say you’ve scheduled time after that to see a movie with a friend, but she cancels. Well now you have 2 hours, and sometimes you’ll fill it with a #3 – or perhaps it’s a great time to finally tackle a #4. How you prioritize and handle your business is up to you. The important thing to remember is this – it is absolutely impossible to have all of it sitting in spot #1. You CANNOT possibly be everything to everyone at all times while simultaneously doing all of the things that need done and fit in some me time.

Not long ago I saw an article that a mother had written about how hectic things were for her. It started out with her morning, her getting up and getting her child ready – but then she said the housekeeper showed up. And I stopped reading. It’s not that she isn’t still busy, but that’s not something I can relate to. As a stay-at-home-mom, while I do have a small job also (it’s just a few hours a month), we can’t afford things like housekeepers or laundry services or a Nanny (we do have a babysitter we use from time to time – but still, not the same.) I think most of us are trying to do it all and all by ourselves. If we are lucky, and I am, we have a partner who is in it 100% with us to take half the load. Even then though, there are challenges.

I do little things to try to stay on top of things. Every night before bed I do the dishes. Once everyone is in bed I do the dishes so that in the morning they are done and I don’t have to find time. I will also not go to an area without taking something that needs to be put away. For example, if I need to run upstairs to get the baby a diaper, I take with me something that belongs up there and put it away. And when I come back downstairs, I do the same thing. If I’m going to the kitchen, I take the dirty dishes with me from the living room, etc. It takes no extra time really since you’re going there anyway. Another trick I use is this. I’ll set a timer. Say I want to clean up the living room. I’ll set a timer for 10 minutes. It helps me to stay focused on the task at hand and I find that I work faster and get more done because I don’t get sidetracked and also because there’s just something about that timer running that makes me haul a little ass!

You’ll see a lot of pictures and eventually videos in this little blog of mine. And the pictures will be nice and of clutter-free areas in my home. But rest assured – that’s not what my house looks like all the time. I typically have to move things out of the area. It’s what my house would look like if no one actually lived here.

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So the best advice I can give you is to give yourself a break. Find joy in the little things and know this: your children are only young once, and I can tell you that that time goes by faster than you can possibly imagine. Though you’ll have days where the minutes seem like hours, suddenly you’ll be standing beside them in their cap and gown on their graduation day – and you’ll be wondering how it could have possibly gone so fast. Please believe me, I speak from experience. So if the mess and chaos is getting to you on certain days, remind yourself of that. Someday they will grow up and move out. And your house will be clean. And oh, so quiet.

Champagne Taste and a Beer Budget

When I was 17 I went to the mall with one of my best friends, Shannon. We went to the Clinique counter because she needed something from there. She wore the good makeup from the department stores, I wore the drugstore makeup like Cover Girl. But at that time I had a job at McDonald’s. My Dad required that I put half of every paycheck into my savings (very smart advice) and the other half I could have. So on this particular day, Clinique was having a special gift with purchase. If you purchased a certain amount then they would give you a cute little bag with mascara, powder, a lipstick and eyeshadow in it. Those might not be the exact items, but you get the idea. Well I had my own money and I wanted the good makeup! So I bought a lipstick. Back then I want to say that their lipstick was around $11 or $12. So I felt like I had gotten a really good deal because I got all of those free items with my purchase. But when I got home, my dad saw the receipt and I got a lecture about spending that much money on makeup. He said that I couldn’t afford to shop there and that I had Champagne taste and a beer budget. I didn’t really know exactly what that meant because I’d never bought nor drank either of those things, but as I got older, I realized what he meant. And he was right. You put two things in front of me, say two purses. I will hate one and love the other. Then I’ll look at the prices. The one I hate is $29.99. The one I love is $379.99. It’s ridiculous and it happens with everything. So over the years I’ve found ways to have those champagne things on my beer budget. I shop at TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, Burlington Coat Factory and Tuesday Morning. Regardless of where I am, I hit up the clearance areas first. I don’t care if things are last season or last year. But I do want quality. Case in point, this wreath. A year ago I saw it at Kohl’s. I love wreaths but they are ridiculously expensive. At the time this wreath (made of dyed wood shavings and wood pieces) was $59.99. I checked another time when it was on sale and it was still around $30, and I didn’t want to pay that either. So I waited until the season was over, thinking I’d get it on clearance. But people had bought them all and none were on clearance. This year they were there again, same price. But this year when I went to the clearance aisle, there it was. For $5.99. Granted, one of the flowers and one of the stars were missing. But I just pulled one from the top of the wreath and filled it in. So I guess my point is this. Whatever it is that you want, whether it’s an item or a goal or a dream, find a way to get it. Sometimes it takes patience. Sometimes it takes working harder. Sometimes it takes creativity. Sometimes it comes in the form of assistance from others. Regardless, stay focused and motivated and find a way to get there.

Baby Love

Our littlest had her one month check-up at the pediatrician today. She is doing awesome! Our doctor said she is healthy and beautiful. She gained almost a pound since her last visit! The funniest thing happened while we were there though. I had told the receptionist that our baby was adopted when I made the appointment and we’ve been going there for probably 9 years, all of our kids go to the same doctor. And he has the same nurse who we see every time.

So we get there and the nurse takes us back to the office and she starts asking us questions. And they are all pretty typical newborn baby questions like how much did she weigh when she was born, how long was she, etc. But then she asks us if she was delivered vaginally or by C-section and Shawn and I just look at each other and I say, “Um, I don’t know. Vaginally?” And Shawn says, “Oh yeah, um, we never thought to ask that.” And the nurse is looking at us like we’re insane and I realize she doesn’t know that she’s adopted! So I tell her, and we had a laugh and she said that I didn’t look like I was pregnant the last time I was in there, but you never know and she never asks!

The love I have for our daughter is no different than the love I have for our sons. She is mine the same way that they are mine. When people ask how old she is I tell them and if they see the boys they say, “Oh you finally got your girl!” And I say “Yep, we sure did!” The only time that I mention that she’s adopted is if they tell me how great I look. It’s funny how people say that. Even when we had the boys people would say, “Are you going to try one more time for a girl?” Things like that bother and offend some people but they don’t bother or offend me. Maybe because I did always want to have at least one of each. So I can understand the inclination to want to raise both sons and daughters. I still can’t believe I finally get to have both ❤️

The Nom Nom Popcorn Company

Shawn and I saw this place today and we never even knew it was there! We went in and sampled several flavors and every single one was AMAZING. They have gourmet popcorn, gourmet cupcakes and specialty beef jerky. I highly recommend it. Here are the flavors we tried:

Buffalo Ranch, cotton candy, dill pickle, sea salt caramel chocolate, loaded baked potato, Carolina reaper, beer cheese soup, supreme pizza and grape. They were all good. The flavors we bought and brought home were Buffalo Ranch, dill pickle, cotton candy, and caramel sea salt chocolate drizzle. So in case you didn’t know it was there, they are in Belden Village, on Everhard by Arby’s.

Being Mom

I have been a mother for over 18 years now. I am Mom to an 18-year-old son, a 4-year-old son, a 2-year-old son, and an infant daughter. Our oldest is from my first marriage and our youngest is adopted. I think all of these things, from the age ranges in my children, to having one who was adopted and one who I brought into my marriage, gives me a unique perspective on being a Mom. And I have many ideas of what it means to me to be a mom, a wife, and still find a way to express myself, have passions, and be my own person. I think as women, we are constantly trying to find the right balance. I decided to create this blog to share our stories and my experiences, and hopefully to open up a dialogue where people can chat, learn, share and support one another! Thanks for reading, and in case you were wondering, you’re killing it being Mom ❤️