Just One

I recently joined a local MOPS group and during introductions, we were to say how many kids we have. My response to all of the second-time and third-time moms was, “just one”. In that instant, the mentor mom looked me straight in the eye and said, “It’s never ‘just’ one”.  While it may seem that with ‘just’ one, my days are easier or my heart less full, than those with more children, the reality is that my days are still just as stressful, and my heart as full as the mom of two, three, four, or five.

I may not dole out 4 kisses to 4 different children, but I can still give 4 kisses to my little 1. I may not read 3 different books to satisfy 3 different tastes, but I can read the same book 3 times or even read those 3 different books to my little 1. It doesn’t matter that I have less mouths to feed or less little people to care for, what matters is that I am a mom, like all other the other moms at the table, and I am doing my best to lovingly raise this little human who has my whole heart wrapped up in one little finger.

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Spending Your Summer Like a Chic Celeb! (Guest Post)

Spending Your Summer Like a Chic Celeb!

Everyday Mom Ideas

    Although there is plenty to enjoy about spending time with your kids during the summer, my friends and I were feeling a bit envious for the same luxuries that starlets get to enjoy, such as tanning on a yacht in St. Tropez or spending the evening at a chic awards show. While we lounged by the pool with our pitcher of sangria, we decided that this summer would be different for us. Instead of being just a couple of moms stuck in the suburbs, we’d truly step this summer up and live like a celebrity!

CELEBRITY SUMMER: MOVIE PREMIERES

With summer blockbusters like  “Man of Steel” and “The Smurfs 2”, there are plenty of red carpets for celebs to treat just like another day at work! These events allow stars to bounce from country to country via expensive private jet to promote their latest flick. From Henry Cavil to Adam Sandler, there will be no shortage of movie stars and premieres gracing the pages of Us Weekly!

REAL-LIFE SUMMER: FAMILY TRIP TO THE MOVIES

Although it may not be possible to fly by jet to see the summer’s most anticipated movies, a trip to the movies can still allow you to have fun in a frosty, air conditioned atmosphere. With many movie theaters offering new rewards programs that earn you perks for every dollar spent, a trip to the movies doesn’t have to break the bank! Between “Despicable Me 2” and “Monsters University,” there are a few opportunities to snack on Twizzlers and have a day out with the kids!

CELEBRITY SUMMER: TOUR DE FRANCE

This annual race is one of the most popular sporting events of the season, which made Lance Armstrong a household name before he was disqualified. The competition is thrilling and fierce with only the best cyclists going head to head around curves for a chance to win large monetary prizes for the winners! This year Chris Froome proudly took the title in the 100th anniversary of the race.

REAL-LIFE SUMMER: WHEELS PARTY

Host your own sporting event right in the neighborhood for local kids to participate in and get some exercise! Allow bicycles, skateboards, and rollerblades to compete while creating a racing track that is safe and away from traffic. Provide refreshing wheel shaped treats such as grapes, cheerios, and donuts for rest breaks!

CELEBRITY SUMMER: “ALICE IN WONDERLAND” BABY SHOWER

Kim Kardashian’s celeb make-up artist, Joyce Bonelli, celebrated her baby with an Alice in Wonderland themed shower! Colorful cookie displays and creative decorations transformed the environment into a playful setting.

REALITY SUMMER BABY SHOWER: DIY FAVORITE KIDS BOOK THEME

Use your favorite childhood book as inspiration for a baby shower!  Use the colors from the book to decorate the space and create a stunning setting for your guests to enjoy. Ask each guest to place the title of their favorite childhood book in a jar placed at their table and what they want the expectant child to learn from it. The suggestions can be placed in a memorable scrapbook for the child to reference for their first trip to the library!

 

Arianna is a full-time mom and a fashion-lover, world traveler, animal lover, and family woman extraordinaire. She loves to cook and bake, travel to new places, share great fashion finds, and spend time doing crafts and projects at home with her kids. She’s got a crazy busy life, but she wouldn’t have it any other way! Follow her blog at http://ariannaknowsbest.blogspot.com/!

Shop Like a Boss!

I am hosting a HUGE sale right now!

Screen Shot 2013-07-18 at 11.09.13 AMSHOP LIKE A BOSS!
Orders will process on July 30
Spend $30 in our current catalog and then shop our outlet for amazing deals on your favorites.

Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Visit my party link: http://www.myinitials-inc.com/shop/eventhome.aspx?eventId=E88288&from=DIRECTLINK

Step 2: Purchase an item at regular retail price totaling a minimum of $30

Step 3: Then click on the Outlet Sale Category. All of the sale items will appear

Step 4: Select the sale items you adore. Note: Outlet products will display at full retail price until placed into the shopping cart. See photos below for outlet pricing.

Step 5: Make your purchase and relish in the notion that you are one savvy shopper!

Message with questions or if you need like help with your order!

 

Planning for Meal Times

Next to spending so much time with Bubsy, my favorite part of being a SAHM is having the time and energy to cook. I think my husband is enjoying this part as well. I even had a Pinterest moment when I made my weekly menu board! Look at me go!

My Pinterest worthy menu board!

My Pinterest worthy menu board!

Some ways I have found to stay organized and under budget each week are…

1. SHOP IN YOUR FRIDGE/PANTRY FIRST

I create my weekly menu based on what I already have in stock. Canned chicken and Mexican cheese blend= quesadillas! All I need to grab at the store are tortillas. My first week of shopping in my pantry was great! I cleared out a lot of canned/boxed food that was collecting dust (yummy!), and I was able to master my culinary creativity. This last Sunday, I only spent $60 in groceries for the entire week! The other benefit is that I make sure to use all of my perishable food.

2. STRETCH THE SAME INGREDIENTS INTO MULTIPLE MEALS

I am not talking about leftovers! I have a lot of minute rice, so I have tried in incorporate rice into several meals. For example: Chicken, Veggie and Rice stir-fry on Monday and Broccoli, Cheese and Rice casserole on Tuesday. This ensures that I only need to buy a few ingredients each week, which equals lots of savings.

3. USE COUPONS TO GUIDE YOUR MENU

Stumped for what to do that week? “Shop” the circulars, just like you would your pantry.

4. RESERVE A SPECIFIC DAY FOR PLANNING AND SHOPPING

I always pick one day (Sunday) to take care of cleaning out the fridge/pantry, planning dinners for the next week, creating a list, and going to the grocery store. I love Sundays because they are more relaxed; we usually don’t have big plans, and my husband can watch Bubsy, so I have time at the store to really compare prices and ensure that everything on my list is accounted for.

5. MAKE A LIST AND STICK WITH IT!

I try really, really, really hard to get everything I need written down and to use my list at the store. It’s something I am still working on. Eventually, I hope to never buy anything that is not already on the list. On the other side, I try not to go to the store at all during the week. If I forgot an ingredient, I try to be creative and work around it.

 

I’m still working each week to become stronger in my meal planning/shopping skill set! If you have any additional suggestions, I would to hear about them!

Maternity leave

So I said in my “My Space” that I would tell ya’ll more about maternity leave (ML) later- I guess now is later!

I took ML a week early because I had some crazy Braxton-hicks and didn’t want to go into labor in front of all my students. Plus, the doctor had told me on Wednesday September 26 that there would be no way I would make it to the weekend; in fact, she would be “SHOCKED” if I had this baby in October… fast forward to a WEEK later, October 3rd! ah, first thing I said when the OB go to the delivery room, “You’d be shocked?!?” Oh well, it makes for a great story, and even better when I add that I went into labor at Walmart (gotta keep it classy afterall!)

Okay, back to ML… everything was going great, except I was exhausted, having trouble breast feeding, awkwardly dealing with all of the family in town, trying to keep the house together, trying to be supermom/wife from the get-go… Okay, so things were hectic and crazy, not really great. In fact, I’ll admit that after bringing home the baby, my husband and I even had an open conversation that could be titled, “what were we thinking?!”

Luckily, within a week, things started to balance out. The extended family went back to normal, my husband went back to work, and here I was with this little-bitty baby, still trying to breastfeed. We had finally fallen into a good routine when BAM! I got mastitis and my supply plummeted. Breast-feeding went from awfully terrible to tremendously impossible! All of this, combined with the fact that I was still trying to be super mom and wife stressed me out… at least, I thought I knew what stress was, until I got a stomach bug ON TOP OF the mastitis. Then, I just couldn’t eat. So here I was, not eating, not sleeping, and in a lot of pain. At 6am on a Friday morning, I collapsed in the kitchen. My husband had to call his mom to come watch the baby, so I could get to the hospital for fluids.

Thank God for Mother-in-laws (said no one before me, ever!) But seriously, thank God for mine. She drove all the way from Houston on a moment’s notice, so I could go get healthy.

After my half-day in the hospital, I felt better and was ready to turn things around. My OB made me quit breast-feeding (I gave it my best shot and it just wasn’t working), I started eating again, and I started taking naps when the baby would sleep, so I could catch up on rest.

So why did I still think I could never be a SAHM? Simple. I was lonely and bored. We had just moved to our new house far north of our previous place; my best friend had just moved to England, and none of my other friends lived near me anymore. Either way, no one else I knew had a baby. So…  I took my baby up to my workplace at least twice a week, just so I could be around people! I just needed some real human contact, and I am not great at meeting new people. Also, moms scared me. I thought, her I am this young mom with w new baby. All other moms are just going to judge me..right? I couldn’t be more wrong! Thanks to a few phone calls with a friend of mine, I was convinced to put myself out there.  I took Bubsy to the “babies and books” program at the library where I met several new moms- including one from my neighborhood. She in turn got me hooked into this neighborhood play date group. Another new mom I met has become my newest close friend, and she recently got me into this ‘exclusive’ new moms meet-up group.

By the time ML was over, I was ready to get back to work and routine, but my new friendships and love for my baby planted the seed of thought that I might just be able to do to SAHM thing.

Maternity-leave

awww…. nap time

Ahhh… nap time. After a crazy week volunteering for VBS (think 1,000+ energetic kids in a screaming contest) and trying to get this house back to order, I am relishing the quiet. So, speaking of getting things back in order, I spent some evenings staying up way too late scouring Pinterest for how to schedule my days.

 

Since I am treating each day like a workday, I wanted to “schedule” each day for certain ‘to dos’. I figured this might ensure the housework is kept up as needed, but I don’t wear myself out each day trying to get it ALL done. After all, for years while I was working, I let the house go all week, and then we would have a “cleaning times” on the weekends to clean up everything. This means, it is taking some adjustment to only work on the one area designated. So what I came up with is the beginnings of a weekly cleaning schedule. It is a living, breathing document (my speak for it will change as needed), but this is just to get me started

So here it goes:

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EVERYDAY: I figured that there would need to be daily chores- easy, simple ones

–       Wash dishes (basically just make sure the sink is clear)

–       Wipe counters and dining room table (living out in the semi-country allows for pesky little pests, so I try and keep any remnants of food cleared away)

–       Quick pick-up (just toys, shoes, and what-nots that end up lying around)

–       Take out trash (again, those pesky little pests)

–       _____________________ I left myself a blank space just to have a visual to complete whatever else I think in necessary for that day.

Note that ‘making the bed’ is not on my everyday. I hope to make this more of a habit vs. a chore <- is that weird?

MONDAY/TUESDAY: I always felt while working that Mondays were my most productive days. Just coming off the weekend, I felt refreshed and geared up for the week ahead. With that being said, I planned for Mondays and Tuesday to be my most tedious cleaning days.

WEDNESDAY: Library Day and the day I start to lose my ambition for the week. When working, Wednesday meant the next day was Thursday, which meant the next day was Friday and no one likes to work on Fridays; therefor, by Wednesday, I don’t want to do anything… ever. My apathy for Wednesday work is the reasoning behind the easy clean day, just Nathan ‘s room and the study.

THURSDAY: I love Thursdays! It’s probably because I’m nostalgic over “Thirsty Thursdays” (our party night) in college. It also means the weekend is coming. I scheduled to take care of bedrooms and bathrooms because I can have them fresh and ready for any guests that might be joining us over the weekend.

FRIDAY: Forget Sunday Funday! I like to think of Fridays as my play day. At work, Fridays were always so relaxed, from jeans to movie days to taking it easy on the students, I like to really take it easy as my way of preparing for the weekend.  So… Fridays are for the fluffy stuff. I still was to be productive, just a little looser with my plan. I have left Friday as the take out trash, organizing, and make-up day. Just a note on the organizing- I tend to go crazy once I start, so again, I limited myself to 1 (maybe 2) organizational tasks for the day… i.e. Clean out the pantry, sort the junk drawer, purge the medicine cabinet etc…

As for SATURDAY and SUNDAY, I am trying my best to stay out of cleaning mode, but it isn’t entirely possible.

I’m baaaacckkkkk

So obviously, with my week+ long absence, being a SAHM has shown to be very challenging. One thing I really miss- email/computer time! I guess I was pretty ambitious (okay, naïve) when I thought I’d start blogging…daily. Ha! I think, however, I will be back more often as Nathan and I start to get into a rhythm. It seems so far that major nap times are around 10:30 and 4:30 with a cat nap in between. I have officially started my weekly cleaning schedule as well. I will share that as soon as it is refined. Overall, I am LOVING this new job. I will say I thought I would have more energy, but this kid is wearing me out!

Missing my computer breaks already!

Missing my computer breaks already!

YOLO!

As my time as a teacher comes to a close, I find myself still having “teacher” thoughts. For example, this morning, the radio DJ starting talking about how “amazing” has been rated as the most overused word in 2011, 2012, and now 2013. He then played a clip from a video someone put together on YouTube of the British X-factor judges demonstrating his point. I started mentally constructing a magnificent (notice I didn’t use ‘amazing’) lesson plan about word choice and using higher level language. That’s when the reality of this life change hit me. I am definitely excited, but simultaneously, I am scared. How are we going to manage on one paycheck? What if I hate it? Am I really ready to do what I never thought I could? The simple answer: I just don’t know. What I do know is that Bubsy is already 8 months old, and I feel I have missed so much; so, I guess I am just going to jump into this amazing (yup! I said it) new adventure screaming YOLO!

God’s Will

Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 

Before I was really ready to confront my husband with the resolve to stay home, I put my options in the Lord’s hands. I prayed for God to send me in the direction the He wanted. Is my calling to stay home and raise my family, or is it to continue teaching, but in a new venue? Shortly after our little chat and the death of my boss, God put it on my heart to stay home. My husband knew I was serious when I came to him with tears in my eyes stating that “I will do whatever it takes, even sell my car”. He knew I was serious when I offered up my precious Acadia, and I think he really was hoping I would make the decision I did because he hugged me and while he held me, said we didn’t have to do that.

Fast forward a couple months later. I put in my notice at work, I told all of my friends, and I started a blog about staying home, and then the phone rings. A certain prominent ISD wants to interview me for a wonderful position. He we go, Lord. Is this a trick? A test? I had applied to this district before I made my decision, and I didn’t pursue it any further thinking I didn’t need to anymore. Also, a few days later, I ran into a neighbor/friend who was trying to help me get a job in my dream ISD- the one in which I reside.  A few months ago, it had appeared that no positions would be available and working in this ISD would be a fay away fantasy… WRONG! She informed me that not only had a position opened up at her school, but also, one opened up on her team, and she could get me an interview. Geeeeezzzzzz….. What is a girl of God supposed to do with that?! I still don’t know. I told her I had decided to stay home, but I am really questioning my decision. I am going to interview next week with the first ISD, and I am hoping that God shows where He wants me to be.

help

 

 

Monsters

The Moore, OK tornado made my heart hurt so badly. I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose Bubsy at all- let alone under those horrifying circumstances. My stomach turns when I see the images and hear the tragic stories of children gone too soon. The tornado happened on Monday, and big storms were headed towards Dallas come Tuesday. I was a nervous wreck the entire morning. My head understands that the chances of an EF-5 or EF-5 hitting two days in a row are slim to none, but my heart was irrational, and I couldn’t stop picturing one of those monsters barreling towards my son’s day care center. All day at work, I kept a nervous eye on the weather, wishing it was June 11th already, and I could be at home with Bubsy all of the time. Luckily (maybe sadly), most of the metro-plex was nervous and a lot of schools let their students get home early (before the big storms were due) including my campus.

As I rushed towards the day care, the ominous clouds formed in my rear view mirror. I was being unreasonable to panic so much, so I called my oldest and best friend to gain some perspective. I told her how I couldn’t figure out why I was so anxious- that it was shaping up to be just another regular storm. Her response made it so clear, “you are not in control. It didn’t matter before Bubsy, but now you have him to make it matter”. *palm meet forehead* I was having a mom moment. This is part of motherhood I have come to loathe. I hate the constant and often ridiculous worries I have. I hate the nightmare, the staring at the monitor in the middle of the night and secretly hoping he wakes to tell you he is alive. I hate that I have to trust another to care for him. I hate not being in complete control.

One thing for certain is that I have built a stronger relationship with God since discovering I was pregnant because the power of prayer helps to drown out the constant din of uneasiness. So for Moore, for my son, for their future, for his, I will just pray. I will pray for the monsters in life to stay away.

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