Just a Little Bit Crazy

I had a freak out this past weekend. I have a bad temper that only my husband and kids are “blessed” to witness. I’m ashamed to admit that. I yell. I throw things. I get over-the-top angry. I storm around, slamming doors and locking myself in the bathroom. Better to be locked behind a door with everyone else on the outside. I can’t hurt anyone’s feelings in there. I cry it out. I wash my face. My anger simmers down. And I come out, embarrassed.

I truly hate those angry flare ups. In the moment I’m certain that I’m right to have anger. It just seems to right. I have a point, damn it. Why do I have to yell, shout, cry and get MAD just to express myself?! I guess I don’t. Nobody HAS to get mad. But it feels like the right thing to do in the moment. Until afterwards, of course. When the dust settles and I realize that I truly freaked out and usually don’t even remember what it was that I was flipping out about.

A Little Bit Crazy

Sometimes I think I have a bit of a crazy streak and it scares me. Crazy tempers tend to run in the family. I’ve heard the stories and they aren’t pretty. My mom, wanting to break the pattern, used to scream, “Get out of the house!” when she was mad at me. She didn’t want to resort to spanking so it was better for her to make me leave. And I would, running out the front door to escape, letting the screen door slam behind me.

Knowing my mom now, the calm grandma who regularly has upwards of 5 kids in her house at one time, it’s hard to see the temper. I can’t remember the last time I saw her “crazy” surface. With time her temper has faded, with calm and patience smoothing over the crazy cracks.

I worry that the crazy temper has painted me in a unflattering light for my husband. He’s got a bit of the crazy in him (he’ll freely admit that, I’m not letting any skeletons out of the closet there). But it seems that when I’m around him lately every small slight becomes a major offense in my eyes. Every comment he makes to me is taken as a slap in the face. I’m challenged to breath deep and give myself internal time outs. But I’m struggling and it feels wrong to let everything go when in the moment, I’m hurting. In the moment, I feel like the wild animal that just needs to roar.

Why Do I Allow That Behavior?

I worry even more that my temper is becoming normal for my kids to witness. Would I ever let my kids stomp off, muttering unflattering words? Would I let my kids storm away from the table and lock themselves in the bathroom? Would I tell my kids it was okay to scream frustrations at the top of their lungs?

Nope. Not once would I ever let that sort of behavior slide from my kids. And yet, they witness Mom doing these things on the regular. It turns my stomach thinking about it and I hope it’s not too late. I pray that they haven’t picked up lifelong issues from seeing my temper flare in front of them.

I love my children. I love my husband. And I’m pretty sure that I’m not certifiably crazy. I’m totally able to control my temper when I need to. I don’t know why some days I’m a saint of patience around my family and other days I’m a caged tiger let loose, fangs flashing. Hormones? Pent up frustration? Who knows.

For many who know me and have never seen a speck of temper flare up in me, that’s proof – I am in control of my mood. So why do I feel so “comfortable” with my children and husband, those I love the most, that I would allow them to witness such a nasty side of me?

 

I’m ashamed to admit I let my temper go around the ones who love me most.

Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. -James 1:19

Oh boy. That’s a hard one to take in. Nobody’s off the hook on that one – “Let every person”, He says. He doesn’t say anything about those who were offended, that it’s okay then to lash out. He doesn’t excuse moms who get mad when their husbands diss their cooking or the kids are misbehaving. He says, “Every person”.

Quick to Hear

Hearing isn’t the problem. I hear it all. I hear too much, in fact. I let what was actually said develop its own personality and twist into something totally different.

When I hear my husband say, “I saw some moms running together at the trail today”. What my brain processed was, “I saw moms running. Why aren’t you running? You should run, too. What’s stopping you from running? If you were running, maybe you’d be in better shape. Julie, I don’t respect you because you walk instead of run. Why did I ever marry a girl who doesn’t run?” My mind literally jumped from that simple comment to the commentary in my head and I could feel the burn of outrage flaring inside me.

Perhaps for me, “Quick to hear” should be hearing only what is said and not elaborating or embellishing in between the lines.

Slow to Speak

Notice “Slow to speak” comes before anger. Because if we carefully construct our words and take the time before speaking, the anger probably won’t develop at all. I feel like I very rarely stop before speaking. Perhaps it’s because I’m the mom of four and the chatter is astounding at times. I often feel like I’m having to talk above it, louder and faster to be heard. But I don’t think I’m being heard even with that tactic.

Perhaps not speaking at all will “speak volumes” instead? Maybe I need to learn to hold my tongue and let what it only truly mulled and processed release into speech.

Slow to Anger

I’m praying that by training myself on the first two points, anger will be slow to come or will not develop at all. I truly pray that the anger I’ve been feeling, that the madness, the crazy side of me fades into something that used to happen. And that all traces of “mom’s freak out” will be a thing of the past, not something that my children remember as life shaping.

I don’t think it’s too late to make amends on this. I don’t think it’s ever too late to make changes when you really want to. I’m so well loved. Even if my temper does flare occasionally. I’m well loved, even if I am a little bit crazy.

Confessions of a First Time Coach – 7 Ways I’m Shredding It!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BornToShred #ShredTheDay #CollectiveBias

Each day that I wake up, I’m thankful. I might not have received the best rest the night before (not always possible with a teething toddler!). And I’m still working through the chronic back pain that has plagued me since I was pregnant. But I don’t want to make excuses anymore! I’m thankful for the ability to do what I can. There are so many ways I still want to push myself to become a better mom, a healthier person, a more well-rounded me! And I was starting to see the disappointed looks on the faces of my kids when I’d tell them I was too tired or hurting too much to be able to play with them. Talk about the best incentive to get better, right?

First Time Coach Confessions

In late summer I signed up my kindergartner for soccer. There was a call for coaches and I immediately started thinking about who I knew in my family that could help. My husband works full time and also goes to night school, so as much as he’d love to volunteer I knew he was out. And then it hit me, “Why can’t I be the coach?”

This is new territory for me. I’ve never coached soccer before. In fact, I haven’t played soccer since I was 12. I used to be extremely athletic but have a back injury that I’m working through therapy for. However I really wanted to push myself into learning something new and being more involved with my kid’s activities. After some consideration, I registered as head coach. Way to jump in with two feet!

Here are a few tips and honest thoughts about being a first time coach. I’ve learned a LOT in the last few months of coaching and would like to share how I’m pushing myself to learn and grow as much as my players.

1. Build Up Stamina

There’s no way I could have just leapt into coaching without first getting into shape myself. I’ve been going to the gym several times a week and walking at least 30 minutes per day. It’s been all about moving more and sitting less to build up my stamina for playing soccer with these 8 little boys!

2. Get Help

As soon in the season as you can, seek out parent volunteers. I wasn’t unable to secure an assistant coach so it’s me, all by myself, on the field at practices and games. It can really be a challenge to set up drills during practice when you’re the only adult because with 8 players, I’m definitely out numbered! Having a “team parent” help with coach/parent communication is imperative. It’s best to have another parent available for collecting money for the team banner, arranging a snack schedule and ordering trophies.

3. Open Communication with the Parents

With texting it’s so easy to send a quick reminder to all my player’s parents about upcoming practices and games. In addition I send a weekly email with details about upcoming games, I go over the “game focus” and bring up anything that’s too long for a text.

4. Have a “Game Focus”

Each week at practice in addition to the usual drills like dribbling, passing and kicking, I have my players work on a predetermined “game focus”. Our focuses have been, “Corner kicks”, “Turning the ball around” and “Follow up”. After one week’s game when a player on the other team was taunting our players, our game focus was “Good sportsmanship”. We discussed how to handle things if another player is acting rude. Having a focus at each game reminds my players what we worked on in practice.

5. Move More, Talk Less

I try to keep my “coach talks” to less than 30 seconds each time. 8 boys tend to get pretty wild and they don’t listen much after thirty seconds of talk! Showing rather than explaining goes farther. I also find that if I’m silly their ears perk up and they’re more apt to listen!

6. Keeping It Fun

Let the game be a game and just have fun! Our division doesn’t keep score (though of course, each of my players has their own tally of the goals!). I always allow plenty of time at practice after our drills to just have a fun scrimmage against each other. Sometimes we even play 8 against 1 and the boys try to score past me!

7. Healthier Body for More Energy

Just as I always insist that my little players eat a well-rounded meal before a game, I’m setting a good example as well. I need good fuel for practice and games. For me, that’s Post Shredded Wheat Cereals.

These new Shredded Wheat flavors help me kick start my day. My son and I picked up Mixed Berry and Cinnamon Roll at Walmart. S’mores Bites is another new variety available. Just the right amount of sweet with the heartiness of the shredded wheat cereal. You can also earn $3 cash back on Post Shredded Wheat cereals on ibotta as well!

Before the Saturday game, my son and I make sure to take time for a bowl of cereal together. We chat a bit about the upcoming game, talk about the game focus and then pack up the mini van with our game ball and banner.

Pin this post to save for later and check out these Post cereal recipes on the Pinterest Page.

“This Time I Really Mean It” – The Good Health Snowball Effect

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and the Coca-Cola Company. All opinions are mine alone. #NourishOnTheGo #SnackWithPurpose #CollectiveBias

How many times I’ve said that phrase, “I’m going to get healthy this time, I really mean it!” Only to fall off the wagon as soon as a piece of chocolate cake crosses my path. Unfortunately chocolate cake seems to cross my path frequently and I’m off the wagon more than I’m on it! Now that I’m reaching my mid-40s and starting to see the effects that years of neglect (and too much chocolate cake) have done to me, I’m finally seeing the light. I’m making little changes for a big difference. I’m getting serious about my health and am pushing myself to finally make good on all the promises to improve my eating and exercise habits. This time, I really DO mean it.

These 5 little ways can help you meet your goals in a good health snowball effect. #NourishOnTheGo #ad

Odwall Chocolate Protein, a much better choice than cake!

Holding Myself Accountable

It’s easier to stick to my goals if I hold myself accountable. For me, that means choosing people I trust to lovingly nag me! Yeah, I probably don’t really want to hear the question, “Did you go to the gym today?” when I decided to skip going. But if I KNOW that someone is going to ask me every day, then I’m more likely to go. That way I can say, “Yep! Already went to the gym first thing in the morning!”. Opening up to people who can gently guide you towards your goals helps you to stay on track.

Healthy Living Tip#1 – Choose your inner circle of people whom you trust to lovingly ask you about your healthy journey. Choose one person for each task, someone to ask you about exercise, another to ask you if you ate a healthy breakfast, someone else to ask you if you’re drinking water. A text is good, a phone call is better and someone actually in your face is optimal (and not as easy to ignore!)

These 5 little ways can help you meet your goals in a good health snowball effect. #NourishOnTheGo #ad

Little Goals Are Still a Big Deal

Though of course I have the big picture in mind, setting smaller goals helps me stay focused. If I concentrate on losing 5 lbs at a time, this seems more “do-able” than the entire 25 I need to tackle. And if I remind myself that 30 minutes of moving is all I need daily, once I already have my gym clothes on I’m more likely to stretch that 30 minutes into an hour.

Healthy Living Tip#2 – Even if my goals are small, they’re still important to me. Set goals in manageable chunks so they seem easier to accomplish.

Make It Prominent for All to See

After years of breaking my healthy living promises, I don’t trust myself. It’s way too easy for me to hide the sweets and eat them all myself after everyone is in bed. It’s too easy to just let the exercise slide and soon enough, it’s been weeks since I put on my gym shoes. I’ve decided to make a checklist that I’m displaying on the fridge. Then everyone in the family can see it, good or bad.

Healthy Living Tip#3 – Sure, smart phone apps are handy for keeping track of this stuff, but it’s for your eyes only and too easy to hide. If I don’t have it on display for all to see, it’s way too easy for me to blow it off. Maybe you’re the same way? I have a check list on the fridge that outlines if I’ve exercised, how many cups of water I’ve had and my food log.

These 5 little ways can help you meet your goals in a good health snowball effect. #NourishOnTheGo #ad

Do the Same Thing Everyday

Getting into a healthy pattern takes practice. For me, it helps to do the same things day in and day out. Wake up and put on my gym clothes. Exercise before I can talk myself out of it. Eating a good breakfast is part of what I’ve added to my routine too. It’s easiest and most reliable for me to grab and go breakfast in the mornings. Having an Odwalla before I hit the gym ensures I have good nutrition in my body to sustain me for a workout.

Healthy Living Tip #4 – What are the things you can make routine? If you’re currently in a rut, how can you switch things up for repeat success?

The Good Health Snowball Effect

When I’m working out regularly I’m encouraged to eat better as well. I don’t want to ruin my workout by eating something that will cause me to backtrack. Having Odwalla on hand helps me to make the best choices when refueling.

These 5 little ways can help you meet your goals in a good health snowball effect. #NourishOnTheGo #ad

My local Vons has a large juice section in the fresh produce department with a fantastic variety of Odwalla 100% juices and smoothies, protein and almond milk shakes. Ingredients are non-GMO, have no added sugar and taste great. I had no idea there were so many varieties of Odwalla!

These 5 little ways can help you meet your goals in a good health snowball effect. #NourishOnTheGo #ad

Right now you can save on fresh cut fruit when you purchase any 2 Odwalla product at participating stores. I’m practicing good habits that have me reaching for fresh fruit instead of empty carbs.

These 5 little ways can help you meet your goals in a good health snowball effect. #NourishOnTheGo #ad

It’s so easy for me to stock up on Odwalla to have on hand. Then I just grab one after lacing up my gym shoes and drink it before my workout. 32 grams of protein in the Chocolate Protein Smoothie gives me long-lasting energy so I can push myself to meet (and exceed!) my goals. I’m eating better and exercising more; Which in turn makes me want to continue to give my body the good stuff (sorry, not sorry chocolate cake!).

Save $1 on your next purchase of in-store fresh cut fruit when you buy any TWO (2) Odwalla 15.2 fl. oz. (You’ll receive a print out coupon at the register.). Offer ends 10/31/2017.

These 5 little ways can help you meet your goals in a good health snowball effect. #NourishOnTheGo #ad

My First Pair of LuLaRoe Leggings (aka: I’ve Opened Pandora’s Box!)

I  resisted jumping on the LuLaRoe bandwagon for a LONG time.

“They’re buttery soft!”, I’d heard.

“They’re SOOOOOO comfy!!”

“LuLaRoe leggings are addicting. Once you try them you’re going to want more!”

I wasn’t swayed at all. I don’t wear my pajamas out of the house. And if I’m wearing yoga pants, then I’m doing yoga. What did I need comfy pants in my closet for?

There was a lady who picked up her kids at the same time as me and occasionally her wildly patterned leggings would catch my eye. “Giant pizza slices on turquoise leggings? Really?!”, I’d think to myself, “I don’t think LuLaRoe is for me”.

And then I saw Mickey.

So yeah, I do love me some Disney, as you know. And these were cute, clever Disney patterns I’d never seen anywhere before. It was my birthday, so I treated myself and bought my first pair. And I tried them on. It was over a hundred degrees that day so I didn’t get to wear them long but ohhhh, I couldn’t wait for the weather to cool down because everything I’d heard was RIGHT.

The leggings slipped on so silky soft. How could leggings feel so buttery soft? But they DO!

I’ve always hated when you can see underpants through the leggings, especially when I bend over. But despite being light and soft, LuLaRoe leggings aren’t transparent.

All that chatter about not wearing comfy pants outside the house? I’ve been wearing the three pair I have (all Mickey print!) around the house and yes, even to the school pick up. I bet Ms. Pizza Leggings is envious of my cute Mickey prints 🙂

Buying your first LuLaRoe clothing? See my LuLaRoe legging review

Not a Leggings Gal?

And LuLaRoe is more than just leggings. There are some awesome skirts of all lengths, t-shirts (can’t wait to scoop up one of the adorable Gigis!), dresses and dusters. In addition to Mickey Mouse, there are tons of other Disney prints like Bambi, Muppets and Beauty and the Beast. Disney Villains and Nightmare Before Christmas patterns are going to be making an appearance!!! There will also be quirky Halloween prints and designs appropriate for fall. And of course if you just like the regular prints, there are colorful LuLaRoe prints and even solid colors in many varieties.

I absolutely LOVE that there are sizes for everyone! Sizes of different styles vary so check the sizing charts. You might be a small in one style and prefer a large in another style.

(Image courtesy of Anastasia Weis)

Okay, I’ll Admit It…They ARE the Coziest Clothes on the Planet!

So… now that I’m officially starting a LuLaRoe closet collection, I’m hosting a party online with my fellow blogger friend and purveyor of LuLaRoe, Anastasia Weis. It’s this Sunday, October 8th at 6 pm pst/9 pm est. I’d love for you to join the party!

Julie’s Not-So-Scary LuLaRoe party

 

 

Tips for Moms to Create a Relaxing Spa Experience at Home

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #TimeWithAveeno #CollectiveBias

Getting the Spa Experience at Home

I went to the spa over spring break vacation earlier this year. It was just me, by myself. My husband had the four kids with him so I went into the spa for a few hours alone. I’d like to say it was totally relaxing. I’d like to say that I never wanted to leave. However, I have to admit that while I was sitting in the sauna (alone) and drinking basil cucumber water (alone) and resting inside the salt chamber (alone), I was really actually bored and lonely! I had a hard time relaxing at the spa, is that weird?

Now that’s not to say I don’t like “me time”. All moms need and deserve their own time, spa or not. I think a stroll through the store by myself is bliss. And to have the bathroom alone? Now we’re talking. But the best is having rejuvenating time to recharge – my own spa experience at home with AVEENO® products from Walmart!

Looking for a spa experience at home? Here are the tips for mom to get beautified and rested in her own bathroom! #ad #TimeWithAveeno

Grabbing Mom-Time When You Can

Let’s be honest: How often do you skip steps in your daily care routine to save time? Raise your hand if you’re not shaving your legs, not washing your face or you skip conditioning your hair? I get it, you’re in and out of the bathroom as quick as you can.

But what if those little things that you’re skipping are really the most important things? Here are a few tips for creating your own spa experience at home, reason enough to slow down and enjoy the mom-time whenever you can grab it.

Occupying Little People

To avoid that dreaded knock at the door (or worse, someone barging in!) make sure kids are taken care of. I take my showers after dinner, when everything at home is winding down and I have time to really relax. I also give my husband an approximate length of time I’m going to be busy so he’s not hunting me down!

Realizing That Self Care is a Must

Self care is important for moms. Beyond the full day at the spa, little steps in the daily routine can be relaxing and enjoyable. I find that I actually look forward to them because they just make me feel and look so good! Take the time to shave your legs. Indulge in a facial. Floss your teeth. Clip and file your toenails. Paint them to go the extra step! Those little daily self care steps are so important to your personal health and hygiene and also to your well-being.

Looking for a spa experience at home? Here are the tips for mom to get beautified and rested in her own bathroom! #ad #TimeWithAveeno

Putting Together Your Spa Kit

I have all of my skin care essentials in a small make-up bag. Each morning and again before bedtime, I put my bag on the bathroom counter. It contains a facial cleanser, serum, eye cream and a morning and evening moisturizer. I also have a headband and hair elastic in the bag so I can secure my hair away from my face while cleansing.

It’s great having all the products in one, easily accessible place and not scattered in the medicine cabinet. I take a few minutes to cleanse and treat my skin twice a day. This small task is so relaxing and enjoyable. Plus my skin is looking better than ever from all the extra care and attention!

Looking for a spa experience at home? Here are the tips for mom to get beautified and rested in her own bathroom! #ad #TimeWithAveeno

Ways to Make Your Spa Experience Better

  • Play music (to drown out the noise outside of the bathroom!)
  • Have a special robe or slippers to wear when you’re doing your spa routine
  • Light a candle, use a diffuser or have scented oils in the room to engage your senses
  • Infuse your water with fruits and herbs
  • Indulge in luxurious towels

Turning a Shower into a Spa Experience

I don’t always have the time for an all-day spa event. More often than not I grab my moments when I can, like when I take my shower. I love to transform a quick shower into a relaxing “me time” experience.

For my everyday routines, I frequently use AVEENO® products. I have moisturizers, facial cleansers and shave gel, all by AVEENO®. I was excited to find AVEENO PURE RENEWAL® Shampoo and Conditioner sulfate-free formulas at my local Walmart.

Looking for a spa experience at home? Here are the tips for mom to get beautified and rested in her own bathroom! #ad #TimeWithAveeno

I LOVE how well the AVEENO PURE RENEWAL® Shampoo lathers. A fantastic lather really adds to your “mom-time spa experience”! The dye-free, paraben-free and sulfate-free formulas remove impurities but bring hair back to a naturally healthy, more balanced state. These products are also safe for color treated hair.

And the conditioner doesn’t require that you leave it on for any lengthy amount of time. Of course, follow the directions for use on the packaging.

Looking for a spa experience at home? Here are the tips for mom to get beautified and rested in her own bathroom! #ad #TimeWithAveeno

I was truly delighted with how shiny and healthy-looking my hair is after using the AVEENO PURE RENEWAL® Hair products. I’d recently cut my hair (about six inches) because I was increasingly upset with how drab and dry my hair had been looking. After several weeks of using these formulas, my hair has literally bounced back to life! The shampoo has been so gentle on my hair and scalp while the lightweight conditioner has softened my hair without weighing it down. Those are my natural curls, air dried after using the AVEENO® hair products!

Looking for a spa experience at home? Here are the tips for mom to get beautified and rested in her own bathroom! #ad #TimeWithAveeno

Multi-Task to Maximize Time

When you’re ready to up your in-home spa experience, it’s time to incorporate a facial. Maybe you don’t always have time for a twenty minute process but I bet you’ve got a minute! AVEENO® POSITIVELY RADIANT® 60 SECOND IN-SHOWER FACIAL helps moms get the spa experience and multi-task during their normal shower routine!

Looking for a spa experience at home? Here are the tips for mom to get beautified and rested in her own bathroom! #ad #TimeWithAveeno

This oil-free, non-comedogenic formula contains soy and lemon peel extract that reveal radiant skin in just one minute. The facial works with the steam of your shower to deeply but gently exfoliate dirt, oil and dead skin. My skin has been wonderfully soft and noticeably brighter after using the AVEENO® POSITIVELY RADIANT® 60 SECOND IN-SHOWER FACIAL.

Click here to download a coupon and save $2.00 on AVEENO® products!

Taking Mom-Time in your own at-home spa experience is a little thing that makes a big difference. Share how you’re going to create your own spa experience at home!

“I Used To…”

I used to paint. I painted elaborate designs on cute denim overalls for kids. I painted detailed wooden purses, including tiny wooden beads for the handles. I used to watercolor paint. And sketch and draw pictures. And I used to take art classes.

I used to dance. I took every dance class at the junior college, performing in their annual stage production. I took ballet, pointe, stretching, jazz, tap, modern, I took it all. I probably danced in classes 20 hours a week. And then I’d go out at night with my friends and dance in the clubs.

I used to go out with friends. As long as someone called me before 10:30 pm, I was game to hang-out, whether it be clubbing, bonfires at the beach, drinks and nachos or even just watching TV at a friend’s house. I’d stay out till 3 am and still get up at 6 am for class the next day.

I used to stay up late and get up early. Well, to be honest, I still do that but the intention is different now. I get the early wake up call either by the baby or by my alarm clock. And I stay up late because after everyone else is in bed, the wee hours are the only time I have to myself.

I Used To

There’s are emotions in me to feel sad and reminiscent about my “former life”. To daydream about when I used to have boundless energy. To wish for the days when I used to have endless amounts of time for family, friends and just to hang out. To look back fondly on when I used to be able to do whatever I wanted without having to worry about repercussions of missed naps, excess weight from late night snacks, or an overabundance of wrinkles because I went to bed with my make-up on.

It’s far too easy to slip down that rabbit hole. To call up those fond feelings and and reflections of youth. Now, let me be clear, I’m not afraid of aging. With age comes wisdom and a few gray hairs and wrinkles don’t scare me. But the “I used to” has been getting under my skin lately. I feel like all the things that I love to do are stifled in the curse of time.

This photo is only a year old but looking at it so much has changed!

The Real Me

I truly feel that I’ve had to put the REAL ME on the back burner for so many years. I think there are a lot of people in my life who don’t even know the real, creative me because I haven’t done the things I love in so long! The real me that likes going to parties (and I don’t mean dropping my kid off at yet-another classmate’s house). The real me that likes spending hours behind the sewing machine creating something fabulous (and I don’t mean the forced construction like “The hem of my pants needs to be taken up, honey”). The real me that would love to pick out a half dozen packages of candy and park at the drive-in to watch movies all night.

The real me that doesn’t want to have to worry about whether diapers need to be changed, if it’s time for the boy to get another haircut or if the sheets need to be washed. The real me doesn’t want to be jumping out of bed when she realizes the dishwasher didn’t get started. The real me just wants to be on vacation, sleeping in a comfy hotel bed with a full night of uninterrupted rest and a day of adventure ahead. Don’t we all?

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

As the mom of teenagers, I’m all too aware of how quickly the time slips by. “What the hell, where’d my baby go?”, I think to myself when my teenager stands next to me and he’s now several inches taller. Even with the baby, as she’s gaining more independence I realize that babies don’t stay helpless for very long. She’s feeding herself with a fork, chattering to herself as she climbs into a chair with a book and requests from me a snack. This is just a season, I remind myself. Seasons come. Seasons go. The things I used to do will return. Or maybe not.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

What If This Moment IS the Real Me?

In my lost-ness of losing out on the things I used to do, I’m brought back to the feeling of, “What if THIS is really it?” What if making sure that the kindergartner is wearing underpants before he goes to school is really what I’m meant to be doing right now? Perhaps the real me should accept the blessings that I’m currently supposed to be meal planning, folding laundry and complying to multiple snack requests.

Should I be agonizing over missed opportunities because I have to be home by 8 pm to rock and nurse the baby to sleep? I have a new awareness after praying about it with this verse that this IS my season. Sitting in a dark room at 3 am with a teething fussy little one is my current calling. The time will pass, just like seasons do. It’s in turning my perspective a little. I’m not denying the real me at all by not doing what I used to do. I’m expanding, stretching and delighting in what I GET to do NOW!

Returning

There are certainly some things I used to do that I have no desire to revisit. I don’t even need to rehash them, but “I used to” do plenty of things I’ll never do again. And the things I’m doing now will soon be things “I used to” do.

In a few months, I’ll say, “I used to nurse my baby but now she’s weaned”. And in a few years, I’ll say, “I used to read her a bedtime story, but now she’s reading to me!” And in a decade, I’ll say, “I used to get so tense with the chaos of four kids in the house, but now that the older two have moved out, I sort of miss the craziness”.

Or maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll love the extra time that change brings. Maybe I’ll return back to the the things I used to do. Or maybe I’ll find new things to learn and all of what I’ve been yearning for will truly just be things I used to do.

And as I answered the nap time cries of my toddler literally four times while trying to complete this post, I sat, un-rushed with her in my arms. I brushed my lips across her cheek in a comforting kiss. Ran my fingers through her tangled curls. Held her until she relaxed. This is the real me. This is my season. And soon, it will only be something I used to do.

Teach Yourself Something New – What to Learn & How to Do It

I’m a learner. A figure-it-out-er. Not a school textbook kind of learner (sorry, Math!) but a hands-on, “I want to know how to do that” sort of gal. I believe it’s never too late in life to learn something new. And teaching yourself something new gives you the biggest emotional boost you can imagine!  You didn’t used to be able to do it but you took the time to teach yourself and NOW YOU CAN DO IT! Showing your kids you can teach yourself something is also a wonderful example for your children. Let’s talk about learning new things and how to go about teaching yourself something new.

Parts of this post originally appeared on my blog Painted Butterfly Studio in February 2012. Please note that this post contains affiliate links. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Still Learning After All these Years

When I was about 7, the only bike I had access to was my dad’s rusty old bike from when he was a kid. It was a sturdy pink girl’s beach cruiser and Dad had used it to deliver newspapers. As the oldest of 8 kids, I’m sure he didn’t even care that it was pink, he had a bike!

And I didn’t care that it was rusty, had flat tires and weighed about 50 lbs. I had a bike!

I taught myself how to ride it in the backyard. I would lean the bike against the fence, climb up and perhaps get one or two pedals before I’d fall off. The bike was so large that I couldn’t actually sit on the cushion and reach the pedals at the same time. So I had to pedal standing up (I’m sure I had thighs like steel back then!).

I spent a full summer in the backyard, practicing on that old bike with the flat tires on the grass. Occasionally I’d call my mom outside to watch me.

For Christmas that year, I got my first new bike! It was beautiful. I remember that it was blue and had streamers from the handles. And a banana-seat! That morning my Dad was going to put the bikes in the trunk of the car and he said he would teach us how to ride them that afternoon at my aunt’s house.

“Dad, let me try and ride! I just know I can do it.”

He was hesitant. I remember my mom chimed in and said that I’d been practicing on his old bike in the backyard for months.

I swung my leg over the bike and took off pedaling. I remember how fast the bike was and how easy it was to pedal. After months of being on flat tires, this was it…I was riding!!

As I rode back towards my Dad, I remember his smile and how proud he looked. I’d done it. I’d put my mind to it and I’d taught myself, without anyone’s help. And that thought has carried with me my whole life.

What's the one thing you've always wished you could do? Here are practical tips & ideas on how to teach yourself anything!

Riding through the forest in the Czech Republic. Terrifying but glad I was able to do it!

Teaching Myself What I Want to Learn

When I wanted to learn how to knit, I got a pair of needles, some yarn and a book from the library and I taught myself. It was hard, especially because I’m a lefty and the book showed it from the right side. I had to reverse the directions in my head but I know how to knit a scarf!

When I want to try a new recipe, I buy the ingredients and I make it.  I took sewing lessons in high school to learn the basics. When I want to make an outfit, I tweak a little here and there on the pattern and I make it my own.

Practical Ways to Save Money on Groceries and Still Eat Healthy

As an adult and as a mom, I’m still learning, yes. And I hope that I’ll forever be learning. I know that there are tons of other things that I’d love to know how to do (play piano, bake bread from scratch and plant a garden). And I have many years ahead to learn them. NOTE  When I originally wrote this post in 2012, I’d written that I wanted to learn how to bake bread from scratch. I’m happy to note that I’ve since learned how to do this!

It’s just the start for my kids. I want to foster in them that they can be their own best teacher. That with determination, anything is possible. And I’m hoping that these little moments (like learning how to ride a bike) are the turning points in their life that it was in mine.­­­­­­­­

Teach Yourself Something New – What to Learn & How to Do It

Is there something you always wanted to learn? This is the time! Here are a handful of ideas on things you can learn NOW and tips on how to do it.

  • Playing the piano. If you don’t have a piano at home, start with a keyboard. There are online lessons or DVDs to watch that will teach you. Or if you need one-on-one, find a local piano teacher who can help you start with the basics.
  • As a seamstress, I hear from friends all the time that they wish they could sew. That’s easy – buy a simple sewing machine, some fabric and practice! There are plenty of simple, straight edged patterns you can follow (like pillowcases, tablecloth, elastic waist skirt or a blanket).


  • How to do a cartwheel. Or any gymnastics skill. Sorry to break it to you but as an adult, you’re more prone to injury if you aren’t already in tip-top shape.  I’m a tumbling teacher (I’ve been teaching at a local rec center for 20 years). You don’t want to just throw yourself around the living room or on the grass at the park to learn a tumbling maneuver. Your best bet is a local gymnastics school or YMCA that offers specific classes geared to adults.
  • Want to take beautiful photographs? You don’t even need the fanciest camera, just a few handy tips about lighting can help make a big difference. Find a book (I bought Digital SLR Cameras and Photography For Dummies)
  • Auto mechanic basics can not only save money, they come in handy during an emergency. At the least learning how to change a tire is a great thing!
  • I taught myself how to braid my own hair in high school but had a trickier time when it came to braiding my daughter’s! There are some really cool books and online videos with hair styling ideas.

  • Learning a new language can open up a whole new world! I’ve never been able to grasp languages myself but I had a friend who wanted to learn Italian so she took a class at a local community college.
  • Is there a kitchen skill you’ve always wanted to learn? There are so many fun cooking classes available that will teach basics like efficiently chopping onions! And of course a helpful cook book will help you expand your horizons and help you get creative.
  • Looking for enlightenment? Consider a Bible study at your local church, a small group discussion or find topics online that will help strengthen your spirit.
  • Always wanted to be an artist? If you make art, then you’re an artist! So grab a few supplies and start creating what comes to you. No need to obsess about perfection, just draw, paint or create what makes you happy (and don’t get wrapped up in Pinterest or a so-called “fail”!)


How to Learn

  • Ask around. Chances are you want to learn something and someone you know already knows how to do it. Perhaps you can trade skills?
  • The library is a great resource for books. They also sometimes conduct free classes.
  • Community college. If you can’t take a full course, many schools have weekend “crash” courses for a nominal fee.
  • YouTube and Google. The internet is your teacher. Type it in and you’re sure to find a tutorial or video.

What’s the one thing YOU’VE always wanted to learn? Share with me in the comments!

What's the one thing you've always wished you could do? Here are practical tips & ideas on how to teach yourself anything!

When Did We Stop Rooting for Ourselves?

This post originally appeared on my blog Painted Butterfly Studio on Sept 28th, 2010. I reread it this week and find that topic of accepting compliments and cheering for ourselves to be relevant. Kids are great at sharing their accomplishments but how can adults be better at accepting compliments?

Please note that I include affiliate links in my posts. Clicking and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

The Soccer Game

“At what point do we stop cheering?”

We were sitting on the sidelines watching our six year old soccer players celebrating after they’d just scored their uncontested sixth goal. The dad next to me posed the question. About 90 seconds later we got our answer when the seventh goal was scored. Parents didn’t cheer and just a small smattering of applause could be heard from our side of the field.

Later in the day, I got to thinking about that question.

“At what point do we stop cheering?”

Do we ever stop cheering? Or rather, should we ever stop cheering?

And I’m not just talking as parents, but just as adults?

“At what point do we stop cheering?”

Kids are great at sharing their accomplishments but how can adults be better at accepting compliments?

Shrugging Off Instead of Accepting Compliments

I was reading Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy this week. The section I happened upon was about how as adults we tend to downplay our accomplishments. We shoo away compliments and never really revel in them as we should. She suggested that we pull out our awards, something we’ve created, or anything that really makes us proud of ourselves and put them in a prominent place in our home.

Why, as adults, do we hide our light under a bushel? Why do we shrug off encouragements from others instead of just saying, “Thank you so much! I’m proud of it too!” This daily reminder of seeing visually what we have done should be a push towards what we can do.

I recall hearing about a baseball player who didn’t display any of his awards in his home. The announcer noted how humble the player was and that if you walked into his home you’d never have guessed he was a ball player.

This actually just seemed kind of sad to me. If this man was a sculptor or an artist, would he not decorate his home with a few of his own art pieces? Is it not appropriate because it wouldn’t be humble? Or even just to have an important plaque on the wall, or one special baseball on a shelf that was particularly meaningful, something that recognized his accomplishments? Nothing?!

I’m not talking about constantly tooting our own horn here to the point of rudeness or painting an entire mural on our living room wall with our likeness. But really think about why we stopped cheering…Because we didn’t want to come across to others as too confident? Because it might hurt someone else’s feelings? Because we’ve been taught as children to be humble and modest, that we shouldn’t be “too good”?

 

Kids Are Naturals at Complimenting Themselves

Now, back to the soccer game…7th goal was scored. The little boy who scored the goal had already scored 4 others in our game, but just the same he looked excitedly over to the sidelines for recognition. We put our hands together and clapped briefly and smiled back at him. He wasn’t ashamed or embarrassed in the least to have created such a lopsided score.

As we were leaving two players chattered boldly to each other, “We scored 7 and they didn’t have ANY!”

One of the moms said, “Shhh, not so loud”, to which one of the boys looked up at her and said, “Why?”

The unabashed pride of these six year olds was actually inspiring to me. Humility and modesty will come eventually, as it should. But at this age it’s refreshing to see the exuberance about each accomplishment. Whether it’s getting across the monkey bars without falling off, finishing an entire puzzle without help or scoring the final goal in a 7-0 game.

Kids are great at sharing their accomplishments but how can adults be better at accepting compliments?

Rooting Ourselves On

I’m going to root myself on. When someone pays me a compliment, I’m going to say a simple thank you and not follow it up with something that undermines the entire good thought (you know the kind, “That’s a pretty blouse!” and we say, “Yeah, too bad I’m so fat that’s too tight on me now” FROWN!). That completely diminishes the compliment (and is not very kind to the person complimenting you either). “Thank you” is the perfect reply to any compliment.

I’m going to make some pillow covers to put in the living room and if anyone compliments them, I’ll happily share that it’s my own handiwork. I will bravely admit that there are things that I’m really good at and I’m going to promise myself that I won’t be too shy or humble to admit it!

I hope that by my modeling this, my own children will pick up on the air of confidence and not be ashamed or embarrassed of their own accomplishments. Accepting compliments and sharing what you’re confident and strong about isn’t bragging, it’s knowing that you are worthy. Knowing your worth and can humbly accept praise is given to us by God. And that’s something to cheer about.

In what ways and areas of your life could you be more confident and assured? Please share with me below in the comments!

Kids are great at sharing their accomplishments but how can adults be better at accepting compliments?

5 Back to School Season Routines Moms Can Adopt for Themselves

I was on Pinterest last night and saw a Pin description that caught my eye. It said, “How Moms Can ROCK Back to School Season”.

Naturally the post was about lunch packing tips, best school supplies to purchase and streamlining the morning routine. Pinterest Mom rocks the school year by making sure things are smooth sailing for the kids and that the home routine is awesome. You know, cutely cut sandwiches in the lunch box. Crock Pot meals ready by 5. Adorably coordinated outfits and sweetly braided hair.

And of course, there’s the opposing player to the perfect rockin’ Pinterest-type mom. That’s the mom who doesn’t give a damn if her kid doesn’t have lunch with each food group represented. She’s just happy her kid remembered to bring his lunch box home and it wasn’t left at the lunch table. Dinner? You realize that we just had breakfast and you want me to think about dinner already? No cute outfits here because the teen refuses to wear anything you bought her at the back to school sales and hasn’t styled her hair since she was 10.

How are YOU Rockin’ Back to School Season

Okay, so extremes aside, I think most of us fall somewhere in the middle. You probably have a little bit of both mom-types in you. Maybe you’re awesome with the dinner planning. Or packing precious Bento box school lunches makes your creativity flag fly. I’ve written a post about streamlining the morning school routine myself. (I’ll freely admit that I’m rockin’ the morning routine. No late kids on my shift!)

How can moms REALLY rock back to school season? Here are a few ways I'm taking back "back to" season for myself!

But the post got me thinking, “How can moms really rock this season?” Sure, it’s back to school time for the kiddos. But this season shouldn’t focus on just the kids. How can moms go “back to school”? What can we learn? What can this season do for us? With the return of routine, this is the perfect opportunity to refresh and revise your own routines as well.

Or maybe it’s “back to” something else? Something that’s been lost along the years, while you were cutting bologna sandwiches into stars. Back to work? Back to the side hustle? Back to reading novels before bed? What is something you used to enjoy, something that you need to be doing, that stopped.

And so, on the eve of back to school day, I’m sharing a five ways I’m getting reading for this “back to” season. But first, getting prepped.

Please note that I use affiliate links in my posts. Clicking through and placing an order helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Prepping for “Back to” Season with New School Supplies – Just for MOM!

When I picked up the kid’s school supplies, I picked up something for myself too. I bought a pretty, colorful binder, clear page protectors and good pens. I’m hiding it all in my desk so nobody will nab it (because all the good pens seem to disappear!)

I skipped the store and ordered directly from Target online. And really, any time I can shop online and not have to take all four hooligans into the store with me, the better! Plus Target price matched in store and gave me the lowest price automatically. I loved just being able to pick up my stocked bags at the front desk and be on my way.

How can moms REALLY rock back to school season? Here are a few ways I'm taking back "back to" season for myself!

I’ve found a few practical printables and added them to my folder. My “back to” season includes keeping better track of my ME time. Because if I don’t take care of myself, I’m not going to be any good for anyone else. What are 5 things you’ll dropped that you’d like to pick back up this season. Here are mine:

1. Back to an Exercise Routine

I’m not saying I didn’t exercise this summer, but I certainly tossed my routine out the window as soon as the kids were out of school. I have goals and this time next year, I plan to have smashed those goals. Honestly the only way I’m going to do that is with regular, challenging exercise. Writing things down and sticking to the routine is important. So while my teens will be running the track at school PE, I’ll be working out at the gym or at home during the baby’s nap time.

Shared from Printable Crush on Pinterest (click to Pin)

2. Back to a Bedtime Routine

Kids have their bedtime…and so should I! My husband has been working nights this summer, which has meant I’ve been staying up later than usual to work. 2:00 am is okay when I can sleep in a bit. But not so great when the school day alarm goes off at 6 am. I know that I feel better, am in a better mood and am more likely to eat healthy and exercise when I’m well rested. I need to get to bed no later than 11 pm (the dark circles under my eyes told me so).

3. Back to Budgeting (Time and Money)

While my kids are budgeting their time to complete projects, I’m doing the same. I find that I do much better with getting my “to-do” list done when I write it all out and check off things as they are completed.

We had some fun day trips this summer but now it’s time to tighten the purse strings. I have two kids with birthdays and of course the holiday season to look forward to this year. Time to revisit the budgeting plan and get serious about savings.

From Chasing Foxes on Pinterest (Click to Pin)

4. Back to Healthy Eating

A friend cut cheese out of her diet this year and her skin cleared up. I’ve been breaking out and wondering if dairy could be the issue? But then, “No pizza?! No nachos?!” Another friend eliminated carbs. Again, “No pizza?!” No nachos?!” Can you tell what I’ve been surviving on all summer?

I’m going to start my food diary. I’ve done this in the past, logging everything I eat. I’ve been able to see exactly where I’m going wrong (too many late afternoon snacks) and what foods are giving me trouble.

I’m also getting back in to meal planning. I hate that last minute scramble for dinner that usually means nachos! I want to make sure I’m feeding my family healthy and well-balanced meals. Meal planning and conscious grocery shopping will help.

Shared from I Heart Planners on Pinterest (Click to Pin)

5. Back to Quiet Time with Meditation and Prayer

10 minutes a day. That is seriously not that much time to etch out but I always seem to forget until right before I fall into bed, exhausted. I’m adding prayer to my calendar this season. It’s important. It’s necessary. And it keeps me on track for all the other things I’m working on.

What are 5 “back to” things you’d like to incorporate this season? Share, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

How can moms REALLY rock back to school season? Here are a few ways I'm taking back "back to" season for myself!

Cultivating Peace and Relaxation With a Portable Home Sanctuary

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GladeAtmosphere #CollectiveBias

One of the things that I’m incorporating into my life is more peace. Simply put, I’m too tired to be putting up with constant drama or negativity. I just want peace. It’s a little change that makes a big difference! With four kids at home, quiet time can be hard to carve out. I take “me time” when I can get it! One day I might find myself alone on the back patio. Sometimes I have to wait until everyone is in bed and I take up space in the living room. Another day, I’ve locked myself in the bathroom, leaving the chaos outside the door! I’m creating a relaxing home sanctuary, where ever I can. Because it’s good for me (and you!) to fit in peace, calm and meditation into daily life.

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Creating a Portable Home Sanctuary

As much as I’d love to have a dedicated peaceful resting place, space is limited. A room all to myself, what a dream! For now I make do with my portable home sanctuary. I’ve collected a few special things into one container that I can tote with me wherever I need to unwind. I have a medium sized wire basket that I use for my sanctuary items. I can easily pick up my home sanctuary and move it wherever I’d like and all of my special things are contained in one place.

Collecting Special Items for Your Home Sanctuary

When filling your home sanctuary box, consider these:

  • What are the items that bring you the most joy?
  • What brings you peace when you’re alone with your thoughts?
  • What items best help you relax?
  • What things represent “you”?

Think about the five senses when collecting your items. How can smell, sight, taste, touch and sounds completely motivate and take away your stress? Here are a few ideas when building your portable home sanctuary.

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Scent:

Enveloping yourself in a scent can truly transport you into a calm mood. I have  Nº 1 Enraptured™ PlugIns® Scented Oil from The Atmosphere Collection™ Fine Home Fragrance by Glade® placed around my house. So even when I can’t get to my sanctuary, I’m still able to breath in the jasmine, lady apples and sweetheart rose petals with the base of cedarwood. It really does soothe my spirit to catch the scent throughout the day.

World-renown fragrance designer Ann Gottlieb has layered the artisanal scents specifically for this product line. I was delighted to find such upscale fragrances at my local Kroger store, Food 4 Less (keep reading for a special offer!)

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I’ve included a N°3 Free Jar Candle, 4.2 oz. in my sanctuary box. This relaxing scent of starfruit, beach woods and coconut reminds me of the soothing sound of waves. Of a tropical drink and my toes in the sand. Ahhh… I light the candle, close my eyes and I’m already there on the beach. No matter that I’m sitting in my living room. This scent takes away all the stress and starts off my peaceful sanctuary time perfectly.

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Sight:

Why do parents need rejuvenating “me time”? Having the time to relax means we can be more well-rested, more patient and more flexible for our children. I like a small reminder of why I’m taking time out for myself. A picture of my kids is a nice addition to my home sanctuary.

My quiet time often comes in small snippets. This means I don’t always have the time for an in-depth novel. An uplifting parenting book, poems or the Bible are my go-to when I want something to read.

Taste:

Oh yes, most definitely a favorite indulgence can help me unwind! Something special to eat or drink is a must. I included amazing oatmeal cookies but sometimes it’s a glass of fresh squeezed juice on ice or some chocolate. During my peaceful time, I make sure to really taste each bite and not gobble my treat up too quickly. If I’m having “me time” I don’t have to share and I don’t have to eat it fast, so I can appreciate each nibble.

#ad Cultivate peace at home with a DIY portable home sanctuary that contains everything you need for relaxing moments. #GladeAtmosphere

Touch:

When I’m worried about something in particular, having a treasure to touch and meditate with can help ease my stress. Add a polished stone, beach shell or gemstone into your home sanctuary box. I have a shell with a carved detail that my dad bought for my mom many years ago, so it holds special memories for me.

Journaling is an important way for me to relax. I can feel my breathing slow as I write down my thoughts and turn each page. Choose a pretty hard-bound book that you reserve only for sanctuary time. A pen that feels good in your hand is essential too.

If you opt for a larger home sanctuary box, you could include a cuddly soft scarf or blanket to wrap around your shoulders.

Sound:

What are the sounds that bring you happiness? Perhaps it’s background music that you have playing while you read? Maybe calming chimes or bells that you ring when entering your peaceful zone. Or maybe it’s inspirational songs that you can close your eyes and sing along with.

Choosing the Right Container

This wire basket cost me only a few dollars and is roomy enough to hold my sanctuary essentials.

Other inexpensive and creative ideas could include:

  • Cardboard photo box
  • Wooden tray or crate that you can paint and decorate yourself
  • Pretty glass tray
  • Wicker basket

Find a container, box or tray that will neatly hold all of your home sanctuary supplies. The idea is that you can store it somewhere so it’s already loaded with what you need. And it should be easy to get to and mobile for moving around your home.

I keep my basket hidden in my closet where I can grab it when it need it but it’s out of sight for everyone else. I love the idea of being able to pull out my sanctuary box so I can indulge in some peaceful time, wherever that is!

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What will you add to your home sanctuary?

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