Monday, March 20, 2017

Workin' It Wednesdays: Balancing Work & Home Life

Happy first day of spring!!!

Today is Workin' It Wednesdays... on a Monday!  This link up was postponed and today's the day.  I'm joining Shay and Erika to talk about balancing work and home life.

First of all, I definitely think each family has different circumstances and needs to do what is right for them.  I can only speak to what is working for us currently.

I'm a Registered Nurse and as much as I loved working as a nurse, I'm not doing so right now.  Having three little loves ages six, four and 11 months, my heart is at home with them right now.  I'm not sure exactly what the future holds for me with nursing, but I'm sure I'll be back at it at some point.

I still consider myself a work from home mama though as I am a Norwex Independent Sales Consultant.  I absolutely love Norwex products and I love the flexibility being a consultant offers!  I am able to work mostly from home as much or as little as my schedule allows.

I am also homeschooling our daughter Clara who is in kindergarten.  We are using the My Father's World and Logic of English curriculums and it has been such a special time together.  Davey pops in to join us sometimes, usually for an activity, craft or game.

Clara and Davey are also involved in a few activities.  Clara is currently in dance and Girl Scouts.  They are both taking swimming lessons this spring.  This summer they both want to play T-ball.  Just Davey played last year and Michael coached his team.  He will probably coach both of their teams this summer.  (Sidenote: Is there anything more attractive than an involved daddy?  I don't think so...)  And both Clara and Davey want to try soccer in the fall.  They had actually wanted to play this spring, but we're waiting for the fall so we don't get involved in too much at once.

Michael is going to play in our church softball league himself this summer.  We're involved in a weekly small group (that we call life group) and help out with the preschool class at church.  We also try to get together with family and friends as much as possible.  We like to host friends or family for supper regularly.

So, how do I balance all of this?  Well, I'm not perfect at it, that's for sure.  And it looks different in different seasons of life.  This is how our days run the smoothest...  We try to at least have the kitchen and dining room/living room picked up and clean before bed.  This makes a huge difference in our mornings!  My best days are when I spend intentional quiet time with God reading the Bible and praying first thing in the morning.  It's also such an energy boost to exercise in the morning.  We've found it works best to do Clara's kindergarten lessons before lunch as well.  That way we have the rest of the day and don't have it hanging over our heads.  Meal planning for the week alleviates the nightly what's-for-supper question and helps us stay on budget.  And I schedule my Norwex parties (in home or on Facebook) on evenings Michael can be home with our kids and we don't have other activities going on.  My amazing Erin Condren planner helps me keep all of our work commitments and activities straight.  I love my planner so much!!

That all being said, there are obviously things we can do to help our days go more smoothly, but I think it's even more important to remember that no one is amazing at everything and can wear all the hats all the time.  We all have our strengths.  When we look at Pinterest, Instagram, etc., we see one person who is an amazing photographer, another who has an organic garden, someone else who comes up with super creative learning activities for her kiddos, another who is a successful business owner, someone else who (fill in the blank)...  And somehow we see these various skills, talents and successes in several others and think we should somehow be amazing at all of it.  Or at least I'm sometimes guilty of that.  The fact is that I need God's grace to get through each day and I am so thankful His mercies are new every morning.


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Show and Tell Tuesday: Embarrassing Moments

So I may have cringed a little when I saw Andrea's Show and Tell Tuesday topic for today... "Embarrassing Moments.  Show and tell us about those moments you wish you could forget - but love to laugh about."  Well, I suppose it's good to be able to laugh at yourself, so I'll play along.  But as many embarrassing moments as I've had throughout my life, none of them compare to my most embarrassing mortifying moment...  I'm not sure it even qualifies, because ten years later I still don't "love to laugh about" it.  It mostly falls under the "wish [I] could forget" category.

Ok, so before I get to said most embarrassing moment, I'll ease into this with an embarrassing moment from just last week.  On Monday I saw in my planner that my husband's grandpa's birthday was on Wednesday, so I had Clara and Davey make him birthday cards, I wrote a note from all of us and then promptly got them sent off.  I was so proud that I got them in the mail in time to arrive by his actual birthday and everything.  (I used to be awesome at remembering everyone's birthdays, but since I've had kids it's been harder to keep up.)  Well, Wednesday came and I realized my planner actually said it was GrandMa's birthday, not Grandpa's!  Not really sure how I saw that wrong!?!  Can I blame it on the lack of sleep for the past 10 months since I had Emma?!  Because the struggle is real.  And let's be honest, none of my kiddos have ever been good sleepers so it's more like the lack of sleep for the past 6 YEARS!  Anyway, I called Michael's Grandpa right away to explain.  He just laughed and said he gave the cards to my brother-in-law to bring to Grandma's nursing home.  Well three cheers for my awesome brother-in-law Robert because it turns out he changed the "p" to "m" on all of the cards and I guess Grandma didn't know the difference.  Hahaha!  WHOOPS!

Alright... enough stalling.  So I can't really believe I'm going to share this (and that's saying something because I notoriously wear my heart on my sleeve and sometimes worry I over-share), but here goes...  Ten years ago my husband Michael and I were newlyweds, but my husband spent 15 of the first 18 months of our marriage deployed to Iraq with the Army.  I was living in Texas halfway across the country from our family and friends attending nursing school near his duty station and waiting for him to come back home.  Well, Michael told me that the military base was going to coordinate individual video chat sessions that the deployed soldiers and their loved ones could sign up for.  During Michael's first deployment we hadn't discovered Skype yet, so this was super exciting to get to see each other and not just be able to talk on the phone.  So we signed up for a time slot and when the time came I drove to the base, waited in a waiting room for quite awhile and finally it was our turn.  I was led into a private room where they had a big projector screen up of my husband in his own private room in Iraq.  It was so good to see his handsome face!!  Now, know that I didn't do anything too crazy, but I definitely said some things and acted in a way toward my husband that let him know how much I missed him.  Well...  Eventually I got a knock on the door from the soldier who was coordinating the whole thing letting me know our time was up.  As he was walking me out he said something to the effect of, "just so you know, these video chats are monitored."  I mean, I have never wanted the earth to open up and swallow me whole as much as I did in that moment.  Wouldn't that have been a good thing for him to tell me ON THE WAY IN!?!  Michael and I were both under the impression that this was a private video chat!  I wanted to DIE!  It still makes me a little sick to my stomach to think about 10 years later.

So yeah, I doubt anything will ever top that moment.  I mean really, when anything embarrassing ever happens, take solace in the fact that at least you're not in that moment and it won't seem so bad.

OK Andrea, next topic please!!! 😉


Monday, March 13, 2017

Water Babies

Cohen & Emma were playing so sweetly at life group this past week.  Love those babies!

Clara and Davey saved up some quarters from helping clean up, so we went for a walk so they could each buy a donut.  We are so ready for warmer weather!  Come on spring!

Emma took her first big girl bath on her own and loved it!  She LOVES those little wind up butterflies.

Emma and I have loved baby carrying with our wraps a lot more often the past few weeks.  What a joy baby!

Clara and Davey started swimming lessons last week and absolutely loved it!  They are both little fish and I'm so excited for them to learn how to really swim.  Davey keeps saying at bedtime since then that he's not tired because he didn't get to go to swimming lessons that day. 😂

Right before I took this picture Davey spotted us, smiled and waved.  It was so precious.  He looks so little here.

Michael attended our church's mens' retreat at Inspiration Hills over the weekend.  Love that he had the opportunity to intentionally grow in his relationship with God and others.

Meanwhile, we enjoyed a slow weekend at home!

Emma's 1st bubble bath!  She loved it and Clara ran interference on Emma eating the bubbles, ha!

I just gave Emma another epsom salt, baking soda, melaleuca essential oil bath this morning to help combat her cold and she officially locked herself in as a water baby!  She was crawling from end to end and intentionally putting her mouth under the water trying to take a drink. 😊

Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Friday Favorites

Happy, happy Friday!!!  I'm joining Andrea to share my Friday Favorites from this past week (or so)!!

Some blogger friends of mine had one of their dear friends pass away recently.  They had asked for prayers for their friend Manda when she was diagnosed with cancer for the third time a few years, so I had been praying for her and following her story ever since.  I even purchased a #mandastrong t-shirt awhile back as a part of a fundraising effort.  Manda's motto of faith over fear and her testimony have been very inspiring and encouraging to me.  Continued prayers for her precious family and sweet friends.  She gave her amazing testimony in the video above and wrote a powerful guest blog post here.  So thankful for the hope we have in Jesus.  Obviously her passing is not a favorite, but the way she spent her life pointing others to Jesus is.

I shared on Sunday that Shay sent me an advanced copy of her latest cookbook Kids in the Kitchen last week! 😍  Surprise mail from my very favorite blogger is a favorite for sure!

Reading through her cookbook has already inspired me to start letting Clara and Davey crack the eggs when they're helping me cook or bake.  That may sound silly, but it's something I haven't considered letting them do before now but I'm going to start!  They will love it!

Shay commented on my Instagram post!  Yep, we're pretty much besties. 😉

Clara and Davey helped make the Green Machine Protein Smoothie yesterday for a snack before swimming lessons.  They love smoothies and this one did not disappoint!  We're making Baked Pizza Pasta Casserole for supper tonight!

I have been wearing Emma a lot more lately and we are both loving it.  She loves being snuggled up next to Mama while still being in on all the action, and I love the snuggles while having both of my hands free.

She is just the sweetest!!!

Baby snuggles are most definitely my favorite!

This Spring into Norwex picture just makes me happy!  The color teal, pink tulips, and Norwex are all my favorites!  We've been spring cleaning our home the past couple weeks and I'm so excited for the spring cleaning Norwex parties that I have this month.  It's so awesome to have household cleaning and personal care products that are free from harmful chemicals and work so well.  I thought I'd share just a couple of my all time favorites...

The mop!!!  We've had ours for almost 7 years now!  We love that there is no harmful chemical residue left behind, how well it works, and how quick it is to use!

Of course the Household Package is a must!  It's our most basic, key microfiber products that allow you to clean just about every surface in your home with just water.  It includes the Envirocloth, Window Cloth and Dusting Mitt at bundled pricing.

And you can't forget to take care of yourself!  The Body Pack cloths are my absolute favorite!  I use them to wash my makeup off and always bring one along when I travel.  A must have for sure!!

To check out the entire Norwex catalog, click HERE.

And you can order anytime from my website and have your order shipped directly to you.  I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have.  Happy spring cleaning!

David and Clara started indoor swimming lessons yesterday and they were all smiles and absolutely loved it.  The program seems super quality and bonus, it's a great energy burn!  Swimming is definitely their favorite!  Davey has been asking when our town pool is going to open since there was still snow on the ground. Ha!

Tuesday I shared my kiddos' birthday parties from the last three years for Andrea's Show and Tell Tuesday link up.  Birthday parties are my favorite and it was so fun to look back through pictures from Clara and Davey's parties and check out some of the other party posts.

Have a fabulous weekend everyone!!!


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Show and Tell Tuesday: Kids Parties

Today I joining Andrea to talk about my favorite kids parties.  I love celebrating birthdays and I love a good themed party so naturally party planning is something I really enjoy, especially for my little loves.  I'm excited to share my kiddos' birthday parties from the past three years.

We celebrated Clara's 6th birthday ballerina style!  Clara has taken dance class since she was two and absolutely loves it!  She requested a "pink ballerina" party and it was so much fun to put together.  The girls colored and decorated ballerinas with glitter stickers.  We were blessed to have a friend of a friend come put on a mini ballet class for the girls which ended up being the highlight of the party for Clara!  Click HERE to see a lot more pictures and read all about it.

Davey has been all about superheroes this past year so picking a theme for his 4th birthday party was pretty simple!  He changed his mind about a dozen times as to which superhero he wanted to dress up as and finally decided on Captain America, and he couldn't have been cuter.  Clara and Emma were Super Girl and Super Baby, and Michael and I got Batman and Wonder Woman t-shirts which made the day even more fun.  And bonus: we were set for Halloween costumes!  The kiddos decorated face masks, played pin the star on the shield, and played Hulk Smash.  Davey loved it all!  To see more pictures and read more about his party click HERE.

We threw Clara a rainbow party to celebrate her 5th birthday!  The party was mid-morning so we opted for a donut cake with rainbow sprinkles and fruit in the colors and shape of a rainbow.  Clara and all of her little friends colored rainbows and made rainbow colored bead necklaces.  The kiddos also had a rainbow pull string piñata as Clara said that it wouldn't be a real party without a piñata!  Ha!  To see more photos of this rainbow themed bash click HERE.

The year Davey turned three he was all about Hot Wheels!  Michael and I made him a wooden race track for his cars and it was a big hit!  I also created a car photo booth that turned out super cute for all of Davey's guests to take pictures in.  We had a concessions theme for the supper and the kiddos got to do a Hot Wheels pull string piñata.  Davey kept asking to go back to his party for months after it was over like it was an actual place we could go visit, ha!  To see more from Davey's Hot Wheels party click HERE.

Clara loved Cinderella leading up to her 4th birthday and Cinderella has always been my favorite so this was a special party to plan for my sweet girl.  We had friends over for supper and the kiddos all decorated princess tiaras and king crowns.  We also had a Cinderella pull string piñata for the littles.  (Are you noticing a theme here?!  We had a piñata at every party for 2 years.)  To see more Cinderella party pictures click HERE.

Planes, train and automobiles summed up Davey's interests as he turned two and we had so much fun celebrating him!  Oh goodness, he's such a sweet little baby in these pictures.  I made a cloud to shoot paper airplanes through so that was fun for him.  The kiddos also colored and this was our first party with a piñata.  Davey's cake was also pretty amazing!  My precious Grandma (who was 97 years old at the time) came to Davey's second birthday party and it meant so much to have her there.  I miss her so much.  Andrea actually included this party in one of her It's My Party posts she did awhile back!  To see more from Davey's 2nd birthday party click HERE.

Well that was a fun little stroll down memory lane.  My sweet baby Emma turns one already next month!  I haven't started planning her little party, but the theme will be Good morning, Sunshine.  My mom used to sing me a little song in the morning when I was little and it's a really precious memory.  I sing the same song to Emma most mornings.  It goes, "Good morning, Sunshine.  You brighten my day with your beautiful sunshine.  It's a brand new day." 💜  If you're looking for me in the next month and a half leading up to Emma's birthday, I'll be over here trying to figure out how to freeze time, or at least slow it down. 😉

I'm excited to look through everyone's kid party posts!  So fun!