A Letter to my High School Self

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For those who don’t know, I work part-time with a school system. I am an instructional mentor for 16 teachers, across 4 different schools, one of them being a high school. Nearing 30 years old, this is my first time being immersed in high school culture since I myself walked the halls of my high school.

Watching these teens walk around, play around, and joke around is making me smile, reminisce, and quite frankly, cringe.

It is making me remember so much of how I was, yet how differently I viewed myself. I have a deep urge to grab some of them as they push past me in the hallway and tell them all they have to appreciate now and all they have to look forward to later.

But instead, I’ll write a letter to myself in high school…and maybe leave it lying around somewhere…

To my high school self –

Hey you, slow down for just a second! I have something important I want you to read and I promise it’ll be worth it!

First of all, stop rushing through life. You’re so ready to be older, so ready for the next school year, for college, for adulthood, just slow down, you’re going to look back one day and not have a clue where it all went. Enjoy each moment, each and every day. These days are going to do a lot of the shaping of who you are and who you will become. They’re going to go fast enough, stop hurrying them along.

Speaking of hurrying, why are you in such a rush to get out of this small town? I have an inkling that it’s because a lot of your friends are saying that. It’s okay to be happy here. After all, it’s where you’ve experienced the most life and where you’ve met some people that you’ll hold dear the rest of your life. It’s okay to be happy here and not want to live here forever. Don’t wish it away because it’s the cool thing to do.

And start respecting your parents a little more. I know they’re not super strict with you, but when they do put their foot down it’s because they have your best intentions in mind. I know you’re not thrilled that they did some of the college choice narrowing themselves, but the one they picked truly is the best choice of the three you’re looking at. You’re going to love it there!

And sorry to be another person saying it, but you really aren’t always right! Suck it up buttercup. Everyone else thinks they’re right most of the time, too. Learn some grace. It’ll make life easier, I promise.

Speaking of grace, let go of the grudge you’re holding on to with your ballet teacher. She was in the wrong, but big deal, people make mistakes. YOU are making a mistake right now. You’re losing months worth of training and that very well may be the reason you don’t make the dance company when auditions roll around your freshmen year of college.

Oh yea, and about that freshmen year, it’s going to be downright terrifying being dropped off at college but you are about to change and and smile and cry and laugh and learn so, so much and have so, so much fun and grow so, so, so much. I know you’re worried about your best friends, you guys are super close and you’re all scared to say goodbye. Especially you. These girls are your best friends, they’re your sisters. But know that if they feel the same way, just because you’re all at different colleges and going your separate ways,  doesn’t mean you’ll lose touch. If they’re true friendships, these big changes will make you even closer.

Take everyday for what it’s worth and put your all into it. Study hard – no, even harder. Put your all into dance. If you put more effort into it I really think you could be something. Stop worrying about your friends. Or your boyfriend. Be happy with who you are. Be happy with where you are and where you’re going. You’re driven and one day you’ll look back and be glad you took a little advice from someone who knew what they were talking about.

You got this! Keep your head up and keep smiling!

-Your future self

Why I’m Always Happy

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I had a friend look me in the eye the other day and genuinely ask me, “How are you always happy?”

Well let me first begin by saying that I’m NOT always happy.

I do ALWAYS try to be happy though.

I do so by choosing to be happy. It’s a conscious decision day in and day out. No one else has the ability to make you happy. It’s always all on you.

It’s your perspective, your patience, your joy, your choice.

I think this world is a hard place to be. It is scary, it is evil, and there is so, so much to be negative about, to complain about, and to worry about.

But there’s even more things that are beautiful and wonderful. Things that are so very positive, things to rejoice, and things to celebrate!

There’s many ways to become a person who’s “always happy” and since my friend was genuinely looking for an answer, I’ll let you in on my secret!

It’s Jesus.

It’s always him.

But here’s the thing. My friend is a Christian. Why isn’t she happy?

She is someone I admire, someone I pray with, someone who I know and believe trusts every word in the Bible. She exudes the grace of a strong God-fearing woman. But here’s what’s also true, she falls.

We all fall.

And just because I’m the one writing this post doesn’t mean I don’t fall.

When people comment on my smile, my joy, my grace, and/or my faith, I am so humbled. When I receive those comments it makes me feel that that’s why God put me here on Earth. To remind others that there’s always something to smile about.

But again, that’s not to say that I’m always smiling.

Honestly, these days joy comes naturally to me, but hasn’t always. Somewhere along the line you have to start consciously deciding to see the good in things, you have to start smiling even when you don’t feel like it.

There truly are so, so, so many beautiful things about this life! Give it a chance!

I make every effort to pause and think of the good when something bad happens. My friend Sara made a comment a few weeks back about seeing the good in spilling orange juice and I loved it! I’m sure I’m changing a bit of what she said, but her gist was that she had spilled orange juice all over her kitchen floor but she took joy in finding that there was still some left! That because of it spilling her floor is extra clean now. That she’s fortunate enough to even have orange juice and the refrigerator that it fell out of.

Let me put some things in perspective, if you’re letting spilled orange juice – or milk 😉 – ruin your day maybe you should think about someone who would give anything for a glass of juice, maybe you should think about someone who’s never even had a taste of orange juice!

I know it may sound silly to see so much good in spilling orange juice, but until you do, you’re not going to see a change in joy.

And if the “God thing” isn’t really where you’re at right now, that’s okay. Choose joy over all else, anyway.

YOU are the one that decides how your day is going to go, not the person that cut you off on your way to the store or your boss with his short, snippy emails. As I always told my fifth graders, who do YOU need to worry about? The answer is YOU!

YOU choose joy! YOU choose to see the silver lining! YOU choose to smile! YOU choose to remember that God put you here for a specific reason and it’s time you embrace this beautiful, crazy, awful, amazing, chaotic life!

You have to choose joy, consciously and intentionally, every single day, because believe me, it’s not going to come looking for you!

xoxo

Our Favorite Things About Spring!

This post has been sponsored by Gymboree. I received the mentioned products in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. 

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I could not be happier that spring has arrived! The weather here in Virginia has been playing games with us for weeks and I just hope we don’t get anymore serious drops in temperature! I just love the warmth (not scorching hot!) of spring. It means the flowers are blooming, the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and most importantly, the sundresses and sandals get dusted off! Woo hoo!

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One thing about sundresses and sandals for little girls is that they have to be durable and pretty! I don’t want Adalynn to be in an outfit on Easter that I’m afraid for her to move in! I want it to be dressy, but I also want her to be able to freely play with her friends and family members! Enter Gymboree!

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They have the most precious spring line this season! Head to their website and check out their Easter shop! There are so many adorable options for all the little ones in your life!

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Now, I know I already told you some of the things we love about spring, but Gymboree has convinced us think about our #OneBigHappy moment! When I think about what makes us happiest is definitely being outside! There are so many great things to do in the springtime! Go for walks, go to the playground, sit on the porch and chat, and then everything specifically Easter related – egg hunts, church, Easter brunch. It all just makes me happy, particularly because a lot of what I stated are things we do as a family!

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Adalynn’s #OneBigHappy moment is anything to do with flowers! I’ve been showing her flower pictures for months, but ever since I picked a dandelion the other day and gave it to her, she’s been obsessed!

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She is so in love with those tulips!

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Easter is right around the corner! So hop (pun intended!) on over to Gymboree (online or in stores!) and outfit your kiddos today! There are sales ranging from 40-70% off and if you use code HELLOAPRIL you will receive an extra 20% off your purchase.

Shop Adalynn’s look!

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Dress Cardigan Headband Shoes 

Now tell me, what’s your favorite Gymboree look right now?!

xoxo

Valentine’s Day Brunch & Play Date

I had the most wonderful weekend!!!! And I hope you did too!

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Items mentioned in this post were provided by Oriental Trading. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this blog post are 100% my own. 

Adalynn and I co-hosted a Galentine’s Day Brunch and Play Date and it was pretty much the best thing ever. I’m sure you’re not suprised since I’m so holiday obsessed! My mama friends brought their kiddos over and we did crafts, ate brunch (mimosas included), and had a photo booth. And then while the kiddos continued playing the moms took part in adult conversation!!!!! Unheard of, right?! Hahah

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Seriously though it was such a beautiful day, filled with love – exactly what I’d wanted! Everything turned out perfectly and I couldn’t have done without the help of Oriental Trading! I don’t know if you’ve ever ordered from them before but there’s not many events in my life that Oriental Trading hasn’t played some part in. (I even ordered things from them for my wedding!)

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Lots of yummy goodness!

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The kids had their own side of the table. Thank goodness for the disposable tablecloth that helped keep the mess stress level low! Haha

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Oriental Trading has the cutest crafts and crafts supplies as well! For this particular party the kids made necklaces for their moms and colored/put together boxes to hold their valentines! (Both of which could totally be used for any event!)

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I can’t wait to proudly wear my necklace! (cue the tears)

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And oh my goodness, Adalynn got the CUTEST valentines! The kids moms were each asked to bring non-candy valentines and the kids handed them out to one another and put them in their decorated box. The cuteness almost killed me y’all!

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And then last, but not least, each of the children left with a plush rose from Adalynn.

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Even though the roses are a bit more Valentine’s themed of course, I was so torn when I initially ordered because all of their plush products are so dang adorable!

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Until next year my loves!!!!

Have you ever ordered any party supplies or other goodies from Oriental Trading? What was it for?

xoxo

 

Happy 3rd House-iversary (Part 2)

Thanks for checking back in on our humble abode!

Before I even get started on my original plan for this post can I just say that I just got to use a gift card at Bed, Bath, & Beyond and At Home?! I found some great stuff y’all! Can’t wait to knock off more house stuff on my 2017 goal list!!!! Anyway, back to the why we’re here. Last week I shared pictures from the photo shoot we did when we bought our house (Click here if you missed it!) and I promised that I would share another post of things we have done around the house.

Now this house was completely live-able HOWEVER we weren’t 100%  happy with it. It isn’t old (built in 2000!) but it isn’t young either! The previous owners and/or builders had many things in the house that worked just fine, but it was obvious they were either the cheapest route or not done to the best of their ability. No bueno!

With that being said though, this isn’t our forever home so we’re only willing to spend but so much on the changes we want to see. Realistically many of them may never happen. Honestly, I hate that, but it just doesn’t make sense!

Okay, before we start let’s take a moment to appreciate our first meal! hahahah

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Okay so here’s what we’ve done so far (down to some very small details):

Miscellaneous:

  • Replaced the broken plastic doorbell with a brushed brass one
  • Added decorative static cling window film to the tiny windows beside our front door (If you had told me I would do this, I would have been like “heck no, how trashy!” but it looks legit and beautiful. I love how it turned out!)
  • Replaced every. single. flippin. door knob, exterior and interior, from brass to brushed nickel
  • Replaced the brass hotel lock on the front door with a brushed nickel one (I wanted to remove it completely but the holes in the frame work were going to cost more time and money to fix than just switching out the lock)
  • Replaced blinds on 5 windows throughout the house
  • Replaced broken outlet covers
  • Hauled away an abandoned grill, rusted outdoor decorations, and a garden bench
  • Installed an electronic garage door with keypad

Living room:

  • Painted one wall in our living room “colonial blue.” (Love it! We were going to do the entire room, but then fell in love with the accent wall)

Kitchen:

  • Raised the cabinets (my father builds custom homes and this was 100% his idea, he says it gives it a more “luxury feel”)
  • Replaced oven, dishwasher, and refridgerator with stainless steel appliances
  • Added a microwave to the kitchen
  • Replaced a light fixture

Half bath:

  • Painted the walls a sea foam color (found the paint in the garage when we moved in, which is funny because none of the walls in the house are that color)
  • Replaced the light fixture (I fell in love with the lighting in a friend’s bathroom and they gave it to me when they replaced their’s. Score!)
  • Replaced the outdated faucet
  • Replaced the brass toilet paper roll holder, and towel bar with brushed nickel (you probably guessed that, right?!)
  • Replaced square contractor-grade mirror with round mirror

Laundry room:

  • Added knobs to the cabinetry
  • Bought a washer and dryer

Master bedroom:

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  • Painted all four walls grey, with one darker grey accent wall

Master bathroom:

  • Removed towel bars (they weird lengths and wooden (and actually they were the very first things to go in the house!))
  • Replaced wooden toilet paper roll holder and  plastic shower curtain rod with brushed nickel pieces
  • Added knobs to the cabinetry

Guest bathroom:

  • Replaced brass towel bar with bronze towel bar (you thought I was going to say brushed nickel, didn’t you?! haha)
  • Added knobs to the cabinetry
  • Replaced plastic shower curtain rod with bronze shower curtain rod

Nursery:

  • Painted walls cotton candy pink (I never wanted a baby girl’s room to be pink, but my hubby picked this color out and I love it so much!)

After taking the time to organize the thoughts on all that we’d done I realize that I am seriously lacking in pictures!!!! Although we’ve been here 3 years we definitely still have a long way to go. This motivates me to finish those things still on my list so that I can take some before and after pictures for you guys!

For now, here’s us the night we got our living room furniture and finally had somewhere to sit and eat! haha

We never had any intentions of leaving the TV on that table, but for that night we plugged it in and watched a few episodes of Friends! Also, how much do you love our pasta dinner in those yellow plastic cereal bowls?! Hehe

And here are some other silly pictures during the move-in process! We were all (including my family of helpers) sleep-deprived! Did I also mention that we moved during a snow storm?!

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This is my car the morning of moving day

img_6888My sweet boy; he’s been with me since my first apartment! (Don’t mind my half work/half chill outfit haha)

img_7047The moving crew…with a picture in my brand new vanity! Yay!

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And our dog discovered that it really is fun to finally have a yard to play in….

Oh and did I also mention that on the day owe rented a U-haul and moved everything in we also had an ADT rep and Verizon rep here and had our furniture delivered, and all of the kitchen appliances delivered and set-up. It was absolutely over-the-top CHAOTIC, but I think I would do the same in the future. It all (mostly) got knocked out in one day!

This post wasn’t the norm and I know it was pretty long, but I hope you found some joy in our journey to being homeowners!

xoxo

Happy 3rd House-iversary!

Three years ago today we bought a house! It is our first home ever and the home we brought our baby girl home to so it will ALWAYS be special. Honestly, there are many, many changes we’d like to make. Well, many changes we have made, but many more on the list! Some will get done and some we don’t want to put the money and time into because we know this isn’t our forever home. For now though, it is absolutely perfect and I will forever be proud because it’s our’s. 

Per my request, my sweet dad did a little photo shoot for us and I think they turned out great!

Here are a few of my faves:

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Dirt, Glitter, & Football: A Lesson in Gender Stereotyping

I recently made a post on my Instagram page that prompted this blog post, but in case you didn’t see it, here is a much longer synopsis:

My daughter recently received two books through a subscription book club. One of the books she received, however, had an illustrated picture of a man driving a backhoe on the cover. I flipped through and it was all about said man, his dog, and the jobs that he works throughout the day.

I put it on the shelf immediately. My darling daughter, in her cute polka dotted outfit and bow, wasn’t going to enjoy reading about a man driving a backhoe. This was obviously for a boy!

And on the shelf it sat for two straight months! I never pulled it down and my daughter passed it by since she was more interested in the all the books Mommy had been picking out and reading her.

And then one day she came across the book about the man with the backhoe. And she loved it. She flipped through it happily. She pointed to his pet dog and smiled. She brought it to me and turned around to plop down in my lap. I read the book and she was enthralled the entire time. She interacts with the words I say, she watches my fingers as we read and count, “one, two, three, four, five.”

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And that’s when it hit me. I was total guilty of gender stereotyping! Shame on me!!! I had seen the cover and coined it a “boy book.” But, what does that even mean? I can’t believe I was ignorant enough to completely disregard this book because I coined it gender specific. Why did I think it was so wrong for my daughter to love a book about a helpful man on a backhoe? Hadn’t I grown up with a father and a grandfather that both drove backhoes and that I’d love riding along on! Me, a girl, had loved riding on the backhoe, playing in the dirt, and exploring their construction sites (when it was safe to, of course!) What I had done broke my heart!

If she wants to play with trucks and get dirty in the mud, great, if we have a son one day and he wants to play with dolls and wear pink, great. These things should never be attached to a gender to begin with. I want my daughter to know that I truly believe she can be anything she wants to be and do anything she wants to do! Maybe that means climbing Mt. Everest, or being an astronaut, or playing football, or competing in beauty pageants, or maybe, just maybe, it means driving a backhoe!


After I realized the fault, I reached out on social media, admitting what I had done and immediately wanting to grow awareness of this! And you know what, I received such support!

I had many mothers comment about similar instances they’ve dealt with. Not necessarily that they were at fault like I had been, but mothers that had addressed gender stereotyping in one way or another. And let me tell you, these mothers are far wiser than me!

It was so wonderful reading the stories of fellow moms and it meant more than they know that they reached out to me and showed support. I wanted their responses heard because I think this is some powerful stuff!

These are the comments they left on my Instagram post that day:

“[My daughter] loves cars and tools and I’m sure [my son] will be playing with dolls in no time at all! My brother used to play Barbies with me!” – Suzanne, The Glorious Mundane

“My son brought home Pinkalicious the other day and I loved it!” – Sarah, This Awkward Mom

“[My son and daughter] love sharing books! A lot of nights we read together now, and it’s always fun to see who’s collection they choose from.” – Jessica, Kozy & Co

“My son plays with Barbies when we go to my niece’s house.” – Shadia, Sound of a Bird

“My son asked for a stroller and a baby doll for Christmas last year. When asked why, he said because he wanted a baby just like Daddy (he had a new baby brother). He also asked for a kitchen. Two stereotypical ‘girl’ toys that Santa most definitely brought him. I got some flack from friends who didn’t understand. But you know what? [He] told people he was a “good daddy” when he pushed that stroller and he “cooks” for me almost everyday. He also has a massive collection of hot wheels cars and dump trucks that are his world. We are fostering imagination and life skills.” – Keala, Recipe for a Sweet Life

“My baby girl can get just as rough and tough as her brothers.” – Stephanie, I Literally LOL


Let’s put an end to gender stereotyping!

Please share any experiences you’ve had! I’d LOVE to hear them!!!

xoxo

 

Adalynn’s First Snow Day EVER!

As we sitting here waiting for an impending snow storm, I can’t help but think back to Adalynn’s first snow last year! People up North would probably laugh at the teeny bit we had, but hey, it’s a good amount for Virginia. (Hence, why everyone is freaking out about us possibly getting 16+ inches tomorrow!)

Anyway, here’s a few photos we took last year (2016) after bundling her in THE cutest little bear suit. We were only outside for about five minutes but we obviously HAD to document it!

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Can’t wait to take some updated pics! Just need a little bit of snow for that… 😉

Seriously though wherever you are, be safe out there!!!

xoxo

 

 

I’m Coming for ya 2017!!!

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If I’m being super honest, I kinda get annoyed with all this resolution, goal-setting talk around the New Year. My reason being is because I feel like people don’t actually take the time to really stick to it. Also because every single day is a fresh start. Heck, every second is, just blink and you’ve got a whole new day ahead of you.

With that being said, however, I do get an overwhelming feeling of starting fresh when the New Year hits. With a lot on my plate this year (an always active toddler, a growing blog with growing social media channels, & a possible part time job in the near future) I actually feel pushed to create a list of sorts. It’s easy as a busy mom, especially one that stays home, to say, “oh I didn’t get to that today, I’ll do it tomorrow.” Well instead of constantly “doing it tomorrow” I wanted to create a solid list that I think on everyday and work towards.

That is not to say that I will feel defeated if come December 31, 2017 if everything doesn’t have a pretty check mark next to it! This is a list of things I’m going to work towards and try to accomplish. It will not be forced. I want it to be a fun year, a year of adventures and loving life!

I have lots of things I want to accomplish, I have so many aspects of my life, I have broken down everything like an OCD psycho into categories.


Here we go:

Faith:

Finish reading the Bible – I want to read it from cover to cover. I started a while back, but this will be the year I finish it.

Start serving on a serve team again – Before Adalynn was born I served every Sunday, helping with offering. Now that she is comfortable in nursery I need to make the time to serve again.

Marriage:

Establish a recurring date night and stick to it – We used to have a date night every Wednesday; becoming parents and John’s current job make that much more difficult. We also had gotten a bit lazy about actually finding interesting and different things to do each week. I don’t anticipate this being a weekly thing, since we do have a little one, but we’ve all but stopped having one so we need to bring those back!

Attend a marriage event/conference – A couple years ago our church hosted an event for married couples. There was a speaker, lunch, and one-on-one activities. It was a really great bonding experience and I’d love to go to one again.

House:

Put shelves in the half bath – We have painted, hung pictures, and gotten a new light fixture, toilet paper holder, towel rack, anddddd faucet. We literally just need to hang shelves and the project will be complete!

Finally finish the office (chair, some sort of shelfing) – This is a room we’ve really struggling with what to do with. It is just a big square with four windows, but it ends up housing random stuff, yet also has big empty spaces as well.

New carpet in the guest bedroom – Thanks for our dog, this needs to be replaced.

Reading nook in the master bedroom – One half of our master bedroom literally has no furniture. We are hoping to add a chair, lamp, and small shelf to create a cozy little area to read or relax.

Tile in the master bathroom – Part of it is carpeted, need I say more?!

Curtains in the remaining rooms that don’t have them – I’m tired of just looking at plain, white shades in almost every room.

Picture frames up to date and hung up – self explanatory, and embarrassingly enough this also includes our wedding photos…from almost five years ago!

Get furniture for the front porch – We have a sweet little porch with white railing and I would love to put some patio furniture or rocking chairs out there.

Family:

Do a family date day/night at least once a week – This is a really important one as well, especially now that Adalynn is at such an impressionable age.

Talk about plans for Baby #2 once Adalynn is potty trained – Don’t start harassing me or peppering me with questions just yet 😉 Adalynn may not even be potty-trained this year, but if so we feel like that’s a great time to talk about expanding our family.

Travel:

Take a 5 year anniversary trip with my hubby – I have hopes for a big trip for this one, but finances, time, and arrangements for Adalynn will obviously take precedence.

Take a family trip – We’ve never been on one! My wanderlust heart can’t take it anymore!!!

Take a girls trip – Myself and most of my girlfriends turn 30 this year. A girls trip is obviously necessary!

Check out 1+ states on my bucket list (this can be incorporated into one of the above trips) – I’ve already been to 27, but I’ve got 23 to go…

Career:

Find something part-time working with children, preferably in reading – I am a former elementary school teacher with a reading specialist endorsement and am starting to miss that part of my life. I love this season of being a mom to a little one, however, and am SO grateful to be able to stay home with her, so that is why I only want something part-time.

Fitness:

Compete in another half marathon – I haven’t decided if I want to do the Rock & Roll Half again or try a new one! Maybe I’ll do more than one 😉

Compete in at least three 5k (or longer) races – I love the adrenaline, happiness, and just plain FUN that surrounds organized races. I didn’t do many in 2016 and I missed it terribly!

Practice yoga 2+ a week – Yoga is something I’ve always wanted to do and when I was pregnant with Adalynn I did it almost everyday. I think it helps my overall demeanor and quite frankly my labor, overall. I haven’t taken the time to commit to it since she’s been born and I’d love to!

Blog:

Host 5-10 bloggers for a series – I have always so enjoyed guest posting on other people’s blogs and love the connections you make so I’d love to host my own.

Update the layout – This page needs a face lift and some housekeeping touches

Publish 10+ posts a month – I don’t necessarily want to post on the same days every week, but I do want to publish posts more regularly than I have in the past.

Take a course (online or otherwise) to become more knowledgeable of my camera – We have a Canon and I know I could do some great things with it if I knew what the heck I was doing!

Social Media Channels (Blog):

Grow Facebook & Twitter to 1,000 followers – self explanatory

Become more familiar with Pinterest & StumbleUpon – I’ve heard these are great for sharing blog posts so I would love to use them more often.

Grow Instagram to 10,000 followers – self explanatory

Financial:

Set up a working budget and stick to it – This is something that we haven’t stuck to in the past and I think it’s really important.

Meal plan weekly & don’t go to the grocery store more than once a week – I have found myself spending more money than necessary due to sporadic grocery store trips. I am going to take the time to meal plan, really figure out what need to be purchased, and make a weekly trip.

Continue tithing every single week – This is something I have faith in and starting in December 2016 we did it every week. We will continue doing so in 2017.

Miscellaneous:

Finish junior and senior year of college scrapbooks – Yes, I’m that behind!

Make family photo albums – I know I have digital copies of pretty much everything, but I just love sitting around flipping through actual pictures

Find a cleaning schedule that works for us – Another thing we do sporadically in this house is clean. We do some things more than others, some things are forgotten, and we forget when what was done. I have had friends recommend an actual cleaning schedule and then you do a few things a day, week, or month, and it doesn’t become one overwhelming task.


So this is not something I would typically share with others, but I wanted to because I think it will help me stay accountable!

I also wanted to hear if you think I could tone it down or do more on any of the things I stated!

And last, but not least, if you do anything of the things I’ve listed and have any tips, PLEASE feel free to share. I’d appreciate any tips and tricks you have!

Thanks for reading along!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

xoxo

 

Skinny Doesn’t Equal Happy

To The Gym Instructor who Changed my Life –

I’m writing this letter because, quite frankly, I am appalled at your behavior.

When I entered your class the other morning, not only was it my first day of your class, or any class at all for that matter, but it was also my first day at the gym. Yes, here I am at 28 years old going to the gym for the first time. I am a confident, overall fit person, but the gym is an intimidating place for me. I’ve always enjoyed a nice run outdoors or an at-home workout tape. I don’t know if I’m using the weights correctly, I don’t know how long to stay on certain equipment or how many reps I should be doing, I don’t know if my exercise combinations have any rhyme or reason with one another. Yes, I can ask these things, but like I said this is one place I’ve continually felt out of place.

Anyway, your class went really well and I really enjoyed myself. I was also quite proud, if I’m being honest. I’d made myself go to the gym and I’d had a great time!

A few minutes after class you saw me leaving with my 9 month old daughter in tow. You and a few other ladies from the class, who you seemed pretty close with, approached us with smiles on your face. Oh, I felt so welcome and comfortable at last.

“How are you sooooooo skinny right after having a baby?” you asked. I kept a smiling face, but inside I groaned.

“I’m actually struggling with my weight now and have a very high metabolism……” I started  to quickly explain, not sure where my courage came from on this particular day, but thinking I’d have an ally in the gym instructor. I mean you’re a professional, right?

“She has a fast metabolism,” you, the instructor of all people, say to the other women, with a laugh.

I was crushed and I didn’t know what to respond with at that point and turned the attention to my smiling baby.

“Skinny” was one of the the words I always thought I’d want to hear one day as a new mom.

Not now.

Not that’s it’s really any of your business, but since the birth of my daughter my weight has plummeted. My doctor is concerned about my high metabolism (which is apparently hilarious to you) and I’m 15 pounds less than before I even got pregnant. I am losing muscle mass. I have one pair of pants that comfortably fits me.

While others look at me and see that I’m so lean, I look at me and see a long road ahead. The week beforehand I had signed up to work with a trainer on the muscle mass problem. I am trying to eat tons to keep up with what I’m losing between the breastfeeding demands of nursing exclusively and for having a metabolism that’s off the charts. I am also being overly conscious of my intake because I don’t want my weight to sky rocket once the breastfeeding is done.

Aside from all this, I’m still getting used to my forever changed body from childbirth. My sagging breasts, my stretched out belly button, my thinned hair. And although I’ve lost a lot of weight it doesn’t mean I’m tone. Part of me looks skeletal, part of me looks deflated. I don’t like to look in the mirror. It’s a lot to take in. I wish I didn’t care but I’d be lying to say it didn’t matter.

And what a strange question, anyway – “why are you so skinny?”

Is it okay to go around and ask people why they’re “so short,” “so pale, ” “so fat?” You probably wouldn’t (hopefully wouldn’t!) do those things, yet you think it’s okay to ask someone why they’re “so skinny.”

And what’s sad is my trust is shaken now. You completely humiliated me! I took the leap of faith and pushed myself to attend to the gym. I immediately trusted you since you worked there, especially since you were a female instructor. I felt you were someone safe I could talk to. I’m the new girl. The one whose doctor wanted her here. Yet, now I feel like I have to answer differently. Giggle it off and get nowhere, like I’ve been doing.

As I sit here writing, however, I am learning a lesson myself.

I know there’s times I’ve said something about someone’s height, weight, hair, body size, or skin! Maybe even some sort of awkward question that I didn’t really think out before letting it leaving my lips. I’ve never been purposefully hateful, it’s all been out of love, but still! There’s probably been a time or two I’ve made someone uncomfortable.

And I am so, so sorry!

For some reason our society has it embedded in our brains that it’s okay to make remarks about the tall and thin but you wouldn’t want to say the words “short” or “fat.” They’ve said that tall and thin is the way to be but the fact is here I sit tall and thin and more insecure than ever before. Just because someone’s body looks how we think they’d be happiest with it, it doesn’t mean they are.

I am hurt by your mocking and laughter that followed my true answer when asked about my weight. I’d like to open my eyes and forget it, but unfortunately it still stings. I forgive you, however, because my hope is that you didn’t mean it to be as hurtful as it was.

I forgive you if for no other reason than the fact that society has trained us to not be gentle with one another. To zero in on a body type and assume everyone should look like that, and that those that do, are happy, and those that don’t, are not.

And honestly, looking back now, I’m thankful it happened. It hurt me, but it taught me more about myself. It taught me to love myself when I’m doing the best I can. It taught me to love the process, especially since this body is what brought my daughter into this world. And even more than that, I’m thankful because it taught me to love others more than ever before; to always be careful with my words and actions because we never truly know anyone’s inside battles.

And for that, I thank you.

Sincerely,

A Changed Woman

{Before you make a comment about someone’s body, reconsider it. Unless you are telling them how BEAUTIFUL they are, don’t open your mouth.}

{XOXO}