EO Carrying Case

EO case

I will talk more about this in future posts, but our family has become “crunchier” over the last 6 months and started using essential oils in place of a lot of different things, fragrances, medicines, and even some food products.  I have lots to post on that topic, but this past weekend I went to a “make n take” party where we made 10 roller bottles for our kiddos.  When I got home I immediately hit amazon to get a carrying case because I like everything in one spot!  I ordered this hard case that fits exactly 10 bottles up to 10 ML each and I LOVE it.  A friend asked me to link to it, so here you go, click on the link below to order yours 😉

On Rediscovering My Joy

joy

This week I’ve been on the quest to locate the joy in motherhood again.  It’s been missing for awhile and I’m tired of not loving it anymore.  This week has been one of my best weeks in awhile and I am beginning to realize a few things that have been stealing my joy and I’m now working hard to eliminate them.

If you know me personally I am a DOER.  Kind of to the extreme.  I work 3 jobs, yep 3….while staying home full time with my kids and am committed to spending nearly every evening after bedtime not at my computer, but with my hubby or with friends.  How do I do it?  I hustle ALL DAY LONG.  I rarely ever take one single moment for myself and my day is planned out from the moment my alarm sounds at 6AM until the kiddos go to bed at 8PM.  I finally committed 2 weeks ago to take time off every week from work and it’s been HARD, like I literally don’t know what to do with myself (that is why I am blogging right now).  So from 5PM on Friday until I wake up Sunday morning I do not allow myself to open my work computers.  I think I will learn to love this break from work, but right now it’s sorta driving me nuts.

So that is one step in the direction of finding my motherhood joy.  Taking the time on the weekends to not be pulled in any direction other than relationships.  So far it’s been a struggle for me, but I’m pretty confident in the next few weeks I will learn to LOVE it.

Step 2, this week I have let go of something every day.  One day Ellery went to school without having her hair or teeth brushed and it was very obvious when we walked into school that I hadn’t touched her hair in at least 24 hours.  The next day we got the hair and teeth brushed, but breakfast was an applesauce squeeze pack and a cup full of rainbow goldfish on the drive to school.  Then the following day I let work go all morning and took Vaughn on an outing for the first time, maybe ever, I realized I needed to spend time with JUST Vaughn and I never do that, like ever.  It was a stretch for me, mornings with Vaughn are my time to get the groceries done, answer e-mails, run errands, do anything that is easier with one than with 2, but it was really good for us to GO do something just her and me and I hope to make this more of a habit. Then last night perhaps the hardest thing to let go of was my expectations of what it looks like to have people over.  I went to the store bought pre-marinated chicken breasts, frozen french fries, boxed brownies and fruit and I called it a day.  Guess what?  We had just as nice of a time visiting with friends than we would have if I had made the homemade potatoes, made my own marinade and made brownies from scratch (which was all on the original menu).

This week I realized I had lost my joy when I made the vow that I had to do it all.  Been going to a mom group called Mom to Mom and it’s been the best thing I could do for my mom self.  They affirm us every week that we cannot do it all so I’m trying to do two things a day well.  1.  Be present with my kids.  This week has been intentional outings that I knew my kids would love.  2. Ask my husband everyday, “what can I do today to make your day better?” Then I commit to do that one thing even if other things get dropped in order to do that.

Step 3:  I am committing on Monday to call ECI which is an early childhood intervention program to help us with Vaughn.  Something is off, we don’t know what, but I have hope that they can help us to work with her to communicate better and cut down on the hours of daily screaming.  The screaming has really zapped my joy and fried my nerves and after a YEAR of not giving into the extreme tantrums without much progress I have gotten affirmation from several people in my life that it’s time to seek some assistance because the behavior is more extreme than the normal “terrible two” type stuff.  There is a really sweet girl in that little body and I want to help her learn to showcase that more often.

So I haven’t FOUND my joy yet, but I am full steam ahead on the adventure of finding it again.  Making my doer self do less is going to likely be my hardest challenge, but I am committed, I must turn the tide.

Spending Freeze February

No-Money-On-Hand

Last year (and maybe even the year before that) we did a spending freeze February.  I wish we could take a break from all our bills, mortgage, buying gas & groceries, and that we would have a guaranteed month free of house repairs, but that is not gonna happen.  So when I say we freeze our spending for the month of February we just take a month to peel back and not fund our expendable income budget accounts.  So that means we don’t fund, Andrew, Ellery, Vaughn or Laura’s spending accounts.  We don’t fund any money into eating out (we do usually give ourselves enough to eat out cheap twice in February), home improvements, haircuts, chiropractor, gifts, Christmas, Entertainment, Emergency Fund or Vacation.

And guess what???  When we don’t fund ourselves the money an incredible thing happens…….. we don’t spend the money.  Somehow I can go without clothes for the month, the kids can go without special activities or new clothes, we find things to do that don’t cost money, we eat at home around our dinner table or get invited to eat at friend’s houses.  I also find that I commit much harder to using cloth diapers since technically purchasing diapers are an extra expense for us that isn’t necessary.

Last year we were able to put a nice chunk of money on our student loans by doing this and I’m hoping we can do the same this year.  I will say that this year, I will majorly have to cheat the first week because of a trip I am making with the girls, but I will try to be really conscientious about my spending where perhaps I would have splurged a bit more.

So why do we choose February?  The first obvious reason is it’s the shortest month (although this year it’s 29 days!).  Also it’s the month after we have finished up holidays and traveling.  We’ve had a little boost in our spending money thanks to Christmas money from family, and in our family it turns out that we do not need to purchase any gifts for birthdays in February, so that’s nice to use our gifts fund for debt.  You may be surprised to see how much you can save in a month if you stop and ask yourself “do I really need this?”

Anyone wanna join us this year??  Leave a comment on my facebook link (I disabled comments on the blog due to an insane amount of spam) and I’ll try to check in with you during the month to hold you accountable!

How I’m Currently Dealing

Oh the ticking time bomb phase….I never dealt with this before and I always dreaded it.  Will I wake up tonight in labor?  Will my water break while I’m out shopping?  Because I’m no longer sleeping will I have the energy to do this when the time comes?  I have tons of what ifs running through my mind about when and where labor will begin.  Then it hit me today, labor is like the stomach flu.  You never know when it could hit, you could be anywhere, but it does start with just feeling yucky and then it gradually progresses until you are puking your brains out.  That’s how I’m assuming labor will happen.  It’ll start kind of slow, I’ll have light contractions for awhile that will build until she comes out.  I will have enough warning to get home from wherever I am and then it’ll get bad enough that I’ll know to go to the hospital.  If my water breaks without warning, well I guess I’ll have a funny story to tell about how I flooded the aisle at Target.  Just as you don’t plan your life around getting the stomach flu, I’m not planning my life around possibly going into labor.  I just booked an appointment for Ellery to get pictures taken for her Nana tomorrow, maybe we’ll make it to this appointment, maybe we won’t, but I’ve decided that’s how I’m going to deal with this phase of pregnancy.  I’ve also been in postpartum clothes purchasing mode.  I purchased two pairs of these leggings today from apricot lane, and this sweater, this tee, and these jeans from Old Navy.  They should be here in 7-9 business days and I’m REALLY hope I’m actually in the post-partum phase at that point.  I’m also crossing my fingers that they will fit decently well shortly after the birth…I sized up on all of them (except the leggings which are one size “fits all”).  And for the VERY few people who follow the blog, but don’t follow me on instagram or Facebook here is hopefully my last belly picture, taken today at 40 weeks.

photo-5

I Might Know the Secret

I’ve always wondered, how do they do it?  How do these moms have clean kids, clean houses, food in the cupboard, dinner on the table and look nice?  I may have discovered the secret over the last week.  They rise early.  We’ve had Ellery up LATE a couple nights and she’s been sleeping in until almost 9.  I however am not programed to sleep in that late so I’m up around 7:30.  Do you know how much you can get done before your kid/kids wake up?  I worked this morning, made my bed, got my dishes cleaning in the dishwasher, and made pancakes all before my little one opened her eyes.  With my child awake these tasks would have taken me the better part of the morning.  I keep trying to figure out how in the world I’m going to keep working when I have baby number two and I think the answer just might be getting up an hour before my kids.  This sounds painful, but just as I thought waking up before 8:00 everyday for about 18 years sounded horrid I have adjusted and I assume I could adjust to getting up around 6:00.  I read something a mom wrote about setting herself up for success each morning and her secret was getting up, showered, and ready before her kids wake up.  I’ve done this a few times and it has REALLY made a difference in my day.  It’s truly amazing how a few minor changes make such huge difference in our day.  Happy Monday 🙂

The Dream Manager

The Dream Manager
My boss LOVES business building books and audios and I have had the privilege of benefiting from his passion for this. He frequently passes an audio or book to me and I have yet to dislike anything I have read or heard from him. A couple weeks ago I borrowed The Dream Manager from him and absolutely loved it. For this non-dreamer it was a very empowering book and I am currently taking steps to implement this in my life. If you don’t run a business or coach people who run a business it’s probably not super beneficial until you get to the last chapter where he explains how to implement it into your life. I don’t want to tell you too much because I really think you should read the book, but I will tell you a few of the fundamentals that I’m working on.

1. Make a list of 100 dreams (or goals) that you have for your life. It can be as small as lose 5 pounds or as big as fund and build an orphanage in Africa. Just right them all down in a list. You can edit later.

2. Get a dream journal and write down each dream you would like to achieve and then write down the time frame. 0-12 months, 1-5 years, or 5 years or more.

3. Then pick a few dreams that you want to work on right now. I don’t think he suggests this, but I plan to write a few thoughts on that dreams page that help me focus on how to get there. If it’s lose 5 pounds I would write. Exercise at least 3 days a week and cut back on sweets.

4. Take time each week to review your dreams and celebrate when you fulfill them. This helps to motivate you in your daily life to be working towards something.

I realized while talking to a friend the other day that without dreams/goals you are just existing, not really living your life to the fullest potential.

I’ll share a few dreams I am focusing on right now:
0-12 months: make our house feel like our home
1-5 years: pay off all loans with higher interest than our house
5 and beyond: Plan and take an extravagant vacation (couple or family)

EXTREMELY Un-American

It was brought to my attention last night that I am extremely “un-american” I don’t like Thanksgiving food, I don’t like bacon and I don’t drink coffee. I was actually told by this person that he is finding more and more reasons not to like me. Wowzas (he was kind of kidding), don’t worry it wasn’t my husband. I informed them that I am actually likely more American than any of them because my great grandmother was 100% Cherokee. I’m hosting Thanksgiving this year and I’m determined to not ruin it for everyone else. Thank goodness for Pinterest to get me excited to plan a Thanksgiving day. Just because I don’t enjoy the food doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the day. Come to find out last night my husband LOVES Thanksgiving so I can at least suck it up and let him enjoy himself, thank goodness his mother is coming, I have NO IDEA how to make any of the food.

On another note: My love and I are likely INSANE. We decided to do our kitchen transformation during a crazy busy time of year when our child is in an extremely exploratory phase, and she is getting her molars in which has been a real blast. Party until 3:00AM and all that cool stuff. Yeah we are idiots….

back to my regularly scheduled blog posts soon…….maybe.

Remember that time when my blog worked?

That time before IOS7 came out and my sweet husband just had to update the iPad and I had to lose my ability to post things on the blog. So now I’ll use the clunky web interface instead of the amazing app until we get this all sorted.

I missed blogging so much that I literally had dreams about writing blog posts. I wish I could remember what I wrote about in my dream because while I’ve written many posts in my mind I can’t think of much to write about now that I actually can, so here I go rambling. I will be back to regular blogging soon I hope.

Since I last posted I’m sure a lot has happened that I’m completely forgetting about.

I was going to write a post about Illini football and how I miss the old days. I remember the days when block I was actually located in block I! When everyone sat outside and there wasn’t this gigantic box across the way. I miss when the chief came out on the field, a really fun tradition. Does anybody else miss the announcer saying, “1st and 10 for the Illini?” But what I miss most is having a good team, it’s been quite sometime! Despite all the things I missed I still had a great time going to the game with my sweetie, eating a hotdog, sitting in the cold, watching the band and enjoying the traditions. It’s good to be back in Illini country. And how adorable is my hubs?
image

We went to Austin last week. Andrew had a work trip there so Ellery and I tagged along. It was so great hanging out with girlfriends I hadn’t seen in 6 months and playing with their kids. Loved hanging out with my family and eating a kid free dinner with 3 men in my life that are super important to me. Loved dressing Ellery up as an owl and having her go trick or treating. Honestly it was one house, but it was adorable and the perfect little photo op.
image

This week I went to Champaign for work and woke up with a lovely kidney infection. Thankful I was at my parents so they could take care of Ellery while I took care of myself. Can I just say going to work feels like a vacation? Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE being a stay at home mama and I count my blessings everyday for that, but staying home is exhausting and at least for me and my job work is the easier day! So all you stay at home moms out there, if you are wondering, you really do work!!!

Lastly we started redoing our kitchen this week and boy oh boy do I have my work cut out for me, my goal is getting the cabinets done before the Campbells arrive for Thanksgiving, but at this rate I’ll probably have 1/2 done. Can’t wait until I can show you the transformation, it should be huge!

Oh blog how I have missed you!!!

Brain Purge

I’ve been meaning to write some posts, so instead of some posts you are getting one with lots of random thoughts.

1. I am really frustrated with how much spam I’m getting on here. Some days I get 50 spam comments. I can’t keep up with deleting them. Do any of my computer wizard friends have any recommendations? If so e-mail or Facebook post so I don’t have to weed through the spam to see yours.

2. Have you found a new blog reader after google reader shut down? If not, I’m really enjoying feedly. The aesthetic is great. Had a really rough time installing it, but once it was set up I really like it.

3. Once you get feedly set up may I suggest following my aunt’s pharmacy blog? She is really into natural remedies and she recently posted our story about Elle’s sleep. The natural colic drops are still working great! She is the best resource you can have because if you need a natural remedy you can e-mail her and she will ship it to you! She will also help you figure out what you need. I was cured of acid reflux I had for 15 years in the course of 90 days on natural remedies.

4. I have gotten spoiled that Andrew hasn’t been traveling much for work. He was in California this week and boy have I missed him.

5. I’m bidding doing flowers for a wedding this week and I’m realizing how much I used to enjoy it. And I’m crossing my fingers I get to do this one.

6. I have been addicted to sewing lately. Like literally when I have 3 free minutes I have been running to the machine and sewing for a few minutes.

7. My hair is majorly falling out. I’ve been stressing out about it which I’m told makes it worse 🙂 so now I’m taking suggestions for keeping my hair on my head. I’m thinking of cutting it much shorter to try to salvage what I have left until I can come up with a better solution. The mister hates this idea….

8. We are in the head hitting phase. I guess that is part of the exploration phase. So far the worst slam by far was when her upper lip hit the step and it bled so bad her face was covered in blood and I couldn’t find the source. That wasn’t my most fun mom moment. Lots of tears this month, but also lots of mama snuggling/comforting and that’s been kinda special. I am however looking forward to my sweet Ellery gaining a little more coordination.

9. Fall is AMAZING!!! How I missed it the last couple years. The leaves are beginning to chance and the husband and I have a hot date to the Illini game tomorrow, so looking forward to it!!!

10. And last, but CERTAINLY not least. I’m getting a new nephew in March!!

Sleep is Important

I feel like I have lots to write about, but no energy to do so. Ellery had two straight weeks of screaming in the night. Sometimes being up for a solid two hours. This would have been fine if I didn’t work because I would have napped when she did, but nap time means work time so by the second full week of this I was exhausted and irritable. So irritable that when Saturday rolled around I asked Andrew to get a sitter and take me to a movie. Our good friends came over and watched our sweetie while we saw Gravity in IMAX 3D. It was a good movie, but a great movie to watch in 3D. By the end of the movie I was somehow missing my girl and couldn’t wait to get home to squeeze her. That night I decided to explore another option for the sleeping. I went through my homeopathic medicine box and found colic drops. I read the back and while my child is 14 months old she had every single symptom so I tried them. She slept through the night and has every night since then. You better believe she’ll be getting these for awhile. I will say the drops were coupled with lots of prayer from us, family, and friends. It has made me much more thankful for those full nights of sleep. I have a lot of posts rattling around in this brain of mine. I have some sewing projects that I am almost done with that will free up more of my time to blog.