Throw Back Thursday

A few of my favorite quotes came from a women by the name of Edith Wharton, an American writer.  In light of throw back Thursday today I’m sharing them with all of you:

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Wondering On Wednesdays…

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If you could pick one emoji to describe your mood this morning what would it be?

Check your mood this morning, in this moment.  What do you notice about it and how does your mood make you feel?

Our moods are very much a temporary state of mind and can change quickly.  However, in the moment without intending too, our moods can directly impact the people we love most (either good or bad, depending).  In my opinion, I am glad that our moods are not stuck in any given state forever and we have the ability to change them whenever we choose to.  However, it’s good to reflect on your moods once and a while.  Your moods can be a good indicator of your overall well being.  Self reflection may be the medicine your soul needs to turn a not so good mood into the best mood!  What are you waiting for?  Give it a try.  It’s never too late to change your mood.

When you looking inwardly at your mood, what are you observing about yourself as you are going about your morning?  Think about your feelings and the people, places and things that may have triggered this specific mood or moods in you.  How does this mood make you feel right now?  How is the atomosphere of your home and what are your family members like this morning?  While you think about these things, relax and take a couple of deep breaths in and out.

When I check myself, I’m noticing a trend lately.  I tend to wake up tired most mornings.  Therefore, I am also lacking energy.  Yet I don’t feel like I’m in a bad mood and start out in fairly good mood.  I start slowly waking up when the hot shower hits my face and runs over my body and I feel like I’m in my happy place.  I wonder if this is my happy place because it’s about the only moment in my day where I am by myself.  This is my uninterrupted time as my family is still sleeping.  It’s also a place in my day where my thoughts are my own and this allows my mind to run freely without interruption.

As my morning continues on,  I can literally feel that happy mood start to dwindle.  My husband is making annoying noises in the kitchen as I constandly shoosh him and remind him the kids are sleeping still, then the kids start to wake up and are already demanding things from me from their bedrooms and I’m not quite ready for them to be awake yet, the dog is scratching at the back of my leg while I make breakfast because she wants her head scratched and the cat is meowing in the background because she wants her food and water bowls filled up.

Little by little things trigger my mood to unwind into a downward spiral and I begin to already feel my lack of patience with my family members fester and in general, I become irritable.  These moods come on fast and strong.  I quickly forget the many blessings of my morning and all the reasons I should be happy instead of the negative mood I’m in that has overcome me. Don’t get me wrong, there are moments of happiness and joy inbetween the negative, but those negative feelings have a way of overcasting that joy (because I let them).

However, it’s always noticible that once I’m in that place of a negative mood, my overall mindset and mood for the day isn’t as upbeat as it was when I initially woke up and started my day.  My mood starts to affect my kids and my husband.  If I feel stressed, my kids and husband feel it and start acting out of whack too.  If I yell, everyone is yelling.  Before you know it we are all arguing and fighting and my heart feels anxiety filled.

I’m just wondering if I am the only mom this happens to?

What if I told you that it doesn’t have to be this way?  I’m wondering if you’d believe me?  I have my doubts myself, but when I stop and truly think about it, I believe it all boils down to our choices.

If you have never done a self-relection on your mood, I’m sure you are not alone.  You likely haven’t had time to think about it much.  However, you need to.  Seriously, you need to stop what you are doing and take just a moment to do some self reflection.

In my mind, mood and self-reflection go hand in hand.  Have you ever heard the saying, if mom isn’t happy, then nobody is happy?

Stopping and thinking about this phrase this morning and observing how my own mood was affecting my entire household, it was an eye opener for me.  Yesterday, I wrote about things that made me happy.  That was a choice.  I could easily have written about things that made me unhappy.  We really do have the power to choose happiness and joy no matter what.

Emotional responses to your children can oftentimes reflect your mood.  I tend to be a high stress person, and I am a worrier by nature. This can oftentimes, and very unintentionally, bounce onto my kids.  If I become easily angry and my child does one thing that irks me, my reaction or way I interact with her about her behavior may be more intense then it would have normally been if I wasn’t in an angry sort of mood to begin with.   Yet it has nothing to do with her.  She doesn’t know this though.  Imagine how she internalized that interaction and how it may have greatly impacted her in a negative way?  We don’t think about this in the moment.  However, afterwards it sure doesn’t make me feel good when I do think about it.  I am by no means perfect, but I surely can always do better….and I’m trying.  Self awareness is always the first step.

Children can so often feed off our our negativity.  We sit and wonder why our child is acting out, or yelling at us, or responding to our requests of them in a less desirable way then expected?  Again, I want you stop and take a good look in the mirror.  This can often be a reflection of yourself and how you carry yourself with them.  It’s so important to be aware and cautious of this very thing.  We can choose a different path if only we become self aware of our moods that may trigger these actions in the first place.

Check yourself.

The next time you feel a bad mood rising within, take a deep breath and be aware of how your bad mood can be fostering a negative environment in your household.  Find ways to deal with your negative moods in a constructive manner before they start to affect others, especially those very important little loves in your lives.  Dig deep and figure out what triggered your bad mood in the very beginning and deal with that issue first before you deal with other issues or people around you.  Have your very goal each morning be to have a contagious good mood that you model to your children.

We have the ability to choose joy and choose happiness everyday in any circumstance we are in.  Imagine how amazingly different our lives would be if we made this choice?  You have nothing to lose by trying.  It’s time we all start taking more time to inwardly start looking at ourselves.  I can almost bet you, our family lives would improve for the better.

If you are having trouble going at this alone, take time to talk to God and humbly ask for His guidance.  Sometimes it’s hard to look inside ourselves when the temptation to be bitter, unforgiving, and bummed out is sitting so heavy on our shoulders.  God doesn’t want us to stay in this place.  It is unsettling and it affects everyone around us.

I know we all have our moments, but overall, wouldn’t you rather be a Mom contagiously spreading love, joy, and kindness like confetti more often then not?  In my mind, it paints a much happier & healthier picture!


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Aimless 20 Talk Tuesday

…on happy thoughts.

  1.  Even thought it doesn’t quite look like it outside or feel like it quite yet, today I can officially say….Image result for first day of spring
  2. These smiles make my heart happy….Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling
  3. I’m drinking warm coffee and I haven’t had to re-heat once this morning.
  4. I’m on chapter 20 of a new book (I’m only this far into it because I was in the car for 8 hours this weekend and my husband did the driving).
  5. We are talking about Spring break plans.  We are thinking of going to an indoor water park resort in WI with just the kids for 2 nights and 3 days.  It will be nice to do something different and fun to make memories as a family.
  6. The count down to rummage sale season has begun!
  7. The count down to my birthday has also begun!
  8. Spring means baby animals, which means a trip to Mulburry Farms with the kids is a must soo!!!  Just the thought makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.  It’s always nice to have fun things to do, to look forward to.
  9. The Twist, which happens to be one of our favorite litttle ice cream shops, opens back up in 3 days!!!
  10. I got 1/2 bathrooms in my house cleaned yesterday.  I dislike cleaning but one of the things I hate the most to clean is our bathrooms.  It’s always a relief when the job is done!
  11. It’s library day!  This means my daughter gets some social time and I get to enjoy seeing her different personalities come out with other people.
  12. Taco Tuesday.  We are having Tacos for dinner tonight.  One of my favorite foods!
  13. I found a note from my 5 year old daughter this morning, that she had written a few days ago but it made me smile today.  It read, “I nowe you are chest (she meant stressed) but you are the best!!!!!!!!!!!!! You ARE the best!  I love you.  To Mom.  Love, E.”  I cherish these notes she leaves for me and my husband!
  14. Our We Energies bill is getting lower, and lower and lower because we are not needing to have the heat on as high and for as long every day and night.  Always a positive!!!
  15. I’ve been seeing robins outside and the birds have been singing when I’m outside in the morning waiting with E to get on the bus!  Always puts me in a good mood!
  16. K is officially on the payroll, haha.  She finished her first diaper study and should have a visa of $125 activiated by the end of this week!  Whoop! Whoop!
  17. By the end of Sunday, my husband and I will offically be members of our Church.  We’ve taken a 6 week class to do so and it will be so nice to be able to start attending our regular worship services on Sunday again!
  18. Today is Free Ice Cream day at DQ.  Hmm, I’ve mentioned ice cream twice now, can you tell it’s a part of my life?! Hah.
  19. I’m slowly starting to declutter this house.  I started in K’s room yesterday.  I made quite a bit of progress.  I just have to weed through her closet and organize it and then we need to purchase her a big girl bed and she will be set for a while.  Then on to her sister’s room!  It always feels good having a clean, uncluttered and organized living space.  I can’t tell you how much stress clutter and unorganized spaces cause me.
  20. I enjoy seeing how much fun my daughter has with an amazon box and her 10 baby dolls.  Sometimes the simple things can be the best things!

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Motivational Monday for Mombies

I heard this song as I was driving this morning and thought it was beautiful.  I think it’s always amazing when God knows just the thing you need to calm your worried heart.  This morning, it was this song.  Of course it inspired me and made me want to share it with all you beautiful and loving Mama’s out there.

Sometimes, we lack the right words to say in prayer and I just thought this was such a beautiful prayer in the form of a song, for our children.  We have so many promises that we give to our children that come from our hearts and oh so many things we want to teach them.  We hope that what we teach them while they are young is instilled in them and they are able to carry these teachings with them throughout their life.  We want everything for these little beings that occupy so much of our heart and lives.  For me, this includes having a strong faith.

However, sometimes it is worriesome when they are not in our care or when they venture off to do something by themselves.  Will they be ok?  Will they make the right choices?  Will someone be there for them if they are upset? Will they be kind hearted.  Will their needs be taken care of?  A worried mom’s heart is always filled with so many questions when she has to part from her babies.

Some days it feels like we have it all together as their parents and other days it feel like we have failed them.  No matter what kind of day you are having with your children, I think one thing is constant-our love for them is out of this world and their love for us is too.  I believe they can feel our love and are reminded of it it many ways, even when we are not present with them.

Through good or bad days as their parents, we are the constant that guides them through every single day over their years here on Earth. We are the positive and the ones they really are listenting to, even when we think that they are not.  I’m going to be 34 this year, and I still think of things my parents said to me growing up and am reminded of their love for me on a daily basis. I can’t tell you how comforting this can be to me.

It’s certainly a bittersweet thing to watch our children grow and expand their wings but to whole heartedly trust in God to take care of them and trust in him to help guide them is an amazing thing.  It gives our troubled and worried hearts a break.  It makes parting ways, even for short moments, more peaceful.

I hope you enjoy this song as much as I did.  It is my prayer for you that it can still your hearts this morning if they are feeling heavy or worried about your kiddos today for you are one of their greatest teachers.  That being said, they’ve got a great start in this amazing thing called life!


Free Friday

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Last night I was invited to sub on my friend’s co-ed soccer team.  Initially, I thought of a million and ten excuses as to why I shouldn’t play.  Deep down I knew I wanted to play.  It is so easy for me to go to a place where I put my wants, desires, needs, etc. behind everyone elses.  Can you related to this in some way?  Off the top of my head, I immediately can think of a few other mom-friends of mine who do the same thing.  Why we do this to ourselves I don’t know.  Moms deserve time for themselves and time away that doesn’t involve guilty feelings for doing so.

I am thankful for my husband who encouraged me to play.  A little push was all I needed.  Sometimes a little motivation from others is all we need to just do that thing we so desperately need to do.  I have to say, I had a blast playing soccer last night and I do not have any regrets taking some time away for me.

However, when I was done playing, I decided to call my husband to let him know that I was on my way home so he had an estimated time as to when to expect me back for the night.  We barely got two words in edge wise when I could hear my 5 year old daughter bgegging my husband to talk to me in the background.  My husband handed over the phone and as soon as I said, “Hey Sweetie, I’m almost home, ” my daughter burst into big girl tears.  They ligitimately were so sad sounding that my anxiety about not physically being there for her was through the roof.

Her tears alone, were enough to rip my heart strings in half.  If it’s one thing that is so hard as a mom, it is hearing your babies crying (like really crying) and you are not there to hug them or kiss them and make them know you are there for them.  It is so very hard and I was feeling so bad.

I immediately ask her what the matter was, trying to do what I could over the phone to calm her down.  I did my best to assure her that Mama was here for her even though I wasn’t there in person in that moment.  Of course I was expecting the worst case senerio behind the reason for the tears.   Deep down though, I knew my husband was there and he was capable of taking are of the girls without me and knew she was likely really fine.

Just like that though, those guilty mom feelings starting overtaking my brain and flooding my heart.  I remember the first thought I told to myself was that I shouldn’t have played soccer tonight.  Secondly, I should have listened to my gut when my daughter hugged me extra long before I left and didn’t want me to go then.  Thirdly, that gosh Nichole, you are such a selfish mom for leaving tonight.  When  my daughter  finally was able to speak through tears she caught me completely off guard when she said, “Mama, I just really miss you.  Are you almost home?  Please come home. I just want to snuggle with you and have you hold me.”

In that moment, I smiled.  I smiled a smile of pure joy.  I don’t leave my daughters too often to have “me time” but tonight I did and my abscence was dearly missed.  With feeling so burnt out lately, with all that I give of myself, many days I simply feel like I am not appreciated in the least-but the fact that my daughter noticed me NOT there just hit me like a ton of bricks (in a good way).

I guess the old saying rings true.  Absence, indeed, does make the heart grow fonder.  I was only away for about two hours last night.  However, in those two hours my daughter missed me-like really missed me- and I think in her own little way showed me that she appreciates my love an affection and that she can feel it so much harder when we are apart.

When I walked in the door, what do you think happened last night?   You betcha, my 5 year old greeted me with big hug, her beautiful smile, the look of pure happiness to see me and practically screamed, “MAMA!!!!” in the most excited tone I’ve ever heard her scream before!  It was the best feeling and gives me chills just thinking about that moment.

I typically put my youngest to bed and my husband puts my oldest to bed.  However, we switch roles last night.  Honestly, it’s been a while since we’ve done this.  I could tell my oldest really needed that time with me.  In a way, I needed it with her too!  We did a children’s 5 minute devotional and had a nice chat about it, read two bedtime stories together, said our prayers and then we snuggled in her bed while I tickled her back until she fell asleep.

There were so many times this week I just wanted to get away from my kids because they were driving me up the wall.  However, when I walked in my house last night, in that moment it truly felt good to be home with my daughter in my arms and her little arms squeezing me as tight as they possibly could.  It felt so good that she genuinely wanted my love and affection and appreciated it all in the same.  This right here folks is one of the best feelings in the world.

What did this teach me?  It taught me that I am not scheduling enough “me time” away from my kids, haha! No but really, it was a funny lesson for me that time away from each other, as hard as it is for me and for my kids, proves to be healthy for everyone in our family!  It’s one of the most important things you can do!



Throw Back Thursday

It’s crazy to think that together, my husband and I have been making memories in our first home for 9 years already.  It’s crazy how we went from this tiny one bedroom apartment, to a house that is now our home.  So much has changed in our lives since we moved to our house.  I can understand why people become attached to their home and how hard it must be to move as there are so many memories that happen within those walls!  Our first house warming gift was a decorative plate that said, “Bless this House with Love and Friends”  we’ve been blessed with love and friends and so much more over the last 9 years!  Thankful, grateful and happy!

Today I am throwing back this picture of our house before we actually even moved in and I’ve been reflecting on our journey and where we are today….it’s truly amazing when you think of time and where you are and what’s come from the path you’ve taken a long the way.  God is good!  I am looking forward to see how the next 9 years will pan out for us and where the road will take us.

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Wondering on Wednesdays

Easter is just around the corner.  Many parents, myself included, have a hard time figuring out what exactly the Easter Bunny should fill our kid’s baskets with to surprise them on Easter morning.  Every morning I see Mom’s asking asking other moms for ideas and to help brain storm ideas for their kids.  This seems to be the main topic on my Facebook Mom groups on a daily basis.  I can relate with these moms on needing ideas. If we are honest with ourselves, it sure feels like big feet to fill being the Easter bunny!

For me, it gets harder to come up with ideas each year to make it fun and different and exciting.  I love when the belief is so real and the innocence is still there.  I will do anything to keep it alive because my oldest is 5 and I know in a few short years she will be rolling her eyes at me telling me her belief is squashed.  It makes me sad just thinking about it.

So, if you are wondering what main items the bunny is putting in my kids baskets this year, you’re in luck because I am going to share my ideas on this series of Wondering on Wednesdays.  My girls are 5 and 1 and some of the ideas I’m going to share could very well be gender neutral as well, but if you are looking for some ideas for girls ages 5 & 1, it’s your lucky day!

I will start with the ideas I have for my 5 year old daughter:

  1.  Kids Yoga Mat:  My daughter loves to work out with me.  She’s been asking me for her own yoga mat for some time now.  I stumbled across these adorable yoga mats at Target.  They come in 3 different colors: Blue with turtles, Pink with butterflies and Orange with suns.  They can be for boys or girls, which I love too.  They are by DragonFly Studios and they are adorable.  I picked out the pink one for my daughter and I know she is just going to love it.  Image result for DragonFly Studio® Kids' Yoga Mat (4mm)
  2. Adjustable Baseball Hat:  My daughter is very active.  She plays tball and soccer in Spring until the end of Summer.  We go camping in the summer.  We go to lots of events where it’s nice to wear a hat to keep her eyes shaded from the sun.  A baseball hat comes in handy for lots of different reasons.  If you can find an adjustable one, even better.  It’s more bang for your buck because as your child’s head grows from now until the end of summer the hat can still be used!  Puma makes a great variety of styles for both boys and girls baseball hats.  I was lucky enough to stumble across one at my local TJ Maxx.  The style of hat I bought for my daughter typically was a $12.99 hat, but I was able to snag it for $7.99.  They have the same one being sold on Amazon for $9.99:  
  3. Beaded Jump Rope:  Every now and then if I listen very closely to my daughter she will give me hints about things that she would love, without her even realizing it.  The other day she told me that she has really been enjoying jump roping in gym class and wished she had a better jump rope at home.  I asked her what the difference was between the one she has  at home and the one she had at gym class.  The one we have at home is a rope one and the one she uses in gym class is a hard beaded one.  BINGO!  You can find these jump ropes on Amazon in varied lengths and colors.  I got her a rainbow colored one with yellow handles.  I think we’ll see her jumping rope a lot more this Spring since she will have one that she actually is easier for her to use. result for rainbow beaded jump rope
  4. Leotard:  Since I seemed to be going with a theme this year without realizing it for my oldest daughter, I also realized that her leotards were getting too small.  Who said that leotards had to be limited to just gymnastics?  Not my daughter.  This is her go-to outfit when she works out with me, rides her bike or just wants to dance or play outside.  She loves the comfort of these but since she’s grown she no longer has any that fit. They sell these at your local Wal-Mart or Target and again come in many different colors and sizes.  The one pictured below is not the exact one I got her but it’s similar.One-piece Girls Gymnastic Leotards Sparkle Ribbon Sleeveless Dance Leotards for Kid Girls Training Biketard Dancewear Practice Costume (Hot pink, 110(4-5Y))

5.  Unicorn Water Bottle:  Unicorn print is all the rave with my 5 year old.  You can never have too many water bottles in your household and if you are like my active little lady, she is always thirsty so it’s important we always have water bottles ready for her, especially when we are on the go.  We’ve also been known to leave behind water bottles at sport events or even lose them.  Back ups are a must.  The one I found her is again, similar, but not exact to the one pictured below.  You can find the one below on Amazon result for unicorn water bottleMoving on now to my 1 year old daughter:

  1.  Umbrella:  My daughter is obsessed with cats so when I saw that Kidorable made a cat umbrella I knew it would make the perfect Easter basket item.  What kid doesn’t love playing out in the rain on a nice Spring day and having an umbrella to play with and use?  We also go camping, like mentioned above and it’s always nice to have an umbrella for those unexpected rainy days or even to use while watching her sister play soccer (because game will still be on if it’s raining).  I found this one on Amazon.  It’s the cat’s meow!  *A side note*  They also make kids kitty rainboots which would be an awesome basket gift too.  However, my daughter already has a pair of rainboots (hers have snails on them) so she won’t have the kitty ones to be completely matchy-matchy when she’s out having fun in the rain.Kidorable  Lucky Cat Umbrella
  2. Rain Slicker:  Of course if a girl has an umbrella she will want a rain slicker to go with it!  London Fog makes an adorable kitty rain slicker, which I again found on Amazon.  It is both warm and durable for those chilly spring days! Fog Baby Girls' Enhanced Radiance Kitty Cat Rain Slicker, Dot Print, 24
  3. Rubber Kick ball:  Meliss & Doug make these bright and fun adorable kick balls that 1 year olds will adore.  I was lucky to snag one of these at Kohls for fairly cheap using my reward points, Kohl’s Cash and I had a 30% off coupon.  I mean how fun are these kick balls?  They certainly will provide endless amounts of spring and summer fun outside! & Doug Bollie Ladybug 8.5-in. Rubber Kickball
  4. Bubble Machine:  I don’t know a single child who doesn’t love bubbles.  When you are 1 they are even more fun as 1 year olds may be experiencing them for the first time.  I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like I was getting dizzy because I had been blowing bubbles for my kids for what seemed like forever.  Bubble machines are great because they keep the bubbles coming and you really don’t have to get dizzy or get a headache by blowing them for your kids.  Munchkin makes some cute bubble machines and you can scoop yours up today at WalMart! Bath Fun Bubble Blower
  5. Kohls Cares Egg Hunt Bundle:  This plush bunny and adorable book is yours for only $5.  Your 1 year old will love the cute bunny to snuggle with while you read a book about an Egg hung.  The cool thing is that 100% of the proceeds will support children in other communities nationwide!  How amazing is that?!

Kohl's Cares® Egg Hunt Bundle

One thing do not forget on Easter is explaining the reason behind this special holiday:  He is risen!  It’s such wonderful opportunity to talk to your children about Jesus!  Not mentioned above, but I highly suggest sneaking in some religious related items to get the conversation with your child(ren) started.  Children’s devotional books are wonderful, especially for 4 year old +.  One I suggest is:

There are also so many wonderful board books for our littles as well.  One that comes to mind is called, The Easter Story, as Witnessed By The Animals:


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Hoppy Easter!