Lets talk birthday parties…

My daughter is turning 5 on June 27th.  She of course wants a birthday party (my definition of hell).  I mean, what little girl wouldn’t want a birthday party though?  Being the introverted person I am I freak out at the word “party” and I certainly don’t enjoy playing hostess.  I am organized and can make mean party food but I honestly don’t enjoy the headache of it from start to finish.  I don’t enjoy having to clean my house from top to bottom, just to have to clean it from top to bottom after everyone leaves me a mess.  I don’t enjoy being around groups of people who in my mind are critiquing my decorating skills, food making ability, and other hostess duties (even though you probably are not).  It’s stressful on me and I overthink everything which doesn’t help.

Pretty much every year, we have had some sort of birthday party for our daughter at our house, except for one birthday where my husband and I decided to take her to the zoo, have a picnic at the zoo park, later going out to dinner, opening presents and having cake and ice cream (just the 3 of us) and called it a day (seriously, that was the best birthday ever because it was simple, no headache involved and I loved that we had quality family time). This year, my daugher decided she wanted a Splash bash in our back yard.  I honestly tried talking my daughter into a simpler birthday with just her dad, me and her sister and going somewhere that she chooses, like the year we went to the Zoo.  My persuasion didn’t go very far because she made it perfectly clear she wanted her neighborhood friends over, her cousins and her 3 BFF’s from school over to help her celebrate with water fun in our back yard.  After trying to persuade her for days that it would be much more fun to pick somewhere to go as a family this year for her birthday instead, I came to one realization.  Apparently, I am not good at persuading an almost 5 year old!

Okkkkkk……so, we are doing this shin-dig!

Sooooo, what did I do? I got on my computer and I pinterested (Is that even a word? Too bad, it is now)  the sh*+ out of splash bash parties for kids. Did you know there are an overwhelming amount of very pinteresty (a word? meh) ideas for splash bash parties?  Well, you do now.  Well folks I will be honest and tell you that anything I have ever tried on pinterest looks far from that perfect.  In fact, I for see that my daughter’s party is going to be the equivilant of the dollar tree version splash bash party instead of the hobby lobby version of these splash bash parties I’m seeing on pinterest.  The struggle is going to be real!  The good thing about it is she is still young enough to not notice the imperfections that this party will be.  Instead, in her eyes, I will be the best mom for throwing her the party she asked for, haha!  This is what I hope for anyways.

Being that I really don’t want to play host or even throw a party, but I am going to because I love my daughter…I did decide I am going to try to not overthink any details and just keep it simple (if this is possible for me).  With that said, this party is going to be geared for kids only.  I am not entertaining adults like years past (although the parents will be welcome to stay if they so choose to help watch their kids).  I am only having the party from 1-4 so that I don’t have to feed anyone lunch or dinner.  I do plan on having a few kid friendly snacks available during the party (probably drinks, munchies and fruit) and then we will celebrate with popcicles, ice cream and cake.  I will do a little bit of decorating outside on our deck and we will provide the water fun (sprinklers, slip n’slide, water balloons and water squirters) and I’m calling it a Splash bash!

Possibly there will be pictures of  this splash bash fail to come (mainly will be for your entertainment).  While you are waiting for those though, kindly tell me about birthday parties you’ve thrown for your kiddos.  How old are they?  What have you done or are going to do this year for them?  Have you ever thown a splash bash party before?  If so, what tips do you have for this clueless mom?!  Lastly, enlighten me with a failed birthday party experiences you’ve had for your kids (pictures welcome)…I need to feel better about this, haha!

 

Monday Motivation

The beginning of the week is hard for me, especially when this weekend’s weather was doom and gloom and good old Mr. Sunshine was no where to be found.  We stayed busy, but it felt like we were busy doing a whole lot of nothing.  Therefore, I’m tired this morning and still feel like I’m dragging my feet and I still just don’t feel like doing much of anything important.  Although the sun is shining, it’s a chilly and windy 50 degree morning outside which is hardly the medicine for motivation. Currently, my oldest is off to school and I know these semi-quiet mornings are coming to an end quickly because summer vacation is quickly approaching.  I want to take advantage of the pure and simple fact that they are more quiet then they will be.  I want to take a couple minutes to decompose.  I want to not feel rushed or like I’m needed by anyone.  I want to be still and listen and these things are very doable right nice since my baby is taking her morning nap!

This morning, I don’t really have anywhere in particular I need to be.  I do have a bunch of things to keep me busy, but nothing too terribly pressing.  Nothing I have to do is really going to fill my heart with anything that will make me feel accomplished.  I’m sort of feeling like my efforts won’t really get me anywhere, so what’s the point of doing them?  With that said, I just want to stay put at home and just put the busy aside for a moment.  I decided to do a daily devotional this morning.  This is something I used to do daily, but for some reason or another  I don’t always make the time for doing them lately. This morning I did and ironically the one that popped up was “Morning Calm”.  It talked about the importance of using the bible for guidance for how to best spend our time and our energy but also to just stay put and let God work on our behalf. Interesting right since this was just the thing I needed to hear right now?  God listens and God knows what we need always.

I often find myself feeling like if I’m not busy doing something or going some where that I label myself as lazy or unproductive, so I busy myself with tasks that often make me feel empty at the end of the day or I go places that I think will help fill the void and ultimately do not.  I loved this quote from my devotion that said, “A few moments of quiet reflection before starting a busy day can make all the difference to the outcome of that day.  Be with God at the start, and He will be with you throughout.”  I wanted to share those words with you because they really hit home to me.  Sometimes what I think I need and do are the exact opposite of what God wants me to think or do.  If we all started paying a little bit more attention to the things we should be doing that feed our soul and putting more time into those, then just empty busy tasks or going places that have no meaning I think we could all feel a lot happier and feel a lot more accomplished.  When we start feeding our soul, we feel more nourished.

With that said, here are ten ideas of ways to nourish your soul (it’s important for EVERYONE, but for mom’s especially because we are not going to be our best selves or caretakers of our little ones if we first don’t take care of ourselves).

  1.  If you are feeling down and out, like I have to admit I have been feeling lately. Sometimes it’s important to just step away and reflect.  Be still.  Be quiet.  This doesn’t have to take long, even 10 minutes of alone time can be a wonderful breath of fresh air.  In this time, think of something silly your children did that made you really smile or laugh.  Think of things you are truly grateful for and vision your future.  Maybe you just need to still your mind completely, quiet your brain and let yourself be.
  2. Put down social media and actually connect with a real live person.  This could be meeting a friend for an hour or two and having a conversation over coffee.  This could be picking up the phone and calling a friend you may be out of touch with and simply catch up.  This may be taking a walk with your husband and holding hands and talking.
  3. Snuggle or take a nap with your partner or children.
  4. Exercise and practice deep breathing.  This not only  helps you let go of stress it actually helps fuel your day and clear your mind.
  5. Read an actual book or do a daily devotional.
  6. Simply slow down.  In today’s world everything is go, go, go and fast paced.  If you are like me and always feeling rushed walk a little slower and take time to notice the beauty that surrounds you.  If you are doing a task, only do that one task from start to finish before moving on to something else.
  7. Pray for someone or have someone else pray for you/with you.
  8. Take time to actually sit on the floor and play with your kids or go outside and do something together as a family.  It’s about quality time.
  9. If you have pets, take time to love them…play with them…pet them.
  10. Plant a garden.  Now is the perfect time of year to do this.  Not only is it relaxing, but you will get to see your efforts grow and you will reap the benefits once your fruits and veggies start growing.

Now ask yourself, is your soul feeling nourished today?  If not, what will you do today to feed your soul?  We only have this one life to live. Time already feels like it’s going fast.  Make each day, each moment count!  We all need to reflect on whether or not we are just living our day to day accomplishing empty tasks and going places that are meaningless or are we filling our days with meaningful tasks and activities that are hearty and fuel our souls?  On this Monday, I challenge you to just be and listen to the whispers of God and see how it affects the outcome of your day.

Food Friday

Being that I am the primary meal planner and cook in our household, I can say with pure exhaustion that this time of year can be hard when it comes to quick, yet healthy meals for my family.  Quick and healthy are the key words I am looking for when finding food to prepare for us all.  This time of year is busy as I’m sure you all can relate to.  Our calendars are rapidly filling up, leaving little time in the evenings especially to prepare a decent meal, let alone sit and enjoy a nice family dinner in a timely matter.  Monday and Tuesday nights will be especially hectic because my youngest will have soccer games and t-ball games when we typically sit down and eat dinner.  With that said, as a mother and a wife, I want to still be able to whip something delicious up for my family and not throw together a below par sort of dinner.

With that said, being able to pull off a dinner that is quick, yet healthy takes some planning on my part.  I’ve learned that this gives me a giant headache, as it’s not my most favorite task to accomplish.  I also learned while grocery shopping, that family grocery shopping may work for some of my followers, but it does not work well for me.  Trust me, I tried it yet again this past weekend (Lord help me) and I almost had a full blown panic attack in the middle of the beans, rice and pasta isle!  It will be a while before I do it again.  Going at it alone is just so much less stressful, productive, and feels like my mind isn’t a web of commotion.  Planning first takes time to sit down, look at our busy schedules and see what types of meals will work best on each day.  It also requires time to look through recipe books or online for recipes.  It requires scavenging through your cupboards, freezer, and fridge to see what we already have that we can use, it requires making a list.   This can be time consuming to do, so I also have to plan around my schedule to do this around quiet times (morning during nap time is usually best for me). I typically plan for 2 weeks, so I typically plan during the last part of that 2nd week and do my grocery shopping on the weekend before the beginning of my 2 week cycle.

My two week Meal plan looks something like this:

Monday 5/15:  Crock-pot Chicken Caesar Salad Sandwiches, grapes & carrot sticks

Tuesday 5/16:  Left-overs

Wednesday 5/17:  Left-overs

Thursday 5/18:  Advocado-Provolone Turkey Wraps, Cantaloupe

Friday 5/19: Crispy Chicken-BLT Salad, Cantaloupe

Saturday 5/20: Home-made Mini Corn-dogs muffins, brown beans

Sunday 5/21:  Pinwheel Pizza, pineapple & Carrot sticks

Monday 5/22:  Undone Stuffed Pepper Casserole

Tuesday 5/23:  Leftovers

Wednesday 5/24:  Fool Proof Turkey Meat Loaf, Mashed Sweet Potatoes, corn

Thursday 5/25:  Leftovers

***Will start meal planning for the next two weeks.

Friday 5/26:  Home made Chicken fingers and green beans

Saturday 5/27:  Spaghetti and home made garlic toast

Sunday 5/28:  Grilled BBQ Chicken, corn & baked potatoes

***Will grocery shop Sat or Sun

I want to point out that like anything, sometimes things don’t always go according to plan.  Sometimes we are able to follow our food menu to a T and other times, things come up and a meal is pushed over to the next day or two.  For example, my husbands parents like to visit us on the weekends so often times we will go out to dinner, or grill out on a whim or eat at their house or I will prepare a meal that I had intended make to have leftovers for us but gets eaten in one sitting when company comes.  It’s important to leave a bit of wriggle room when it comes to meal planning for this reason (and always have staple items in your kitchen to make a meal on a whim when your plan backfires).

Last night was T-ball night and if you look back at the menu for Thursday 5/18 we had Advacado-Provolone Turkey wraps.  This was the first time I had ever made these and will not be the last.  I loved how easy they were to make.  They were light and didn’t sit hard in our stomach (something that is nice when you eat a late dinner).  They are also perfect for summer, as they are refreshing.  I like that you can prepare ahead and make these an hour or two before you eat and stick them back in the fridge and just grab and go or just have everything washed, cut and all in one area of your fridge to grab and whip up when ready.  I served them with cantaloupe (which I had cut up earlier in the day) and we each had a handful of chips (not usually what I choose to have go with our dinner but it just worked last night).  If you have picky kid eaters at your house like I do mine, you can also modify this recipe to their liking by either making a simple wrap with what the like on it (mine just wanted the cheese and turkey) but asked to have red pepper sticks on the side or just separating the ingredients and giving them a sample of each.  Since this was such a hit at our house last night I wanted to share with you the recipe:

 

Easy Avocado Provolone Turkey Wraps Recipe

Ingredients:

  • tortilla wraps,
  • garlic and herb laughing cow cheese
  • spinach, black pepper turkey
  • 2 slices provolone cheese
  • 1/4 sliced avocado
  • 4 strips red bell pepper.

Directions:
Layer tortilla, garlic and herb laughing cow cheese, spinach, black pepper turkey, 2 slices provolone cheese, 1/4 sliced avocado, and 4 strips red bell pepper.  Enjoy!

Happy menu planning!  I hope I gave you some ideas for your next meal planning adventure!  Part of the joys of wife-hood and motherhood is making sure your husbands belly and kiddos bellies are happy and healthy!  I hope you enjoyed this Food Friday, brought to you by a mom who is happy she doesn’t have to menu plan or grocery shop for another week!

There is a Mother out there! I see you.

I see you…

There is a mother out there who carries hope in her heart of another child.

There is a mother out there who has an angel baby and or knows loss of her child.

There is a mother out there who has step children.

There is a mother out there who has foster children.

There is a mother out there soon expecting her first baby…second baby…third…

There is a mother out there who has adopted or is in the process of adopting a child.

There is a mother who can’t have a child and so desperately wants one.

There is a mother out there who had a child but can’t have another one

There is a mother out there.

Be aware of these mothers on this mothers day and remind yourself that you are a mother if you carry the love of your child in your heart and wear this love on your sleeve day in and day out 365 days a year 24/7!  You are not forgotten this mother’s day, you are stronger, braver, and loved more then you will ever know!  Happy Mother’s Day! Today we celebrate you.  I see you.

 

 

I’ll Do It Tomorrow

This week I feel like I’ve been busy doing many different things.  If you asked me to tell you’ve why I’ve been so busy I really couldn’t tell you.  It would also be a mystery as to why my to-do list is ever long and nothing I had anticipated getting done this week has gotten done.  Being honest with myself, I feel like those busy things I have been wasting my time doing, have been an excuse to help me avoid what it is I should actually be doing.  I’ve been in this funk before and it’s never a good thing. In all reality, it just sets me back and adds more to my plate.  Overwhelming is a good word for how it makes me feel when I don’t get things done.

I’ve been easily distracted too and know this is procrastination at it’s finest.  The good intention is there, yet I just find myself saying “I’ll do it tomorrow.”  In actuality, I should be doing it now because in the past when I’ve gotten in this mode I quickly learn it’s either doing the important task now because if I don’t it turns into never.  Waking up on Monday, I just knew it would be this kind of week for me.  I woke up tired, and feeling like I was on the verge of getting a cold.  I was supposed to get my allergy shot, but decided not to.  Why?  Because I’ll just do it next Monday.  The joke is probably going to be on me when something comes up and I can’t go then either.  Damn it!  I should have just gone this week!  Do you ever find yourself doing this?  It’s really annoying when these moods creep up because it ends up creating more of a headache later on and it certainly doesn’t help in the stress department.

As I was watching my oldest daughter practically bouncing off the walls with energy this morning while she was waiting to get on the bus for school, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “I wish I had her big ball of energy, I’d crush the life out of my to-do list.”  Instead, I am finding myself dragging my feet yet again today for the 4th day in a row.  Seriously, what is my problem?  I need to get it together!

Here are a few things I am procrastinating (that are not even super big-deal things) this week in no particular order:

  1. Menu Planning
  2. Grocery shopping
  3. Cleaning my house: Bathrooms (getting the lime build up off our faucets especially), floors, Kitchen, bedrooms, cleaning the carpets, etc.
  4. Working out
  5. Shopping for a Mother’s Day gift for my Mom & an end of the year gift for E’s teachers
  6. Yard work-Digging up plants, cleaning out the window wells, mowing the lawn and weeding
  7. Purging of junk and getting rid of clutter
  8. Doing a shutterfly order (I’m way behind on scrapbooks and pictures for the girls)
  9. Transplanting my aloe and Jade plant
  10. Spring/Summer shopping:  For the girls and myself
  11. Planning E’s birthday party for June (I know I’ve got time, but I’m usually already on top of this and I’m clueless for this year).
  12. Preparing Learning activities for the kids for the next two weeks
  13. Running small errands:  Filling my car with gas, getting stamps
  14. Getting my 3 walks a day in/walking the dog
  15. Planning for our vegetable garden this year (which will need to get planted in a few short weeks).
  16. Research on how to do my DIY project:  Refinishing 4 dressers and a headboard.

There is the old saying that “The best way to get something done is to begin.”  There is also the concept of positive perspective.   A positive attitude has not been my strong point this week.  Instead of saying “I’ll do it tomorrow”, I should be telling myself “I can get through this task, even though it’s not my favorite.  Once it’s done, I won’t have to do it again for a while and then I’ll have free time to do something I enjoy or to just relax.”  There are many benefits to completing these tasks as well and maybe they would get done if I started focusing on the benefits of finishing them.  After revisiting my list of to-do’s I may also be feeling overwhelmed by the list in its entirety.  Maybe if I break it down and give myself an allotted time frame to work on or accomplish each task from day to day, even if I don’t finish some of them from beginning to end, at least I have started working on completing them.   This takes some of the pressure off.  Most importantly, I just need to stop making up excuses so I start seeing results.  When I start seeing results I know that will aid in my energy level because I will feel accomplished!

Now that I’ve given myself time to reflect and a small pep talk it’s time to begin!

 

…but I didn’t.

Recently, I accidentally (or coincidentally, which ever way I shall choose to perceive it) overheard a private conversation being had by two women (about my age) who were having a rummage sale that I happened to stumble across this past weekend.  While they were chatting away at what seemed to be a very serious and private conversation, my ears caught interest in the topic of discussion and became very attentive to their conversation.  Some of you may be thinking shame on you Nichole! I have to admit I did feel bad at first for listening in on these women BUT at the same time I was very interested in hearing two random strangers talk about their circumstances.  Can you guess the topic they were having a conversation about?  If you said infertility and IVF you guessed correctly.   Now I know they probably didn’t realize anyone was listening or even cared about what they were talking about.  They most certainly didn’t know that the random stranger looking at all their treasures in that very moment, in their garage, had walked a mile in their shoes before either.  I so badly wanted to chime in on their conversation, I really did…but, I didn’t.

It truly was that scenario where you don’t want to let the people who were talking about something so private, know that you overheard what they were saying.  Especially because you never know how open a person is about that topic with a complete stranger.  I guess I was kinda sorta eavesdropping too, and who really wants to admit they were doing that?  It really is bad manners, I know.  Yet, at the same time, I felt like in that instant my cup had overfilled with that “me too” feeling and it was weighing heavily on my heart to share this with them…but, I didn’t.

Instead, I walked up to their table and bought a couple of the clothing items they had been selling.  I smiled at them as I approached them, as they both fell silent and instead asked how their sale was going and made other small talk with them.  I kept feeling this nudging feeling to admit I had overheard their conversation and I wanted to ask more questions and also share with them some smaller details of my struggles…but, I didn’t.

As I sit here today and think about that moment in my weekend, it is clearly one that stood out to me and I can’t stop thinking about what if I had went up to them and said, “me too”.  What if I had reached out to them and asked more questions or shared my story or said I know I’m a complete stranger, but I’m here if you need to talk?  What if…?! Regret is a funny thing, no matter how big or how small.  Looking back, I wonder what I was afraid of and why I couldn’t be more bold in that circumstance?  I’m trying to reflect on this moment today and I am still at a loss as to why I can’t stop thinking about it and why it’s been weighing on my heart?

There were so many moments in my infertility/IVF journey that I felt alone and wished someone had reached out to me, wished there was someone tangible to go to, to hang out with to get my mind of things or be a shoulder to cry on and could have been my rock or my guiding light.  Maybe this is why I can’t stop thinking about it.  Part of me feels like I turned my back to a circumstance where I could have been beneficial to someone else and I didn’t open my heart to them.  Yet, I was afraid because maybe they would have looked at me funny or thought why is this stranger telling us this, if I had opened up.  I guess it was just hard knowing what to do, so instead I did nothing.

What would you have done in this scenario?  Have you ever had any …but, I didn’t situations in your life?

 

 

Ear Infection

This past Wednesday evening I had a glorious hour long massage as part of an early birthday present to myself.  It was heaven!  I haven’t felt that relaxed for quite a while now.  As we all know though, all good things must come to an end.  I will never understand why some hours feel like eternity, while other hours feel like they go by in the blink of an eye.  Well, I blinked and it felt like my pampering ended as quickly as it started.  As much as I wanted to beg my massage therapist to stay in that calm, quiet, stress-free environment I knew it was time to get up, get dressed, and mosey on back to my family. When I say mosey, I will admit that I was dragging my feet a bit in getting back.  I love my family, I really do!!!  However, I’ll admit breaks away are sometimes the best medicine for me.  I know this break away and this massage has been a long time coming.  I enjoyed it immensely-so much so, I scheduled another massage for myself at the end of August (mainly because my massage therapist talked me into it by giving me a discount if I made an appointment that same night for another one) and well, you don’t have to twist my leg to do that again!  Yes please, sign me up!!!

As I got home from my massage, both girls were snuggling on their daddy’s lap and sleeping.  It was quite the adorable picture actually-until my littlest woke up and started screaming bloody murder and would not stop.  I asked my husband if she had been like this for him while I was gone and he said she was a bit fussy but he got her to calm down, obviously.  So, I figured she just wanted to soothe herself back to sleep by nursing like she so often does, but nursing was not working like it usually does.  She would latch and unlatch and arch her back and scream and try again.  I finally was able to get her back to sleep and I laid her down in her co-sleeper (uffda!).  However, 15 minutes later she was screaming again.  This was very unlike her and my instincts were telling me something wasn’t right.  I went to get her and she seemed like she was in pain.  Needless to say, I spent the night on the couch and K was only comfortable in an upright position on my chest.  It was a rough night.  When we woke up the next day, she seemed to continue to be irritable and that’s when my gut instinct started telling me her ears were hurting her.  However, I know nothing about ear issues so  I called my husband and told him I was taking her in to the doctor to double check.  He trusted my decision, but he also tried to tell me it was just a cold.

Despite my husband thinking it was just a cold, I took K in and she was seen in the late afternoon on Friday.  Low and behold, it turned out she did indeed have an ear infection in her right ear.  Mama bear knows best and I’m glad I listened to my instinct on this one.  This will be her first ear infection ever. We got very lucky with E as she has yet to have an ear infection.  Hopefully, it isn’t something that is repetitive and she continues to get.  She was down right miserable.  Poor girly.  It’s never fun seeing your babies in pain, especially when you feel so helpless and everything that typically makes them feel better isn’t working.  She was sent home with a 10 day antibiotic which has been making her poop a lot and in turn is making her bottom very sore-so she’s been irritable in that way now too.  Sometimes you feel like you just can’t win. She is nursing better and sleeping better though, so it must be doing it’s job somewhat.

Recently, I’ve been trying to learn more about ear infections and also  how chiropractic care can help with them.  This is something I want to look into more if by chance ear infections are a reoccurring issue for K (hopefully not).  I have such little experience with ear infections I honestly didn’t know what all the symptoms could even be. I wasn’t even 100% sure if that is what was going on, it was just honestly my instinct I listened to.  She wasn’t running a fever or pulling on her ears.  She simply had trouble nursing and sleeping and it was by far worse for her at night than during the day.  The doctor told me sometimes kids won’t display any symptoms.  So it’s important to pay attention to the little things and know the true symptoms of an ear infection as well.  If any of you have any experience on this topic, I’d love to hear your two cents!  Feel free to leave me your feedback in the comments!

While I’m waiting for your responses, I’m going to be day dreaming of my Wednesday even massage, while sipping my almost cold coffee.  It’s only Tuesday, but it’s been a week already!  It’s always insane to me how I can be in a complete zen mood one minute and so incredibly stressed and panicked the next.  Things change quickly.  This is why it’s so important to not take for granted those blissful, enjoyable moments in time!  Deep breaths and mosey on!