Sunday, December 17, 2017

Meaningful Conversations

When I hear the term "meaningful conversations" I would typically assume they're happening with another adult. Deep, thoughtful conversations using big words over a fancy salad or some sort of nice dinner; oblivious to the world around me. 

This kind of conversation did happen, but it was in a much different setting. 

This conversation was in my car with my 3 year old. Surrounded by a car filled with small toys and dropped fruit snacks. The car that needs to be washed and has tiny fingerprint marks all over the window next to the carseat. 

Leaving my mom's house tonight my arms were full. Mack on one hip, the coat he refused to put on in the 26 degree December weather in my left hand. My purse on my right arm also holding Mack's go-everywhere blanket, his must-have pacifier (..i know, i know..) and his Halloween bucket full of his favorite small toys- the ones that will soon be lost in my car. In an attempt to be silly and quickly try to get us in the car, buckled in, with the heat on ASAP, I jokingly told Mack I was running to the car in case there were any wolves outside. 

NOW, before you jump to me being a horrible mother, please understand the back story of the mere fact my child is OBSESSED with Halloween. Hence the halloween bucket full of toys in my right hand while headed to the car. Our nighttime stories consist of constant werewolves, vampires and the witch and her broom. Conversations involving Werewolves happen on the daily in our little household together. 

As I was quickly trying to buckle Mack in his carseat I said, "hurry! dey's comin!" 
Mack grabbed my face in his two little hands and told me to look at him. "Mom. Look. Look at me!" as my eyes glanced up and met his, he looked me something fierce and continued, "There's no such thing. They're not out here. You're okay, mom." 

The confidence of my 3 year old fully intending to calm my weary state made my heart sing.  My 3 year old has learned over the course of him living with me as a single mother how to take care of me. How to calm me, how to comfort me. This little being is my human. 
He gets me. 

As I ran around to the drivers side of my car and jumped in to escape the cold weather I told Mack how he's such a good boy. He's brave and he's so smart. I started to reverse down the driveway and he sadly said, "yeah, but mom, I don't have magic. The magic isn't in my hands." I told him there IS magic in his hands and he does have it! He put his two hands up "look" as his two hands just sat in the air, he continued, "see, dey not working.. der is no magic coming out of dem." 

I tried my best to explain that magic lives in our hearts. 

Mack softly said, "I can't feel it, but I know my heart is beeping mom" 
The last couple days Mack has grabbed my hand and said, "feel my heart" and every time I kneel down so our faces are level and I feel his heart and he tells me it's beeping. 

This conversation continued as I told Mack that magic lives in our hearts, and we use our magic by being kind, loving others and serving one another. When we are nice, we use nice words and we love those around us, we get a warm happy feeling in our hearts. THAT is magic. 

This conversation was probably completely insignificant to Mack. When I carried him in the car after he fell asleep 2 minutes after these words were exchanged and he cried and cried about how he didn't want to go to bed.. I can't guarantee he remembered anything about our talk in the car. But it felt incredible to empower my 3 year old to do good in the world. 

Even more so, this was a reminder to myself that we each have magic inside of us. The power to do good as we strive to love and serve those around us is real. It truly is magic. 

My days as a mother are often spent worrying I'm not doing enough, or teaching enough, or loving enough to Mackson. I want to teach him everything. Then I realize maybe he teaches me more than I am teaching him. That we make a good team and we are growing with each other. 

That sometimes my most meaningful conversations are with a 3 year old. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Seeing Santa

Last year I took Mackson to see Santa, and as you can see he was not too stoked. Honestly, this is a picture of Mack I treasure SO MUCH. It still makes me laugh!
(It's also a picture I plan to bring out for every one of his future prom dates.)

This year with Mack being 3 I thought he might understand the concept of Santa a little bit better and scheduled photos with Santa at Fotofly! Not quite sure how it was going to go, we hesitantly walked Mack in and he absolutely lit up when he saw Santa sitting there. Bright, beautiful red velvet Santa suit, shiny black shoes and big full white beard. Mack was glowing as he clung to my shoulder shaking with excitement.

These pictures turned out better than I could have imagined. But more than my happiness and total relief that pictures went well, I left feeling that my heart was full of gratitude and love for this tiny child I get to mother.

I hope I never forget how sometimes simple things can be so exciting,and how grateful I am that I get to see life with a magical new perspective through his eyes..

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Summer to Fall Home Transition

This has been my living room for the last few months. I was tired of my main wall being tan and boring so I picked a light blue paint and started my project. My white throw blanket hat's over the couch is from Target, and my decorative pillows are all from At Home. Not to mention my favorite white coffee table was a steal! ($10.00 at a yard sale!) Decorating on a budget!

I've wanted things to feel a bit more cozy around here with fall just around the corner (like, when will it be here? It's still so hot outside!) so I switched things up with a few simple touches! Here is what it looks like now:

I switched the couch pillows out for a more fall-like color and chose mustard yellow! (slightly obsessing over this color right now!) I also got the fuzzy faux fur pillows because I loved the look of them side by side with the yellow. These pillows were all $14.00 from At Home! I switched the blue and white rug out for a shaggy grey rug that was on clearance from Kohls for just $29.00! STEAL of a deal for a 5'x7' area rug! I also replaced my soft white throw for the exact same one from Target but chose the mustard yellow to tie in with the pillows! 

Total cost: $110.00!
Links to available online items below!


Monday, September 19, 2016

Fashion Finds

Thanks to my friend Kelsey for the idea to start "Fashion Finds" posts. Here goes! I must say I'm all about reading fashion blogs but you know what bugs me?! These girls started at the bottom and they were shopping at Gap, and Target, and Old Navy and places that were reasonable and REAL. Now a majority of them are making so much money and they're posting pictures of their closets filled with bright shiny Valentinos (Congratulations to them in all seriousness!) but then I'm over here in awe first of all, but second of all I usually exit the blog shortly after. 

Your Valentinos are truly fabulous and occasionally I'll pull pictures up online of the shiny red pumps with the gold studs and I probably drool a little bit. But I want to read these blogs for some serious closet inspiration- not closet envy. Sorry I'm not sorry but I'm sick of looking at wardrobes being advertised that no one can afford. Who's with me!??

This isn't to say that I don't love Nordstrom and you BET I come across a deal I can't pass up. But here I am, ready to show you some deals, dupes, and fashion finds! 
That won't break the bank! Because lets get real here- I have a million dollar taste with a single mom budget! haha 

on Today's Fashion Find: Jeffrey Campbell Dupe! 
Jeffrey Campbell is one of my favorite shoe designers and I'd be lying if I told you I didn't occasionally splurge on a pair or two or four. But that's besides the point. I've been eyeing these Jeffrey Campbell Taggart Cutout Bootie for months. I think they're so great and perfect for the transition from Summer to Fall. Selling at Nordstrom for $179.95. 
Pretty right?!
Now, here's Target's version:
What's even better about Target's version..? They're on CLEARANCE for just $22.48 and you can find them HERE!

You're welcome! Until Next time!

Friday, July 15, 2016

How I've Survived Being Single Mom..(so far..)

here I am, with my favorite chocolate ice cream face..

As I'm sitting here typing this I feel like I'm writing a bold post. One that makes me slightly nervous.. and one that makes me feel vulnerable. My mind is jumbled and I'm not sure where to start. I haven't been very vocal at all about my divorce, or what it's like to be a single mom. Maybe it's because I haven't felt the need to, and maybe it's because it's really none of your business.. ( in the kindest way possible.) But this week something happened and my heart had a little soft spot in it. Earlier in the week a friend reached out and told me I'm "kicking ass" with the whole single mom thing and she asked for advice because she's now a single mom as well. Now, while our circumstances are very different, and I'm not so positive I'm "kicking ass" I thought I could share a few things I've realized along the way if it meant that it might possibly help someone out there. 

I think a majority of these apply to every mom. Regardless of circumstances.

so, here's a list of things I've put some time and lots of heart and thought into on how I've survived being a Single Mom. So far. 

If you're a human, especially a parent, you know this can be hard. But being the sole parent at home I've occasionally been stretched beyond my limits. I've sincerely made being patient a priority. Not only with my little one, but with myself which is just as important. I've found that I also need to be patient with my circumstances. Once you practice patience and make a conscious effort to be patient in your home, you find that patience fills all other aspects of your life as well. Win win, right?

I was at a time where everything I knew was changing dramatically. My "stability" was being flipped upside down. I had to find my own stability. For me I found this in my job, and creating a new routine. My job has always been a home-away-from-home, my get away. I could go to work and keep my personal life separate. No one asked me questions or looked at me like I was their next project. A year later and my co-workers are just finding out I'm single mom. Funny huh? But I needed that stability and chose to keep everything to myself. I also found this in routines. I wake up at the same time, I get out of bed the same way, turn the same lamp on.. and at night I have routines with Mack as well. We brush teeth together, we say prayers, we rock in the rocking chair... etc etc.. I know that no matter what happens during the day, I can go home and have my routine. And that provided/provides comfort for me. 

I say "try to find" because this is still hard for me. Balance in any life is so important. But being home and working, and trying to figure out every aspect of my life has been very challenging. I'm a full time working mom, I have another part time job, but mom is my priority. Friend time? ME time? Where do those fit in? 
which brings me to....

It's totally okay to do things for yourself. Single-parent life is all about giving your time and efforts, maybe more than you have sometimes, to your child. But, part of finding balance in my life was finding time for myself too. The first time I left Mack with someone else I felt guilty the whole time. And I can see now that it was ridiculous. I've really learned that renewing my energy is so important. Whether it's getting a pedicure, or even having someone come over while I nap for 30 minutes it makes a difference. The first time Mack went with his dad for the weekend I sobbed the whole time. And I realized it was so important for Mack to be with Spencer, just as it's important that I have time to myself. I grew up spending weekends with my grandparents while my mom and dad had date night. And my sister and I LOVED that time away from my parents. Even though their the best parents in this world. I went to Target last week while I didn't have Mack. And you guys, I actually got TO BROWSE THE AISLES! I even tried clothes on! #momwin.

This is a big one, and also a really tough one.  It's much easier said than done. I think it really sucks to have plans in mind and a future planned down the road, and then they don't always turn out the way you thought they would. And that's okay, it's life. I always thought I'd be pregnant again with my second child by now, and in reality I'm single mom. Polar opposites, huh? I've had the hardest time with my friends that had babies the same time I had Mack, telling me they're pregnant again. Selfish of me? Maybe so. But I'm still going through figuring things out along the way everyday. So, please forgive me if I haven't congratulated you up and down, if I possibly didn't show up to your baby shower, or if I cry when I hold your newborn. I promise I'm still so happy for you from the bottom of my heart, because being a mom is the greatest thing in this world. Letting go of the idea of what my life "should" look like was tough, but also very liberating. It's also a work in progress.

BE TOUGH. (and then cry.)
I want to be tough for myself, and also for Mackson. I can DO THIS. BUT, that's not to say it's totally not okay to cry after being tough. You can do both. I do make a conscious effort to only cry when Mack is not around. Kids feel emotions, and they're not dumb. Mack is 2 and he understands a lot of what's going on around him. The crying is few in between now, but it still happens sometimes. Sometimes in life you just need a good cry. But I try to do it on my own time. It's like scheduling cries. haha Type A personality, much??

I have very much been an independent being my whole life. I want to do things my way and I want to be able to do things on my own. (ha, and here I am....) For example, I've always had my own finances- My ex-husband and I never shared a bank account or money. We split bills 50/50. As a single parent time seems so limited, and I realized it's a very humbling experience to have to ask for help when it's maybe impossible to be two places at once, or work meetings go a little longer and I'm stuck at work. All of this was going down during the same time I found out I had cervical cancer. (Another blog post on that later..) I was juggling new job responsibilities, learning how to be a single parent, ultimately feeling so sick and worried about my health, all while trying to be tough. As much as I've tried to be super-human, I've realized I'm really just a normal human. So disappointing ha-ha!

...There's a second part to this "ask for help" thing, but I think it's too long and will have to be in another blog post. So, we'll get to that later!

Life has a funny way of ninja punching you when you least expect it. Emotions are a normal part of life, and mine were a ROLLER COASTER. One minute I would be crying, one minute I would feel like super woman, and then I was exhausted.. etc etc. But, I felt like part of my healing process was letting myself feel these different emotions and recognize them as being normal!

Divorce is sticky, and learning the ropes of everything from being a single parent to working on co-parenting is hard. But I decided that being respectful was the most important thing I could do. I speak highly of my ex.. he's a really great guy, we just didn't work out. Ya know the saying "What Susie says of Sally says more of Susie than of Sally"?? This is the perfect situation for this quote. And, aside from everything, he is the father of my child! Which is a pretty significant role! I try my best to treat people how I want to be treated.

I want Mack to be a kid, and have a "normal" childhood. Although everyone's "normal" is so different. That's life. But, I will do my very best at keeping my stress aside from Mack, and being mom. I want to let him be little.

As if a divorce doesn't bring on enough changes, I chose to make changes in different areas. I cut my hair. Seems silly right? I cut my hair, and I SOBBED while getting it cut. My poor hair girl pulled her shears out and told me if I didn't stop she wouldn't cut my hair. This was something big to me. My long hair was something I associated with my life before. I had long hair when we were together, I had long hair my entire pregnancy, and my hair was down and long the first time Mack and I made eye contact. By me cutting my hair I felt like I was opening a new chapter. "A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life" That was probably one of my first steps in healing.
I also painted different rooms in my house, and bought new d├ęcor items. These changes felt better, and they were things that brought me happiness.

There's so much sadness in this world already. There's hate, and terror, and I find a strange union with other moms. Some of the most amazing, strong-willed people I've ever met are moms. What a great title, and an even greater responsibility. Thanks to all of the ladies, moms or not, who have shown me great examples along the way. I adore every one of you. And you're doing a fabulous job.

"There will be so many times you feel like you've failed. But in the eyes, heart, and mind of your child, you are super mom."

Thursday, July 7, 2016

4th and Fireworks

The 4th of July has always been one of my favorite holidays and this year it was even better. Last year Mack was almost 1 and wasn't so sure about sparklers, and he was also in bed before any of the big firework shows happened. This year he's a night owl and wanted to be involved with everything! He ran up and down our sidewalk with the little snap fireworks, and wanted me to light sparklers for him over and over.

We did some fireworks with a few of our favorite people and he kept saying, "WOOWWWW" over and over. My joy was watching him experience these things. Toddlers are the best!

Saturday night we went to the Bees Baseball game and I wasn't quite sure how Mack would do. He LOVED it. The pitcher on the mound would be waiting to pitch the ball and Mack would yell, "GO!" He's definitely a people-watcher and loves baseball. Just like his mom! The Bees game had fireworks afterwards and I was totally unsure how Mack would do with the aerial fireworks but he was so excited and yelling. About 3 rows of people sitting in front of us had turned around to watch Mack enjoy the fireworks, which happen to be more entertaining than the actual firework show!

We had a great weekend with family and friends, swam at the pool, BBQ'd lots and played cornhole with my family. We stayed up late, we ate all the treats, we played hard, and we felt pretty lucky to live in a country that allows us Freedom.

(Having an extra day off work was pretty great, too. I never complain about the days I get to pretend I'm a stay-at-home mom.)

Happy July, everyone.  

..& That's Okay..

My parents have Mack during the day while I'm at work, which I am forever grateful for. He has a bond and connection with my parents that is undeniable. Mackson LOVES being at their house and is quick to run to the garage door when I ask if he wants to go see Gma and Papa.

My alarm goes off at 4:35am to get up and ready for work, get a bottle made, Mackson's bags packed for the day, get him fed and in the car to make it to my parents by 6:15 to ensure I get to work in SLC on time. Our morning routines are the same everyday. Mack knows when he's at my parent's house and gives me kisses when we go into his room, and is quick to roll over in comfort when I lay him in his crib to sleep for a couple more hours.

But, this day was different. I laid Mack in his crib and he stood up holding his arms out crying "MAMA!!" I picked him up and he nuzzled up in my neck and held me tight. I made him another bottle, I tried to rock him, and tried three more times to lay him back down without him letting go at all.

As a full-time working mom who has bills to pay, and responsibilities outside of the home and being mom, going to work everyday has been really tough. What I wouldn't give to be at home more with my baby, teaching him and helping him grow. I sat with him on my lap cuddled up in a blanket at my mom's house crying, not wanting to leave, and Mackson clearly not wanting me to leave either. It's now 6:30, everyone is still sleeping peacefully somehow and I'm officially late.

At 6:30am my dad wakes up and I hear big soft footsteps walking down the hall as my dad walks in the room to take Mack from me. Mack was hesitant for a minute, then reached out to love on Papa. My dad saw me crying and knows I'm late for work. He turned to me and said, "Some days just don't work out.... and that's okay..."

"some days just don't work out... and that's okay..."

These words from my dad have stuck with me in the days since. This seems so profound. Sometimes life doesn't go as planned, sometimes things don't work out. Sometimes plans fall through, sometimes we stress too much, and days just don't work out... and that's okay!

The next time you're stressed about things not working out, try to remember that it's okay! So much easier said than done, but I've kept this short saying in the back of my mind and it pops up often.

"....and that's okay..."

My dad is a wise man, and I love him dearly