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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Longing for Paris




I'm SUPER excited to announce that I've been chosen to be on the Launch Team for Sarah Mae's new book Longing For Paris:One Woman's Search for Joy, Beauty, and AdventureRight Where She Is. I can't wait to share more about this book with you in the near future, and I'm dying to read it!

I am so thankful for all of the opportunities I've been blessed with this year, having already been chosen to be on the For the Love launch team. I love that my little blog is growing, and along with it, my opportunities to share my writing with you. Thanks to my faithful readers and all of amazing followers I've been getting on Instagram/Twitter/Pinterest/Facebook. Please stick around because I have lots more to share!


Monday, May 18, 2015

Mommy Monday- Things I Keep in My Car




Being a Mommy can be hard some days. Really hard. And exhausting. I've decided I want to start sharing some of my favorite tips and tricks to help your day go a little more smoothly.

Today I want to talk about what we keep in a bag/in the car whenever we go somewhere in case of toddler emergency. Let's get real...toddler emergencies happen. Potty accidents. Hunger meltdowns. Big messes. If you keep this bag handy, it will make your lives much much much easier.


  • Snacks- like I said, we've experienced the toddler hunger meltdown. Usually following the toddler hunger strike. Something that won't go bad in the car, and can handle different temperatures. Think granola bars, pretzels, etc.
  • Bottled water and maybe an extra sippy cup if your little one doesn't drink from a bottle well. (These are also good to have in case your car ever breaks down.)
  • An extra outfit or two. Potty accidents/messes... they happen. And often with a rambunctious little one. Always have an extra outfit handy. Don't forget socks! Toddlers are notorious for getting their feet wet or dirty. Also- extra shoes!
  • Extra diapers and wipes for the non-potty trained. I also was recommended to bring along an extra potty chair, in case of the dreaded potty emergency.
  • Blanket/stuffed animal/other soothing toy. In case a trip takes longer than expected. Your little one might need to go down for the dreaded car nap. Having a blanket or stuffed animal nearby is helpful.
  • Car activities- some of our favorites include: books, magna-doodle, matchbox cars, and in case of a real emergency...the tablet.
  • If you have a potty trained toddler who doesn't use baby wipes, make sure you have some wet wipes, or something of the sort. Toddlers find lots of ways to get sticky.
  • We also always have benadryl/tylenol in our bag. Allergic reactions and fevers happen, and happen fast.
I hope this helps another Momma out there- we're in this together! 

What do you keep in your car/bag?

Linking:

The Life Of Faith

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes!



BIG Changes are coming next month on the blog! As of June 17th, Livin' the Dream will have a NEW domain, NEW design, and come with a slightly new name!

I CANNOT WAIT!

I Can't wait to start this new journey.

I am so thankful for my small amount of faithful followers that have given me the courage to take this leap of faith.

I can't wait to share with you more mommy encouragement, crafts, recipes, and DIY. As well as reviews and tons more!

Thank you for reading what I write and always giving  me amazing positive feedback!

I'll still be posting a few things up until then, but I can't wait for you to all see what's new!

Is there any content that you would like to see more of on the new improved blog? I'd love to hear suggestions! Please and thank you!

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Day I Became a Mommy

I've shared a quick version of Steven's Birth Story before. But that's not the story I wanted to share with you today. I want to share the story of the first hardest day of my life. The day I first became a Mother. And the reason that Mother's Day used to be such a hard day for me. This will be a long post, so I apologize, but I felt I needed to share it.

Flash back to 2009. A year and a half into my marriage. I was 21 years old. Which seems so young now, looking back. I was 8 weeks pregnant, and glowing with excitement. Telling everyone I met. I couldn't contain it. We had been trying for over a year, and there that + sign had been. We were over the moon. We couldn't stop smiling.

We went golfing with my brother and sister-in-law on a Saturday. Something we tried to do often. Halfway through, we stopped for a bathroom break. My SIL and I were talking like women do in the restroom, joking and laughing.

Then I saw it.

Red.

Right where it shouldn't be. Normally as a women, this is no big deal. Something that happens 12 times a year. But not now. My heart sank. I began to panic.

My SIL calmed me down. Explained it's fairly normal. She had 3 kids at this point, and said it was a pretty common occurrence. I took a deep breath and went back to golfing. Totally convincing myself that it would be fine. Brushing it off. I was young and healthy, there was no need to worry.

I started to feel sick about the time we finished. We all headed to dinner and I spent the whole time in the restroom. Scared to eat. I just wanted to go home. Hubby took me  home, and transplanted me onto the couch. Forbidding me to get up. He ran to the store, got provisions. And I stayed there the rest of the weekend.

It was coming and going, so I again convinced myself everything was fine. I called the doctors office, and they weren't concerned at all either. We called family and friends, everyone was praying. I felt comforted and tried to rest.

On Tuesday it got worse. So we packed up and headed to the emergency room. They took me right in. The ultrasound tech took me back, She wouldn't let my husband go with me. She turned the screen away and began looking. She didn't say anything. They sent me back to my room. The doctor came in, and told me we needed another ultrasound, that they needed to check again. They still didn't tell me anything. So in we went again. This time my husband came with me. He didn't ask, and they didn't turn him away.

She checked again. Didn't say anything again.

Back to my room. Scared and visibly shaken. I didn't know what was happening.

My Mom, My Pastor, and my Husband sat together. None of us talking. All holding our breath. The doctor came back.

He said the baby wasn't growing as quickly as it should. That they couldn't be sure what would happen. That we just needed to go home and rest, and go see the doctor in a few days. Still nothing. No information. Just "go home and rest." We gathered our things, got my discharge papers, and left.

In the car, I looked down at the paper and that's when I saw it...

"Threatened Miscarriage." With instructions on what to do. They had never said that word to me at the hospital. I was still in denial that anything could happen.

We went home. I tried to sleep. My husband and I couldn't talk. Couldn't do anything but hold each other.

The next day he had to go back to work, so my Mom came to stay with me. We talked and joked, watched t.v. and she cleaned up my house. Then it happened.

Contractions.

I knew it was happening then.

They came hard and quick. Closer and closer together. My mom sat on the floor next to the couch praying and holding my hand. She called my husband and told him to come home now.

He made it home just in time. It happened. I won't describe it in detail. But, it happened and we were broken. Couldn't do anything but sob. We cried for hours.

This tiny thing, that most of the world doesn't even consider to be a life. That was our whole world.

All of our plans. Our universe flipped around. We didn't know where to go from there.

Mother's Day was a few weeks later. It was HARD. Because I WAS a Mother. The world didn't think so. I had nothing to show for it. But in my heart of hearts I knew.

The next few days, weeks, months were tough. Over time it got a little easier. We could smile again. Think about making a family again.

It took us 3 more years. But, finally we welcomed our little bundle of amazing joy into the world. He helped to seal the crack in our hearts left by our greatest loss.

We'll never forgot, never stop mourning our first child. But we are a family and happiness has replaced what was once the deepest sadness.

To those Mother's and those who want so badly to be a Mother, especially on Mother's Day, I prayed for you. I mourned with you. I will never forget you. I was once you.

I hope everyone had a blessed day. I really did. But let's not forget the ones who had a hard time. Let's continually lift them up in prayer.

I'm sorry for sharing a heavy post, amongst my usually lighthearted ones. I just really needed to share our story. And I hope it blesses someone who has been there before.




Friday, May 8, 2015

Making Mom Friends in a Small Town



I grew up in a big town. And when I got married, I moved to a small town about 30+ minutes away. Not too far, but far enough not to visit every day. We don't have a lot of stuff going on in the town where I live, so I usually have to make the drive to do fun activities with my other friends with kids. I decided early on, I needed to make some friends who were close by that I could get together with more often.

We once talked at my Mom's group about how making other Mom friends is kind of like dating all over again.

 "Hey, I like the way you discipline your kids, wanna have lunch?"
 "That's a super cute diaper bag, wanna go shopping sometime?"
 "I see your children like veggies- will you teach mine?"

Awkward. But sooooo true.

So, here's my tips on making Mom friends without feeling weird about it.

Join a church. Help out in the nursery. You can bond with other Mom's over the terrible 2's and hold cute babies. Set up a playdate, and drink coffee while your kiddos play together.

Check to see if your town has a MOPS group. Even my tiny town has one at a local church. Another good way to connect with other Mom's in your same stage of life.

Search for/create a Facebook group for Mom's in your town. Add one, and then have them add some friends. Pretty soon it will grow to be pretty big- and you can set up playdates through there. Library trips, park trips, shopping trips, etc.

Hang out at the park. Bond with other Mom's who look exhausted chasing their kiddos around. They will be there.

Join a gym. Take a class. Get out of your comfort zone.

There are lots of lonely Momma's out there who would love to make a new Mommy friend.

Try to be an encouragement to a Mom that looks like she needs it. Be transparent and share your struggles and triumphs. Being real will help her to open up. Your new BFF could be out there- go and find her!

Do you have any ideas on how to make Mom friends? I'd love to hear your suggestions.


The Life Of Faith

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Last Minute Mother's Day Gift Ideas- That Won't Break the Bank



If you're like my hubby, you forgot this weekend was Mother's Day. He surprised me with an amazing gift this week (a new Kindle Fire) and then when I told him that there was a holiday this weekend, he was a little bummed he didn't save it for my gift. I usually get jewelry (hint hint), but now Hubby is digging me a new flower bed. So I told him that the flower bed, along with the flowers, could be my gift. We're also on a money saving kick, so I didn't want him to have to spend as much as he usually does- no need to go crazy. I decided to compile a list of other ideas you last minute shoppers can get for your wives....

Do something that your wife has been asking you to do for awhile. Whether it is a DIY project, something around the house, or running an errand she's asked you to do. Gestures like that go a long way. Also, let her sleep in while you do said project. Momma needs her sleep!

Make her a nice meal, one that takes an effort. DO NOT GO OUT TO EAT ON MOTHER'S DAY! The waits are forever!

Take her and the kiddos on a picnic. Pour her a glass of wine and let her relax.

Write her a letter. Tell her what makes her an amazing mother. Especially if her Love Language is words of affirmation. Tell her how amazing she is, and if your kiddos are old enough, ask them what they love most about her and include their responses.

Help the kids make a Mother's Day craft. Clean up after it. Momma's are *usually* the ones crafting and cleaning up with the little's, so it's nice to get a craft, without having to do the clean-up.

And it may seem silly, but a gift card to her favorite store. Tell her she has to buy something for her. Mom's tend to feel bad spending money on themselves, so this is a guilt free way for us to get something nice.

Show this list to your hubby's, ladies. Lay down some hints. Some men are not good at guessing what to get for you. Remind them, that though you may not be their mother, you are the mother of their children...so you deserve a gift too.

What are some other ideas you would like your hubby's to get you, that don't cost an arm and a leg? I would love to hear some more suggestions.

Linking:

Mom Blog Makeover



If you're a Mom blogger or know someone who is- please share with them about the 1000 Mom Blog Makeovers over at Blogelina. For just a $10 donation to cure.org, the Blogelina team is doing makeovers. They'll set your blog up on WordPress if it's not there already, transfer it, and pay for a year of hosting. This is hundreds of dollars of stuff for just a $10 donation! They'll also install one of their beautiful new themes for FREE! If you've been thinking about taking the next step in your blogging journey, do it now! I did! I can't wait! I purchased my own domain, and there will be BIG changes coming to the blog soon. I'm so excited for this next step in my journey! Join me!