17 September 2014

When Words Fail, Pictures Win

Happy hump day, friends! I'm a little lost for words these days so I'm taking a little downtime to recharge myself, my ideas, and my writing but I didn't want to leave you completely in the dark so I thought I'd share a little picture recap of life 'round these parts lately.

Getting pictures of little miss diva these days can be hit or miss. Most days, I get crotchety 'ol grump face but every so often, I get the silly, goofy, and completely adorable Chickie face that I love. And that smile? Oh that smile. It lights the world.

If you follow baseball at all, then you know the Yankees aren't doing so hot but they are hanging in there. Our littlest Yankees fan loves to show her support by 
sporting daddy's ski cap. 

My alarm goes off at 5:30 a.m. every morning during the week. This site is pretty much the only thing that makes that atrocity better and tolerable. 

We've enjoyed some outside time with the sidewalk chalk and while Chickie likes drawing...well...whatever a 3 year old draws, daddy and I duke it out cheering on our fave college football teams. Yes, folks. We are a house divided. 

We've also been enjoying a lot of snuggle and nap time with the fur babies. I post so many pictures of us that I often forget about our super sweet four-legged children. And really, our house wouldn't be nearly the home it is without their unconditional love and companionship. Thank you, Henry the dog, Henry the cat, and Kitten Butt for your love. 

Kitten Butt

Henry the dog

Henry the cat

Yes, we have two Henrys. Michael had Henry the dog before we met and I had Henry the cat. Needless to say, it can get kind of confusing at times.

We've been eating pretty well lately courtesy of my Pinterest dinner finds. This Alfredo artichoke chicken was the bomb. I'll be sharing the recipe soon.

One of Chickie's favorite games to play lately is hide and go seek. She really sucks at it, truth be told. We will say, "Where's Maddy?" while looking for her and she'll respond, "Right here!!" It's one of the most hysterical things ever. 

She's not so hot on the hiding either. Please check the little pigs hanging out from underneath this pillow case that she crammed herself under. So stinking cute. 

So that's life for us lately in a few little snippets. Nothing special, but special to us. 

Over the next week, you can look for a few posts from me talking about:
  • My thoughts on Adrian Peterson and disciplining as a parent
  • A home tour
  • Chickie's 10 Commandments to parents
  • A few good recipes
  • Thoughts on the mommy wars and judgey judgey moms
  • And last but certainly not least, look for an announcement for a really great September give-a-way! 
What have you been up to lately?

12 September 2014

Oh, Hey Friday! {A Guest Post, Some Funny Videos, A Great Recipe, & MORE!}


First up, I'm happy and honored to say that I'm guest posting today on one of my favorite blogs, Sweet Turtle Soup. Courtney's blog is so incredibly fun, perfect, and I absolutely adore her creative talents with graphics and her sense of humor. Not to mention that her daughter is an absolute CUTIE so all around, she's pretty freaking awesome. No really - check out her IG and you will see - CUTIE! 

So head on over to Sweet Turtle Soup and check out Courtney's blog and my guest post today. It's a fun 'Getting To Know..." series so you can find out about all the inappropriate music I love listening to in the car - with and without my child. #parenttruth 

Thank you Courtney for the opportunity to share! XO!

Once again, the Pinterest Gods have smiled down upon our dinner table. I found this recipe for Caprese Lasagna Roll Ups a while back and finally decided to try it out this week. One word - AMAZEBALLS. 


This recipe was so easy and friendly on the budget too and for once, it actually ended up looking like the pin from Pinterest. Y'all know what I'm talking about. You find an amazing picture of food, you check the link to make sure it works, you pin it, and then you decide to cook it only to find that it looks NOTHING like what you saw and worse, it's an awful meal. The Pinterst curse. 

If you're looking for something new to put on the table, I highly recommend this meal. It will definitely become a part of our meal rotation, and if you need some other meal inspirations, check out my Pinterest page for more ideas!

Serena Williams watch out! 

For her Birthday this year, daddy got Chickie  her first tennis racket and balls. For those who are new to these parts, Michael loves tennis. He used to play in high school and also coached for a while at The Potomac School in D.C. and as a private instructor. When he found out I was pregnant, one of the first things he said was, "Our baby will start playing tennis when she's three." I thought he was joking.

He was not. 

Check out this super sweet video I captured this week of my two lovies playing tennis. And yes, it was in the house 'cause that's how we roll.

Speaking of videos, my other video find for the week is this insanely funny clip from BuzzFeed entitled 'Weird Things All Couples Fight About.' It's funny because it's so so so true. I nearly fell out laughing about the dishes being put on the counter instead of in the sink because that happens a lot around here {I won't name any names. AHEM. Michael.} and it drives me INSANE. Having said that, Michael is so super great about cleaning and helping out around the house, so I can overlook it. Almost. ;-)

Check this video and get a good chuckle for your Friday!

If you're looking for a fun new link-up to join, I found one this week by way of Stephanie at Wife Mommy Me called 'Mama Mondays' that's hosted by Leslyn Jacks of Leslyn's Lovely Life.  

This is a great link-up that encourages us mommies to pour out whatever is on our hearts as women and mothers in a completely safe, judge-free zone. I contributed this past week by writing My Best Parenting Advice and in the process, met some really thoughtful and amazing moms. Check it out! 

How was your week?

Have a fabulous weekend, friends!

11 September 2014

Mommy Reflections: How We've Raised Our Daughter to Not Only Be Good but to Do Good

If there's one thing I've learned over the last three years of being a parent it's that I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. I’m just being honest. I read all the books, took all the classes, listened to all the unwanted wanted advice, and watched all the parenting videos but let's be real - there is nothing that can prepare you for having your first child. It's a crazy roller coaster ride of emotions. Between the lack of sleep, adjusting to a new life and new normal, and learning about your child, it's easy to get caught up in the day to day hum-drum of life and forget our focus as parents. 

So while I admit that I’m still learning how to do this parenting gig right, there was one concept that I was certain of from the day that Chickie was born that I wanted her to understand: How to not only be good but to do good in this world. 

I believe this is a characteristic that starts early in childhood development and is either fostered to its full potential or thrown to the wayside by the parents as a child grows up to be an adult. I would say that from her sixth month on, Michael and I made it a point to begin instilling the ‘Not only be good but do good’ mentality to Chickie. It’s not a method that comes easy because it requires constant attention to our own actions, but it’s something that we work towards on a daily basis in getting her to understand good works.

Fast forward three years later, and I’d say our hard work is paying off. I see how attentive and caring she is with her friends at school. Just the other day I saw her rubbing the back of a classmate that was having a hard morning and asking, “Logan, you OK?” {Heart. Melt} I see how she does nice things around the house for us without asking and how she uses her manners to express herself and her needs. I see the kindness she expresses to strangers and the acute awareness she’s developed in recognizing that she’s not alone in the universe and that other people’s feelings and needs matter.

Now, don’t get me wrong. She can totally test my patience and my will. We have plenty of bad days, and there are times that I feel like the majority of my time is spent being the behavior police but overall, I think we’re on the right track. We expect a lot from Chickie which most parents would poo-poo for a three year old but I don’t understand why to be perfectly honest. I’ve always felt that our kids, even the babies and toddlers while they are still young, are people just like adults so why do we set such low expectations for them? I think that sometimes we shortchange our toddlers and pigeonhole them into a category of, “Well, she/he is only three. What can a three year old possibly learn about doing good??” 

My response? A lot.

I've come up with four ideas I think that fit the mold of teaching our children to not only be good but to do good as well. These are things that we’ve worked on each day since Chickie was a baby to make habit and routine in her life. They have proven to be beneficial in shaping the person that she’s becoming so I hope you find them helpful for your little one as well.

Catch my child being good and make sure she knows how proud I am of her.

When the days are long and crazy, it's easy to see the disruptive or negative behavior. I need to do a better job at seeing the positive behavior while letting Chickie know that I see and approve of her choices and decisions to do good throughout the day. Our children relish and crave our attention, adoration, and applause. They learn through our reactions to their behavior what doing good looks and feels like and they want to continue doing those things which feel good. It's a win-win for everyone, really.

Be the model for doing good.

Through a child's eye, everyone counts. Everyone is important - the sales person who is rude to me, the person who cuts me off in traffic, the neighbor who never picks up after their dog - each of these situations are opportunities to show our children how to treat others with kindness even when we feel it's hard to do. How I handle these types of situations sends a message that our children hold onto for a long time and remember. I can only hope that Maddy sees me as being kind?

Make sure that my words and actions are aligned with my values.

It's one thing to constantly say, "Share your toys with so and so. Share the slide. Be nice to Sally." But what do your actions say? Force your child to give up their seat on the swings if you see other children waiting - this is a perfect opportunity to show your child what it means to give and share. When another child falls down on the playground, have your child offer a helping hand. Our children may be too young at this point to truly understand the value of what they are doing but they will soon learn to associate kindness with helping others. 

Teach them to do good and big things in their small world.

In our busy lives, I think it's easy to get caught up in the larger community service projects because they're highly publicized and well-defined. Sometimes it's harder to notice the smaller acts of good that can be, or are done, by our little ones. 

While our children are young, I think it's important to make doing good meaningful to them on a level that they can understand easily through small acts of kindness; sending thank you cards to family and friends for gifts, sharing their special or favorite toys with friends, being mommy or daddy's helper, saying "Please" and "Thank you", giving small gifts of appreciation to day care and school teachers. All of these small acts of kindness make big impressions on the hearts and minds of our little ones.

These are my thoughts on ways to raise a generous and kind child. What are your thoughts? What advice do you have to share with other parents looking to raise kind, thoughtful, and generous children?

05 September 2014

Oh Hey, Friday!

Happy Friday, loves! It’s hard to believe it’s already Friday but with the short week from the Labor Day holiday, my days are all thrown off. At any rate, it’s Friday so we shall celebrate! Here’s our top five highlights from the week:

The Vols opened their season with a sold out Neyland Stadium at 102,000+ against Utah State and it was the best that I’ve seen the Vols play in years. If you follow football at all, then you know that my boys have been struggling. For us die hard Vols fans, the last few years have been painful. When you go from being a powerhouse program to mediocre {at best}, it just freaking sucks. BUT having said that, Butch Jones has really taken it to the next level in revamping Tennessee’s football program and it is starting to show. Finally, for the first time in forever {shit – did I just quote Frozen??} Tennessee football is fun again. I’m anxious to see how the rest of the season goes. GO BIG ORANGE!

For Labor Day, we took a trip to see my parents, grandmother, and two sisters in Lawrenceville and we had such a great time. It’s always nice to get out of Statesboro for a while and see family. We did a little shopping, a lot of napping, and ate really well. Daddy BBQ’d ribs, hot dogs, and hamburgers one night and made all the fixins to go along with: macaroni salad, beans, sliced tomatoes, chips – so much good home cooking. 

I also had the chance to watch the Vols game with my family which doesn’t happen very often since we all live apart. Truly, it was a great weekend.

{Me and my sisters watching the game. Completely unrelated note: Don't ever wish for big boobs. They are a pain in the ass and as you can see, take up a good portion of this picture. I mean, really? Help.}

The weather is starting to change here in Statesboro which signals that fall is right around the corner! Actually, the last few afternoons and evenings we’ve had thunderstorms and rain that have left the nighttime cool and lovely. I decided it was time to roll out the ol grilled cheese and soup combo a couple of times this week. It was decadent. I mean really, how can you go wrong with warm, ooey-gooey cheese? And let’s be honest – soup and sandwich nights for moms are heaven {AKA easy clean-up}. I foresee a lot of these meals in our fall future.

I want to take a minute to show some love to some fellow bloggers because really, without our blog friends, most of our own blogs wouldn’t be possible.

First up, huge kudos and thanks to Courtney at A + Life for the opportunity to sponsor on her blog. If you’re looking for a good sponsorship investment, consider Courtney’s blog. She is so easy and flexible to work with and actually takes the time to promote your blog as well which has been a challenge for me in the past with other bloggers. I’ve seen my blog and social media accounts {Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, & IG} grow at a steady and impressive rate since partnering with her and I’ve met some really great ladies in the process. A win-win in my book and lucky for you, she is having a fall sponsor sale going on right now! 

The current deal is 30% off any ad space and word is, the A+ package will be available at the end of the month which includes a guest post. Think about it for a hot second and then head over to her sponsor tab and check it out. Literally – put it in your cart and check out. You won’t regret it.

Secondly, next week, I’ll be guest posting on some of my favorite blogs {Seriously – I heart each of these ladies and read them daily. You should too!} and am super excited about it. On Wednesday, I’ll be on Being Mrs. Beer giving my best tips for moving into your new home and getting it organized and unpacked without losing your sanity and on Friday, I’ll be guest posting on Sweet Turtle Soup for Courtney’s “Getting to Know” series. I’m super excited about both and hope you’ll stop by to check them out!

Well, folks. It has officially happened. Our little girl has found her first boyfriend at school at ripe ‘ol age of…three. I’m both unamused and enjoying the cuteness all at the same time. But really, 3?? I’m going to need one of you to tell me that this crap is normal to start at this age because seriously, I wasn’t expecting to have to deal with this shit until around 7 or so – at the very earliest.

Me: “Chickie, how was your day at school?”
Chickie: “I played with Logan.”
Me: “That’s good! Is Logan your friend?”
Chickie: “Mama, I love him.”
Me: “Um, what?”
Chickie: “We play on the swings together, and hold hands, and I gave him a kiss mama, and I love him.”
Me: “I’m sorry, what????”
Chickie: “I love him mama!!!”

Text just this morning from Michael:

Ay yi yi. I’m going to need a lot more wine for this shit. 

So I will send you off into the weekend with this beautiful, smiling face in the hopes that you all will have a great weekend. And just for the record, she wasn’t smiling at us for being amazing parents. The grin came from talking about who else…Logan. 

Have a great weekend, friends!