Thursday, March 21, 2019

A Letter To Me, Before You

Dear Me, 

Having a child changes you. It changes you physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. And you know what?!?! It's totally worth it. Here's why. 

As a mom, my life pretty much revolves around my child. Some might think this is crazy, unnecessary, and ridiculous. But for me, it's what I always wanted. If you asked me growing up what I wanted to be, I always said "A mommy." Nothing more, nothing less. When I was told at 14 that I had PCOS and would likely not have children, that dream went off a cliff and into a downward spiral and thankfully, as I got older, medicine improved and miracles happen all the time, every day. And I was going to get one of those miracles. And eventually, I did.

But there are some things you need to know about yourself before you became a mother. And I wish someone had told me these. But better i know now, than never. 

1. You are strong. And you can handle ANYthing. 

You are a woman. You body can do AMAZING things. Things you never thought possible. You will be dealt cards that others would throw back and request another hand. But no, keep them and know that what you are dealt, you CAN handle and it will only make you stronger. You wouldn't have been dealt those cards if you couldn't handle it. Your journey could easily be a straight line from point A to point B. But nothing is that simple and easy. Your journey will have speed bumps, some big and some small. Their will be detours and forks in the road. You will likely hit a dead end or two, but you'll find your way to the pot of gold one way or another. You can handle it, I promise. You might want a cocktail or two, but you've got this. 

2. You will know love like you've never known love before. 

I love my husband. truly, madly, deeply. He is the love of my life and we were destined to meet. But when you have a child, you will never know a stronger love than that. Your body will ache, even hurt, with how much you love that child. It is normal. And it's how it should be. You are not alone. 

3. You were destined to be a boy mom, despite what you might have always thought. 

Now, keep in mind, this is directed at me, not necessarily you. I always thought I was meant to be a girl mom. The hair bows, tutus, frills, pink, and LOTS of pink, flowers and monograms and headbands and you name it. When we found out we were having a boy, my husband's first comment was "Are you going to be ok?!" Of course I was going to be ok! A happy and healthy baby was coming! Was I sad? A little bit. But NEVER in my wildest dreams did I think that this was my destiny. I was totally meant to be a boy mom. They LOOOOVE their mommies. They are the best snugglers. And is there much cuter than a baby boy or toddler boy dressed up like an 80 year old man?! I think not. 

4. Never forget the power of laughter. Laugh a lot and laugh often. 

I laugh. A lot. I always have. But when you become a parent, you often get caught up in being serious and being a role model and showing how to be strong. While that is all fine and dandy, don't forget to laugh. Laugh when you trip and fall. Laugh when you make a mistake. Laugh when you sneeze or fart. it's ok. Because one thing we should always remember is that life is too short to take it all seriously. 

5. Travel. Always and forever. Continue to explore. 

Before we had our son, we traveled. And we traveled a LOT. We traveled internationally. We traveled on weekend getaways. We traveled for quick overnights. Heck, we would even travel for dinner! On more than one occasion, we flew somewhere for dinner. Yeah, looking back THAT was a bit much, but not one single regret. We were always told not to change once we had kids, so we haven't! Our son is all about the road trips and vacations. He loves airplanes and traveling and takes part in packing and carrying his own luggage. We will continue to travel like we did pre-kids and instead of Rosenstein, party of two, it's now party of three!   

6. Don't underestimate the power of your smile. 

Whether it's for you or your child, smile. Smile all day, every day. And share that smile with those you know and especially with strangers. The world nowadays needs that, plain and simple. We need to teach our children what the power of a smile and a thoughtful glance can do to brighten someone's day. 

7. Live every day to it's fullest. 

Yes, some days are meant to be in your pajamas, on the couch, curled up watching movies. And other days are meant to be outdoors running wild in the fields. But whatever your day entails, live each and every one of them to the fullest. Maximize the day's potential and step back and the end of the day and realize it was a GREAT one! 

8. Regardless of if you have a boy or a girl, you can always be "matchy-matchy". 

Simply stated, "matchy-matchy" works for boy moms AND girl moms! My three-year old boy asks me daily if he can match mama. Therefore, you'll see me in a LOT of stripes and a LOT of blue. But I'm going to take advantage of it as long as I can because I'm sure it won't last forever! 

9. Keep your life the way it is. Don't change your life or lifestyle just because you become a mom. 

We like to go out. A lot. Like a LOT. We go out to restaurants, events, trips, gatherings, outings, you name it. Heaven forbid our own life stop once we had children. Well, it didn't. When our son was barely 3-months-old, we went out to dinner. People were SHOCKED. How could we do that?! Well, we did. And we haven't stopped. And you know what? He's well-behaved when we go out and he can sit at a 2-hour-dinner at a 5-star restaurant with a table full of adults and no knows he's there. Our life has not changed, we just added one more person to it.

 10. Hold hands. 

That's it. Plain and simple. 

I never thought you would happen. I never thought my life would be this way. It was always a dream, but I questioned for so long if it would come to fruition. And here we are now, today, in the life I always dreamed of. You truly are a dream come true. 


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Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Toddler Favorites

My toddler has recently been choosing his independent activities and going towards the same ones repeatedly, so I figured I'd share his choices with you!

1. The sensory bin

Presently, it is filled with beans, cups, and a few small trucks. 

This sensory bin was the BEST splurge I made in his three years. Seriously. Best part? It has a lid! Other best part? The bin easily comes out of the table leg frame to empty easily for simple change of scenery. 

Some recent sensory bin favorites have been pom poms with colored silicone cupcake liners for sorting, the beans you see below for dumping and pouring, and the ever-popular rice. 

2. Magnetic chalkboard wall. 

While this project took longer than I ever hoped to get done (a future post on that coming), it was completely worth it. Our half-wall in our kitchen was almost wasted space. One day, while scrolling Pinterest, I had a brilliant idea to make it a magnetic chalkboard wall. And here we are now, with an amazing area for him to be creative and artisitic! 

3. Painting

We have a collection of Crayola paint bottles and pull out an old ice cube tray when he gets the urge to pint. The Crayola collection comes in 12 bottles and literally lasts us YEARS. A little goes a long way, it's washable, and comes out of clothes and off of skin super easily. It might seem like a lot of money to spend on paint, but when you factor in the number of times you use it AND how easy it is to use, it's worth the $33. 

My mom hack of using an ice cube tray for a paint dish was quite popular on Instagram so figured I'd share here too! 

4. Sorting

While I kept his caps from his pouches for sorting activities early on, he LOVES his colored bears for sorting activities now. Maybe because they stand up? Maybe because he can talk to them? Who knows. But when he asks for his bears, I can't say no! 

He has colored cups to use as well as bowls and even silicone cupcakes liners. But I like to vary his methods and in February, he was all about hearts. So one, night, we busted out sorting bears into colored hearts! 

(and yes, he's still wearing his holiday jammies... this is a no judgement zone) 

5. Puzzles

While he enjoys his puzzles, I like to make them a little more complicated and utilize some higher-level thinking for him. So, I take the puzzles pieces off and hide them in a pan of rice. He then has to find the pieces in the rice THEN put them into the puzzle. Adding an extra step adds an extra level of thinking too!  

I know you might be thinking "RICE?! Are you CRAZY?!" Yes, I am. When we first started, I was cleaning up rice ALL.THE.TIME. But he learned over time and now, it isn't an issue. It takes consistency and practice and is SO worth it in the end. 

What activities does your toddler tend to choose when given the option? 

Thursday, February 28, 2019

#noshop19 Month 2 Update

I have officially made it two full months without shopping for myself. 

Hard to believe, ain't it?! Ha ha. 

In all seriousness, I feel a sense of relief. I never realized just HOW MUCH TIME I spent browsing online. Whether it be via Instagram influencers, bloggers I follow, Facebook ads, email marketing, or just random searches because I liked what someone was wearing. 

Now, when or if I see a cute outfit, the first place I go is in my own closet. Shocking, right?! Why would I do that when the thrill of buying new is available?! Well, I am determined to rework my brain into thinking in a new capacity. 

I have rediscovered things in my closet I forgot about. I have also continued to part with items as one of my resolutions is to remove 52 bags of stuff from my home over the 52 weeks of the year. I think I'm over 10 bags out of my house as of now, maybe 11 or 12. Is it bad that I already lost count?! I should probably keep better track.

This month, I added two new items into my wardrobe. 

1. A new pair of Rothys. HOWEVER, I had referral credits available to use so they were free. And they're super fun and cute! 

2. A new kitchen apron for myself and a matching one for Ness. This has been something I've been searching for for quite some time. I actually started looking last summer. I used Poshmark credit and got it there, so is it really shopping since I didn't spend "real money"?! And while they are 'girly' my toddler doesn't care and just REALLY likes to "match mommy" 

How do you think I'm doing? Do you think I'll last the whole year?! 

And for those wondering how my saving is going for my big reward, I'm doing great! 

Sunday, February 3, 2019

#noshop19 Month 1 Update

Yup. You read that right. In case you missed my new year's post. This year, I have given up shopping. Well, I have given up shopping for myself. No clothing, no accessories, no skincare, nothing for ME. Yes, I can still shop for my son, and yes, I can still shop for my husband. And yes, not to worry, I can still go grocery shopping. But for me, an AVID and what some might call a professional-bargain-hunter, giving up shopping for a year is no joke.

How has it been? Well, first of all, I will admit, it has been eye-opening for sure. The amount of time I spent scrolling randomly for good deals because of a "FLASH SALE" too good to pass up was bonkers. Plus, Poshmark has kind of sucked me in over the last two years for little things here or there because I have credits. So if it REALLY shopping?! {yes, it is really shopping, in my book at least}

A few things that helped me with this overwhelming and quite large personal challenge:

1. I unsubscribed from emails.

Like over 1000. Yeah, I know. It was crazy. And I've had to do it again because for some reason they subscribed me back! But, let me tell you how easy it has been to read my email each day. Mere minutes now, versus a good hour or more before!

2. I purged and sorted my closet.

This was a lot. I hear people spend a few hours doing it. I spent a week. And a few hours each day of that week to get through it. Yeah, it took a lot of time. But was it worth it? You better believe it. I have such an appreciation of what's in there now. And if I don't wear it this year, it's going. There's no need for me to have it "in case". In case what? I need that seventh white tee shirt. Nope.

I also had a lot of crap. Crap I didn't need. So the crap went.

I also was holding on to smaller sizes and bigger sizes because of the "what if". Well, what if I only had what fits me now and stayed with what fit me instead of allowing myself to fluctuate. Hmmmm. Life changing thought process right there.

And since taking these pictures, I am still parting with things. Like I've gotten rid of three pair of shoes so far.

3. I consigned and 'Poshmarked' things I no longer want or need.

I sorted what I was parting with and that also took a lot of time. I sorted into donations, regular consignment store, upscale consignment store, and Poshmark. I had a lot of accessories and jewelry I didn't wear anymore. A lot of presents and gifts. A lot of stuff. Just stuff. Why so much stuff?!

4. I unfollowed 1000 influencers on Instagram.

THIS. WAS. and IS. LIFECHANGING. Bloggers are now influencers and influencers are "swipe up and shop this must have item" and it was killing me! Why did I need another blue striped tunic? Or another pair of sandals? Or that adorable cardigan from Target?! As soon as I sat back and truly looked at who I was following who was putting out meaningful content to me, I unfollowed. And boy, it feels great!

5. I refuse to swipe up.

Don't do it. Just, Say. No. You don't need it. I swear.

6. I put my personal goal out into the universe.

I put it out here, on my blog. I put it out in my style insiders group on Facebook. I put it out on Instagram. And you know what? I lost several HUNDRED followers because of it. But guess what? Who cares.

7. I told my husband. 

This was the hardest! He asked me if I was ok! If I was sure?! Can I do it?! Duuuuude... I'm SO doing it now! Watch me.

8. I plan on rewarding myself when I make it. Not IF I make it.

Yep. Because I'm going to do it. Just watch me.

In my first month, here's what I bought outside of groceries and household needs. 
- Socks for my toddler. 18 cents. I had rewards at Old Navy and they were on sale. 12 pair, out of pocket 18 cents.
- 3 pair of boot socks for me. I had Loft rewards that were expiring. I needed a new pair of boot socks. I went in and they were on sale, so I was able to get 3 pair instead of one and not spend anything out of pocket because I just used rewards.
- Leopard Loeffler Randall booties via Poshmark. They arrived in January but I had bid on them in December and my offer was accepted. And I've worn them 4 times already. But I didn't BUY them in 2019 so it doesn't count. I'm just including it because it was added into my closet in 2019.

So, do you think I'm nuts? Insane? Stupid? Brave? All of the above? I honestly cannot believe I actually decided to do it. I mean seriously, I am a shopper. That's what I do. It's what I'm known for. I'm the bargain hunter, the deal finder, the stylist, I am THE SHOPPER.