Add’s 4th Birthday!

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For the record, this cake looked a lot easier to make on Youtube.

Addison was born on Valentine’s Day and with Christmas such a short time before, the kid has all that she will ever need, except…a stage in her room.  I know, it’s a bit much.  I got the idea several weeks ago and asked my Dad, who can typically do it all, if he thought it might be possible.  I knew the answer to that even before I asked him, making things like this, especially for his gal is his jam.

Mark and I also wanted to make her something and we decided on a wardrobe that she could easily access.  Shockingly, this project came in around $35.  I’m enjoying the days when the entire birthday gift load is under $50, I imagine that won’t last much longer.

Presenting…Addison’s stage!

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Why I Love My Body

Why I love my body…because I want my daughter to love hers.

I consciously try Every. Single. Day. to say something positive about my body.  I have made it a mission to teach Addision, by my example, that her body is beautiful.  You will never, (hopefully) hear me say anything discouraging about the way I look around my daughter and that started from her birth.

My body allowed me to grow 2 magnificent and powerful little beings and I will forever be grateful for that.  When Addison gains weight at the doctor’s office each visit, I remark at how well she is taking care of her body and how much stronger she grows each day.  When I step on the scale in front of her I will not make a face of disappointment, (which is not always easy, I admit.)  When I am not happy with what I am wearing or feel uncomfortable in my clothes I do not express that to Addison.

Judge away, but sugar and junk foods are allowed in our house.  Addison readily has a plethora of food options, both healthy & less healthy.  She knows that I value her & Ben’s health above almost anything and I am trying to teach her to make healthy choices, but I will not chide her if she wants a gummy worm, (or 4).  Mark and I are trying to teach her that food is food, by having options available, we are hoping that she will not value one over the other.

If I ever hear Addison remark negatively about her body, which I hope will not happen for a very long time, I will only work harder to love my own.

Having it All

This morning I had a surprising feeling–one I don’t experience often.  I felt accomplished.

Oftentimes I am the first one awake in our house, which is something I adore.  Knowing the people I love most are warm and safe in their beds makes me feel content.  This morning, as I was getting ready for work, and about to walk out of the door, I heard Ben cough.  This little man, who I still feed 1-3 times per night, had just been up at 3:45 to eat so I thought I wouldn’t be up with him again before I had to leave.

When I heard him cough, I turned the monitor on, sure enough, Ben was awake and hungry.  I took a look at the clock and noted that if I chose to feed him I was going to be 10 minutes late to work.  I chose to feed my son, (not a hard choice).

When I was upstairs feeding Ben in complete darkness I felt an overwhelming feeling of contentment.  Here I was, dressed and ready for work, feeding my child, and looking forward to getting to the office.  I have struggled, as most moms do, with the decision for what is best for our family.  Is it me staying at home?  I’m not sure.  But in that moment, I allowed myself to feel OK with the decision I have made, to be a working mom who can try to do it all.

Hopefully that was a beautiful start to a successful day.  Cheers to all the moms out there!  We’re in it together.

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Teacher Appreciation

Admittedly, it looks a lot better packaged with a cute label.

Admittedly, it looked a lot better packaged with a cute label.

I managed to get myself signed up for the ‘Teacher Appreciation’ committee at Addison’s school…while I am a Huge, (note the capital ‘H’?) supporter of educators, my Mom being the most influential & intellectual educator I know, it was another thing I added to my ever-growing list.

While I may be making light of my new-found responsibilities, preschool teachers are some of the most undervalued educators in the system–so they deserve every ounce of appreciation we can give.

I was assigned the month of January to don my appreciation and I chose to make a small gift box for each teacher.  I was hoping to fill it with fun & useful items I knew I would appreciate receiving.  And I only had one Starbucks run at 11pm to pick up a missing giftcard–I’ll call that a win.  Gift boxes included;

– Starbucks gift card
EOS lip gloss, (the best!)
– Lotion
– Chocolate
– Beverage
– More chocolate
– Airborne for all the grubby little hands they encounter daily

As a room mom, (never thought I would say that, or at least for a few more years) I’ll take all the ideas for teacher appreciation–please send any that you’ve done!  And…thank a teacher!

Storage Jars


Storage Jars

You should have seen this house when we bought it…it was not good.  However, we didn’t have a whole lot of wiggle room in our budget, and saw tons of potential in this little gem.  When we bought our house we redid a large portion of the first floor including changing the back entrance, adding a 1/2 bathroom, and a full kitchen remodel.  The mudroom / pantry / room we have no idea what to do with, was previously the breakfast nook which we turned into the back entrance.

Along the way we have (slowly) tried to make this room more functional and this weekend I took another step.  I had all of the items on hand, so this reno was free!  My plan is to add these to span the length of the shelves…we’ll see if that ever comes to fruition.  I’ll show the other side of the room, (hopefully a coffee bar someday) once I clean up all of the “junk” I moved to take pictures of the shelves–just keeping it real.

Items needed:
– Scrap wood (2) pieces
– Screws
– Empty jars
– Paint

Taken during our 2nd walk through.

Taken during our 2nd walk through.

Changing the back entrance.

Changing the back entrance.

Kitchen Progress

More Before Shelves

I clearly like grains…recipe for quinoa

Buckets from Etsy–splurged on them 4 years ago & they have held up great.

Never look too closely…but here they are.

Moso Natural Aid Purifier

Product love! – I bought this Moso Natural Air Purifying bag weeks ago and LOVE it (for around $10).  I bought (2), one for home and one for Mark’s office–I highly recommend it.

Inspiration and other fun projects here & here.

I Wish I Would Have Known…

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Our almost 4 year old daughter, Addison has given us a run for our money since day one.  While I will state the obvious, she is the light of our lives and has been a true gift from God, as the first-born, she has also taught us how much parenting will change one’s life.  As a first time parent, you simultaneously have no idea what you are doing and a natural reaction to parent.  Generally, you think that your baby is exactly what everyone else’s baby is like and that life will never be the same, (which it won’t, but different in a really great way).

From the start, Addison, (Add as she is typically referred to) was a ‘Mama’s girl’ and extremely sensitive.  This has become one of her most endearing qualities and something Mark & I love most about her.  But, she didn’t want to go anywhere without myself or my Dad, “Pa”.  I started working full-time, (after having worked part-time & as a business owner) when Add was 18-months (picture above) and we made the decision to start her at the childcare center on UT’s campus.  This center felt like family from the moment we walked in, but it took months for Addison not to cry as we would drop her off every morning.  It. Was. Awful.  Having to leave her and go to work has never been harder than that time.  However, when I would get into work, (about 5 minutes later–I work on the same campus) I would call to check on her and her teacher would say, “She’s doing great!” or, “Right now she is going down the slide / eating breakfast / playing with friends.”  This would of course reassure me that our decision was fine, but it also made me realize that children are resilient and extremely smart.

When I would leave Addison’s school, I would see children running to their classrooms and not even look back to see if their parent was following them–I longed to be that mother.  After what seemed like an eternity, we have reached that point.  And I want to reassure anyone reading this that if you have your own “Addison” or are going through something similar, it will get better.  We have finally reached a point where the separation anxiety has lessened and the heart-wrenching guilt is not experienced daily. 

What prompted this post was a text to Mark this morning, “Preschool is closed today”…his response, “Addison is super bummed”.  We have reached that sweet spot, which I am sure will last for another thirty minutes, where Add has found her comfort zone and has realized that we have unconditional love for her and that we will always be there for her at the end of the day.

If you are blessed with a child who would rather be with you above anyone else, know that one day, it will be different and get easier.  I wish someone would have told me that, or if they did, that I would have listened & believed them. 

However…it isn’t fully gone as these are the exact words that came out of Addison’s mouth last week;

Immediately after walking in the house after work and greeting our babysitter & kiddos, Addison says,
“Which one of you is my Mom?”

It never ends.

A (Useful!) Cabinet Update

When we bought our house in 2009 we did a complete kitchen renovation…and needless to say, we had little to no idea what a functional kitchen entailed.  After living in our house for almost 5 years, there are things we would have done differently, but I am completely in love with our home.

I’m sure that Mark and I are no different than any other couple, or person, in that we have plenty of home projects that could keep us busy for months if we ever started them.  Well, a few days ago I got a bug and finally updated our cosmetic cabinets.  My Dad, the handiest & most resourceful person I know, transformed the cabinet fronts into working doors and I added the decorative elements.

This project is not finished, (are they ever?) but it is must better from where we started.  Inspiration came from various places but mainly from; here, here & here.   I can’t be the only one who is doing a house project during this storm…share yours with me!

Roughly what I started with.  Tons of holes to patch, sand & paint.

Roughly what I started with. Tons of holes to patch, sand & paint.

 

Initially I wanted to add the same color as the adjacent dining room, but the leftover paint had dried.  So, being the impatient person I am, I used my next favorite color I had on hand.

Initially I wanted to add the same color as the adjacent dining room, but the leftover paint had dried. So, being the impatient person I am, I used my next favorite color I had on hand.

Still need a 2nd coat of paint underneath, but I've declared this project 75% complete.

Still need a 2nd coat of paint underneath, but I’ve declared this project 75% complete.

Very much a work in progress, but it works!

Very much a work in progress, but it works!

In an effort to find a permanent home for items, this is a start.

In an effort to find a permanent home for items, this is a start.

Cherished Instagram prints.  At .25 cents a piece, one of my favorite things.

Cherished Instagram prints. At .25 cents a piece, one of my favorite things.

Where Mark & I, (and the kids) and dear friends spend most of our time when we don't get 13" of snow, (and when it is above 30 degrees).

Where Mark & I, (and the kids) and dear friends spend most of our time when we don’t get 13″ of snow, (and when it is above 30 degrees).

A sweet cottage day in Grayling.

A sweet cottage day in Grayling.

Loon Lake, one of our favorite places on Earth.

Loon Lake, one of our favorite places on Earth.

I do not follow this religiously, but it helps to have an idea of what to feed the fam.

I do not follow this religiously, but it helps to have an idea of what to feed the fam.