Power of new clothes…

I have a bachelors degree in Fashion Merchandising from Western Michigan University.  I LOVED everything about my college classes (except jogging…. seriously, I had to take jogging… at 8am… 3 days a week!!!), I found a subject I had passion for and legitimately enjoyed going to class.  Learning about colors, different fits, styles, buying procedures, fashion show directing, and so much more just made me happy!

I have always loved shopping and following trends (In Style mag is my fave!), but when I became a Mom almost 7 years ago, I did let myself turn into the stereotypical SAHM with a wardrobe to match (shock horror!).  If I got out of yoga pants, my hubby asked what I was doing that was so special that day.  Now, I still LOVE me some yoga pants, but I have recently tried to ‘look more put together’ most days.  I FEEL better about myself when I make an effort and have my hair styled.

Clothes have power! I truly wholeheartedly believe this.  On two separate occasions this month, I have been reminded of this.  The first was with my oldest son, Preston.  He is going into second grade in the fall and is my sensitive, deep thinker, and worry-some precious one.  School had just finished for the year and we were packing up to go on our second annual family weekend trip to kick off summer break, when he turned and said ‘Mommy, I’m the only one in my class without (certain name brand) clothes…’, and then he just stood there staring at me.  Three thoughts came to my mind- 1) I’m sure you’re not the ONLY one without that brand of clothes, 2) I didn’t know you were noticing things like that at 6 years old, and 3) I GET TO TAKE MY BOY SHOPPING AND HE WILL ENJOY IT!

Now, do I think he needs to have exactly what everyone else has, NO absolutely not, BUT- for my Preston to bring up clothes like that and to see his head sink, I knew for some reason it was hurting his confidence.  As his Mom, I want to do anything in my power to help his confidence.  So, that weekend we went to the mall and we bought him a few shirts and a couple pair of shorts that he got to pick out…. and do you know WHAT?! I saw my boy hold his head up a little higher walking out of that store.  He got to use some early birthday money towards his purchase, and now whenever he puts something on from that trip, I know that it has a small impact on his confidence for the day.

Before I get any backlash- we ARE teaching him his real worth, and why just he himself will ALWAYS be enough, and that material things in the long run will not make you eternally happy… but whats the harm in helping him short term, with a couple new shirts?!

The second way I have been reminded of the power of clothes this month is through a beautiful friend of mine.  She is beautiful inside and out, and has recently lost some weight.  We had an adult only camping trip planned, and decided to add on an extra day to have a girls shopping day so she could buy some new clothes to reward herself.  Girlfriends + a couple days kid-less + shopping… what could be better?!

During that shopping trip, I witnessed my friend (who has always been gorgeous) get a boost in her confidence.  It brought me back to why I decided to go for a fashion degree to begin with (although, I haven’t used it ‘professionally’… yet).  It reminded me that clothes do hold a higher power than we think, one new outfit that fits right can truly brighten someones mood, confidence and their day.

While it may sound silly to some, my love for clothes remains and my love for seeing people feel more confident and hold their head up a little higher is at an all time high for me.

Ladies, you’re all beautiful the way you were created, truly beautiful and do not need to change a single thing.  My thought though, is that if a little clothes shopping, or getting a mani/ pedi, or getting your haircut makes you happy, then why not do it?! YOU DESERVE IT!

My World….

My World…

 

When I started this blog, it was an outlet for me to share what I had gone through after my second baby was born.  I felt like once I had ‘got over’ it that I could carry on without sharing anymore… well it may have been over 18 months, but I realize that’s not true, and it’s always good to have an outlet (other than friends and family) to share things, and get my thoughts out.

Although I am living without post-partum anxiety now, I do still have days where I feel it all too well, and just journaling thoughts or prayers is therapy for me.

I want to start this blog up, but add to it things about our life on a day to day basis.  Were a family of 5, living in Michigan, my hubby is in the process of taking over the family business (Christmas tree farm), and I’m a SAHM.  We are nothing super special, but we have fun, we love, we try new things, and I think we have something to share!

 

So my world… can be defined by 4 people…. My amazing hubby Ben, my 6 year old Preston, my 4 year old Mason, and my 2 year old Mia.  I’m a big believer and know that I couldn’t go on without my faith or my family.

But my world can also be defined by so much more… I get to stay home with my kids daily, I have the opportunity to serve as coordinator of my local MOPS, I get to volunteer at my sons’ schools and eventually I will go back to work on the tree farm in the office.  I’m a daughter, a sister, a mother a wife, and a friend.

I love new recipes, I love to get a good workout in (I’m still working on waking up at 5 to do this!), we love to go for hikes at our state park, we love the beach and we love DISNEY! (we try to go every year) So I hope you’ll come along for the ride with our life as I share adventures we take, food we love, a little ‘mom’ fashion (I have a degree in this believe it or not), anxiety tips, and more!

Oh what a year…

Oh what a difference a year can make! This time last year, we had just moved to Michigan from Chicago.  I was so excited about our new adventure together as a family, and to focus on just that, FAMILY! I also knew, that I was going to have to get out of my comfort zone and really put myself out there to meet people, as all I knew was my hubby and in laws in the town we moved to.  I’m not the most outgoing person you will ever meet, but once I get to know you I open up and will be there for you. 

I knew that once we moved here, we were moving for good.  We moved to gradually take over my husbands family business, so we were planting roots finally.  I HAD to meet people, or it would be a very lonely life! I wanted to have friends that I could just call on a whim and meet up, I wanted friends who we could do dinner parties with, have holiday parties with, watch each others kids grow up together etc.  I think this is pretty common.  Its how I grew up, my parents had a circle of friends who were always there for each other and we grew up with their kids.  I was craving this, I had a few very close friends in Chicago, whom Im still very close with, but I think with me knowing we weren’t going to be staying there I didn’t really make as much of an effort as I should.

Well, fast forward a year and WOW.  I’m amazed at what our life is now.  We have had a year with family that I just would never ever replace.  My boys get to see their grandparents (both sets) multiple times a week, my hubby is so much more flexible and happy at work.  And, I have met some AMAZING friends here.  Ones who I can call on a whim and make plans with, or just stop by their houses and vice versa.  Our kids are best friends, and my boys even call them cousins! Sometimes, I sit back in amazement at just how happy we are all. 

But, it did take me getting out of my comfort zone to meet these friends.  If I had just sat at home and not made an effort again, Id probably be lonely still and have no plans everyday for the boys and I.  Now, if we don’t have plans for a day, its a weird feeling and a rarity.  I stepped out on faith and just put myself out there to meet new people, attend play dates even when I didn’t know anyone there, and being a ‘hello’ person. 

Here’s to another great year!

My Baby boy is growing up…

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Tomorrow is the celebration event for my Sons preschool.  He has completed his FIRST year ever of school, and he did it SO well.  I could not be more proud of him/  He is like a totally different little boy today than he was back in September when he started, teary eyed and clinging onto me as I dropped him off at his new classroom.  I did manage to get a smile out of him outside the school though 🙂 

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My little boy, who is ALMOST 4 (how did that happen), has become such a confident, well spoken boy.  He is able to truly tell us how he is feeling, and ‘meltdowns’ are at such a minimum now…. and HE LOVES SCHOOL!

I know I’m his Mommy so I’m biased, but he is so smart.  He takes everything in and studies it.  I’m so blessed that God gave him to us, to raise and to love every single day.  I know its only preschool, but I’m sure tomorrow will be very emotional for me!

Bottle Weaning!

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It’s not a secret that both my boys were bottle fed and are perfectly healthy little boys. Now, no judgment here please, but Preston had a bottle till the night before his 3rd birthday (at night). My hubby and I knew we let him have it too long, and ‘tried’ to take it away long before, but I just kept giving in to him because I just couldn’t stand to see him so upset without it! And to be honest, I just kept making excuses for him… like well he’s only 2, he’s still a baby, or he’s going to have a lot change soon when his brother arrives, or he just got a big boy bed let’s not change too much on him, and the list went on and on.

Well, Mason is 18 months and I’ve been trying to bottle wean him. It’s hard as a Mom to take something away from your baby that soothes them so much, it is how he puts himself down for a nap and bedtime. I’ve already ‘failed’ at taking it away from him, since as soon as we started he got a horrible cold and I just couldn’t bring myself to not let him have it!

Ahhh, the thought of ‘well, if he has it till three like his brother, its not THAT bad!’. I feel like I need HELP! I know the best way to do it will just be cold turkey. With Preston we tried a new sippy, chocolate milk instead of white milk in the sippy, etc etc and nothing worked till we just knew he had to not have it anymore and told him that a ‘fairy’ would change his bottles into a birthday present that he wanted.

Anyway, stay tuned for our progress!

Our trip to England

I’ve been quiet on here for a few weeks now, but were back! The boys and I had such a fun time back in my homeland visiting family and friends. We packed A LOT into the 12 two weeks we were there.

Where do I start? Day by day you say? Ok!

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We arrived on April 8th, after a 8 hour overnight flight… that both boys slept from take-off to landing (insert my happy dance here), it helped that we didn’t take off till 10pm so they were exhausted. We got to my Grandmas house around 2pm England time on the 8th, and of course there was tea, biscuits and food waiting for us! She’s the hostess with the mostess! We hung out with family all day here, and I kept the boys awake all day to try and quickly get them adjusted to the 5 hour time difference. They did so well, I know they’re my kids, but they seriously did so awesome!

The next day, my Aunt went and got her 3 year old adorable granddaughter so the boys could see their cousin. They acted like they had never been away from each other! It was seriously the cutest thing watching them play, and hearing their conversations! We took them for a walk to the town center and to the park to feed bread to the ducks. My boys had never done this before, and they loved it! I love experiencing new things with them! After, we took them for dinner, and then walked home again. This was a lot of walking for my 3 year old, being jet lagged and all, but he was such a trooper and felt so proud of himself once he had completed it! (Only asked to be carried once or twice for a little)

On the Thursday we were there, we went with the boys’ cousin, my aunt, and my cousin and her boyfriend on the boys’ first real train ride to Southend for an aquarium visit. P loves trains, so to be on a real fast one made him so happy, and M is just so go with the flow that he loved it too (Although he was unusually clingy on this trip… I put it down to being away from Daddy, jet lag and being in a new place) We got to explore the Aquarium and I got to show them a place that I used to visit a lot as a child with my family.

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We were pretty tired after those first few days…. So we decided to now slow down a bit! Ha-ha on our first Friday in England we went for a playdate and lunch to one of my best friends houses over there. I once read a quote that “if a friendship lasts 7 years, it will last a lifetime’ (unknown author), well, all my friends in England have proved this. We go a year or more without seeing each other, but as soon as we do its like I’ve never been away. Conversation flows so easy, and my heart gets so happy. The boys got to play with all my friends’ cute kids, and I got to visit and have a yummy lunch with my friends. We were all happy!

So, when we visit England we usually stay with my Moms family, we stay at her Moms house and her sister lives 2 doors away. My cousins all live within an hour of here too. My Dads Mom and Dad used to live 5 minutes away from here, but they moved about 3 hours away to be nearer my Dads brother and sister about 4 years ago now. Well, they are so awesome; they all drove down to see us on the Saturday so we didn’t have to make the boys travel that much again. It was seriously a perfect day, we all got to sit and visit, have yummy food and laugh! They stayed till around 9pm that night, and the boys crashed after that! I think that was the first night that they slept all the way through without jet lag bothering them! I was in heaven!

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The day we were flying to England, my parents Dog became very sick and had to stay at the vets for a while, so my Mom didn’t fly with us. She arrived on this Sunday instead, the boys were ecstatic to have their Nanny there with their Grandad (my Dad…he flew with us) We got to go to my cousins house today, he bought it with his awesome wife and daughter about a year ago, and has done so much to it since. They have such a beautiful home with lots of land! The kids all got to have an Easter egg hunt together and it was another perfect family day. When we got back that night my Nanny (Grandma) had made us all a yummy lamb dinner.

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Even though I live in the ‘country’ now, well it’s not really the country but to me it seems like it, I still consider myself a city girl at heart. I just love being in the city, something about the entire people, shops and tall buildings make me happy! Today I got to go to London with all my cousins and have a girl day doing lunch and shopping! And we did just that! We had a great lunch together, and I bought a lot! I got the boys some new clothes; I got myself a dress and a clutch, a book, and teacher gifts. I also got my hubby some new things! It was a day that was needed for me, to just relax with my family and know that my boys were taken care of ( My parents took them out for the day to the zoo) … and side note, once I returned home I did get some shoes to match my dress for an upcoming wedding we have.

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On our second Tuesday, we went to my friend’s house for lunch and a playdate, with just my boys and her gorgeous 4 year old girl. They got along SO well playing together! It was one of the nicest playdates I’ve had in a while. Very laid back and fun! (And I realized what I’m getting P for his 4th birthday, a leap pad! He played with L’s and loved it, and I loved it since it really teaches how to write with the pen attached)

Wednesday, I had to make an emergency trip to the Dr.   My sweet M had a fever of 102 L Honestly, I had been so worried that this might happen since he has been so sick this winter, and to be honest I didn’t want him to have to use the national health care over there. BUT, I was so humbled. They got him in within 2 hours of me calling and we waited no more than 5 minutes once we got there. He was on antibiotics again, but it helped him! To help him get some much needed sleep that day, my parents and I took the boys for a drive to a traditional English garden pub. They got to sleep for about an hour and a half while we drive around, and then we all enjoyed the beautiful weather and ate lunch outside while they got to run around in the garden. To top off our day, we got to go see my other cousins’ new house that night… beautiful home yet again! (Even though I managed to break a glass there :/)

Our last two days quickly approached… the boys and I needed a day in to relax and just be together just us. My parents took out my grandparents for the day to a flower show and for lunch and both my boys fell asleep on me on the couch, so honestly for 3 hours I happily watched QVC! Later that night we went to another one of my cousins houses, in London! It’s the type of house you would see on Notting Hill… in love with it!

And, our last day was here! We enjoyed a nice morning in with my grandparents. I made pancakes for everyone and we just spent time with each other. Later that day, it was a friend of mines birthday so the boys and I, and my cousin went to another English pub with play area for the kids outside for a couple hours. It was fun to see everyone one last time before we flew back home the next day. Our last night, we all ordered in Indian food and sat around the table like we used to and talked.

Its hard to put into words the feeling I have every time we have to say bye and come back home. England was my home for about 15 years of my life, but now Michigan is home, where my hubby and I have made our perfect life for us. I still miss my family every day, but I wouldn’t change my life at all. I still get sad that it will probably be a year before I see grandparents again, but we do talk on the phone a lot and I make sure to send pictures of the boys A LOT!

England will ALWAYS be a huge part of me, and we will always make trips there. I just love it there and I want my boys to know where their Mommy came from… I mean they are half English themselves (although it you ask my hubby, they’re a ¼ since I’m a US citizen now!

All this being said, and how much fun we had on our trip… my absolute favorite moment was getting off the plane in Detroit, and seeing the boys see their Daddy after two weeks, they both dropped everything and just ran to him. They share such a sweet love that nothing compares!

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International Travel with 2 little ones

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Were traveling to London, England in just over a week! I am SO excited to see everyone and be back home! This will be P’s (3.5 years) fifth trip there, and M’s (17 months) second trip… not counting the trip he was in my belly!

To be honest, Pis a pro on airplanes now. He is used to the drill and knows what to do when we get on one.  He knows that I bring the iPad for him to play his games on, he knows he can ask for a drink or snack on there, and he knows to sit down with his seat belt on until the light goes off.  He has had all the experience of international flights, plus a couple to Florida to help him with this. 

M still needs a little more practice! But hes only 17 months.  But he looks to his brother for guidance which just melts my heart.

Here are my ‘semi experienced’ tip for plane travel, especially international, for those with little ones:

  • hand luggage- go get sticker books, upload games to your iPad, coloring books, snacks, extra diapers/ underwear, extra clothes (just in-case), books, that special blankie or teddy that they love
  • read a book to them before you fly about just that- flying! let them know what is going to happen etc, be prepared
  • get car seat travel bags if you’ll be taking yours with you- we do!
  • even if one of your little ones is a pro at walking- take the stroller for the airport, one hand to hold is easier than two and the stroller is good to carry hand luggage 😉
  • if you have an overnight flight (like we will), and you have a nighttime routine at home, do it at the airport! I change them into their pjs, give them a quick ‘bath’ and get their drinks ready for take off.  My boys have always slept great when we did this.
  • For take off, and landing, be sure you have drinks ready for them just in-case their ears hurt from the pressure.
  • There’s always going to be ‘those people’ who give you weird looks when you board a long flight (or any flight) with small kids- IGNORE THEM! they were kids once themselves and you paid just as much as them to get on the flight! I remember when P was 3 months old, we were going to England for his first trip and we were in business class.  A couple who was scheduled to sit near us asked to be moved as soon as they saw who they were sitting next to… i was totally ok with it since it gave us empty seats near us.  Anyway, P slept the WHOLE flight, at the end they came back to me and apologized! ha, WE WON!
  • Relax! I tell myself every time we board a flight ‘even if they cry the whole flight, its only 8 hours of my life, i CAN HANDLE THIS’

Jet lag- its a given that if you are traveling through time zones you’re going to be EXHAUSTED! and so will the little ones.  Whenever we have gone before, we have only gone for a week so to be honest, I never even tried to get the boys adjusted to the new time.  I just let them stay up with me till midnight (7pm EST) which is usually their bedtime, and then they would sleep in.  This time we are going for two weeks, so Ill have some updates once we get home to let you know how i handled it!

 

Here’s to safe travels!