Gratitude

bandlI’ve seen an article floating around in my newsfeed this week.  You can find it HERE.

You see a few years ago, I would have read that article and listened to every word.  I would have soaked it in and used it as reassurance that I’m not the only one struggling.  I would have fed into the excuses and told myself that now is just not the time to try to accomplish my goals and aim for my dreams.  The article says that I need to wait to be happy so that’s just what I’ll do.  I’m going to settle for what I have now.  I would feed into the stereotype.

Back then, I was a new stay-at-home mom who showed up to playdates with a hat and yoga pants.  Stay-at-home moms didn’t have time to put themselves together and ACTUALLY wear make-up, right?!?  Yoga pants are part of the stay-at-home mom uniform, right?!?  The thought never even crossed my mind that there was a man that came home from work every day who may have found some enjoyment in seeing his wife in normal clothes.  I never thought to look nice for him.  I fed into the stereotype.

I didn’t have goals for myself.  I lost sight of who I was because I was told that being a mom is hard.  I was told that this little 2 year old was going to rock my world and change my life forever.  I COULDN’T workout, have any hobbies or even sit and read a chapter of a book without interruption.

Yes, I could.  I just chose not to.  I fed into the stereotype.

Opinions of others is one of the reasons that we fail to achieve our goals.  We cling to other people’s opinions as if they are the truth.  We use them for justification as to why we can’t succeed. We come up with a well-planned lie (an excuse) as to why we can’t live a life that we want.  So because this article is telling me that I can’t get myself back until I’m 40 years old, I’m just going to sit back and settle in my comfort zone for another 6 years?!?! No….HELL no!

When we are in our comfort zone, we breed dissatisfaction.  We start complaining about EVERYTHING!  Our house becomes a mess, we don’t take care of ourselves, we can’t do what we want…we become ungrateful and don’t see value in what we have.  We start telling ourselves that we “just don’t have the time” to do what we want to do because of the kids, the cleaning, the errands…..ugh, excuses.  This complaining and negativity is going to lead to much bigger problems….low self-esteem, marriage troubles, depression, and the list goes on.

How do we get out of this vicious cycle?  We need to have a vision for where we want our life to go and NO ONE is going to motivate us except for ourselves.  We have to stop relying on other people to fix our problems and change our attitude.  We have to set goals for ourselves and find something to call our own.  We do NOT have to wait to live a life that we love.  We CHOOSE joy!  You are ALLOWED to put yourself above your kids.  You are ALLOWED to lock yourself in your closet for 5 minutes just to have a moment of peace.  You are ALLOWED to be happy!

Last year, Jeff was getting ready to deploy.  How was I going to balance full-time work, 2 kids, a house, the grocery shopping, cooking, and EVERYTHING on my own?!  I made a decision to surround myself with positive and motivated people.  I could have surrounded myself with the negativity and the ones that struggle to live when their husband is away.  I chose to be happy and be around strong women despite the circumstances.

So how do we change our mindset away from this “it is what it is” mentality?

1) Start with gratitude.  Every night before you go to bed write down 5-10 things that you are grateful for.  Some days you may just be thankful for your pillow and that’s ok….write it down!

2) “A man without a vision will perish.” Create visions and write them down.  Where do you see yourself in the future?  Write down a vision for your family, career, finances, physical wellbeing… Keeping these at the front of your mind will drive your goals and your actions in your daily routine.

3) Make daily to-do lists.  Writing down your goals and crossing them off will give you a sense of satisfaction and motivate you to aim higher.  Even if you put away one load of laundry…that’s success for the day!

We have no idea if tomorrow is promised.  Don’t you dare let excuses get in the way of achieving your dreams today!  You CAN and WILL achieve greatness!  Embrace the craziness and find the positive in every situation!

 

Darn elf…

Funny story…
So my mother-in-law had an elf at her house and she thought that she could send the elf to Jeff while he’s deployed. Jeff has been so good with making the Elf on the Shelf entertaining for the kids so we figured that we could pretend that our elf flew there to visit Jeff and help him put up his small Christmas tree that we sent him. Jeff could then either take pictures of the elf doing other things or we could just have him “fly” back here and I could set him up at our house.
Jeff sent us the first picture of the elf over there decorating his tree. I said “Look, Brayden! Percy went over to visit and helped Daddy decorate.”
Brayden took one look at the picture and said, “That’s not Percy. That elf has different ears and his eyes are different.” 😳
Seriously, child….
So now Percy’s friend is with Daddy and I’m stuck with this damn elf…

elf

Storytime!

slp

I love that no matter how crazy or long a day may be, we always end up here. We have ended our days like this since Brayden was a baby. I love this time not only as a mom, but as an SLP. I remember doing research for my thesis in grad school about early literacy skills. The main focus was how important experiences like these are and how parents can implement strategies to help their children to become readers. Although I loved the research that I did back then, it sure is a whole lot more fun to apply the strategies to your own children! It’s even more fun when your kindergartener can read the bedtime stories!

Here are a couple of strategies that you can use during story time

  1. Focus on the letters and letter sounds.  Point out the fact that “cat” rhymes with “hat”.  Ask your child what sound the letter “S” makes.  Show them that the word “dog” has a letter “d” at the beginning.  Building that knowledge of letter-sound correspondence helps immensely with their early literacy skills.
  2. Track the print while you’re reading the words.  Your child will start to see and recognize words, letters and sounds as you read and incorporate some print referencing strategies.
  3. Ask questions.  Make story time a time of conversation.  Ask them what they think might happen next in the story.  Ask them what they would do if they were the character.  Ask them what is happening in the pictures.  Storytime is a perfect time to build language skills.
  4. When reading a book that has repetition like “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See.”, encourage the child to help you “read” along and finish the phrases that they already know in the story.  Not only will this help them to recognize words, but it will build their confidence and encourage them to start trying to read on their own.What’s your favorite book at storytime?

Choose your battles

Just one piece of happiness of my week! I lay the kids’ clothes out for the week on Sundays. So much easier to do this instead of dealing with it each morning!
What do you do to make your life a little easier throughout the week?

clothes

NSVs

So many times we are focused on a number on the scale. We get frustrated when that number doesn’t budge and it makes us feel that we aren’t making any progress soooo we say “screw it”. We give up after a week…two weeks or a month.
Take a look at your NON-SCALE victories!
How do you feel? Are clothes fitting differently? Are people noticing that you have a better attitude and you are more positive? Do you have more energy to get through your day? Are you gaining confidence? Keep a journal, take pictures throughout this journey or do whatever you need to do to track.
My non-scale victory today? This moment! Ainsley and I were playing and I picked her up and twirled her around. She felt as light as a feather! I felt STRONG! That kind of stuff builds confidence and the determination to continue on this track.
There are so many other victories that we can have besides weight loss. Why? Because it’s not a quick fix! It’s a lifestyle change!
Focus on progress, not perfection and celebrate every small victory!

nonscale

Life lessons

lessons

Oh this girl. She was THAT girl in Target today. She grabbed a small, stuffed monkey off of the shelf. I told her that she couldn’t keep it, but she could hold onto it until we left. She was wanting in and out of the cart. She was climbing out even with the darn strap around her(Houdini!). She had not even EARNED that monkey. We get to checkout and I realize that she still had it. After we checked out, I took the monkey right over to customer service to hand it over.

Ohhhh unleash the beast! This girl screamed and cried and cried and screamed. I had to pullover in the parking lot because she undid her seatbelt and I had to get her buckled again. She was one MAD 3 year old.

I was determined to stick to my guns and not give in. It wasn’t about the $2 stuffed monkey. It was the fact that she thinks that she can just take it and get it.

I turned up the radio and drove along like nothing had happened while she continued her screaming. When we got home, I asked her if it was ok to act like that. She said “No, I’m sorry Mommy.”

Mission accomplished! Until our next shopping trip…

Girls night in!

Do you ever feel like you just go through the motions? You work, work, work and focus on things that may not be so important in the long run? Yep, me too!
Last weekend, I told Ainsley that I would paint her nails. Life happened, we got distracted and the nails never got painted. All week, we were just running constant and still never made the time to do it.
Well, last night I made the time for what was important. We had a girl night! We ate pizza, watched a princess movie and painted nails! Ainsley was SO excited to show her Daddy her pink nails!
It may have just been pink nails, but to Ainsley it was quality time with her Mommy and something that she loved.
MAKE the time this weekend for the things that are truly important!

life