It Is Definitely Worth It

This title could refer to so many different things, but this time it is all about the Instant Pot! The Instant Pot is all the rage right now and with good reason. (Target peeps find yours here. Amazon peeps find yours here. Also found it at Williams & Sonoma and Crate & Barrel.)

Instant Pot

I got my Instant Pot on Friday and have used it 3 times already! It is super easy, once you get passed the slight learning curve. I have not even glanced at the recipe booklet, but with due time I will get there. I have just used Pinterest and the Internet to figure it out quickly.

Our first night of owning it, my husband and father in law tested it out to make sure it worked (we are pretty sure it was a return since they are sold out or backordered everywhere right now!). Just did some simple water to see how it works and how long it actually takes to pressurize, cook and de-pressurize. Brian wanted to test it out right away, so he just googled a Peach Cobbler recipe and found a simple one to try. We tried it the next day!

  • 3 cans peaches (we used the light syrup version)
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

We used the manual setting for the Instant Pot and cooked it for 22 minutes, per the recipe he found. It actually took about an hour from start to finish because the Instant Pot takes about 15 minutes to warm-up/pressurize + actual cook time + cool down/de-pressurize time. But still super easy. We just dumped everything in closed the lid and set the timer. When it was done, we had fresh Peach Cobbler and topped it with some ice cream.

Peach Cobbler
Pic Credit: buildingourstory.com

One change we would make is to do real peaches. We found that it was a little on the gooey side, and we think it was because of the canned peaches + syrup.

The next night we made brown rice for our Steak Burrito Bowls. Again, we just went to the internet and found the time we needed to cook the rice. The Instant Pot has a rice setting, but that pertains to white rice (it only takes 8 minutes!). With Brown Rice, we just used the manual setting again and cooked it for 20 minutes. I just put it in before prepping everything else. Cooked it perfectly.

brown-rice-instant-pot

Last night I completely forgot to about dinner! And this is why I am obsessed with the Instant Pot! It cooked frozen chicken in 25 minutes!! I love this Chicken Cream Cheese Chili Recipe and followed all ingredients as listed. Adjusted the time to 25 minutes for the chicken and left it! We were pretty skeptical that we would need to cook it longer, but I was pleasantly surprised when we pulled it out and I was able to shred it! We like to serve it over rice and use chips to eat it (my kids like it rolled up in a tortilla).

Cream Cheese Chicken Chili
Pic Credit: Food.com

So far, so good with our Instant Pot! I need your favorite recipes though! Comment below or add the link to your Instant Pot faves! Definitely loving this new toy.

~xo~

The Coming of Stinky Pete!

It’s rare that a post gets me super excited to write, but this one has been a long time coming and it’s about my baby CARSON! I wrote about Paisley’s birth story a few months back (it too was WAY overdue) and it took me right back to those two wonderful days. I am just as excited to dive back in to my memories and share with you all Carson’s story!

Carson is our energetic and overly active son! He just turned 19 months and I am not sure he has slowed down since he figured out he could move. From the day he was born, he has been all boy. The kid loves dirt, balls, trucks and running around. We love this kid and cannot wait to watch him grow!

About 15 months after having Paisley, Brian and I made the decision to try for another child. Knowing that with Paisley it took us 8 months to conceive, we figured we would have some time. And we were right – it took us 6 months to get pregnant, only to find out that at 7 weeks we miscarried. Flash forward about another 2 months and bingo…prego eggo. Going to that first doctor’s appointment was nerve racking. Would we see the precious babes? Would we hear the heartbeat? I was so scared we were going to be disappointed again, but luckily we weren’t. Every doctor’s appointment after that was a little anxiety provoking for me – each time I was relieved to hear the heart beat and the good news.

Pregnancy with Paisley was totally different than Carson. With Paisley I craved all things salty, bloated to over a 50 pound weight gain, had carpel tunnel in my wrist the last trimester and swelled like a balloon daily. Carson on the other hand was not as rough on my body. Maybe it was the active toddler I had to chase around, or maybe it was my brain actually working right – I kept my weight gain to a healthier 40 pounds, didn’t swell as much, craved all things sugar and managed to get out and about a lot more. I was super sick with Carson during the first trimester, actually getting the flu shortly after finding out I was pregnant, but that sickness died down around 13 weeks. It’s funny how each pregnancy is so different! Shot below of my 3rd Trimester with Paisley (left) and Carson (right).

Anywho – enough with the pregnancy progression details – now it’s the good stuff. The actual lead up to the birth and there after!

If you guys read Paisley’s birth story, you know that we made a fatal mistake…we went to the hospital TWICE! #newparentfail This time with Carson, I didn’t want to go in until we knew for sure we’d be staying. It was a Sunday and the contractions were getting pretty bad – not bad enough that I couldn’t bare them, but progressively worse. We called Kelly and she came over to help watch Paisley as Brian and I went on a walk around the neighborhood, we were going to be sure that we didn’t have to go home. HA! After walking about an hour, we made it home and decided that Paisley should stay with family for the rest of the day. Contractions were getting more intense and closer together BUT we didn’t go in just yet. Brian and I went to lunch at Tanner’s down by the Plaza in Kansas City (the hospital we delivered at was 30 minutes from our house – Tanner’s was closer than home and we needed lunch, too!). I sat at the table and clocked the contractions, now they were getting to the point that I had to put my food down, take deep breaths and wait for them to subside. WE STILL DIDN’T GO IN!

After lunch, we decided more walking could only help, so we took a nice stroll around Loose Park. After this walk, contractions were minutes apart. We called the doctor and they told us to come in. The hospital was quiet. The nurse who checked us in said that we were the only patients in so far for the afternoon, which I think was a fantastic blessing. She checked my dialation and told me we were only at a 3 – my worst fear – we may have to go home! How dumb of us…and I felt really dumb because these contractions HURT! She had to have seen the look on our faces because she not only let us hang out in the triage room, she turned on the Royals game for our entertainment.

I’m pretty sure we sat in that triage room for the remainder of the game and even walked around the hospital for a bit before having the nurse check me again. This time I was progressing enough that she admitted us! It was now close to 6pm and Brian was hungry again! (He has this thing about needing to eat every time I’m delivering apparently!) I’m pretty sure he ordered Jimmy John’s once we go to the room, and it probably smelled so good! I got a popsicle or some ice chips probably…yum!

As he settled in with his dinner, I settled in with the birthing ball. We did what any couple would do while waiting on a baby to arrive…we watched Space Jam! After all, what better way to brainwash your eventual 6 foot plus son who’s dad hopes he likes basketball, then to give him an early dose of Space Jam!

As the nurse came in to do her usual check, she asked about an epidural. We told her we wanted to do this with the least amount of intervention as possible…apparently those words are not what you say to a L&D nurse. That means that they won’t check on you for hours and leave you to do your thing! Oops…for real. I made Brian go out and find one of them because the contractions were getting so strong and frequent that I needed to know how dialated I was. If I was only a 5 then let’s call the anesthesiologist, if I was further along I could probably do it again. When the nurse came in she apologized up and down for misunderstanding us, and we did the same! She was amazing. After she checked me this time she mentioned I was at a 6/7 on the way to the transition phase…the worst part of labor! Contractions get super frequent and intense.

This nurse was an angel though and told me about a little drug called Stadol…what a wonder it was! This little baby did the trick in getting me right through that transition phase – when I woke up from my foggy knock-out I was at a 9/10!

Stadol

By the time I reached a 10, it was right on the brink of turning from August 23rd (Tracy’s birthday) to August 24th (My grandma’s birthday). Multiple texts were received from all family members vowing their case for when Carson should be born! ha…if it were only that easy. This labor process felt so long, much longer than Paisley! We were in the triage room a little after 2pm and it wasn’t until 12:34am on August 24th, 2015 that Carson James Gettinger made his appearance…Grandma Marcia had won the birthday battle!

Carson hospital

He weighed in at 8 pounds and 12 ounces, and almost 23 inches in length. The doctor mentioned that he was “really long” and she was surprised at how all of him fit in my belly! Ever since that day, he has been an eating and growing machine. This kid didn’t sleep through the night until he was 11 months old…he was (and still is constantly hungry), eating every hour and half for a long time. At his last checkup, Carson was an inch taller than the 98th percentile for an 18 month old and in the 98th percentile for weight #bigbaby.

One last thing before I close this up and let you oooh and aaaah over all the pictures, many people have asked us about his nickname “Stinky Pete”. I have no idea where it came from, or how I managed to pull this crazy name out of my head. What I do know is that coming from a sleep deprived momma who is seeing all her friends babies sleeping peacefully through the night at “normal” times (i.e. 3 months, 4 months), one has to think of a cute and fun name to call him when he was woken up for the 3rd time hungry…hence the name Stinky Pete. I’m pretty sure he gets called Pete more times than his actual name…he may be confused one day about that. But Stinky Pete was the name dawned on him so that this momma and daddy would get a little laugh every time he woke up!

If you are still reading this, you are a trooper and deserve a good array of pictures. This kid sure is cute and is going to eat us out of house and home! Enjoy!

Yesterday’s Little Blessing

I just have to tell you all what happened yesterday! I am one to stick to routines, follow my motherly instinct, but then also sweat the small stuff (aka: not getting the house clean, not having dinner prepped, worrying about wasting time, etc.). But that was not the case yesterday!

Carson had THE HARDEST time falling asleep yesterday for nap. We dropped Paisley off at preschool and went on a walk around the park to kill some time before pick up. Carson played his little heart out, swinging for the majority of the 20 minutes we were there (HA!). On the way back to the school, he took a little snooze. The sweetest thing for sure! Except it was eerily close to his actual naptime, which in turn threw everything else off.

After lunch we got a surprise visit (it wouldn’t have been a surprise if I would’ve had my phone…sorry Rach!), but it was a wonderful surprise. I haven’t seen this lady in TWO WEEKS and our little chat was well overdue, plus it brought Paisley a friend to play with for a bit before nap – win/win! I kept Carson up as well, since he loves him some Rae Rae time (and baby Brooklyn!), but that was a mistake!

This lead to him crying, throwing his pacis and blanket out of his crib…basically a huge NO THANK YOU from him to his momma. It took me a little under an hour to get him calmed down (I even pulled out the big guns and made him a bottle…don’t tell), and that barely worked. After a while he was so exhausted that he FINALLY laid his head down long enough to fall asleep.

*This is when I did something I have told myself not to do many times!* After this, I couldn’t lay him down. This sweet boy who loves to cuddle, play with trucks and barely sits still…was laying in my arms fast asleep (and snoring in the cutest way, might I add!). So I stayed. I rocked him for the rest of his nap time. I explored every feature of his face. The way his nose is still turned up just slightly. The freckles that are making an appearance ever so slightly in his hairline. His perfect eyebrows and eyelashes. His laugh in his sleep.

In this moment with him, I was relaxed. I thought about the chores or prep work I could have been doing, but didn’t do. I chose to listen to my motherly instinct and stay with my little boy. He needed me in that moment, and so that is where I stayed.

So much floating around about “spoiling” your baby, let them “figure it out”, and all the big grown up ways we say “we just don’t have time for them right now”…but we do and we should. It is our choice to bring these babies – and they are just that, BABIES – into our families. By picking them up when they cry, helping them fall asleep, taking time out to play with them…we are meeting a need for that child. They need us to recognize what their needs are and act accordingly!

Play with those babies, hold them, snuggle them, read them one more book. It’s little times like these when we realize how important we are to them, but even more so – how important they are to us. Screaming at me for an hour is a weird way to say that, but the snuggles and clinging to my arms makes it all worth it. So glad I slowed down yesterday, didn’t worry about “my other chores” and stayed in that room. He will only be this little for so long. I have to remember to take advantage of it when these opportunities present themselves. Time moves too quickly not to.

~xo~

My Tasmanian Devil…and what to do about her!

Whoever dubbed the term “terrible twos” had not yet had a “threenager”. Brian and I joke about this all the time, but in reality, we both feel that the transition to a 3 and now almost 4 year old has been WAY more difficult than a 2 year old.

I have found myself struggling this past year to maintain my parental calmness around Paisley at times. My social work brain continually tells my mommy brain that she has been through so many big transitions (new baby brother, cross country move – separating herself from all her family and friends, staying home full-time with me) this past year, “no wonder she is acting this way”. For some reason, even though I know this, it doesn’t give me the peace of mind to reassess how I feel in those moments of irritation and anger, and how I handle myself as a result.

When I speak to Brian about it, his go-to response is “what would your social worker brain tell you to do”. As much as I don’t like to admit it, but he is right. I needed to step out of my mommy brain and look deeper into the root of the behaviors. I decided to crack open the old therapy books and give it a go.

*Disclaimer: I am trained as a social worker that focused on individual therapy with children who experienced trauma, mainly who lived in the inner-city, and who’s families experienced “complex trauma” (multiple, generational traumatic events). My experience and background speak to that. I also focus on strengths-based approaches, shying away from punitive or shaming techniques because they don’t fix the problem and rarely help. My techniques will be relationship building and strengthening techniques, and most of the work is to be done by us…the parents. ALSO, techniques I share may or may not work for your child. Each one is different, along with parenting style and personality. It truly is an experiment that is best done consistently and for a 2-3 week period to determine if it works for your family.*

A little about 3 and 4 year old development to help set the stage for the strategies that I suggest:

  • 4 year-olds want to try new experiences. They want to be self-reliant and seek to expand the areas of their lives where they can be independent decision-makers
    • Seeking to test limits and boundaries, love to be “helpers” and seen as capable
  • Their brains are developing quickly to desire to learn words and letters, problem solving, shapes and colors. They understand days of the week sequence, but cannot tell time.
    • Cue all the “why” and “what’s this” questions!
  • Emotionally, 4 year-olds continue to learn what causes certain feelings and realize that others may react to the same situation differently. 
  • They have learned to better manage intense emotions with coping strategies like talking it out or drawing a picture.
    • ONLY if they have been previous taught to do so.

After going back through these main points, it helped me realize what is going on in her brain. Before I can do anything about strategies to try, I have to stop and think what triggers I have – what behaviors she does that make me go coocoo cachoo!

My biggest struggle with Paisley is the seemingly blatant not listening and her attitude (screaming “I don’t care”, running away, and the occasional temper tantrum to be a bit more specific). I find myself trying to figure out how much discipline needs to be done, if I have too many rules and restrictions, am I being fair and providing reasonable consequences for her age and developmental stage, was I too mean/harsh, not enough? The struggle is real!

If I started talking about strategies without explaining a bit on the brain, I feel I would be doing you a disservice. Very brief and basic…Our brains are split in to 3 separate parts: Brain Stem, Limbic System, Prefrontal Cortexparts-of-the-brain

This picture was taken from Dr. Bruce Perry’s presentation about brain development. He is my favorite psychologist to refer to when discussing brain development and the impact trauma has on the brain. But that is a total side note…if you want to read a more in depth explanation of brain development go here.

When we react to situations, we are coming from our limbic system (emotional state) rather than responding from our prefrontal lobes (thinking/logical state). As parents, it results in us yelling, threatening, or throwing tantrums ourselves rather than helping our children address their needs in those moments in a logical manner and teaching them the correct way to respond or act.

So back to my examples of Paisley’s behaviors that drive me nutty! She has developed a habit of being SUPER whiny and throwing a fit when she doesn’t get what she wants (which lead to not listening or exhibiting a negative attitude). Depending on the day, will determine whether I react or respond. My reactions usually coincide with my internal feelings of completing my “to-dos” or not. If I feel like I haven’t had enough time to get what I want done, I usually am already frustrated and typically react…and it’s not pretty. After raising my voice, threatening her, etc. her body language says it all. Her shoulders are slumped, she won’t look at me, and sometimes will even yell back “I don’t want you to look at me!” There is nothing worse than feeling like you have screwed everything up for you kid.

Before we can even try to respond to our children’s behaviors we have to get ourselves in check first. It’s all about self-care, taking care of ourselves first. Think airplane oxygen mask example. The flight attendants always tell you to put the mask on yourself, then on any kiddos. What good is your kiddo if they have their mask on, but you don’t? We have to have our brains calm enough to respond appropriately and teach our children the skills they need. (I did a few posts about what self-care is and how to incorporate more ideas into your daily routine. Check them out here, here and here.)

So what do we do to help ourselves NOT react this way? How do we shift the discipline paradigm in our own brains from “punishment” to “teaching”? What strategies or ideas have been helpful in the past and need to be re-introduced?

Discipline has such a negative connotation. Discipline is about teaching a child the skills to calm themselves down, not punishment. Discipline is not something you do to children, but something you develop within them.

discipline-quote

We, as parents, have to find what our children need and that will give us our answer on how we respond to those needs. Needs are tied to the parts of the brain. Always ask yourself:

  • Is my child safe/being safe?
    • Basic needs of safety and security (brain stem portion of the brain) – food, shelter, water, love
    • The way to respond is with attachment, nurture, love and care
  • Is my child seeking connection?
    • Respond with attention, self-regulating activities (dancing, singing, rocking, swaying, hugging, etc)
  • Is my child bored, seeking challenge?
    • Respond with stimulating activities, increase skill level to create a challenge

*I will get more in to this in a different post, as this is already getting lengthy!*

whats-the-need

We cannot teach what we do not know. Modeling appropriate and wanted behavior is the easiest and most effective way to teach.

First and foremost, we must remain calm and in control of our own internal state (it helps keep us in our prefrontal cortex/logical part of the brain). Literally stop your thoughts, take a deep breathe (may even require us to leave the room – as long as the child is safe – and collect ourselves prior to speaking) and tell yourself “I can do this”. Next, focus on assertive language with your child. Tell them what you want them to do not what you want them to stop. Paint a picture of what you want your child to do.

For example, Paisley loves playing with cars (so much so, she literally played with cars and “parking spots” for 2 days with grandpa this week…all day). Prior to dinner or bedtime I may say, “It’s time to clean up the cars. Put the cars into the bucket.” (specific and clear, assertive instructions)

If she complies, say “You did it! You are cleaning up the cars and putting them in the bucket.” (positive affirmation and awareness that she is doing what is asked)

If she refuses, say “I’m going to help you start putting the cars in the bucket.” (modeling appropriate behavior, providing a relationship building moment by assisting)

If she complies this time, say “That’s it. You’re doing it. It’s hard to stop when you are having fun.” (tuning in to her desire to have fun and not wanting to stop, makes her feel heard)

If she refuses and turns or jerks away, notice her body movements and say, “Your arms went like this (demonstrate) and your head went like this (demonstrate).” (tuning in to her body language and actions, makes her feel heard, but also serves as a distraction or stopping her brain for a bit)

When she looks to see what you are doing, take a breath and say, “There you are!” Then offer two positive choices such as, “You can put all the blue and red cars in the bucket or you can put the silver and purple ones in. Which do you choose?” (noting that you see her looking at you, offering two choices – gives her a sense of control/putting her in her prefrontal state or logical brain – end result is cleaning up the cars)

When she chooses to clean up, give positive and specific praise. I realize that this example seems pretty “fluffy”, but cleaning up is one of our biggest struggles – cue the raging tornado and drama-mama or this sweet girl who does it the first time. Her not cleaning up when I ask, makes me nutty and sometimes turns me into the wicked witch. But going back through these very simplified steps and realizing that she is ONLY 4 YEARS OLD (barely 4, she’s been on this earth longer as a 3 year old than a 4 year old), helps me remember that she just doesn’t have all the skills and self-control I think she should have, or that she showed yesterday!

img_6308

I have to continually tell myself that children are just that, children. They learn through play. They learn by example. They dive deep into their play and trying to pull them out of it before they are ready can result in the tasmanian devil showing up for a bit. They are people just like we are. They have feelings just like we do. What they don’t have yet is the social-awareness and self-control to keep them in check like we do.

 

That is where we come in as parents and caregivers. It is our job to teach these skills, to model appropriate ways to behave, to help them through a tantrum rather than trying to make it stop.

It is a big task to be a parent. Being a parent means we signed up for the most self-less job in the world. We give up a lot to put full focus on the needs of our children. With this, we need to remember that we are people too, who have needs.

We need to take time out EVERY SINGLE DAY for ourselves, even if it is something small. It helps re-balance our brains to put us in our prefrontal state – logical/thinking brain – so we can best provide for our children.

I hope this is somewhat helpful and not too all over the place! My brain wants to go in so many different directions with these topics, but I am trying my best to keep everything coherent.

I posted on Facebook a few days ago about topics you all were struggling with as parents, hoping to gather some direction on content you’d like to see. So far topics are potty training, discipline, babies who seem inconsolable, strong-headed children (and parents). I will do my best to address these in ways that I know how. And please know that not all my strategies or suggestions will work with your kiddo. It truly is a game of trial and error to figure out if the example above works with your child or sets them off even more.

For all you readers out there, here are a few books that I love for parenting:

I’d love to hear your concerns or what strategies you use that are effective! I am NOT THE EXPERT, just someone who has tried a lot of different strategies and found some that work for my kiddos and those I used to work with.

Happy Thursday!

~xo~

SoulPancake – Advice

I stumbled on this video on SoulPancake’s Facebook page. Just felt the need to share it here. I love hearing from others and think you could benefit too!

If you have never seen a video from SoulPancake, then you HAVE to check out their page. They post the best “feel-good”, and thought provoking videos. I just love how they capture what truly goes on in every person’s head on a daily basis – and put it out there for the world to see.

I will start to regularly post some of their videos, just to break up the negativity I see throughout my daily life!

Enjoy!

~xo~

Valentine’s Day Gifting Round-Up

Quick little gift guide for all those who need it! Valentine’s Day is coming quickly. Let me know what you think!

For Her:

for-her

Diamond Initial Necklace: Gift her something she will love. White or black diamonds, 14k gold or white gold necklace. Get the first letter of her name, first letter of her last name, or a letter for each of her kiddos. These look great worn alone or layered.

Leather 3-in-1 Crossbody: Stella & Dot has been killing it lately in the bag department! This beauty can be worn 3 different ways, one of which converts to a clutch for those classier nights. I am also loving the new Sloane Bag. It comes in a fun spring mushroom color or a neutral saddle.

Engravable Bar Necklace: Personalization is the new ‘it’ thing these days. Engraving is included on this necklace and you can get kids names, wedding date or special coordinates. PLUS if you choose the gold finish, you can get it for $19.99 when you spend $50, now through Monday February 6th! Get her a $50 e-gift for later and the engravable necklace for now. Win-win!

Date Night Shoes: I just went to Target today and am LOVING all of the shoes they have out right now! If your date is more casual (ice cream and a stroll), you need to get her these Dolce Vita slip ons! I bought the pink suede version, but they have a cute black style too. For a more dressy date night I love these Journee Collection Peep Toe Pumps, these Merona Wedge Sandals, or these Dolce Vita Peep Toe Booties.

Planner and Pens: In my book, you can never have too cute of a planner or too many pens. Especially colorful pens! Target has a bunch of planners, but I’m loving this style. I also have a Mormon Mom Planner and like the way the daily calendar is laid out, the monthly planner and room for notes, budgeting, monthly goals. It is all in one place. My favorite pens are either Sharpie Pens or Staedtler Pens

Graphic Tee: I completely ruined my Valentine’s Day already and opened my present! Usually Brian ships gifts to his office, but he forget this time. When it arrived I didn’t recognize the sender and opened it! It was a sweatshirt from Saturday Morning Pancakes. Her graphic tees and shirts are amazing and this sweatshirt is SO soft! He got me a small and it fits over my prego belly! I’m loving this tee too.

For Him:

for-him

Jord Wood Watch: Unique wood watches that come in a variety of wood colors and watch styles. I am loving these two options the best tho! Frankie Series and Dover Series

Pocket Squares: If your hubby likes to show off in a suit, let him customize it a bit with a splash of color or pattern from a pocket square. Found these Pocket Squares these on Amazon and they offer a variety of color and pattern options.

Tie Clip: Finish off the chic suit look with some tie clips. Brian is gigantic, so a tie clip is an absolute must-have. I love these tie clips, that gives him some options.

Fit Bit: Brian is loving his Fit Bit Blaze. It is similar to the Apple Watch, but doesn’t have built in GPS. Easily syncs to his phone and app. There are a bunch of additional band options, as well. Found this one on Amazon, but the options are literally endless.

Date Night Sneakers: I am totally a Nike sneaker girl, but for a date night or something that needs a bit more class I love these Timberland sneakers I got for Brian. They go with everything. Saw this pair of Steve Madden’s that look great!

For That Little Girl:

for-girls

Necklace & Bracelet Set: Paisley loves this set. It’s her “long necklace”. Bright coral beads with a sparkly flower brooch and grey ribbon. Matching stretchy bracelet finishes the look.

Earring Trio Set: Silver ribbon earrings, pearl and heart earrings set. Perfect for a girl with new ear piercings or to add to her collection.

Friendship Bracelet: This cute adjustable bracelet comes in silver or gold, with braided string and a fun tassel. Wear it alone or stack it with other pieces. Get one for you and one for her for a matching set!

Notebook: Get her a fun and stylish notebook for all those doodles, homework or notes! This one from Amazon is super cute and holds the staple girl anthem! 😉

Love Tee: I love finding shirts that not only fit holidays, but that Paisley can wear year round. This one looks great with jeans or leggings (because that’s all Paisley will wear!).

Kid Safe Knives: Paisley has asked me daily to help cut veggies in the kitchen. Meal prep can sometimes be a hard time to keep the kids happy and get dinner ready. I found these knives from Amazon and we had the chance to test them out tonight! She chopped carrots (with a little help from me making them skinnier) while I did the onions and broccoli. It was SO nice to have a helper and keep her occupied.

~xo~

A New Direction

These past few weeks I have been focusing on what the emphasis should be for my blog and instagram account (@momontrend) for this year – I should probably say that from the beginning of this adventure I have been trying to focus what the main point should be, finding myself struggling to find a consistent and satisfying path. This is where my brain is going and the path I want to venture down…stay with me…and let me know your feedback!

With so much focus on social media and the “perfect” family or “perfect” life, there is a lot of pressure on all of us to achieve these expectations. Brian actually shared a post with me about Lifestyle Porn (check it out here), and I feel that it is pretty spot on. The author relates the pornography epidemic to the obsession that women and men feel looking through Facebook or Instagram daily.  I’m not sure about Utah being the sole area where it is found, but the obsession with others’ lives, their fashion or fitness level, the need to check in on people multiple times a day, etc. is spot on – just like someone’s addiction to pornography for sexual gratification, it truly is an obsession. One that makes us feel inadequate in our own lives, and leaving us with a desire for more.

With so many gorgeous women with perfect makeup, seemingly perfect children, immaculately clean houses and gorgeous clothes, it makes it hard for “plain Janes” or us “normals” to feel complete. Brian recently mentioned that, he too, had to unfollow a few fitness bloggers due to the feelings of inadequacy he felt about his own image, time management and food choices. High, usually unrealistic, expectations are all around us. Tempting us to lose focus of what is really important: our family, our faith and our friends.

I find myself falling into this trap over and over. Just the other day I told Brian about Rodan + Fields Eyelash Serum and how I would love some for my lashes and eyebrows because “that’s what everybody is doing now, longer eyelashes and fuller eyebrows”. He just turned to me and said “Why do you have to be like everybody else? I married you and I love you the way you are.”

Thanks for the reality check babe, again! There it was, that daily struggle I go through scrolling my instagram or Facebook feed. I got suckered again! ha. That’s when I figured I needed to find my purpose, find my focus, find myself.

This in turn means finding a path for this blog and my @momontrend instagram account. I find myself shifting from what I think other people want to read or see, and instead focus on what I want others to see or read (even if you don’t want to. haha!).

So here it goes…this blog is going to be about: my family, my failures/successes, putting my best foot forward (and hopefully by sharing these, it will help someone else, too), my somewhat new love for fashion and mom-style, and my views on parenting.

I have made it a goal this year to stop comparing myself to what others have/do and be thankful for the things I can do, the blessings I have. Sitting in Relief Society yesterday, we heard a lesson about sisterhood; what it means, how to strengthen it, and why it is important. In it was a quote from a talk given by Sis. Bonnie Oscarson (read the whole talk here) that truly hit me. Nothing too profound, but just enough truth to make me stop and think:

“The adversary would have us be critical or judgmental of one another. He wants us to concentrate on our differences and compare ourselves to one another. You may love to exercise vigorously for an hour each day because it makes you feel so good, while I consider it to be a major athletic event if I walk up one flight of stairs instead of taking the elevator. We can still be friends, can’t we?”

So relevant to my life lately. The adversary is so smart and has quite the grip on me these past few months. It made me slow down and think about how I can start to work on this change. There is no reason to be so critical of ourselves, especially since we are all daughters of a King. We are different for a reason. If the world was made up of millions of Kallies, it would be a pretty boring place! Embrace each other’s differences and empower each other.

I have a quote on my mirror that I see every day to remind me of this. YOU ARE ENOUGH. We all are. Remember that!

you-are-enough

From a daily mantra, to tying in my instagram ;). I have struggled to figure out how my @momontrend would flow. I originally started it to relieve my close family and friends from Stella & Dot overload, as I know how many social selling companies are flooding our Facebook and other social media feeds. This account has and will continue to blossom (or at least I hope) into a page where you can see pictures of me, my family and my mommy fashion, with Stella & Dot mixed in. I am a basic tee and jeans girl that has grown to love adding flair with accessories. This is COMPLETELY out of my comfort zone, but something I’ve been wanting to do and share. So I am going for it. All out. No more excuses. No more hiding behind someone or something else. I am doing it for me. To grow. To share my story. To share my joy.

The parenting advice piece comes from a need to re-establish a healthy boundary for myself. I have a background in social work, particularly with little kiddos and their families and parents. I love sharing my knowledge (and a lot of failures and lessons learned along the way with my own family), and feel that not having practiced in almost 18 months I am losing my techniques. I am losing my patience with my own children and husband. I am miserable to be around. By committing to writing posts and reviewing articles, I will force myself to crack open my books and re-learn best practices. Will that make things perfect, no, but it can only help. Applying these techniques in my own life and family is what I need to do to make myself a happier mom and wife. For these two things, I am committed and willing to change!

So in a crazy nutshell, this will be the new focus for the blog and my instagram. Putting myself out there will only help with accountability. I want to be the best version of me and by hashing things out through this blog I can only make myself better.

So get ready for daily (or at least I’ll try my best!) pictures of my outfits and jewelry pairings/my kids/my #handyhubbys projects, bi-weekly posts on here about life happenings/reviews of articles/current DIY projects, and a whole lot of fun. I’m excited and nervous for this new turn in life. I have said this multiple times throughout the past year, but feel I now have a direction and plan.

Here goes nothing! I hope you enjoy the ride!

~xo~