Friday, September 30, 2011

Goodbye Old Me

I found a couple blogs from friends that I have missed since I have not been on Facebook. There definitely are some people I have lost touch with, because of distance, and maybe because we weren't the type of friends that had play dates regularly, but we still loved to check in on each others' families. So a few I remembered having blogs, and lucky for me I found them!

I was glancing over one families' blog and I just loved seeing the photos of her kids growing up so fast! Then I came across a post that struck me. It wasn't her typical post about the adventures their family had been on. It was titled perspective.

This post spoke about another family that had just lost their baby girl to a rare disease at 7 months old due to liver failure. This brought me to tears, as most things do. But what stood out to me was an excerpt from this families blog by the mother that lost her baby girl...

Just like my friend posted, I feel like I can relate to the "old me" sometimes... This is what I mean when I say we can convict each other in a good way. These are the wake up calls that sometimes we need to hear to make us truly realize how incredibly BLESSED we are and how much we have to be THANKFUL for. I want to say good riddance to the "old me" forever.

To read more about Ruby's story and to check out the new foundation they are creating in her honor go here. Bring your tissue box. I assure you, you will need it. 

Excerpt from {Just For the Record} the taylor family.

“The old me thought I was tired and stressed out. The old me was unsatisfied with my clothes, my weight, and my ugly carpet. The old me dreaded hearing the babies cry over the monitor, too early in the morning. The old me was bored watching cartoons, and folding laundry. The old me hated making breakfast, and pour endless sippy’s full of milk every day. The old me dreaded running errands with two kids to get in and out of car seats and into shopping carts. The old me did not think it was a big deal to spend a Saturday at the beach, or paddle boating around the lake. The old me was tired and grump from walking up the hill to our house from the lake. The old couldn’t wait until nap time, when I could have some time to myself. The old me hated doing dishes, and checking the mail. The old me rushed bedtime and skipped pages in bedtime stories. The old me sang lullaby’s quickly, and was relucted to sing, “just one more.”

What was the old me thinking?!

My heart is literally aching right now to have my old life back, but with my new perspective. What I would give to have my whole family home on a rainy Sunday morning, making breakfast, and delivering chocolate milk on a fancy platter to my little Kate. I want to forget about the dirty dishes, and get down on the floor with my girls and play, play, and play. I would be thankful for that cheap carpet, because it beats none at all. I dream of the day that I get to wake up in my bed, and hear BOTH girls waking me up early in the morning. I will make them whatever they want for breakfast, and turn the music up loud and dance while I make their pancakes (because I know that is what Kate will want.) I will get them dressed and spend time gently combing and doing their hair, and breathing them in. I won’t rush them. What is the rush about anyway? I’ll load them in their carseats, and give them kisses while I buckled them in. I’ll be happy listening to Disney songs as we drive to Target, or McDonald’s, or the park. I’ll chase them, and tickle them, and push them on the swings. We will spend our evenings playing outside, and cooking dinner together in the kitchen. Bath time will be long and drawn out, just like it should be. Bedtime will have lots of cuddling, and a few bedtime stories read slowly while doing the appropriate voices for Papa Bear, Mama Bear, Baby Bear, and Goldilocks. Matt and I will fall into bed exhausted together, and thank Heavenly Father for this new perspective on life and what is truly important and ask that we might be able to always remember.”

Definitely gave me a new perspective. And now the tears are flowing again!!!

Okay.. I have to end on a not completely depressing note, here are a few pictures I wanted to share from a few weeks ago when we had a rare summer storm and when Addy said "I want my bathing suit!" as soon as she saw the rain, I couldn't resist. It was a fun little change for San Diego in September...I LOVE rain!

Funny thing is that I wasn't the only one that had this idea. I just read another post from a friend here in SD and her little man did the same thing. Too cute. ♥

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." 2 Corinthians 5:17

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Share Your Joy

Like I've mentioned, I'm new to this blogging world, but I have found a few blogs so far that I adore. One I stumbled across just recently and today she had a post up titled share your joy. She actually does this every Thursday and this just happens to be the first Thursday I have been a follower.  Funny because today happened to be one of those days I was texting my husband by noon telling him to pray for me because there wasn't too much JOY going on at the Hawthorne house. It had been a morning of time-outs for my three year old, and of course as she threw a tantrum before taking her nap she woke up my 18 month old which then meant no children taking good naps, no time for mommy to get anything done around the house, and cranky kids for the afternoon. One of those days when I find myself counting down the hours for my husband to come "save me." So funny, because it's not like there was any real life or death situations going on, just a day that was off from the start and therefore when I read her post about sharing joy, I could hardly think of something in that moment. Oh don't we all have these days!

So I'm now sitting down and taking a moment before I rush off to work this evening to stop, relax, pray, and think about a few joys I would like to share. It's funny that by just clearing my mind and being still all the joys come to mind easily now... I will keep it to just a few...

My joys today...

My husband coming home from work just a little bit early in order to "save me" and in doing so, bringing me a Starbucks and then taking the kids on a walk. I love him!

My kisses can in fact heal "owies" on the spot. 

My daughter waking up from her very short nap and telling me "Mommy, you are my friend." 

Watching my son run to his daddy as soon as he got home and cling to his legs with all his might. 

Hearing my daughter tell her daddy that she didn't want to go on a "little walk" she wanted to go on a "big girl walk." Nothing can ever be "little" in this house in her eyes. I hope she always dreams big! 

My husband telling me "let's have leftovers tonight." Ahhhh... one less meal I had to worry about this week! If you know me, cooking does not come easy... lol. 

Reading a few blog posts that made me smile. 

This small time to myself before I quickly change and put on my working mommy hat for the evening.  

This picture brings me joy watching Sawyer try to say "cheese."

There... despite my not so fantastic Thursday, I have now shared my joy. I hope you will share yours too. ♥


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Blast From The Past

Today I have decided to give you all a blast from the past.

I have only been blogging for a short time, but my love for writing has been around for years. For those that don't know, I graduated with my B.A. in Communication and was obsessed with anything extreme sport related. My dream was to be on T.V. and interview riders for the X-Games. I was writing for my local newspaper covering some prep sports and occasionally, any extreme sport competition that I could get my hands on.

Here was a piece I did when I went to learn how to ride a dirt bike. My boss thought it would be great fun to have me go try different extreme things and then write on them. I was the only girl working in the sports department. I sometimes miss it, but when the baby bump came along, I knew that it was not my time to be jumping on any dirt bikes, surfboards or anything else anytime soon. My priorities were a changin'!

Anyways, enjoy! To read the article on the website click here. ♥

Rolling in the dirt: Our thrill-seeking writer boards a dirt bike and leaves the training wheels behind

PAUMA VALLEY - "Have you ever been on a dirt bike before?" Bonnie Warch, one of the certified instructors with the Coach 2 Ride program, asked me on a recent Sunday morning.

"No," I said, "only quads."

"How about a street bike?" Bonnie inquired.

"Can't say I have."

"OK, well is your truck a stick shift?"

Once again, my answer was no. But Bonnie was undaunted by my inexperience.

"No problem," she said. "I'm putting you on the Honda CRF 100."

When my fascination with the desert started in high school, I began taking trips with friends who were more than willing to hand me their oversized helmets and let me take their quads (also known as four-wheelers or ATVs) for short runs. Going from quads to dirt bikes is like going from a tricycle to a bike without the training wheels.

I was at the Amago Sports Park in Pauma Valley to finally take off those training wheels. I had driven past the park many times on my way out to Ocotillo Wells, unaware that it existed. The park is open seven days a week, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. for a $20 entrance fee. It consists of three different experience-based tracks.

This is where the Coach 2 Ride program bases its weekly classes, teaching people of all ages safe and responsible dirt bike use.

I had joined five other students to learn how to ride a dirt bike. Andrea Beach, another certified instructor with the program, started pulling out buckets of riding gear, helping each of us get fit in proper attire. As we started suiting up - everything from pants and jerseys to riding boots and helmets - we all buzzed with anticipation of the day ahead.

One student, 53-year-old Karen Thompson, finished dressing and jumped out of her car yelling, "Born to be wild," imitating the Steppenwolf classic. We all laughed as she broke the silence.

Karen had brought her daughter Kate, 19, and Kate's boyfriend, Brent Briscoe, 22, from Poway for the class. Also joining us were Tiffany Brown, 34, who drove down from Santa Monica, and Crystal Gordon, 28, of Temecula.

Since we were all novices, Bonnie and Andrea started with the basics, which began with a bike inspection and led to simply turning on a manual bike. The morning cold forced us to use the choke to get the bikes ready to go.

Bonnie and Andrea helped us kick-start them the first time, showing us the proper procedure. Then we all mounted our bikes.

Look at that face! LOL!
In neutral, I gave the throttle a little test of its power and was impressed by the sound of the four-stroke engine. The hand throttle seemed a lot more powerful than the simple automatic thumb throttles I had been accustomed to on trips to the desert.

Shifting into gear

Now that the bikes were warmed up, the next step was shifting. As one of the only students in the group unfamiliar with shifting techniques, my inexperience was showing even more.

Andrea explained each step, and Bonnie demonstrated on her dirt bike. It was the perfect learning tool. We started with small drills in first gear to get a feel for the power and grow more comfortable with the shift down from neutral.

It seemed easy enough. Hold the clutch with your left hand, use your left foot on the shift pedal to click down into first gear and apply a little power on the throttle with your right hand as you ease off the clutch. Not as easy as Bonnie made it look.

When I clicked my foot down and tried to slowly let my hand off the clutch, the whole bike shut off. I had stalled.

Andrea came to my aid, helping me get the bike back in neutral and kick-start it again. I was determined to get the shifting down, and after a few more failed attempts the process became effortless.

We moved on to more drills around the course that Bonnie and Andrea had set up for us with cones. We learned proper braking procedures and how to shift into second gear. We drove around the course, changing from first gear to second and back down. Andrea would signal to us to keep our arms up and chins forward. She didn't want us to leave with any bad habits, and I liked that. It was almost time for our first break in the five-hour class.

"So do you all want to go on a little trail ride?" Andrea asked.

We were all for it. It was time to use the skills we had learned on different turf. The group formed a line of bikes behind Bonnie and took off around the sports park while Andrea took the rear. I felt confident riding past groups of people, knowing that only a few hours earlier I had never been on a dirt bike - never mind that I was having an absolute blast.

Following supercross and freestyle motocross for years, I never imagined taking part in a sport in which I was so fascinated. I was stoked.

With my confidence soaring, I decided to kick it up a notch and put my Honda into third gear. The power felt great, but spotting unstable dirt ahead I decided to bring it back down.

Stall can't erase smile

Maybe I was getting a little too cocky. After about an hour of riding, just as I tried to smoothly change gears, I stalled again. As my bike came to a halt, I could feel the stares from experienced riders who had come out to use the park for the day. I immediately was thankful to be disguised in the helmet and goggles and oversized jersey for my 5-foot, 1-inch frame. I got the bike back in neutral and kick- started it back into action, which seemed to take an eternity.

I returned to our meeting point and parked my bike. Looking at the faces as we pulled off our helmets, it was obvious that we were thoroughly enjoying the class. Despite the embarrassing stall, I couldn't wipe the smile off my face.

As we took a break and fueled up on snacks and quenched our thirst, I was curious how the other students had discovered the class and what made them decide to try it. I found it fascinating that some had traveled so far to take the class. They made my 45-minute trek seem like nothing.

Crystal, from Temecula, had heard about the class through the Girls Learn To Ride program that features girls-only action-sports camps and clinics.

"I have been wanting to transition from quads to the bike," she said. "I never knew how to shift and I would run into other people."

After the morning lesson, Crystal was pleased with the program.

"I'm feeling more confident now," she said.

I couldn't agree more. Itching to get back on the bikes, we re-fastened our helmets.

Training takes a turn

The second part of the class consisted of learning to turn while standing up and transferring our weight.
We practiced figure eights to learn the proper techniques. Bonnie and Andrea showed us exactly where to place our arms and hips to complete a successful turn.

It wasn't long before I started realizing that this riding stuff isn't just a leisurely activity. It takes a lot of strength. My forearms were starting to burn with the constant pressure on the throttle. I developed a whole new respect for the riders. I knew my body would be feeling it for the next few days, and it did.

As the class was ending, we made our way over to an on-site pee-wee track. The dirt track had a few jumps and sharp turns that we all felt ready to conquer.

For some reason, even knowing I was on a pee-wee track and watching 8- and 10-year-olds fly by me, I was proud of what I had done and felt very educated on riding as a whole. I left with a feeling of satisfaction and an eagerness to do it again.

Quads are now a toy of my past. I learned to ride a dirt bike.

- Contact staff writer Heather Zeman at

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Blessing While Giving {Part 1}

Last night my husband was studying and the kids were asleep for the moment. I say for the moment, because my youngest, Sawyer, proceeded to wake up 5 times before 10 pm and Addyson woke up even more due to the pesky cough that has invaded our house. It makes you so appreciate good health when you have it! But as I had those few quiet moments last night I was reading through some of my new favorite blogs and for whatever reason got a random thought about this upcoming holiday season. In case you haven't realized, I like to challenge myself. Usually I like to challenge myself in hopes it will bring me to a better place with my family, God, friends, you name it. Sometimes I know these challenges are straight from above, like the challenge of going Facebookless for 365 days. I think last night's thought could be the same. We'll see. 

As we are approaching the holiday season, I get excited thinking about the time of year we get to give little gifts to those close to us. Not that gifts are the meaning of the season, but I do enjoy doing this. My family knows me very well and as soon as October hits I'm usually sending out an email telling everyone to give me their Christmas lists. Can we say planner?! I love to shop early, and I also know my family very well and usually I have to send out 3-5 more emails following up so that they actually get these lists to me by the end of November.☺

Okay, so this is the thought I had. What if this year I don't ask anyone for a wish list.. and every gift I give would be helping another person in need. Like, someone selling something for a great cause. Even if I don't know the person personally, it would be awesome to support someone in their own journey whatever it may be. OOhhh I get really giddy just thinking about it!! Not only would I be supporting someone and giving a very personal gift, but I could give my family member that person's story with the gift and let them know just who they were helping by receiving that gift. Does this make sense!?

This came to mind as I was browsing over a blog last night and it was the second blog in two days that told of a family on their way to adopting a child and in hopes to raise the money to do so, they were selling gifts that they created. I thought the idea was genius. These people are using their own talents to someday provide a better life for someone else. I fell in love with the idea and so this random... or not so random thought was born.

I don't know if this will be entirely possible, but I know probably each of you reading this post may know of someone that is using their talent to help a great cause. I don't care where in the country they live. If  someone comes to mind, I'd absolutely LOVE to hear from you and get in touch with that person! I will post about each gift I give, where it came from and who it blesses! I have quite a few people that my family buys for at Christmas time, so I truly feel like it would be so much fun, and quite a challenge, to be a blessing to others while giving this year! I definitely will need YOUR help, so who's with me?!

♥ Please comment with info or send me an email! ♥

"Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality." Romans 12:11-13

Monday, September 26, 2011

Prayer For My Husband

I love reading. Sometimes I get a little distracted with life and get out of the habit, but I really do enjoy spending some of my time to myself reading a good book. One book that I have gone back to time and time again is called Power of a Praying Wife. I absolutely believe in the power of prayer, and have seen it change lives. My own being one of them.

Today I decided to skip to the chapter on praying for your husband's work. This is surely something most of us wives, girlfriends, mothers, fiancee's {am I spelling that right?} can relate to. As my husband's best friend, I want to be his greatest encourager and supporter. Sometimes finding the right words in times of stress are not possible and I turn to the Lord for help.

We own our own small auto repair business. It has been in the family for almost three decades. We have been blessed with amazing customers and friends and the business has done well for many years despite the changes in the economy. God is good. But along with all the perks of running your own business, there are many stresses that also come along with the territory. I won't bother boring you with them all, but let me just tell you, they are very real.

Today in my quiet time as the kids happened to be resting at the same time. I say resting because my three year old has been on nap refusal for the last week... but mainly due to the most annoying cough that I have caught as well. No fun! But, I did get some quiet time in and went back to this book that I haven't opened in quite some time. At the end of the chapter on praying for his work, there is a prayer and this is what I read:

Lord, I pray that You would bless the work of my husband's hands. May his labor bring not only favor, success, and prosperity, but great fulfillment as well. If the work he is doing is not in line with Your perfect will for his life, reveal it to him. Show him what he should do differently and guide him down the right path. Help him to excel, but free him from the pressure to do so. 

I pray that You will be Lord over his work, and may he bring You into every aspect of it. Give him enough confidence in the gifts You've placed in him to be able to seek, find, and do good work. Open up doors of opportunity for him that no man can close. Develop his skills so that they grow more valuable with each passing year. Show me what I can do to encourage him. 

I pray that his work will be established, secure, successful, satisfying, and financially rewarding. May he not be "lagging in diligence, but fervent in spirit, serving the Lord" (Romans 12:11). Let him be like a tree planted by the stream of Your living water, which brings forth fruit in due season. May he never wither under pressure, but grow strong and prosper (Psalm 1:3). 

I texted this entire prayer to him and let him know I would continue to pray this prayer for him. It was exactly what he needed to hear. ♥

"The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." Deuteronomy 31:8.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Changes In Progress

I want to let you all know that my incredibly boring blog is in the hands of a very talented team to spice it up a bit. So don't be surprised if you check back and see some changes in the near future!

I am in no way a creative person when it comes to art projects or anything like that. DIY most of the time sends me running for the hills. I love to write, I love to coach, I love marketing and advertising, I can still do a series of backhandsprings and a couple of chin-ups after two babies thanks to growing up a gymnast, but when it comes to creativity and making things look fabulous, oh man I am not the one you will be turning to. You may have gotten that idea by reading about my mommy wardrobe... or for those of you that have been following my Facebookless journey since January, you've realized there has been little change to my blog since then. I love that we all are so talented in different ways. It makes me, ME and you, YOU!

Anyways, be on the look out... maybe even A Mom Without Facebook button?! I love how I'm still getting down all these bloggy terms. Gotta love it... ♥


You've all heard of bridezilla... but have you heard of crumbzilla? Well, let me introduce you to her. She comes out every other week right after I get my house cleaned. Just to clarify, I do all the normal maintenance of my house, but the deep cleaning I leave to the professionals. haha. I don't know what it is, but I would prefer to work a little side job and pay for someone to clean my house rather than take time out of each day to try to clean maybe one room and then never have my house completely cleaned at once. Does this make sense? It's just that one luxury that means a lot to me! For those of you that do clean your own house and manage to do it along with take care of your kids, cook, work other jobs, be a wife, a friend, etc... you are my hero! Or maybe I'm just lazy. One of the two. Okay, back to crumbzilla. ☺

I have my house cleaned twice a month and the moment I come home to that clean house crumbzilla emerges. I am quite literally a freak about anything getting messed up. It seems so silly, but I just love that fresh clean look of my house and I only get to see it twice a month so I guess I get a little crazy about it. Just yesterday crumbzilla was in rare form, because we got our house cleaned the day before, and I decided to give my kids Ritz and applesauce of all things as an afternoon snack. Well, it's absolutely impossible to eat a Ritz cracker without a crumb and soon enough I'm seeing these tiny crumbs fall to the floor... I immediately went for the dust pan and brush to try to save my perfect floor for just a few more precious hours and as soon as I got back, splat, there went some applesauce. I'm not kidding you, I get anxious for about two days after the house gets cleaned watching anything get messy! I have to literally stop and breathe and remind myself that this is APPLESAUCE we are talking about. No life or death situations here. lol.

Another one of my favorite things is seeing those fresh lines in the carpet of the playroom... oh man it's only for about 10 minutes and then they start fading as the tiny feet run around and I feel this tiny bit of crumbzilla die in that moment. There's just absolutely nothing you can do about it at that point. I know this sounds so incredibly dramatic, but this is just one of those things! lol. I hope someone can relate to me because this is quite embarrassing to admit.

So anyways, last night was the icing on the cake when we were eating chili I made for dinner and my youngest, Sawyer, pushed his bowl of chili over the side of his tray and onto the floor. My husband looked at me and saw the fear in my eyes, as this poor man knows my crumbzilla ways. He went to clean it up and I couldn't even speak as I looked at the floor. All I could think about was that those floors were not even mopped 48 hours before. Oh man, I love typing this all out because it makes me sound so ridiculous! But this is reality people! haha.

The funny thing is that something like the "chili incident" seems to happen every time and it pretty much sends crumbzilla packing. I at that point feel completely defeated in my attempt to keep my house spot free and then I go back to my normal "no big deal" attitude that I have most of the time. I don't know if anyone has any ideas for me on how to tame this crumbzilla inside, but I'd love to hear some.

In a way, it's kind of a reminder twice a month as crumbzilla comes out and I'm battling these feelings inside that we should constantly remind ourselves not to sweat the small stuff. Most of our daily little inconveniences are just that, inconveniences and not something to let get to us as much as we do. So just remember... when life gives you crumbs, feed the birds.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

You Reap What You Sow

One more thing on my mind tonight! Since I just posted the other day talking about the baby modeling scam we got into, well, funny thing was that I got an update on the scam artist! Crazy timing. You can read about how we got scammed here. Anyways, one of the checks for restitution got sent back to the L.A. County City Attorney's office since I took too long to pick it up at the post office. Slightly annoying, but I tell ya, for whatever reason getting to the post office is always the last on my to-do list. I called them back and the City Attorney informed me that this scam artist has done it again and is now convicted of 4 felonies in Vegas! He is about to go to trial because the judge denied his plea deal. Insane. So I couldn't believe within days I actually had an update on this man and had to share!

Below is the link to the Vegas news source that covered it. Pretty crazy... if you listen it will talk about the families in California that are getting paid restitution and we just happen to be one of them.

Learn from us... NEVER pay upfront for a modeling agency. 

Learn from this man... you reap what you sow.☺ 

"Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap." Galatians 6:7

My Baby Sister is MARRIED!!

Okay, so I don't have time at the moment to put all my thoughts down and explain how absolutely magical this day was, but I wanted to give a little teaser of a few photos and let you know that I will be posting again on this.

I must say, my heart is filled with so much joy watching my youngest, and the last sister of the three of us get married off.. her husband completes our family just perfectly and I couldn't have asked for more! Our family feels so blessed!

I will definitely give you all a little glimpse of where my heart was on that day very soon... But in the meantime, aren't these photos just AMAZING!?!? Once again, my awesome talented friend, Jessie Kenney, of Juneberry Photo has done it! She set up her OWN photo booth at the wedding.. brought some props and viola!!! ♥

My beautiful baby sister and her husband!
My sister & MOI

My AMAZING parents! Married 30 years! 

Under this frog is the prince I married!

No words are necessary. LOL.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Good And Perfect Gift

{Addyson 10 months}
When my daughter was 11 months old we got scammed. We took her in to a modeling agency after no fewer than 10 people sent us the same ad they had found online looking for baby models. I had never in my life thought of putting my baby into modeling, but as a new mom, the idea of getting fun pictures of your baby all dolled up and possibly helping them with their college fund doesn't necessarily sound like a bad idea. Well, we took the drive up to L.A. to meet with the couple that was instantly ready to book my daughter. They gave us the low down and for a couple of giddy parents, we were ready to sign the dotted line!

Driving home, we decided to call my parents and tell them the great news. Well, they immediately seemed concerned with the fact that we put money down upfront for this agency. Our little fantasy bubble was starting to pop and then we when got home and started doing more research on this company, come to find out the owner had been arrested 10 years prior for a baby modeling scam under a different name. Basically, they tell you to pay them and they guarantee you will get contacted by an agency within 3 months. They act as the liaison. Come to find out, they also pose as most of those agencies and in order to "complete" the contract they contact you only to never actually book anything. It hardly makes sense to me now being so many years later that we even fell for something so ridiculous, but I tell ya, the new parent excitement will get ya. They were all over the Rip Off Reports and I called the L.A. County Sheriff Department where there was already a case being filed and I jumped on board. Within a couple months the place was shut down once again and the scam artists fled the state. I was so livid and mad at myself for making such a foolish decision. We put down a good chunk of money and I wanted it back. The department that I contacted actually took the man to court and part of the agreement was that he was to pay restitution to the 17 families that had contacted the department and reported the fraud accounts. I couldn't believe that after years and years of them going through with this I was one of the very few families that was going to be getting paid back. Amazing, but gosh I feel so bad for the hundreds of families that didn't get what they should have. So still to this day I get checks in the mail for $100 every few months and slowly I will get my money back. Let's just say that left a bad taste in my mouth when it came to baby modeling....

So years later I've continued to have people ask me about putting my daughter and now son into modeling and I just don't even know what to think. I thank them for the kind compliments, but I truly have mixed emotions on the subject. I suppose if you have a child that loves to dress up and take pictures and truly loves to be in front of a camera, then great. I just have decided I don't want to force my babies to do anything they don't want to do for the sake of a college fund or any other excuse.

{Addyson 3 years}
Recently, my good friend Jessie of Juneberry Photo was doing a shoot for a local children's fashion line. They were looking for models that happened to fit the mold of my daughter. So I decided, what the heck. I know she loves to dress up, so let's see if Addy even likes being in front of the camera and asked to pose. We decided to give the shoot a shot. Addy was the youngest of all the kids there and like I figured, she absolutely loved the frilly girly clothes. She actually enjoyed taking the pictures for the most part as well. I was somewhat surprised. By about half way through she was ready to be done and that was okay by me! The pictures came out really adorable and to her it seemed like a big game of dress up. I will also never forget this day because I took her to Red Robin after the shoot and this was the first time she used a big girl potty outside of our house! She had been potty trained for a while, but refused to go in public places, so this was a big mommy moment for me. ☺

I'm not sure when the next time might be that we decide to do a shoot like this, but at least that shoot gave me a much better feeling about the idea of modeling. Jessie is just a natural with the kids, and really makes it fun for them. I don't know if I would ever go with an agency, but if Addyson came to me and told me she really wanted to pursue it, I would look more into it. Until then, it's family photo shoots and we will see what other activities she may like more than dress up. I'm still secretly routing for gymnastics, {says the ex-gymanst mom} but she refuses to do a forward roll with my help, so I'm not so sure that is going to be the winner.

I just love watching her grow into her own little person. I can't wait to see what she chooses to be involved in... where her heart is... what she loves. Most importantly I love seeing her grow in her understanding of being thankful. At night when we all say our prayers I ask her to tell Jesus what she is thankful for. She always thanks Jesus for mommy and daddy and baby Sawyer and then she usually will surprise me with what she says next. She has been known to thank Jesus for carrot juice, kitten tails, the stars among other things. I find her little mind fascinating. I love hearing her thoughts as she prays. I truly thank the Lord daily for my kids. Being a mother is such a gift. ♥

"Every good and perfect gift is from above." James 1:17

Monday, September 12, 2011

How A Target Girl Does Vegas

So, back to my post about the mommy wardrobe....well, I mentioned I would explain how my Vegas trip went and how my wardrobe held up in Vegas. I'm now back to tell you all about it. Thank you to my friend that nudged me to get this post done! ☺

Heels for a steal = problem! lol.
Vegas felt incredibly out of my comfort zone, but at the same time incredibly relaxing to only have to worry about myself for a few days. The mommy wardrobe full of the Target pocket shirt v-necks did pose an incredible problem being that most places actually have dress codes. I ended up having to buy a dress from H&M out there and a pair of heels. I saw a Ross and quickly got giddy because this was familiar to me. Can I get an AMEN? LOL. I ran in, got a pair of black heels that went with the new dress and was on my way. Well... since heels are something I wear to weddings and that's about it, I guess I'm now learning that you get what you pay for when it comes to them! These cute heels that I got for a steal, did not even get me through the evening without cracking. Yup. You read it right. Cracked my heel and had to limp to the nearest taxi so that we could get back to our room and re-plan our evening. LOL! We just had to laugh. Laughing got us through most of the weekend. Like when we got a drink at a bar and the tab for 3 Redbull vodkas and a bottle of water came to $65!!! I have never in my life heard of a drink costing this much! And this was not any top shelf I can assure you! The three of us sisters looked at each other and all about had a panic attack. Too embarrassed to tell the bartender that we didn't want them, we swiped the card and angrily had about four $5 sips each.

Okay, back to the wardrobe. I am by no means a photographer and don't even have the best camera so here are some incredibly lame shots I took of a few of my outfits during the weekend. Also, I couldn't even finish this post if I didn't speak about some of my absolute staples for the weekend and those were some pieces by Kaemaloche. A good friend of mine, Jessica Chestnut, is incredibly talented at making and creating jewelry pieces that are one of kind. I absolutely LOVE her stuff. Oh and my other staple is my watch. For some reason I won't spend more than $30 on a purse or $15 on a pair of sunglasses, but when it comes to my watch I absolutely love Michael Kors style. It's my weakness!! Nordstroms please stop sending me your catalogs! EEk!

Outfit 1: Pool and Hotel 
{Dress: Target, Shoes: Reflection, Necklace: Kaemaloche}

Outfit 2: Hotel and Strip Site Seeing
{Skirt: Windsor, Tanks: Target, Shoes: Express, Harness: Kaemaloche}

{Close up of harness. A pic with it on would help!}

Outfit 3: Dinner and Dancing
{Dress: Windsor, Shoes: Marshalls, Necklace: Kaemaloche}

Outfit 4: Dinner, Show & Club
{Dress: H&M, Shoes: Ross, Necklace: Kaemaloche}

My Staple: 

So there you have it. A Target girl did Vegas. It was tough and now I definitely know what items I would need the next time I went, but without spending a fortune, I did survive. Here are my few tips to any other Target mommy that finds herself in Vegas like myself. ☺

The Target Mom's Vegas Survival Guide: 

1. Bring shoes you can actually walk in. Vegas is all about walking around and/or dancing. I've been known to throw off my heels at a wedding or two, but these are not the places you would want to be doing that!

2. Bring a clutch! I have never seen a reason to have a clutch when my only bag I use is filled with diapers, but now I do. This was such a hassle with one of us carrying around a purse or a wallet. Going out you don't want to be toting something heavy and have to worry about setting it down anywhere. A clutch is absolutely mandatory! 

3. You MUST have a dress and heels that you can wear to a club or a nice dinner. Not one that you wore to the last baby shower you attended. H&M will get you by if you are in need.

4. If you aren't trying to get guys buying you drinks anymore, well bring a few bottles of Two Buck Chuck for the hotel room. Who wants to spend $19 a drink going out at night?! EEK! I learned my lesson! Have a glass or two before you hit the taxi!

5. Bring cash. It's amazing how many people you end up tipping and you don't think about it. Taxi.. Hotel Staff.. Bartenders.

6. Don't ever pay full price for a show. Hit up the booths that sell Half Price tickets on the strip the day of. Oh, and check which days particular shows are off stage. I don't suggest seeing a show the last time slot of the last day before the crew is going on break for a couple days. Let's just say I think the crew was ready for their "weekend."

7.  Ask the locals. We found the best places to eat, hang and spend our time by asking the locals. They know the place better than anyone and can tell you exactly where to go for what atmosphere you are looking for.

8. You MUST visit The Sugar Factory! This place had amazing breakfast, awesome service, fantastic decor. I honestly would give it 5 stars and I used to be a waitress/bartender so I'm picky when it comes to restaurants! They serve red velvet pancakes! OMG.

9. Make sure you get a GOOD spray tan. Oh man could I pick out the bad ones! With the heat, there is a lot less clothing going on which means your tan is going to be showing even more. It's kinda hard to hide, so go with a pro. Totally not trying to make a shameless plug, but I suppose I am. haha.

10. Relax and don't have a strict time schedule. Getting ready will always take longer than expected as will getting somewhere. Although the hotels look close they are very deceiving when you are on foot. Go with the flow and laugh at the "thorns" along the way as my sisters and I liked to call them. ♥

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Male Brain or the Women Response?

I can't for the life of me remember where I heard this initial thought. I can't remember if I read it somewhere or someone told me, but I have been pondering it lately and decided to ask my husband his thoughts on it. This was the thought: men choose to put their energy into the things they feel they are most successful at. Okay, so that might not be the exact phrase, but I think for the sake of this post you can get my gist. Basically, let's take a husband just as an example. Of course someone doesn't have to be married to fall into this category, but just for the heck of it. If this man feels like he is successful at his work, well, he will probably choose to work more. Especially if maybe he doesn't feel like he is as successful at home. If he feels very successful at being a father and his kids love him, well, time at home will be where his time is spent as much as possible. This can go for hobby's, passions, etc. If he feels successful at golf, well, that's another place he's probably spending most of his time.

After bringing this up to my husband, he actually agreed with the statement for the most part. We also kind of touched upon the subject of love languages, and if words of affirmation are a guy's love language, then even more so this falls into effect. Where he is being verbally "rewarded" in a way for doing a good job, is where he feels he is being shown love, which will ultimately be where he wants to spend his time. I honestly don't know if this is strictly a male thing or not, because it sure sounds like something us women would do as well, but sometimes our emotional brains take over I think. It's not always that simple. ☺

I thought this idea was really interesting because it made me think about my own role as a wife. Am I making my husband feel successful at home.. as a husband... as a a daddy? If I'm helping to make him feel like he is succeeding in these areas then he is going to naturally want to spend more time on them only making things even better in the long run! I absolutely adore my husband. We were made for each other and he is truly my best friend. I sadly, I can definitely think of times where I definitely was not uplifting about certain subjects. Just this weekend for instance, I was completely ridiculous and when my husband put away some tools that had been laying around the house for quite some time, instead of saying, "thank you for putting those away, I really appreciate it." well... this was my response...I broke into a song {which happens quite often around here and I blame my parents for this!} and the song was a re-mix of "Oh Happy Day." Can you say Whoopi Goldberg? Sister Act 2?! I wish I was kidding. lol!

Oh happy day...oh happy day...
Oh happy day...oh happy day...
When the tools went away!
Oh happy day!

Oh happy day...oh happy day...
Oh happy day...oh happy day...
When the tools went....oh when the tools went...
Oh when they went away!

Oh happy day!

Well, thankfully me and my hubby have a good sense of humor and joke around all the time and when my 3 year old started chiming in and singing with me we were both just laughing. Come to think of it, my husband was probably also laughing at the ridiculous dance that also went along with the song. Well, looking back on this incident, my poor husband probably didn't feel too successful in that moment. Instead when he was putting away tools, he got a completely sarcastic re-mix and a horrible dance to boot. I don't think that next time he works on a project around the house and before he leaves the tools out will think about how happy that made me and run to put them away. He will probably remember the feeling he had of annoyance at my response which may even lead him to not want to put them away the next time. I have no idea if that is really how he felt, but I can assure you that I probably would respond that way! Can anyone relate?! If I got totally ridiculed for doing something helpful I would be hard pressed to do it again. Now this is just a very silly example, but I think it's so true and eye opening at the same time! I made him feel unsuccessful without even thinking about it. I think my last statement is where the problem is. Without even thinking about it. That's the problem. We respond to certain things without thinking, or at least I do. If we constantly aim to bring up our husband, boyfriends, fiances, and make them feel successful and loved at home they are going to thrive which will ultimately lead to a more meaningful marriage and a happy family. I'd love to hear your responses to this one... do you agree or disagree? ♥

"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." Ephesians 4:2

And just to give you a little better idea of the tune of my song... I'm leaving you with the clip from Sister Act 2. Enjoy! LOL. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Facebookless for 238 Days and Counting

I can hardly believe it! 238 days!? Precisely, it's been that long since I have had a personal Facebook page, commented on someone's wall, or even "liked" a picture in someone's album. Still I have many friends forget that I'm not on there and then they ask me about an event and I have no clue as to what they are talking about and they say..."Ohhh, that's right, you're not on Facebook." It doesn't happen as often anymore. I really don't mind telling people I don't have Facebook. I don't get as many shocked faces as I did when I was getting off the social networking phenomenon. I think to people that never knew me as my totally social networking addicted self, they don't know any different, and if I am not on Facebook, it's not that big of a deal. Stopping something is when you usually get most of the "flack" if you will, not for not doing something in the first place. Does that make sense? Sometimes these sentences sound so much better in my head and actually typing them out I wonder if the thought is really getting across the same way. lol.

Anyways, I have, like I mentioned kept up my business page and I have been pretty good at only posting once a week. Recently, I did break that rule in order to post a few more times to get votes for a contest and such, but in all honesty, my heart has really changed on the subject of Facebook. I truly don't have an urge to be on it. I don't post on my business page secretly hoping people will comment on every post and "like" every photo. It's truly business minded. Marketing. Free advertising. I know how much having a Facebook page can effect business. Having that page is what really launched my little mommy hobby to begin with! So if I do decide to post a few times a week it's not because I'm fighting this urge to get my social networking out, it's because I want to get my name out there a few more times that week. To be honest, most of the week I forget though. I don't think about posting during the week because it's not a habit anymore. Mondays are set in my brain and the rest of the week it almost feels unnatural at this point to post! Crazy how much we can train our own brains in such a short amount of time. And to all that were wondering if this blog would be my next outlet to occupy by need for social networking I can wholeheartedly say that it hasn't. Sometimes weeks go by without a post and although I do love writing and sharing experiences, this is not something that consumes me. I successfully use almost every naptime that I have to myself. And if I choose to post in that time a couple days, wonderful! But, it's not something I have to do.

I've decided now that it has been over 6 months to revisit my posts back in January and see if my outlook has changed when it comes to what I miss about Facebook and what I don't miss. You can read these posts by clicking here and here. And just to clarify, those that are possibly new to my blog, these are my reasons, and my reasons alone. I don't think by any means that FB is the devil, and I don't encourage everyone to deactivate, as I did. This was a personal decision. Something that needed to change for me. So I hope you can understand my heart on this if you haven't followed my journey since the beginning.

Alright, I'll start with the Top 10 Reasons I Do Not Miss FB, and looking back I can still fully agree with all of my statements. I do get my laundry done better than I did before, I am cooking now 4 times a week, I don't ever have a thought to "creep" someone's page because it isn't even an option. I almost completely forgot what it feels like to have that scatterbrain feeling I spoke of as I'd read through the newsfeed almost every morning before my feet even hit the floor. I don't know what people are doing all the time and to be honest this just makes me feel like I don't have anyone I have to compare myself to. It's an amazingly freeing feeling. I'm living my life for the Lord, my family, my children and for me. Not for everyone else. I think I've even been more patient with people and less judgmental. I absolutely HATE being judgmental and work to not be judgmental, but we all have seen the posts from people and wonder "What are they thinking!?" or "Why would they post that?!" and isn't that a form of being judgmental? I think so. It has forced me to only think about a person from what I know of them in person, our direct contact with each other. Does that makes sense? Another one of those statements that sound better in my head. ☺

Okay, carrying on... now to re-visit the Top 10 Reasons I Miss FB. Most of these things I still miss. I do miss not seeing pictures of my friends' kids growing up. I've been better about play dates and sometimes I've even, like last night, while texting a friend asked them to send me a pic of their baby. I know it sounds silly, but then I get to see a small glimpse into their world and share that joy of parenting along with them. I did install this app called Instagram and that is kinda fun to upload pics to, but I only have like 3 people on there, because, yet again, in order to find people that also share this app, it asks you to log-in to your Facebook page. Too funny... Okay, back to what I miss. I still miss not knowing everyone's birthdays! I even missed my cousin's birthday by a few days and felt so horrible!! I wish I could have everyone text me their birthdays! Actually, if you are reading this, stop, pick up your phone and text me your birthday!!! Or add a comment. :) I want to know! I love birthdays and love to remember people on their birthday. It's ONE special day we all get a year! Ya know?! As for most of the rest of the list of what I initially missed, well, I've adapted. I don't go to FB to find my news, I ask my husband. LOL. No really, I do ask him most of the time or I sign on to Foxnews. I don't post encouraging things on FB, but I do post prayer requests, and hopefully encouraging things on this blog and I feel like it is even better because more of my thoughts can be seen on a certain subject. My heart is in these posts.

Well, speaking of posts, this one is being cut short due to a little 17 month old that is now trying to tell the world that his naptime is over. But, all in all, I must say although I do miss certain things about FB, when I weigh the positives and the negatives, I'm still completely content in this journey of being Facebookless for 365 days... who knows... maybe more...♥

Leaving you all with a few photos from our walk yesterday...

One happy boy out of the cast!

I hope she always takes time to smell the flowers.

iPhone doesn't do this justice! lol.

My Sawyer, 17 months.