One Heck of a Week

Can I just say, it’s been a heck of a week? ๐Ÿ˜ฌ I don’t want to seem like I’m complaining, but just wanna be real. Rob and I admitted to each other last night that it feels like it’s been one thing after another lately. We all have those weeks, don’t we? Or months, even. ๐Ÿ˜”

I know the problems of our past week have been SO minor compared to many others who are going through real pain and hardship. But even in our petty, part-of-real-life stressors, there have definitely been times this past week where I’ve let frustration and exhaustion get the best of me. ๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿผ

The message at church today touched on how there are two kinds of overwhelmed: 1๏ธโƒฃ an exhausted, stressed-out overwhelmed, or 2๏ธโƒฃ a grateful, overwhelmed-by-God’s-goodness overwhelmed. It hit me during the message today that we have SO, so much to be grateful for, despite the stresses we’ve been under the past week. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ.

First, there was a car accident. But thankfully Rob was fine and no other cars were involved. (Just icy roads that hadn’t been treated๐Ÿ™„) Could have been a lot, lot worse.

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On Tuesday, our dog stole FOUR chicken drumsticks off the kitchen counter while I was gone and Rob was upstairs putting Lydia to bed. And she ate them, bones and all. We were in tears on the phone with the animal hospital and prepared that she would need emergency surgery or even pass away. Miraculously, she passed all those bones and is doing just fine.โค๏ธ๐Ÿถ.

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Wednesday evening, our kitchen sink started acting up and despite valiant efforts from both the hubs and a legit plumber, we can’t get it unclogged. Our kitchen is a disaster of unwashed pots and pans but we are so grateful our furnace is working in this bitter cold, and we have hope that a solution will be reached this afternoon with the pipe clog. ๐Ÿ’ฆ

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These are all such minor stresses compared to what so many people are going through right now. I hesitate to even write this because I know they’re such #firstworldproblems ๐Ÿ˜ฃ but I do think it’s good to be honest when we’re stressed and not feel guilty just because our problems could be worse.

Today, I’m guiding my heart to focus on all I have to be grateful for. Like these two cuties walking out of church together. ๐Ÿ˜ And a warm house. Food on the table and in the pantry. ๐Ÿ—

I started back up with my gratitude journal in 2018 and wow does it help refocus my heart and perspective. I’ve heard people make fun of gratitude journals or say that they’re cheesy, but there is SO much good to be had when we write down a tangible list of the little and big things we are thankful for. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ

Today, I am overwhelmed, not by all the little stresses going on, but by God’s faithfulness and goodness. Cheesy, I know. But for real, He has gotten our family through so much this past year that will never be shared on social media. And even though this first week of 2018 hasn’t been the smoothest, it’s all surrounded by so many blessings on every side. ๐Ÿ™Œ

How to be a Successful Mom

Guys, motherhood is TOUGH! ๐Ÿ˜ณ I’m only 18 months into this whole thing and there have already been so many times I wanted to throw my hands up because I have no idea what I’m doing. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธ Some days are just long and exhausting and there’s no other way to say it. ๐Ÿ˜ญ Lydia hasn’t been napping well for a couple months now and yesterday her one nap was 45 minutes and then Rob had to work late so I was flying solo with a very tired and exceedingly grumpy toddler on my hands. ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธ Call it pregnancy hormones or just an overly exhausted mama, but this morning I was really struggling with feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and just TIRED. ๐Ÿ˜ฉ When she finally went down for a nap, I knew I needed to recharge *somehow* so I turned on the “God-Centered Mom” podcast and literally typed “encouraging quotes about motherhood” into my Google search bar. ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿผ

I started doodling this quote as I listened to a really great podcast episode and it was seriously such a refreshment to my soul, as cheesy as that sounds. I showed Rob the doodle and said, “it just bugs me that I didn’t space the top word properly and now it’s crooked!!”๐Ÿ˜ and he said, “I actually love it and think it’s good for you to practice being ok with it not being perfect!” ๐Ÿ˜ฑ …he knows more than anyone else in my life how much I struggle with holding myself to a standard of perfection in soooo many areas!! I needed that reminder today: messy imperfection is still beautiful, and definitely worth embracing. ๐Ÿฆ‹ This motherhood life has stretched me sooo much when it comes to letting go of my desire for control, embracing messiness in *every* area of life, and taking it one day at a time! Whew. It’s so tough for me sometimes, but SO good for my growth. ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ P.S. I’m hitting publish on this before I have time to chicken out. Being vulnerable and raw on social media can be scary but sometimes I just gotta be real with you all about not just the ups but the downs too. We’re all in this together, right?? โ˜บ๏ธ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ

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#reallife #motherhoodunplugged #momtalk

Social Media Detox: 5 Things I’ve Noticed in My First Week

Last week, after a lot of thought, I decided to give up social media for Lent. I don’t usually give up something for Lent or even think much about this season, primarily because I’m a non-denominational Christian, and my church doesn’t put a whole lot of emphasis on observing this tradition. But when I started reading about the origin of Lent and the idea of giving up something in order to focus more on God and prepare your heart for Easter, I wanted to participate this year. It wasn’t that tough for me to decide what to give up because I already knew I sorely needed a social media detox. It’s just been sucking me in way too much lately and becoming a time-waster and comparison trap when I’m not careful.

It was a little scary to sign off completely for ย because I’m just so used to keeping up with everyone’s news, photos, and updates through Facebook and Instagram. I definitely second-guessed myself as I went to bed that night, and wondered if I was going to regret this decision.
However, by the end of the first detox day, I was LOVING this break. I couldn’t believe how freeing it was to be disconnected and unplugged from the internet world.ย 

Here are 5 things I’ve noticed from my first week off social media:

1) I really don’t miss it like I thought I would.ย 
In fact, I don’t really miss Facebook AT ALL. The only times I found myself really wanting to get on it were 1) to look for something on a “swap group” (buy/sell/trade groups are where I get basically all of Lydia’s toys) and 2) ย to get on one of the “natural mamas” groups I’m in to get some advice. Other than that, I really haven’t missed anything about Facebook!

2) I do miss Instagram.ย 
I really love posting photos on Instagram as a way to chronicle our life with Lydia. For me, Instagram is like an online journal and I really miss posting photos from our activities and memories with Lydia. If I don’t put photos on Instagram, they just get transferred to my computer once my phone runs out of space and then they sit in deep, dark folders on my laptop and are completely out of sight, out of mind. ๐Ÿ™ ย I love that Instagram gives me a way to keep all the major photos and highlights all in one place. So I will definitely be glad to get back on Instagram once these 40 days are over. ๐Ÿ™‚

3) A lot of my Facebook friends aren’t real-life friends.
I used to have about 700 Facebook friends, which really isn’t a lot compared to what some people have, I know. But a couple months ago, I felt like it was getting out of hand and half the people I was seeing on my news-feed I’d only met once or twice or had no current contact with them. So, I went through and deleted 250 “friends” in one sitting. Of course, none of them were actual real-life friends. But even with my now 400-ish “friends,” I realize that many of them I never talk to in real life and have no real relationship with. I’m not trying to sound rude, but now that I’m off Facebook I realize how many people I really don’t care to keep up with via photos and statuses while never seeing them in real life. It just seems so fake and time-wasting, once I’ve stepped back and looked at it from a different perspective now.

4) My real-life friends are still my friends even without Facebook.
Imagine that! ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s been good for me to realize this past week that even though I might be “out of the loop” when it comes to Facebook updates, pictures, etc., I’ve still had plenty of meaningful interactions, conversations, and text message exchanges with the people who are my real-life community. The close friends I have are not going to forget about me just because I’m not on social media. It sounds silly to say, but it was honestly I secret concern I had when getting off Facebook especially. But guess what? I can get photos of my real-life friend’s babies via text messaging, and I can still stay up-to-date with the people I really care about through coffee dates and FaceTime.
I’m beginning to think Facebook just made me *feel* like I was connected to so many people when really the actual meaningful connections happen outside of Facebook and they happen with a core group of 10-15 friends, not 400. Obvious, I know. But that hadn’t fully sunk in for me until now.

5) I am so much more present without social media in my life.
Present in the moment. Present in conversations with my husband. Present while waiting in line at the store. Present with my baby while she’s playing on the floor next to me.
I never spent hours of time just scrolling on Facebook, but my issue was all the 5 or 10 minute increments here and there where I would beย waiting for someone, or in line somewhere, or in between activities, or {you name it} and, out of habit, I’d pull out my phone and open Facebook to see what my 700 400 friends were up to. It really wasn’t uplifting, or a good use of time, but it had just become my habit somehow. Now that I don’t have that option, I’ve found that I’m way more present in the moment and engaging more in the world around me. Instead of being head-down in line at the store with my eyes on my phone, I’m noticing the people around me and actually having conversations with them sometimes. What?? What did people do before they had their phones to stare at in line? Maybe they actually made small talk with the people around them?? Crazy. ๐Ÿ˜›

All in all, I’ve LOVED this first week of my social media detox. It’s been freeing. Eye-opening. And revealed a lot to me about myself. I’ve got a lot more thoughts to share (literally; I have a 1,000 word blog post about my love/hate relationship with Facebook that is sitting in my Drafts folder… yikes. Long-winded, much? :-0)

…which I guess leads me to another thing I’ve noticed from my first week, if I can just tack this on at the end:

—> Since I’m not on social media, I’m spending my time in much more constructive ways. I’m writing a lot more; playing guitar; powering through books from the library like crazy. Even though my social media usage was (usually) just 5 or 10 minutes here and there, it all adds up, and (for me) it definitely created this underlying bad habit that I would get sucked into instead of spending my time on the things that really bring me joy and fulfillment.

Well, there you have it. My first week of detox has been incredible. I did not expect this. I thought I was going to be so frustrated at not being able to keep up with everything online. I was pretty certain I’d be bored a lot or feel sad that I wasn’t up-to-date on everyone’s pictures and statuses and what-not.ย I did not expect to actually love this break or feel lighter and happier because of it. ย Who knows…I might end up getting “off the grid” altogether after this experience… :-0

{Healthier} Valentine’s Chocolate Cake

We were so excited when Rob’s mom offered to babysit for us on Valentine’s Day!! โค We got dressed up a little and went out for drinks at a new place right down the road from our house. ??  

Then we went to Olive Garden for dinner with a gift card we had! I used to really care about making special nights like Valentine’s Day a big deal with a new restaurant and all that, but I’ve come to realize that it’s actually just as fun to go to a regular old place when you have a gift card and know your dinner is paid for!!? So we got the fun of trying out a new place for drinks while also saving money with our dinner gift card! Budget win!!  ??

Earlier in the day, I had made this flourless chocolate cake for us to eat when we got home from the date night, but we were so stuffed full of pasta and breadsticks that we decided to save it for Wednesday night instead. ?

I used to make this cake fairly often during our first year of marriage, but had forgotten about it until just recently when I was brainstorming ideas for Valentine’s desserts.
This cake still has sugar in it so it’s not *super healthy* per se, but it’s definitely *more healthy* than a lot of desserts out there. Plus it’s decadent, rich, and melts in your mouth, so what else really matters?? ? Served alongside some vanilla ice cream, it is incredible. 

Bonus: it’s only 4 ingredients, and I bet you already have 3 of them on hand in your kitchen! Doesn’t get much easier than that. ??

Check out this delicious recipe HERE. And make it now. You won’t regret it. ?

My Goals for February!

I loooooove goals. They keep me focused. They give me something to work toward. And they involve lists, which are one of my other favorite things. ๐Ÿ˜‰

For years, I’ve had the habit of setting goals at the beginning of January for the new year ahead. I usually make monthly goals as well, to break down the bigger picture into more practical, do-able chunks. There’s something so fulfilling to me about having a purpose and focus for the month and then working toward those goals.

In January, I never really wrote down my goals for the month, but a couple of them were:

1) Read one new book (Check! I actually read two!)
2) Try two new recipes (Check!)
3) Go for a few runs outdoors (Check!)

I didn’t really set challenging goals for January because we were coming down from the craziness of the holiday season and trying to settle in to our new house. So I just focused on things that seemed do-able and enjoyable.

For February, I’ve added a few goals and made them a little more challenging and specific, too.

Here’s my goal list for February:

1) Read one book

{source}

I love reading, but unless I discipline myself + have a book I’m actually excited to read, I don’t tend to make time for it any more. Thankfully, we live right by a huge new library now so I have endless options at my fingertips. The book I’m planning to read for this month is Rachel Cruze’s “Love Your Life, Not Theirs” because several people lately have told me it’s really good. And it goes well with our whole budgeting focus lately! But when I went to the library to pick it up, I stumbled across a book nearby on the shelf called “On Fire: The 7 Choices to Ignite a Radically Inspired Life” and was drawn in by the raving endorsements on the back from two of my favorite authors/speakers: Brene Brown and Dave Ramsey. So I thought I’d bring that one home too and give it a try!

2) Work out abs for 10 min, 5x/week

Lydia bouncing away while I did my ab workout yesterday ๐Ÿ˜‰

I loathe ab workouts. They’re my least favorite workout to do. But I want to strengthen my core (especially after having a baby) so I’m going to try to discipline myself to do a 10-min ab workout, 5 times a week. It can’t be that bad, right? ๐Ÿ˜› I’ll be sharing some of my favorite ab exercises with you all in the next few days! I intentionally made this a very specific, measurable goal, because I knew if I didn’t then I wouldn’t keep to it at all. I’m tracking my progress on my calendar to keep me on track as well.

3)ย Try 2 new recipes

I tend to get stuck in a rut with my recipes, but last month I tried 2 new ones and they turned out surprisingly well! (Even though they looked nothing like the amazing picture on

One of the recipes I tried last month…it was amazing!

Pinterest… but when does that ever happen, really?) ย ๐Ÿ˜› This month, I want to try 2 more new recipesย to keep expanding myย repertoire.

4) Practice guitar at least 3x/week

I want to be more consistent with practicing guitar so that I can actually get better at it and be able to play proficiently!!

5) Switch our cell phone plan to a new carrier

We’re paying way too much with our current plan and are planning to switch to Straight Talk, but this involves a whole process of unlocking our phones, ending our contract, etc, so I need to put it on my goal list or else I know I’ll keep putting it off!

6) Stick to the budget with the envelope system

Month 2 of the cash-envelopes system is underway!

7) Have at least one night a week with no Netflix or phones

We fall into ruts from time to time where we’ll just crash on the couch after Lydia goes to bed and turn on Netflix, or both be on our phones surfing social media or texting, with very minimal conversation (i.e. grunts and “uh-huh”s). ย ๐Ÿ˜›

We really enjoy playing card games, talking about our day over a glass of wine/beer, reading together, etc. We just need to discipline ourselves to keep the TV and phones turned off so that we’ll actually engage in these more purposeful activities together! ๐Ÿ™‚ We already have a routine of turning our phones on silent and putting them away somewhere once it’s our time together in the evening, but we want to be more consistent with this!


Do you have any goals for the month?? I’d love to hear them!!