Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The P-Word

I am type-A.


I love to be in control.

A perfectionist.

But when my three-and-a-half year old starting throwing around the word perfect, I cringed.

It all started with her socks.  One morning when we were running late - but let's stop and be honest, we're always running late - I asked her to put on her socks and shoes.  Something she does without issue everyday.  But this particular morning, as I got E changed and ready, I heard her huffing and puffing in frustration... and then, she screamed and I heard a shoe fly across the room.

"What in the WORLD, Cameron Kate?!"

"My socks!  They won't be PERFECT!  They have to be PERFECT!!!"

"What do you mean, perfect?"

"You know, the line.  It has to be right across my toes."

She was referring to the seam, and she couldn't quite get it lined up just so and it was sending her into fits of frustration.

The word perfect haunted me once again when the hem on one of her shorts had become slightly unraveled.  She absolutely would not wear those shorts because "Mama, they're not PERFECT."

And then that word kept creeping into our days:

"Mommy, don't I look PERFECT?"

"Mommy, brush my hair, I want it to be PERFECT."

"Mommy, does this match PERFECTLY?"

And each time she'd say it, my heart sank a little.

It's tricky, raising kids.  It's especially tricky, raising girls... raising girls who aren't fixated on their outward appearance or worried about what others think of them or obsessed with being cool or consumed by the desire to be perfect.

And here I am with a three-year-old... THREE YEARS OLD people... and she's already throwing this word around like it's controlling her world.

One day we finally sat down and discussed that particular p-word.  About how nothing is ever perfect, no one is ever perfect, and I would never expect her to try to be perfect.  About how I only want her to try her best, to not give up, to treat others and herself with love and kindness and forgiveness.

A conversation I never thought I'd have to have with my preschooler.  But a conversation I know I'm going to continue having with her while I fight like heck to raise a daughter who believes in herself and who is more concerned about her heart and her mind than her hair or her body or her shoes.

But y'all, I also realize this may be a reflection of me.  I see so much of myself in her while she tries endlessly to get her sock seams to line up just so.  I know that this determination, this desire to do things the right way, this perfectionism will benefit her in life if it is channeled in the right way.  But it is also incredibly dangerous, especially as a girl, as a young woman - heck, as a grown woman.

The other day I was enjoying one of my favorite hobbies - online shopping - and I stumbled upon the perfect sweatshirt for her.  It came in the mail, and I excitedly opened up the package to show CK her surprise.

She loved it!  BECAUSE IT WAS LONG-SLEEVED!  Girl loves some long sleeves, but - wait for it - they absolutely have to "pull all the way down."

Anyway, she wore the sweatshirt all day long, declaring it her new favorite shirt because "Mama, you're letting me wear long sleeves in the summer!"  At the end of the day I asked her if she wanted to know why I loved the sweatshirt so much.  We talked about it and what it said, and I reminded her that I never wanted her to be perfect, that she never would be perfect.  That I would always love her, no matter what, and that I would be more proud of her heart and her mind and the way she treats herself and others than I would ever be of how she looks.

We're trying hard to eliminate the p-word in our house.  It's tough, and I catch all of us using it daily.  I just want my kids to know that perfection is unattainable, and boring.  Because if we were all perfect, without flaws, life would be pretty dull, ya know?  My hope is to raise a daughter who loves herself, flaws and all, who approaches life with a smile and a kind heart, who puts others before herself, and who tries her best in all she does.

Now that?  That would be perfect.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Whole Lotta Randoms

It's been a good, but busy week of summer!  Lots of runs to get ready for my 10k next weekend, lots of early morning time with Jesus, lots of trips to the pool, swim lessons, lots of home-cooked meals for my crew, a puppet show at the library, a trip to the movie theatre, lots of backyard water play, and lots (and lots!) of laundry.


So, I'm here with a brainless list of randoms...

*We had such a great Father's Day weekend!  Other than a birthday party and church, we had ZERO plans which was just what we needed.  So we spent time as a family of four and were able to spoil T on Sunday, which he so deserved.  
His big gift was an awesome sketch I had made by a graphic artist I found on Instagram (follow her @sketchedinmemories).  Here is the original picture and then the sketch she did, which I framed and plan on using as the center of a new gallery wall in our house.  I love it!

*Finally.  FINALLY.  Big Brother started last night!  T used to make fun of me for watching it, but last summer I got him sucked in and for the past month he's been asking when it was going to start.  Let the mindless, trashy summer tv begin!

*You guys.  It is SO HOT outside.  Amiright or amiright?!  I've been having to run early in the morning with a stroller fan running for poor E (that helmet makes him so hot!).  It's almost even been too unbearable for the pool!  Here in GA, even if the high is in the 90s, it typically feels like 100+ with the humidity.  Yikes.

*And maybe it's because it's been so hot, but all of a sudden I am loving white wine!  I haven't enjoyed white wine since college, and maybe I enjoyed too much of it then which is why I've stayed away for so long.  But I had a bottle left over from an event I hosted, so I cracked it open a few weeks ago and I haven't looked back.

*Our local movie theatre offers $1 movies throughout the summer on specified days, and I decided to brave it today with both kiddos in tow.  It was so fun!  CK was adorable throughout the entire movie, and E was a trooper.  While CK enjoyed popcorn and a slushy, E napped, nursed, ate some puffs, and happily sucked his two fingers.  Can't wait to do it again!

*If E's top teeth could just bust through those gums once and for all we would all be so appreciative.

*Speaking of Everette, he's doing so well with his helmet you guys.  I am proud of my stud muffin, though not one bit surprised.  He is such a ray of sunshine, I tell ya!  He has been waking up in the middle of the night, which I'm not sure if is because of the helmet or the teeth, but a quick nursing session and he goes right back to sleep.  We go to ATL tomorrow morning for our first progress check... fingers crossed he's already showing improvement with that sweet noggin'!

*Did I ever post on here that I got an iPhone 6?!  I was due for an upgrade, and I LOVE it.

*And while I'm talking about technology, y'all know I love my FitBit.  But.  It broke last week.  Like just stopped working, all of a sudden.  Mind you, it was my THIRD ONE.  The other two also had issues - my first one wasn't counting steps and the button broke off of the second one.  So when #3 went on the fritz last week, I was so frustrated!  I wanted to just throw in the towel with the whole FitBit deal, but I really, really love it and it has motivated me so much!  So, I called the company, customer service was great, and I ended up getting my money back and was sent a free one.  If this one dies, I think I'll just try another brand.  So now all of my FitBit friends, you know why my steps have fallen by the wayside lately!

*Twenty-three days 'til we're beach bound for an entire week!!

*Anyone watch How to Get Away with Murder?  I taped it when it first started last fall, but never got around to watching it.  I finally started about two-and-a-half weeks ago and pretty much couldn't stop until I got to the season finale.  So.Good.

*So, I'm a dessert-every-night-after-dinner kind of girl.  And recently I cannot get enough ICE CREAM!  I've never been an ice-cream-at-home kind of girl.  I like ice cream, but typically only from an ice cream parlor.  But here lately, I am all about some Ben & Jerry's, straight out of the container.

*Have y'all heard of Norwex?  My friend Dana is a consultant, and I recently ordered a few items from her and I am HOOKED.  The company is all about making our homes chemical-free through the use of incredible cleaning products.  You guys, this stuff is legit.  The products make cleaning your home so much easier and faster.  And it's so nice knowing all of those chemicals aren't floating around.  I am seriously obsessed, and am about to place another order to get more stuff.  A cloth that only requires water to become antibacterial and completely clean things up?  And then the cloth self-cleans as it hangs to dry?  YES PLEASE.  I am so into this stuff that Dana and I have decided to do a joint event - Rodan + Fields and Norwex.  Clean out your pores and clean up your house!  Details to come on the party details.  In the meantime, if you want to know more about Norwex, let me know and I'll send you to Dana... she's an expert!

*I cannot get enough of my CK these days.  She is HILARIOUS and I really think (hope! wish! pray!) we are over the worst of the threenager phase.  We are having so much fun together, laughing hysterically and being silly and she is just my little shadow, my little mini-me.  Until yesterday, when we had a rough, rough morning.  So rough, in fact, I took (and hid) her beloved Ellie.  Eeeek.  I think I found a new and incredibly effective consequence for my girl.

*And speaking of my girl, swim lessons are going so well!  She's always scared as they begin, and it makes my heart hurt to watch her little lip quiver while she tries so hard to be brave.  Sometimes she'll cry through the lesson, but will continue to do everything her instructor asks her to do.  I can't wait to watch her confidence soar over the next couple months!

*And one more thing about E... you guys, he's thisclose to crawling.  And will even get up on all fours, rock, and take a couple movements forward before his chubby little arms give out.  I'm so proud of him, but equally terrified of him becoming mobile.  Also, the kid can put away some food!  I have started trying to slowly transition from baby food to finger foods.  Since I made my own food this time, I didn't really go through step 1, 2, and 3 foods in terms of thickness/texture/pieces.  I decided to just start giving him bits of food to see how he'd do.  And I can already tell he may eat us out of house and home!  Today for lunch he had half an avocado, a handful of puffs, two whole strawberries cut into pieces, a third of a peach cut into pieces, and about a third of a broken up cheese stick.  And I think he may have been able to eat more!

*I'm so excited... T and I are going to have TWO date nights in the next week!  Saturday night we have a wedding here in town, and then next Wednesday his boss and coworkers so graciously offered to keep the kids so we could sneak away for a bit.  We're thinking we may go to the movies and lose ourselves in way too much popcorn, candy, and Jurassic World.  Can't wait!

Have a great end-of-the-week and a wonderful weekend!  TGIalmostF!!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

To My Husband:

I grew up not knowing what it meant to have a Dad...
Dreaming one day I'd give my kids a life I never had.

I wondered if that dream would ever come true -
And then I met and fell in love with you.

I could look into your eyes and see into your soul,
And when you (finally!) married me, my heart became whole.

We lived a little, laughed a lot, spending time just you and me...
Not much to be responsible for, other than our dog, Bailey.

Our hearts then ached for more... we watched my belly grow.
Everyone said, "Just you wait..." and little did we know...

Just how much we were capable of feeling -
Remembering you holding our new daughter sends my heart reeling.

Your tears said it all - you were born to be a Dad.
And I immediately knew it would be the best job you ever had.

We fell in love with our girl and being a family of three,
But soon we both wanted to add more to our little tree.

Little did we know what that journey would entail...
We tried so hard to grow our family, to no avail.

I wanted to give up, struggled to focus on hope...
But you were my strength and my rock, helping me cope.

You wouldn't let us get defeated by it all;
YOU kept us going, holding my hand, not letting me fall.

And then... there were two lines.  I showed you with a grin.
You jumped right out of the shower and wrapped me up, with a spin.

We wished, we hoped, we held our breath, we prayed.
And then... IT'S A BOY!  We both exclaimed.

I saw you become a daddy again...
This time to your son, your Everette, your best friend.

Watching you as a father is one of my greatest joys...
See you with her and now, our little boy.

You've mended my heart that never knew a Dad,
Giving my children a life I never really had.

You are the best part of their day, and I truly hope you see
Just how much you mean to them... how much you mean to me.

T... We're all so lucky to be yours.
Your wife, your daughter, your son.  Our little family of four.

So Happy Father's Day to you, the most incredible man I've ever known.
You've made all my dreams come true, and I cannot wait to see where our life continues to go... <3

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


A couple days ago, I felt like a chicken with my head cut off.

Well, to be honest, that's how I feel most days.

But the other day was an especially chicken-with-head-cut-off kind of day.

We have been NONSTOP.  Here I was, thinking we'd have lazy and boring and unplanned summer days, and then BAM, so many things going on.

The past couple weeks have been a whirlwind of traveling, having guests in town, playdates, hosting baby showers, 10k training, doctor appointments, E's dedication, trips to the vet, Vacation Bible School, events around the community, swimming lessons, etc.

All good stuff, for sure.  But a lot of good stuff, all at once.  And all this good stuff has left me feeling a little stressed, overwhelmed, like I can't find my bearings.

It's been a wonderfully chaotic few weeks, so I decided we were due for a day with NO plans.  Nothing on the calendar.  Nothing on the schedule.  No commitments.  A day where CK could be a little lazy, watch a movie or two, and stay in her pajamas so I could finally, finally catch up on life and attempt to tackle a long list of to-do's that has been calling my name.

The first hour and a half of this no-plans day was great.  CK was all about her Doc McStuffins cartoon and I was a woman on a mission:  start laundry, CHECK; puree some baby food, CHECK; change all the bed linens, CHECK; do some Rodan + Fields work, CHECK; catch up on emails, CHECK; write thank-you notes, CHECK; meal plan for the week, CHECK.

And then CK decided she was done with her cartoons/movies/pajama day.

"Mommy, can you play Barbies with me?  Mommy, will you paint my fingernails?  Mommy, can we play with the slip 'n slide?  Mommy, can we go ride my bike?  Mommy, can we make those bird feeders like you said we would?  Mommy, can I have a snack?  Mommy, I spilled my water.  Mommy, where's my Elsa doll?  Mommy, can you get out my coloring stuff?  Mommy, will you do play dough with me?  Mommy, can we sing our VBS songs?  Mommy, can we go swing on the playground?"

In just a minute.  In just a minute.  In just a minute.  In just a minute.  In just a minute.  In just a minute.  In just a minute.


I swear, midway through the day I felt like I had said, "In just a minute, Cameron Kate" about fifty-seven times.  I had high hopes of her being thrilled to have an extra-cartoons-kind-of-day so that I could have an extra-productive-kind-of-day.  Instead, my mini-me pretty much followed me around the house, practically wrapped around my legs, begging me to entertain her.

By the time she went down for her nap  (HALLELUJAH!  NAP TIME!!), I started feeling guilty about all of my in just a minute's.  Like I was so focused on tackling my to-do's when I should've been more focused on my girl.

But wait - no, no I will not feel guilty.

It's okay to be an IN JUST A MINUTE mom sometimes.  Because sometimes we have to meet our own needs, or the needs of the rest of the family, or maybe we just don't feel like playing Barbies for the 689th time so we lie and say IN JUST A MINUTE when really we have no intentions of pretending like we're a princess in a castle, again.

If you're anything like me, there are some days I put my kids to bed and think about how we practiced writing the alphabet in shaving cream and did a puppet show and had an impromptu dance party and made homemade yogurt popsicles and I say, "Wow.  I rocked this whole mama-thing today."  But there are also some days when I put my kids to bed and think about how I spent most of the day saying, "In just a minute!"

And I think that's okay.  I'm working really hard on not letting myself feel guilty about those in-just-a-minute days, because some days I really do need just a minute or fifty.

And then yesterday... after CK's nap and after I felt like I had probably met my quota of asking her to give me a minute, I plopped myself down on her bedroom floor and finally, finally played with her and her Peppa Pig dollhouse.  We laughed, we snorted, we did our best Peppa Pig impersonations.  It was the highlight of my day.  I looked at the piles of unfolded laundry and the dinner that needed to be cooked and thought, 

"In just a minute..."

Friday, June 12, 2015

Five on Friday!



This mama is beat.  Exhausted.  Overwhelmed.

But in the best possible way.

It has been a busy, chaotic, full, non-stop week.  Mostly because of...

Vacation Bible School.
You guys.
My heart grew this week.  My faith grew.  My relationship with Jesus - well, don't even get me started on Him.  I'd be writing all day! <3
This was my first time teaching VBS, and CK's first time attending.  I got chills multiple times throughout the week... watching, singing, dancing, praising, praying, celebrating during worship rally - having incredible conversations with my fourth-grade girls during Bible study - listening to CK tell me everything she learned on our drive home.  It was a life-changing, faith-growing, heart-exploding kind of experience.

Anyone ever dealt with baby eczema?  CK has a tan complexion and absolutely zero skin issues.  Then comes E - our fair and sensitive-skinned butterball.  His eczema flared up pretty bad over the past couple weeks, and I finally took him to the ped this week because a particular spot had me concerned.  It ended up being infected from the eczema, so we walked out of there with an antibiotic and a steroid cream.  I then took a tip to Target and stocked up what I'd heard were sensitive-skin, eczema-friendly bath soaps, lotions, moisturizers, laundry detergents, and sunscreens.  SO, if you have any suggestions or tips to keep eczema under control in little ones, let me know!

Today was helmet day for our E!!
I was relieved to find out that we will ease into having him wear the helmet, starting with three one-hour sessions today, and gradually increasing over the next few days until Tuesday, when he'll start wearing it for 23 hours a day.  We will go to Atlanta every other week for check-ups and adjustments, and hopefully his noggin' will be rounded out in no time.  Go Rocky, go!

I'm so excited about this weekend!  It'll include some lazy time around the house with my little family, helping to host a baby sprinkle to celebrate one of my very best friends and her almost-here baby boy, swimming at the pool, and also having all of the grandparents in town because...

Everette's church dedication is Sunday!  
We are so excited to present him to the church, asking them to help us raise him to know and love God.  It makes my heart so happy being his mama, and pretty much makes my heart want to explode when I think about teaching him all about Jesus and how it is because of Him that we have our E, our miracle.  So we'll have his dedication Sunday morning, and then I've reserved a private room at a local restaurant to have a celebratory brunch!  Cannot wait!!

Have a wonderful weekend!