What I Gave To My Eating Disorder

Thursday, July 21, 2016

First off, I know I am not the first to have had an eating disorder.  It riddles SO many women--and men--young, old, fat, thin, and everywhere in between.  But since it's my story, I'm going to tell it how it was for me.

My hope in this is so that people can relate, get educated, and even get help or help others. I don't think I ever truly LOOKED like I was suffering from an eating disorder, so hopefully this will help people out there recognize themselves or someone they love.

Secondly, I want to clarify that an eating disorder is where a person is obsessing over their body coupled with what they consume (or do not consume), and modify their behaviors to extremes in order to reach a envisioned outcome, or as a coping mechanism to combat extreme stress, depression, and/or anxiety.

Most women I know can tell me about a time (or times) where they were obsessed with a diet or exercise, hated the way they looked, and how hard that was for them.  My heart goes out to these ladies, because I know what that feels like!  It is awful and so unfair.  (Men are just as likely to deal with this--they just don't usually talk to me about it. ;) )  Eating disorders definitely start that way.  However, that is not an eating disorder.

An eating disorder is all that, but to a much greater extreme with long-standing effects on your life.  It is a pattern of thought and compulsive behavior so engrained in your psyche that it will likely never fully leave you, even when your behavior is healthy.  It whittles out your soul as you try to whittle down your body.  It chews you up, spits you out, makes you numb, makes you feel too much, and makes you think death is better than life.  It is, by all definition, a mental illness with no easy cure and a whole lot of shame.

That is what an eating disorder is.

Finally, My eating disorder started with years of off-and-on deprivation (a deprivation that was easily deemed as "healthy" and that I had "good self-control"), then it turned into years of binges coupled with extreme deprivation and exercise purges.  Throughout all of it, I carried an extreme hatred for my body.  From the outside, I looked like I was simply a "healthy" girl, so I want to really emphasize that someone can be eating, look pretty normal, and still have a major, life-altering eating disorder.

My struggles included years in the making, years in the trenches, and years in the recovery (of which I am still in, even 10 years later from first seeking help).  I'll be telling this story in phases, because it is LONG and it's also still hard to write about.

If you are struggling yourself, I want to warn you that you might not want to read.  I am very sensitive to "triggers," as we call them, and don't want to bombard someone who is in the trenches.  So, please make sure you are in a good place before you do!

Alllll that being said, I am going to start with a list of WHAT I GAVE TO MY EATING DISORDER.  This will seem sad and angry.  Because it is!  Many of these items are truly past-tense though, so take heart!

There is SO much I have taken BACK, and I am working on the rest.


I gave my eating disorder my thoughts.

I gave it my time.
I gave it my confidence.
I gave it my fear.
I gave it my attention.
I gave it my anger.
I gave it my strength.
I gave it my self-control.
I gave it my peace.

I gave it my love of dancing.
I gave it my choice to not serve a mission
I gave it my study abroad.
I gave it my graduate studies.
I gave it my talents.
I gave it my dreams.

I gave it friendships.
I gave it dates.
I gave it parties I would not attend.
I gave it parties I did attend.
I gave it awareness of others.
I gave it visits home.

I gave it foods untried.
I gave it jobs.
I gave it runs.
I gave it clothes.
I gave it money.

I gave it late nights.
I gave it early mornings.
I gave it sweat.
I gave it tears.

I gave it space in my home.
I gave it space in my marriage.
I gave it space in my bed.

I gave it my prayers.
I gave it my fastings.
I gave it my faith in God.

I gave it my happiness.
I gave it my desire to live.

I gave it "me."

If any of this rings true to you or remind you of someone, please refer to this screening: http://nedawareness.org/get-screened  The first step is recognizing there is a problem.

What's For Dinner: Melty Chicken Fold-overs (Using Costco Rotisserie Chicken)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Every time I go to Costco, I grab one of their rotisserie chickens.  It's always moist and really, really good--plus, it saves me the hassle of thawing and cooking chicken myself.  I shred the chicken into little pieces and use it in 2-4 dinners.  (That being said, we don't use a ton of meat each meal. If your family does, maybe you should grab two chickens!)  I've had to get creative so we don't always have the same meal, but here is one of our quick, go-to dinners that uses my Costco chicken!

I really struggled to know what to name this, but here you go... 

Melty Chicken Fold-overs!

Salad dressing of choice (I used Johnny's Caesar's Dressing, also from Costco)
Rotisserie Chicken, shredded
Spinach or Spring Salad Mix 
Avocado, sliced
Cheese (we used cheddar, bleu cheese, and mozzarella--all from Costco, too!)

Turn oven on to 450 degrees, F.  Put desired amount of shredded chicken in a microwaveable bowl. Drizzle a little salad dressing on top and microwave 30 seconds, or less.  On a cookie sheet, place two tortillas at a time.  Layer salad mix, chicken, avocado, and chicken/dressing mixture.  Sprinkle desired amount of cheese.  Place in oven and cook for 5 minutes.  Turn oven to broiler setting, and watch carefully until cheese is bubbly.  Remove from oven.  Wait a minute or two for it to cool down, then fold one side over.  Can serve with BBQ sauce, too (my husband's preference).

Serve with a side of veggies and you've got a healthy, tasty, 15-minute prep meal.

What I Wish I Had Known Before Having Children

Monday, July 18, 2016

Oh, hi there!  This is me, making three kids ages 4, 3, and just-turned-1 look easy.

Just kidding, I know I'm a hot mess.

Today, I am sharing eight things I wish I had known before I became a mother.  Keep in mind that I was a teacher before having children, so of course I knew all about child-rearing;)  (Face palm!)  Even when I had a six month old, I was still pretty certain of this fact.  Well folks, turns out that kids keep throwing you for loops!  And you, as parents, learn pretty quickly that you know nothing.  This past year has easily been one of the most stressful of my life, and I do not say that lightly.  It has also been 100% worth it.

So, pre-kids Monica, here's what I wish you had known...

1) Having children will make you more compassionate for all living things: You will feel heartbroken for a smashed snail on the sidewalk, thinking of its mother.  Little baby ducklings in a trail on the running path will make you choke up. And you won't be able to watch the news any more as it makes you way too distraught over the sadnesses happening to mankind.

2) Remember that parent you judged?  You will be "that parent:"  This applies to even after you've had your first baby and judge the moms losing their cool toward their toddlers while at Target.  You do NOT know the answers for most parents out there, because you don't know their real circumstances: the quirks and challenges of their kids, how hard their day has been, how little sleep they had, the bad news they just received, how unsupported they are, the finances they struggle with, or the whole myriad of other stresses that are impacting their parenting.  Have compassion toward all parents, because you will quickly learn what it feels like to be "that parent" while struggling with a deranged toddler in the aisle at Target.

3) Find your thing: You need friends.  You NEED hobbies.  You need time to yourself.  Find your thing, something that fulfills you outside of motherhood.  You cannot consistently give your children what you don't give yourself: love, time, and fun.

4) Consistency is everything: Sure, this is true in terms of being present and loving with your kids,  and having routines which guide your life. But consistency reallllly matters with discipline.  Get your warning system and your go-to consequences figured out and stick to them.  Even if that means putting your kid in time out in the church bathroom once their three warnings are up.  Also, when you say, "1.... 2..... " you better say, "3!" without delay, and follow through with the next EXPECTED step immediately.  Otherwise, your kids will be in complete control.

5) GUILT can either follow you all day every day, or can be a TOOL: Parenting is the most humbling venture you'll take part in, IF you are doing it right.  Being humbled is a good thing, so own the fact that you don't have all the answers.  However, guilt can easily control your life.  Instead of letting guilt fester you, keep you up at night, or encourage you to coddle your children to make up for your mistakes, allow guilt to be a tool that guides you to monitor where you need to improve and try again, quickly and often.  Then brush off that guilt, and move (humbly) forward.

6) You will alternate having bad feelings toward your children and loving them so much it hurts: In the same day, you will fantasize about running away from these little monsters and then later obsess over photos of them while they sleep.  You'll have moments where you'd give your right arm for 10 minutes alone, but once you are 10 minutes away from them you can't wait to get back to your little ones.  This is completely normal.

7) Nothing is more stressful than your children not getting along, day after day: Your kids will have very strong, very different personalities.  Their big needs will be very demanding.  They will struggle with each other, to meet in the middle of their opposite natural tendencies.  The stress of trying to successfully accommodate these little ones' divided needs and their wear-and-tear on each other will almost drive you to insanity.  But take heart!  Glimpses of them loving each other and getting along WILL come, and gradually be a more common part of your family picture.

8) Love is the answer: Always.  Read to your children with love.  Play dolls/trains/games with them, with love.  Teach them to play by themselves, do chores, and be friends with each other, with love.  Above all, DISCIPLINE WITH LOVE. You can being doing the "right things," but without the right motivation behind those actions they will carry less value.  Your children will feel the difference between a mom who reads to them out of guilt or resentment, and a mom who reads to them out of love.

I really could write about this topic all day, but I think I'll end it by telling pre-kids Monica this: You will not be the perfect mother--not even close.  Being a mother is the most soul-sucking, soul-searching, but somehow soul-fulfilling adventure of your life. Your kids will make you a better person, and you'll never, ever trade all the stress for a kidless life.  Not ever.

(PS: My outfit was my birthday gift to myself (thank you, Self!).  And per usual, all items were purchased at 40% off clearance, although I'm a little embarrassed how much I spent, but you only turn 30 once, right?! (I'm on a self-induced spending freeze now....): Shirt // Skirt // Shoes)

Want to read some other moms' lists?  I'm blogging on this topic alongside a great bunch of other ladies you can see below.  If you'd like to participate in a Mommy Style Monday series, please see Madeline and Kiana's blogs to learn how.

Kiana at Glitter & Donuts
Madeline at CaseyLand
Erica at Good Job Momma
Beverly at What a Day
Justine at Little Dove
Amy at Harris Inc.
Bekah at These Are The Days

Purposeful Social Media I Love to Follow

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Yesterday, I talked about wanting more purpose behind what I produce and what I take in with social media.  Today, I'd like to share some blogs of a few unicorn-women who manage to be real, inspiring, funny, and motivating.  There are SO many good blogs and Instagram accounts out there, but these are just a few of my very favorites that I regularly read and I feel they genuinely make me better for it.  (P.S.: None of these people are related to me, nor have they asked for this.  Who are we kidding, about three people regularly read this blog anyway so it's not like I'm bringing them a ton of traffic, ha!)

General/Lifestyle Blogs
* Hungry Runner Girl: Janae's blog is a daily read for me (whereas the others are more of a weekly or bi-weekly reading).  When she first started, I couldn't read her because I could tell she was engaging in some all-too-familiar behaviors for me.  But a few years ago, she went through some big life changes, has blogged about recovering from eating disorders, going through a divorce, being a single mom, and her running woes and is still able to keep up a good balance of humor.
* Design Mom: I think Gabrielle Blair has a very fair view of the world, and she is classy about distributing important information.  She also talks a lot about parenting and design.  I personally love her series Living with Kids and Call It a Day.
* Cup of Jo: Joanna Goddard is similar to Design Mom. She talks about parenting, marriage, style, food, and current events.  But the authenticity is always there.
* Everyday Reading: Janssen (and her sister, Merrick) are friends from a study abroad. Back when we were all newly married, we had family blogs like everyone else.  But hers definitely, and quickly, became something well beyond sharing your baby's monthly milestones.  I still read her blog faithfully because Janssen writes about it all (books, parenting, entertaining, style, and food), and is consistently smart, witty, and true-to-herself.

* Merrick's Art: Merrick is my other study abroad friend who has gotten a huge following on Instagram.  But you know what?  Her blog should not be overlooked.  I don't follow many fashion bloggers because they usually ignite the comparison-trap for me or make me want to spend my life's savings on a purse.  Not so with Merrick's blog!  She actually TEACHES you about fashion.  Her clothes are always affordable - reasonably priced, and she is also a fantastic seamstress who teaches you how to make and alter your own clothing.

* Mel's Kitchen Cafe: If you don't know her, then come out from under your rock!  Every single thing I've ever made of hers is brilliant.  And she is funny, to boot.
* Cake by Courtney: Courtney is one of the most amazing women I've ever known.  And that girl can BAKE.  I know, because I have personally eaten a lot of her baked goods.  I LOVE her cake blog and have made too many cakes to count because of it.  And I've honestly loved them all.  She knows her stuff.

Interior Design
* Style by Emily Henderson: Emily teaches, inspires, and totally entertains.  I love her like she's my long lost best bud.  I'm pretty sure everyone feels that way.
* House Tweaking: What I love about Dana is she lives well within her means but manages to live really beautifully.  Her decorating is SO inspiring--and largely DIY.  But she's all about curating a simple lifestyle and meeting your family's needs, not keeping up with the Joneses.
* Little Green Notebook: I really love Jenny's style, and I love how she writes.  She is the first design blog I followed and has influenced my own home style so much.  She is a DIY and thrifting queen, but manages to mix all styles into a really personable, BEAUTIFUL home.  I would die to be able to work for her some day.

Each of these women really speak to me.  They post with intention.  Their photos are beautiful, but not for show.  Their captions are often funny, sweet, inspiring, motivating, and always, always relatable.  Reading what they post always leaves me better than they found me.

* Talk Wordy to Me (also has a great blog!)
* Wander and Scout
* Anne Cropper (also has a great blog!)
* Thriving Motherhood
* Kaycee Sogard (also has a great blog!)

What blogs and Instagram accounts do you feel bring light into your life?

Social Media with a Purpose

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

(I write this typing with my left hand as my almost-1 year old naps in my dominant right arm. There might be plenty of typos and a little rambling in this post!)

Like all of you, the events of the past month or so (terrorist attacks, mass shootings, kidnappings, black deaths, and cop killings) have really shook me up.  I have truly grieved over the things I have been watching on the news, not to mention stayed up late way too many nights worrying about this world and raising my little ones in it.

Strangely, I've found myself also thinking about my pursuits in blogging and on Instagram. I've wondered a lot about if these mediums are of any worth in this world at large, and if they are of any real value to my own precious time. And with the news, I have a bit more perspective on how precious time really is.

I didn't have any real answers by last week's end, but I did have a thought: to take a big step back and really evaluate if these pursuits are valuable, or how I can make them so.

That weekend (mostly) away from social media was definitely insightful for me. I usually do my best to keep my phone on a bookshelf and to only do things when my kids are napping, but the pull to check on my latest posts or write the next one (not to mention procrastinate my chores) is very real and always lurking in my mind. It was good to simply take that option completely off the table.

So with those days of clear thinking behind me, I've come to some conclusions:

1) I still want to try: As consuming as this blog and my Instagram can be, both have been a creative outlet for me in ways that even I have been surprised by.  I have found my voice. I have found joy in sharing, whether is was a recipe or a TMI post on my personal history. I have found inner fulfillment in having something to "work" on outside my mothering duties.  In many ways, these pursuits have refilled my well. I feel that I personally would like to try to see if that can continue, and even increase.  With that in mind, I think the way to do that is to. . .

2) Make my social media pursuits more purpose-driven: My initial goals in starting these online ventures was to focus on making realistic progress in my life without the pressure of perfectionism, a pressure I personally think is all over the internet.  I wanted to be real.  I think I have done an OK job of this, but I want to do better.  I have felt an outward push to post only the perfect things, to mimic others, and I have come across as more of a know-it-all than I've wanted to be.  I also started this blog and Instagram with hopes that it would lend fuel to the fire of things things I love to do, and perhaps even lead to a career within them once my children are older: at first this was mainly writing and interior design.  But as I've blogged, I've been surprised by how much I have enjoyed doing the style and recipe posts.  I still want to post about these things too, despite them not being outright "progress' related.

So, how can I make all these topics and posts more purpose-driven?  I'm hoping to make sure the heart of what I initially wanted to project is still there, and that is this: none of us are perfect, all of us are a little scared, but we can all TRY.  Whether it's a recipe, a life-history post, or a fashion series, I want the feeling to be there that this is all in pursuit of making myself a better person, finding joy in experimenting and pushing myself, getting over fears, and hoping it's contagious enough to encourage others to do the same.  The specifics of accomplishing this is still foggy for me, so I'm going to work on it. (How's that for progress? Ha!)

3) Clean up what I personally ingest: I am a bit embarrassed how much I love blogs and Instagram.  In general, I'm simply not enthused by the things on Facebook, but I still find myself on there while procrastinating washing my dishes or putting away the laundry.  There are a LOT of good people on the internet and I love being inspired by people's voices and what they are creating.  But there are also a lot of people just in it for them, and projecting an image that is impossible to compete with, (even if its just my own internal war).  I want to only follow people and read blogs that inspire me--personally--to be better and to do better.  That, and laugh!  I am enthused that I have found those unicorn-women who have seem to have found that balance of being inspiring, real, funny, and motivating.  I want to find more of them!  I also want to unfollow and stay away from people I find myself being discouraged by, even if it's not their fault.  

In terms of using my time on social media, I want to challenge myself to get back to my roots when I initially got my smartphone: LEAVE IT BE (meaning, on my bookshelf) and to take it off only when the kids are sleeping/in quiet time.  And when I do, still limit it to a half hour on Instagram.  (That's probably a lot of time to most people still, but that is also apart of the business I'm attempting to be in.) I want to spend .1% of my day on Facebook, if that, and when I do make it to only check my playgroup page or share my latest blog post. I want to really connect with authentic people, build valuable relationships, and leave any time I've spend on social media feeling encouraged and happy, rather than mindlessly scrolling.  I don't want social media to be my go-to time filler or my procrastination method-of-choice; I want it to be a useful tool I integrate in my life to make myself better.  That's probably an impossible task, but I'm going to do my best before I shut it all down.  And I guess that's my final decision . . .

4) Know when to shut it down: Beyond those daily moments where I realize it's time to turn off the computer or put the phone back down, I want to be aware of when my pursuits and my time spent on social media needs to come to an end.  Perhaps it's a little break that is in order, like this past weekend.  Or perhaps it will be a full-on sabbatical or even an official "retirement."  I want to be wise and know when I can no longer feasibly accomplish my goals in these arenas, or when they are still controlling me rather than vice versa.

How have you better navigated the world of social media?  Any tips you can share with me?

Also, are there any bloggers or Instagrammers who you feel meets that unicorn description I set up?  (Real, motivating, inspiring, funny?)

Cashew Chocolate Chip Bites

Thursday, July 7, 2016

I'm about to say something a little extreme: When I die, I'd like these Cashew Chocolate Chip Bites with me in my casket.  

My girl, Melanie (OK, we don't know each other, but I love her like a sister), gave us another stand-up recipe.  In fact, it's one of my very favorites.  These bites are even better than the dark chocolate granola bites I was obsessed with.  They have way less sugar, are easier to make, and have more protein in them too.  They are like Lara Bars, but even tastier.  The mini-chocolate chips make them over-the-top good.

I've made FIVE double batches of these the past month and eaten them completely by myself.  Whether it be a handful for lunch (coupled with a green smoothie), quick pre-workout energy, a light snack, or an after-dinner treat--they are my go-to now.

Tip #1: Keep them frozen.  When you pop one, it tastes akin to cookie dough.

Tip #2: Since I'm an avid-Costco shopper, I highly recommend just buying their large buckets of cashews because you better believe you'll be making these a lot.  I like the unsalted raw kind for this recipe, but I've also used roasted/salted--just minus a bit of the salt the recipe calls for.

Tip #3: Don't over-blend these in that first initial step of breaking up the cashew and oats.  Otherwise, it gets a little too goopy.  (I use my blender, by the way, as I don't own a food processor.)

Tip #4: If you're struggling forming these into balls without getting your hands all sticky, just lightly wet the insides of your hands as needed.  With water of course, not your spit.

Cashew Chocolate Chip Bites
Adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

2 cups cashews
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 TB vanilla extract
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

In a blender or food processor, combine cashews, oats, salt, and cinnamon.  Pulse until the mixture is just broken up into fine parts, but not getting pasty (see tips).  Put blender/processor on low and stream in maple syrup and vanilla.  Blend until the ingredients are well combined into a dough.  Remove dough carefully (watch the blades!) and fold in the chocolate chips.  Use a teaspoon to measure out little balls and place them on a small cookie sheet, covered in parchment paper or a silpat liner.  Roll the bites into little balls.  Freeze on the tray.  Once frozen, transfer the bites into a large ziplock bag.  Store in freezer! (Or refrigerate if they will be eaten the same day.)

How We Wore It: Summer Workout

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

If you are like me, you have every good intention of getting up early before the rest of your family and get in your workout.  I know I sure feel better when it's done and out of the way!

But if you are like me, some days it just doesn't happen.  On those days, I'd still like to work out, but with my little kids I know that my time to do so comes at unpredictable times and lengths, especially in the summer when all three are home and are still young enough to need my almost-constant attention.  I try to give it my best shot though, and one way I set myself up for success is by getting dressed for the day in clothes that are cute, but can easily be worked out in as well.  That way, if I see my chance to get endorphins, I can take it right away and squeeze in a quick online workout.

This happened to me last week!  Bean got up quite a few times that night, and I plum-missed my alarm.  We had plans to go to the Bay Area Discovery Museum, so instead of bagging that or my workout, I sprung for both!  And luckily, I did get to do a little barre workout during nap time  and a long walk once my husband came home.

The inspiration for this summer workout outfit came from Looks For Lovelies. (Isn't she gorgeous?!)

Here's what I wore:

I know yoga pants aren't pants, but you guys--these ones from Athleta have pockets!  They are by definition pants, right? I saved up my Gap Rewards money to pay for them. But seriously, these are worth real money, not just rewards money.  They are thick without thickening up my legs, not see-through, have some structure to them, are high-waisted, and have the pockets I mentioned. I wear them all the time!

I teamed the leggings with two birthday purchases I made this month: a cheap Madewell T-shirt, and New Balance shoes.  (PS: I don't just buy things on sale, I buy them at 20-40% off clearance.)  I bought the shoes off clearance for $40 from J. Crew, so they aren't on the site anymore even three weeks later.  But Amazon has similar ones here and here, and other colors I like too.

Underneath the shirt, I layered one of my Fabletics tank workout tops (search for the "Mosa Tank"), just so a little pattern could peak out from under the tee.

Sidenote: I LOVE the Fabletics line.  After I had my third kid almost a year ago, I decided to actually get real work out clothes since mine were literally all holey cotton t-shirts and stretched out pants.  Everything I've gotten from them is top-notch, NEVER see-through, and long-lasting.  My friend who loves Lululemon says their leggings are just as good, and I took her advice.  You have to sign up for the VIP subscription to get the better pricing.  However, I've skipped every single month but two for over a year and a half, so there really is no pressure to buy an outfit every month.   And your first outfit is half off even the VIP pricing.  (It should be worth saying, none of this is sponsored.)

I wore this whole outfit again this week, and I'm sure a variation of it all summer long when I simply can't make my wake-up time!

This post is part of a series called How We Wore It, hosted by Diedre.  If you'd like to participate, see her blog to learn how.  Here is a list of other fantastic ladies who are participating as well, for your perusal:

Deidre from Deidre Emme
Ruth from My Little Nest
Jenn from What You Make It
Kiana from Glitter & Donuts
Jessica from Mason Jars and Lemon Bars
Alyssa from Pinsent Life
Sierra from Sierra's View
Madeline from CaseyLand
Riley from Riley Jo Blog
Samantha from The Samantha Show
Jen from Jam tart boutique
Beverly from What a Day
Brooklyn from Brooklyn Jolley
Amber from Amber Nicole blogs
Erica from Good Job Momma
Shelbie from 365 With RyGuy and I
Jenn from Give This Girl Coffee
Kelsi from Lovestrong
Justine from Little Dove
Chelsea from Tessa Marie

Mommy Style Monday: 4th of July

Monday, July 4, 2016


Happy 4th of July!

Growing up, the 4th rivaled Christmas as my favorite holiday.  I came from a fairly small town in Northern Utah that did the 4th right.  I'm talking PATRIOTISM in its finest.  Think of neighborhood BBQs alongside a full week of celebrating.  Think of a HUGE parade down the center of town, a parade in which half the town set up lawn chairs to reserve spaces days in advance.  A parade where the second half was devoted to a giant water fight, with both sides participating.  I recall one year as a participant in the parade (my one and only year as a cheerleader), getting an entire cooler of water dumped right over my head by two complete strangers.  If that's not a blast, I don't know what is!

And the fireworks!  Don't get me started.  Seriously, there were fireworks across the whole valley.  My family made a tradition of hiking up the mountain and watching the display, voting on which city had the best ones.

Once Brad and I moved to Northern California, I quickly learned that the 4th of July was not at the same level of fanfare I was used to.  The town parade left me feeling disappointed, and fireworks were kind of blah.  I was underwhelmed by the sense of patriotism and love of country.  At least we still had the BBQs, and that helped.  A little...

OK, so maybe this post is just me ranting about my disapproval of my current home's celebration of this important holiday.

The past few years though, I've enjoyed walking with my neighbors to our small, local parade and having a BBQ with a few friends.  That smaller celebration has been enjoyable, too.  And I've finally come to the conclusion, that I can set the tone in my little family.  We can hang our flag, wear our red, white, and blue, and enjoy our time together.  I can help my little ones appreciate how blessed we are to live in the good ol' U.S. of A., because we are so, so blessed.

Shirt, Similar Shorts, Sandals, Lipstick
You might already be on your way to your local parade by now, but in case you need any outfit inspiration, here you go!  The way I took my outfit a little above the normal 4th of July tradition of wearing the right colors, was adding in some red lipstick and gold saltwater sandals.

Some ladies and I are sharing what we're wearing for this great holiday, hosted by the fantastic ladies Madeline and Kiana (go visit their blogs if you'd like to participate the next round).  Please take a look if you'd like some more ideas on how to brighten your 4th of July outfit!

Kiana at Glitter & Donuts
Madeline at CaseyLand
Cait at Cait's Cozy Corner
Chelsea at Tessa Marie
Kelsi at Lovestrong
Jen at Jam Tart Boutique


Things I Want to Remember, Round 5

Friday, July 1, 2016

* I've really enjoyed our summer with this girl by our side.  She is doing a good job of trying to include her little brother, RG, in her make-believe.  For someone who loves, loves to play on her own, this is a big deal.
* Bella has been really into writing letters.  She colors pictures or draws things, and then dictates letters for me to write.  I don't even know how many we've sent out.  We LIVES for a letter to arrive in the mailbox with her name on it.
* We started art lessons as a summer activity.  It's just once a week, but we've found a sweet teacher who picked up on Bella's temperament right away and her exhaustive need to do everything just right.  I've been really trying to get Bella to understand that mistakes are OK, and this art teacher has stepped up as well to help our little girl understand that messing up is part of the learning process.

* RG loves his baby brother oh so much.  It's a physical love, though--meaning the kid just can't seem to leave his hugs and love-shoves to himself.  I know his little heart though, and that it's out of a big love for his little brother.  He's trying so hard to be gentler and I can see those two becoming the best of buds.  Bring on the wrestling!
* While Bella is in her art class, RG and I have been kicking around a little soccer ball.  I don't think I can ever forget the sound of his laughing the entire time we play.  He loves having some one-on-one time, and the more active it is, the better.
* I know we'll have to work on it within a few year, but I am currently loving his speech impediment: round-R's.

* My sidekick will be 1 year old in a little over two weeks.  That knowledge makes my heart hurt a bit.  I have so, so loved having a baby in the house.  The joy he has brought all of us is indescribable.
* Bean is as chill as can be, as long as he is attached to Mama's hip.  And I don't mind it one bit.
* He loves, LOVES to drink--from cups, from sippy cups, water bottles etc.  It's almost insatiable.
* Bean has lost all semblance of chub and is soooooo long.  Thank goodness he was almost 10 lbs at birth; he got every germ that has come his way this past year and went through round after round of not having a strong appetite.  I think if he had had a normal appetite, then he would be ginormous.  I am so going to miss those juicy thighs!

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