The Power of Positivity

I was lucky enough to grow up with two great examples of parents. My mom was always patient with us as kids and my dad is the KING of positivity. His favorite movie is Pollyanna.  Never heard of it? It’s a 1960s Disney movie with Hayley Mills where this little girl teaches everyone to “play the glad game” no matter the circumstance. Whenever we had a negative attitude growing up my dad would remind us that things weren’t all that bad and that we needed to find the good in the situation. We needed to, “play the glad game.” My dad has all sorts of these sayings that he would recite to us whenever we needed an attitude adjustment. In fact, in my parents’ new house my mom has printed out all of his sayings and posted them on the walls of their gym. (I guess to encourage people to keep going when they are cursing that they have another 30 minutes of cardio, right? J)

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Even now, when I feel like Liam is being a handful my dad will spin the situation to seem not so bad.

Me: “Oh Liam, why are you being so fussy?”  Dad:  “He’s not fussy, he’s just communicating.”

Me: “Oh Liam, why aren’t you taking a nap?”  Dad: “Who would want to take a nap when there are so many fun things going on?”

Me: “Oh Liam, why did you get into that?” Dad: “He is just curious – lots of things to discover.”

This week I have been focusing on playing the “glad game” and honestly, I have noticed a difference. Not necessarily in Liam’s behavior, but in my reactions. I have found myself laughing at Liam instead of getting frustrated with him. I have found myself being more patient. I have looked for the teachable moments instead of just giving in to his demands because it is the easy thing to do. I am figuring out how to find joy in this next phase of motherhood.

I am also realizing the importance of my kids growing up with positive parents in a positive atmosphere. I need to be a good example of how to tackle challenges and how to make the best of situations. Life is hard some days! We have especially learned that this summer. It’s not always perfect, but there is power in a positive attitude and your outlook on life. I am reminded of that this week and will continue to challenge myself to be the kind of mom I want to be.

Thriving, not just surviving.

Let me tell you a little story. The spring of this year Trevor came to a realization. He realized that he didn’t like nursing, in fact, he hated it. He worked as an ICU nurse in a hospital for two years and would come home with stories that I couldn’t even comprehend. He dealt with difficult people, difficult situations, and death on a daily basis. I remember coming home from work and feeling stressed because my event location couldn’t fit enough people or I didn’t have enough hotel rooms. Then, Trevor would tell me about his day and all my work stresses seemed trivial. The hours, hospital policies, and ungrateful patients would take its toll on anyone. Nurses are seriously special people.

Trevor worked hard for his Bachelors of Nursing for four years and had planned to continue his education and get a Masters of Nursing. But, one day we were forced to sit down and look at  where we were going and what we were doing. We hardly saw each other with the way our schedules were set up. Trevor worked nights and weekends so he could take care of Liam during the day while I was at work. Every day he worked we would do a quick exchange of the kiddo and be on our separate ways. We were surviving, but not really thriving. I realize a lot of people probably have similar situations and make it work, but it wasn’t working for us. We felt  a sense of urgency to make a change when in early summer one of my co-workers died suddenly and tragically. It hit me hard. Life is way too short and way too fragile to not be happy now. We started talking about other career options for Trev. We didn’t want to just survive. We wanted to thrive and we were in a perfect situation to make that change.

Trev was good at nursing. He was a leader in his unit and was moving up so the thought of walking away from a career in health care seemed out of the question. However, as we explored other options Trev became more and more interested in IT careers.  I had always thought Trevor would thrive in the IT world. He was so good with any type of technology and would easily get caught up on trying to figure out a solution to a electronic problem.  So, even though it was a hard decision, we made the leap. Trevor quit his nursing job and started an eleven week boot camp computer coding program. It has been hard. He has doubted himself. We haven’t seen a lot of since he has dedicated his time to being successful in this program. Trevor has gone from the top of a field to starting back and the beginning. He would hate that I’m posting this because he hates that ooey gooey online husband bragging… But, I am so proud of him. He has worked his butt off and has been an amazing father and husband through it all. Like tonight, he is taking me on a surprise date which I was going to do for him, but he beat me to it! In a week and half he will be done with the boot camp and it makes me so happy to see him love what he is doing. Life might not always take you where you think you are headed, but everything always works out for the best. I am excited to see what the next couple months have in store for us!

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And we’re off! The bottle, that is.

It was a big weekend for Liam. We retired the baby bottle and I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t the tiniest bit sad. It was yet another step from turning my baby boy into a little boy. Liam is NOT a snuggler, but he would cuddle up with me when I would feed him his bottle before nap and bed time. Sigh, I already miss my snuggles, but I guess I’ll have to trick him into cuddling with me some other way now. J

We weren’t planning on nixing the bottle this weekend. In fact, I had kind of given up on the idea of getting rid of the bottle because he has been sick every other weekend and the bottle was the only thing he’d eat. I have been trying “bottle weaning” and taking away one bottle at a time, but wasn’t making very much progress. And the nighttime bottle, psh – I thought he was going to have that until he was five he was so attached. But, Friday morning we woke up and he was happy and active so I decided we wouldn’t do a bottle and have breakfast together instead. My sitter didn’t give Liam a bottle all day because he was having so much fun. He was having such a good day without it so I decided to run with it. I knew getting rid of the nighttime bottle was going to be the hardest and was dreading bedtime. I began the process of putting him to bed without it and he was not happy. I sat outside his door for 5 minutes, waiting to jump into action with the bottle if I needed to. Each time I had my hand on the door knob ready to cave he’d stop crying. After 15 minutes he went to sleep and slept through the whole night! Saturday there were a few tears shed at the morning nap, but he has been a trooper and kicked it. I am so proud of my little guy!

Although I am sure he didn’t make the connection, we went to the park as a “reward” for Liam doing so well off the bottle. It was a reward for me too. It made me feel like a nice mom even though I was ripping that little comfort away from him. There is a park in the city we are moving to that is amazing. It has three different sets of playgrounds and we tried them all. Liam was in heaven and we could have spent all afternoon there. He of course liked to climb on everything and was having so much fun exploring. He loved the teeter tooter and the swing is always a hit with him. Yay, for successful weekends and moving forward! J

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I {heart} mornings

Can I just say, I {heart} mornings. I haven’t always loved them. I am more of a night owl so when Liam came along loving the mornings I learned to love them too. They can be hectic and crazy, but I love that we can spend a little time as a family before we go our separate ways. When I say “spending time” I mean, eating breakfast, getting dressed, packing lunches…you know, morning stuff, but I love it still the same.

Getting Liam out of the crib in the mornings is one of those silly little things Trevor and I race each other to do. He is just so stinking sweet, looking out above his crib with his blankie in hand. He makes sure that before we get him out we have all his stuffed animal friends that spent the night. The lucky parent that gets him out of the crib is treated to a sweet snuggle and then usually an “oooo” as he points to the door, ready to go for the day.

Mostly Liam loves to tear into things while we are bustling around getting ready. He loves mom’s purse and putting on chapstick. He loves tearing out all the shoes from the closet. He loves helping to make the bed and handing us pillows. He loves brushing his teeth and steeling Mom and Dad’s toothbrush to do so (even though he has his own). Lately, he loves dragging around a wad of yarn. I have put it up so many times because I feel like it is a tripping hazard, but he keeps finding it. I guess I need to put it up higher. The house will be nice and tidy when I go to bed at night, but at 7:30am it a disaster zone. You’d think it would drive me nuts, and some days it does, but more than anything I love that Liam is exploring, active and busy. He is such a happy camper in the mornings and Trevor and I are always laughing at the randomly cute stuff he does.

PS – The little guy is teething as of late and is a drooling machine. I love this cute bandana bib from H&M that he can wear throughout the day to help his shirt from turning into a wet dishrag.

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Out with the old and in with the new

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Who’s closest is getting a little too full with all the cute fall clothes you have been buying? If you need some room in your closest or are just feeling the itch for some deep cleaning you need to check out this website. It’s an easy way to make a little extra cash off your old clothes.

It’s called Swap.com and it’s an online consignment store. I heard about it when I was watching Ellen one of my days off and thought it was worth a try. It’s basically pretty cool. swap-logo-site-159@2x

When we were moving I knew I wasn’t going to have a lot of closet space for all my clothes in our new place. So, I went through my closets. My rule was, if I hadn’t worn the item the previous year then it had to go. Man, did I have a lot of unnecessary clothes! To be honest it was kind of freeing to be rid of it all. I decided to send all my stuff to Swap instead of taking it to a local second hand store. Once you send in your gently used clothes Swap takes pictures of them and puts them up for sale on their website. Once the items sell you are paid. It’s a pretty slick process. They advertise that each box you send in earns around $150. I have found that on average I have made closer to $75 a box, but still, I thinks that’s pretty awesome. I have sent in eight boxes of stuff between me and Liam and I am looking forward to using that extra cash for some of our new home renovations!

Here are my pros and cons about using Swap versus a local consignment store.

Pros

  1. No hassle shipping process. Swap has three shipping options online to choose. I prefer to print out the prepaid shipping form and tape it my box. The $8.90 for shipping is then deducted from my earnings when I make a sale.
  2. They take the majority of your gently used clothes. It doesn’t matter the brand, how old it is, or if it is the current fashion trend. Swap isn’t picky as long as the clothing item is in good shape. I have gotten frustrated in the past with places like Pluto’s Closet because they won’t even take clothes that still have tags on them if they aren’t “in style.” Well, if they were in style I probably wouldn’t be getting rid of them, would I now?
  3. You set your own prices. Another pro about Swap is that you get to set your own prices for the items you send in. They give you a recommended price and you can go from there.
  4. Everything is managed online Once Swap receives your shipment they take photos of you items and put them for sale up on the website. Besides dropping off the box at the post office you can manage your clothing sales from the comfort of your couch. Their website is user friendly and easy to navigate.
  5. Money is transferred directly to your PayPal account. Once your items have been sold there is a running tally of how much money you have earned. At set payout dates the money is transferred to your PayPal account which can then be transferred to your bank account.

Cons

  1. Swap takes about 30 days to process your shipment, take pictures, and get it up online.
  2. Swap doesn’t take Men’s clothing at this time.
  3. Swap does takes a small percentage of your sale. However, I have still found that despite Swap taking a small percentage to run their business I still make more money off my old clothes through Swap then a second hand store.
  4. Your items may take some time to sale.

For me, the pros outweigh the cons. And as long as you are patient and not in a hurry the cons really aren’t that bad.

You can also buy stuff on the website for cheap. I was able to get some cheap sneakers and pants for Liam’s Halloween costume.

I have been wanting to share this tip that has been successful for me so there you go! Happy cleaning!🙂

Some days you just need a play date

My cute friend that watches Liam was out of town this week doing a crazy obstacle course race (high fives to her, that’s awesome!) and instead of finding another babysitter arrangement like I normally do I decided to take a day off from work and spend it with my little guy.  And sometimes a day off with your kiddo is just what the doctor ordered.  Don’t get me wrong, life has been really good recently. Busy, but good. We’ve have gotten into a good daily routine and we all seem to enjoy our days. But, there are some days that your heart aches a little when you hear of all the new things your little one is learning and you aren’t there to witness or experience it. I will say, I love hearing stories of Liam thriving, learning and growing, but an occasional random Friday off is just what I need to feel okay about going to work every day.

We had a fun filled day with friends and with each other. We started the day off with a morning run. I use to love running, but I can never get my butt out of bed in the mornings to do it. So, today I did. The run didn’t last long because I am so out of shape and it started to rain, but it was fun nonetheless.

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Bundled up and ready for a chilly run.

We spent the afternoon with some of our friends at the aquarium. Now that Liam is a little bigger I love watching him interact with other kids. He was in heaven playing with his friends and exploring. He thought he was big stuff running from exhibit to exhibit and I could barely keep up with him. Thus, the lack of pictures – he is always a blur on my camera. Any suggestions for catching those action shots?

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Staring down Mr. Frog. 

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Looking at the birdies

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Oh! I’ve been caught taking pictures! Those eyes though!

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Thinking he is big stuff pushing his friend around.

Kids or no kids. Working moms or stay at home moms.  If you are feeling like you need a pick me up, seriously consider taking a day off. If it is to spend some time with your kids or spend time on yourself, you won’t regret it. Life can be stressful and it is easy to get lost in the grind. Taking the time to do something you love and recharge is something everyone deserves every now and again.

Makin’ Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Liam made his first batch of chocolate chip cookies tonight! I remember making these growing up and, in my opinion, they are the world best chocolate chip cookies. I know. I know. Everyone thinks their chocolate chip recipe is the best, but you have to at least give these a try. They almost have a salty taste. Not a gross, nasty salty taste, but a nice taste to balance out the sweet. Like popcorn and milk duds! Recipe is at the bottom of the post.

Honestly I was a little surprised, but Liam loved making the cookies! I loved making cookies with my family growing up and I glad that I’ve started this tradition with Liam early.

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Sneaking a few chocolate chips before we start.

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He wasn’t sure what to think of the sugar when he got it on his hand. He held out his hand and wouldn’t touch anything until I wiped off the sugar.

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Liam thought it was a good idea to filp the Kitchen Aid switch on when we were adding chocolate chips. Dough went EVERYWHERE! I am sure I will be cleaning it up for days.

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When the bag of chocolate chips spill and you think you’ve won the chocolate chip jackpot. This is Liam trying to shove as many chocolate chips in his mouth before I cleaned them up.

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We were cleaning up our mess when the timer went off  on my phone. He thought it was cool.

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#YUM!

Chocolate Chip Recipe

Mix thoroughly in bowl:

1/3 cup soft shortening

1/3 cup butter

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup brown sugar (packed)

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

Stir together in another bowl:

1 ½ cup flour

½ tsp salt

1 tsp soda

Mix dry ingredients into shortening mixture thoroughly work in 1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips

Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls  two inches apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned, but still soft.  Let cool.