Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Mother's Blessing

Earlier this week I was honored to be a part of a beautiful ceremony celebrating my friend Sharon. She is a few weeks from giving birth to her second child, and she wanted to do something different than a baby shower this go-around.

So some of her good friends gathered around her and threw her a Mother's Blessing.  (aka. Blessingway)  It was one of the coolest evenings I have ever experienced!  Here is a brief recap of the night in seven {Awesome} quick takes!

And thank you Sharon for letting me use your photos!! :)


The night started with amazing food and great conversation.  Our favorite wine sommelier (everyone needs one of these in your friends group!) poured up some awesome wine and we started the night off right.


Knowing Sharon would love it, we hired a Henna artist to paint a tattoo on Sharon's belly.

You guys. I am not exactly the type to show my bare belly during pregnancy, but I would seriously consider getting a Henna tattoo next time I'm pregnant.  It is just so beautiful!!!!


After we ate, we went outside to this amazing set-up:


We then each lit a candle that we had brought and went around the circle offering encouragement and our favorite things we love about Sharon.


Then we each took a rock and wrote a word on it that we wanted to offer Sharon to think about, or know that we were praying for while she is in labor.  Strength, peace, grace, etc...


Throughout the ceremony there were beautiful readings from the Bible as well as from the book shown above, Jesus Calling.  Then at the end we did two things - we connected ourselves by one piece of string around our wrists, and then cut it.  We will wear it until she goes into labor.  Then we laid hands on her and prayed.


At the very end of the night we took home the candle we had lit.  We are then going to re-light it when Sharon goes into labor as a reminder for us to think about her and send her positive thoughts and prayers.

You guys, what an amazing night.  I highly recommend doing something similar for any mom you know who is about to give birth.  It can be done so many different ways depending on what kinds of things the mom likes to do.

It was just such a meaningful night for everyone, and while the night was all about Sharon, it really bonded us as fellow mothers and friends.  

It was -- you guessed it --  freaking awesome.

8th bonus and completely shameless take: 

I released the 3rd and final part to the Child Development and Identity podcast series today!  It is an awesome interview, you have to check it out!!!!

In it I interviewed MaryRuth Hackett, a developmental Psychologist and mom of four.  In the 3rd part of the series we talk about how to help instill confidence and a healthy self-esteem in our kids.  We talk about things like body image, family culture, and the importance of the language we use with our kids.

Check it out! :)

...Ahem.  This is part of my current 31 Days of Awesome Kick.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Free Samples

I know I already mentioned how awesome Costco is. thing I would like to specify, is how awesome FREE SAMPLES are.

Not only do they sustain us mentally, emotionally, and physically..

Ok actually I mean just physically.

But they also take little girls

from this:

To this:


Does anyone ever feel like going back for seconds at the samples cart and pretending like it was your first time there?


Just me?

Be honest guys.  You know free samples are that awesome.

...Ahem.  This is part of my current 31 Days of Awesome Kick.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Walk

Every day Mia asks me (by leading me around the house and pointing / grunting / whining) to do things for her. And maybe half the time I tell her no, and the other half I oblige.

Yes, you may have some more cheerios.

Sure, you may play with my ipod and pretend it's your smart phone.

OK, sure, let's play outside on the porch now.

No, you can't sit on the counter top.

No, you can't play inside the fridge.

No, you can't play with my laptop.

Well this afternoon her biggest (I mean biggest) request was to go for a walk.  Not in her stroller. Not in her wagon.  Not even in her bike-that-I-push-thing. She wanted to hoof it herself.  Old school.

So - here we went. Out the door.  Down the driveway.  To the street. (No sidewalks. I know.)

And I have to say, it was the best part of my day.  I had to walk   s l o w l y  with her hand in mine, as she looked up at the planes and this way at the dogs barking and that way at the neighbors' houses.

Then she decided exactly half way through that she wanted to take a little breather.  And you know what?

It was her walk. So we took a breather.


And we sat and we sat.  And we waved at neighbors as they drove by and waved back at the funny neighbors (us) on the curb, and we splashed our (her) hands in the puddle, and we enjoyed the cloudy, beautiful day.

And it was awesome.

And we (I) realized that sometimes, it's good to just say yes to the whims of my 1-year-old and go along for the ride.

[For an uneventful video of our excursion click here]

...Ahem.  This is part of my current 31 Days of Awesome Kick.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Today I saw this post from Abby Johnson, someone I admire a great deal.  It included inspiring thoughts on forgiveness, and I thought it was worth sharing.  She is AWEsome.

I am incredibly passionate about the pro-life cause being focused on fighting evil and not each other, and I think Abby does an incredible job at bringing non-judgement, forgiveness and love into this incredibly polarizing cause.  If you haven't read them, her blog and book are definitely worth checking out.

...Ahem.  This is part of my current 31 Days of Awesome Kick.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Meal-Planning Start-Up

I have been in a super huge food rut lately, eating the same things day in and day out.  I mean, the SAME. THINGS.

So I decided to do two things today:

1. Get some meal planning inspiration online, and

2. Get a Costco Membership!!!!

It's time, you guys.  No more hearing about my friends list all of their favorite Costco foods, or reading about or seeing on IG with great envy this chick taking her little chick-a-dees.

And I am happy to announce that both goals were accomplished!!

So, of course I have been to a Costco before, but it was so much fun with my own little membership card and my own little [massive] cart going up and down every isle.  My bank account was not thrilled, but this mama and her bland shelves were.

Also, I came across this really Awesome 2-week meal plan that included meal ideas for all meals and snacks in the day, and I seriously printed - yes you read that right - printed -  off so many of the recipes. They are just healthy enough (or easily adjusted to be more healthy) for what we like.  There was also a recipe for healthy fudgecicles which - can you GET enough fudgecicles in your life?

No. I think not.

So, I'm sure you'll hear me ramble on about a recipe or two in the near future, so come back if you dare. And if you have any favorite meal planning guides I'd love to hear about them!!!!!!

...Ahem.  This is part of my current 31 Days of Awesome Kick.

Sunday, October 5, 2014


This morning I woke up in the dark and headed out to the MP9k, a race that helps support Maggie's Place (my previous employer / the best nonprofit ever).  

It was a great morning -- beautiful weather, a good friend to jog/walk beside with our strollers, and our little girls were just the cutest in their race bibs for the Kid's Dash.  

I just think her ponytail is the cutest thing ever.  Basically because I'm her mom.

It was truly an awesome morning seeing old and new friends, enjoying the beautiful weather that we've been waiting (And waiting) for, and pushing myself to jog Faster!!! as the cutest 3-year-old slave driver above shouted us on.

...Ahem.  This is part of my current 31 Days of Awesome Kick.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Second-Hand Shops

Buying things from second-hand shops (thrift stores, consignment shops, yard sales) is one of my favorite things.

Not only do I find great things that I need (and often don't), but I find them on Tha Cheeaapp.

How fun is that????

It's so fun, it's Awesome.

Another awesome thing: When your friend takes you driving around on a Saturday morning, with 2 kids in the back seat, looking to score some sweet deals.  And then when that friend stuffs a huge Little Tikes car in the front seat while you chill in the back with the kiddos...that is even better.

...Ahem.  This is part of my current 31 Days of Awesome Kick.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Story Time

Well it's almost to the end of day 2 of this ridiculous 31 Day Challenge and I realllllyyy would like to skip today because I have *so* much to do yet tonight...

BUT - I am resolute. I will not skip a day, no matter what. <<<The things I tell myself.

So today I am posting a great photo from earlier today, which was taken at Story Time (a loose term with these hoodlums) at a local coffee shop / bookstore called Changing Hands.

I call it:

That Time All The 1-Year-Olds Sat Still For A Photo: AWESOME.

...Ahem.  This is part of my current 31 Days of Awesome Kick.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

31 Days of Awesome!

Ok guys, here goes nothin!  I have joined The Nester and the rest of the 31 Dayers and have committed to writing a blog post every day for the month of October.

Yikes!  Crazy, I know.  But I'm really excited about the theme I've chosen, because I think it will be a really good exercise for me.  So here's the deal: in the spirit of The Book of Awesome (affiliate link), I am going to be looking for and reflecting on all those "little" awesome things that happen, or that we realize, throughout my day.

Like that time a friend returns a shirt you forgot you had.
Or when your kid takes a 2 hour nap.  
Or when you find $5.
Or when the temperature outside is perfect for a walk.
Or when the salt on your salted chocolate chip cookies from LGO is just right. (Phoenix peeps whatUP!)

Those are the awesome moments I think we really need to acknowledge, because they are the ones that make up our live on a daily basis.  Not just those awesome moments of holding your child for the first time, or your wedding day, or graduating from college. Those are AWESOME of course, but they are few and far between, and the days in between seem long and uneventful.  

But they are not, my friends! They are filled with even the tiniest glimmer of awesome, and this is something I need to remind myself.  So 31 days of reflecting on it, it is.

And just for fun, here are a few Awesome quotes from Neil Pasricha's book:

"Life is so great that we only get a tiny moment to enjoy everything we see.  And that moment is right now.  And that moment is counting down.  And that moment is always fleeting.  You will ever be as young as you are right now."

"The point is it's such a great feeling to scarf cookies with abandon like Cookie Monster.
Truly, he is the role model for us all."
--The book of (Even More) Awesome

"The [Five Second Rule] has may variations, including The Three Second Rule, The Seven Second Rule, and the extremely handy and versatile The However Long It Takes Me To Pick Up This Food Rule."

If you guys haven't read the book, it's definitely one to check out!

Have an awesome day :)