Sunday, January 26, 2014

Moms Deserve Respect....

....and not just from their children.

When did these "Mommy Wars" start?  How did our society let this happen?  Why do people think it's ok to act like being a mom isn't important?

I have been on both sides of this delicate fence.  I have been a mom who worked full-time while my kids were cared for by someone else.  I have been a mom who worked full-time running her own business from home.  And I am currently a completely stay-at-home mom who does nothing more than see to the needs of her three children, husband and the house.  And, boy, do they have a lot of needs!

Does staying home to raise up my little humans make me less important? Less talented? Less evolved?  I definitely don't believe so, but there are so many people out there who would want me to think these things are true.

 I read this article and it made my blood boil.  (And, yes, I realize that I am just going to end up sending more traffic to her site, but that's ok.)  She (a never-married, childless woman) basically tells everyone that she thinks SAHMs are not important.  She actually says that taking care of your house and kids will never be as important as being a doctor or starting a business.  Well, excuse me, but I think that taking care of these little people that I made, making sure they have everything they need and raising them to be exceptional people and productive members of society is pretty damn important!

And, yes, I absolutely understand that I am not performing brain surgery everyday or designing rockets that can fly to outer space, but being a mom is an important one, and a difficult one at that!

I have days when I am so grateful to be here with them.  I get to take my two oldest to school everyday.  I get to hang out with my little dude all day.  I take care of the house, change diapers, fix him meals and play with him all day!  I get to pick my two oldest up from school everyday!  I get to be the one helping them with homework and taking them to extracurricular activities!  I make them dinner every night and put them to bed every night!  And, at this point in my life, I don't want it any other way!

There are definitely days when I think things might be easier if I did work outside the home.  My youngest would be in daycare instead of home making messes all day for me to clean up.  I would have other adults to talk to during the day instead of a toddler and my other kiddos.  I would have more ground to stand on for equal contribution to household chores if my husband wasn't the only one working.  Our finances would be much better.  Having two incomes would mean more eating out and extravagances for our family.  It would mean I could get my nails done, buy new clothes and get my hair done more often.  But are these things better?  I'm not sure they are.

Now, as someone who has been on all sides of this "war", I know that there are easy things, hard things, better things and worse things about each choice.  And as mothers, somewhere along the way, we all have to make the choice.  Stay home or go to work.  Up until we moved to Vegas a year and a half ago, I had always chosen to work.  Although, I must admit, that choice was really made for me by our need to be a two income family.  Moving allowed me to make the choice I probably would have made from the start- to stay home.  And, now, I must also admit that it is much harder than I thought it would be.  There are days when I wish I could just clock out for the day!  But SAHMs don't have that option.  We are on call 24/7.  And that's ok with me!

We all have to do what's best for us and our family.  We can make different choices and still be great.  We can still respect each other enough to let each other do what needs to be done.  Walk a mile in someone else's shoes.....

So, you can go perform brain surgery, and I'll be over here cleaning the crayon off the wall.  But tonight when we tuck our sweet babies in the bed, it won't matter what we did all day.  We are moms.  And that makes us awesome!


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Valentine Ideas For The Love In Your Life

I did a post a of weeks ago about Valentine cards for your kids to make!  Today, I'm going to focus on what we can do for our significant other.  I struggle with this every year!  Everywhere you look, there are red and pink hearts, flowers, chocolates and way over-sized stuffed animals!  Now, I don't know about about the love of your life, but my hubby has ZERO interest in any of that!  And he would probably be annoyed with me for wasting money on any of it!  So, it's time to get creative!  I found some wonderful things that will work for him, and maybe for you, too!

First of all: HEART SHAPED BACON!!  What man (or woman or child) doesn't love bacon???  This is the perfect way to start of the day of love!

And, you can serve that bacon with a bottle of juice with this super cute printable.

This next idea, I really love.  My husband and I have 3 kids and don't usually go out on Valentine's Day.  So this Cuddle Kit is so perfect!  You can put some of your favorite treats in it and have a romantic rendezvous after the kids go to bed!  I'm definitely doing this and my basket will include a furry new blanket, my fave wine and hubby's fave beer, some chocolate, some strawberries and maybe even a romantic movie!

The All About You Bucket is also super cute!  You fill a bucket with things he loves and things that remind you of him!  They even included a list of reasons why they love their spouse!  So cute!  I like this because it can really be personalized!
While searching Pinterest, I found so many great ways we can all spoil our significant other for Valentine's Day!  Coupon Books, Mini Bottle Bouquets, Personalized Guitar Picks; the options are endless!  So find what you feel your hubby will like best and go for it!  Everyone loves being spoiled every once in a while!


Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Long Journey For A Miracle....

Today's post is dedicated to my sweet, sweet little Cooper Preston, who turns two years old today.  It's probably gonna be a little long, so buckle up!

I guess I'll start way, way back to 2007.  John and I had been married for almost 7 years and we were already parents to Caroline and Corbyn.  We loved our life but we started thinking about having more children.  Well, being the Fertile Myrtle that I am, we were pregnant after only one month of trying.  We were so excited and I told the kids right away.  Corbyn didn't understand at all since he wasn't quite two yet, but Caroline, who was 6, was very excited!  We had never had any reason to think anything would go wrong so we announced it to the world!

At around 9 weeks, I started spotting.  I went to the doctor and was told that it was normal and since both of my other pregnancies had been without incident, that I should just take it easy and everything would be fine.  Well, it wasn't fine. At almost 12 weeks, I had a miscarriage and I was completely devastated.  I had never felt such sadness and loneliness in my whole life.  I felt like no one understood, certainly John didn't, and I didn't have anyone to talk to.  The miscarriage happened a little less than 2 weeks before Christmas so even though I didn't feel like being in the Christmas mood, I faked it for my children and suppressed a lot of feelings that I probably should have dealt with.  Sadly, all those things I didn't deal with before Christmas surfaced shortly after the new year, and it was ugly.

I began to take it all personally, blame myself for not being able to keep the baby, get angry at myself, my husband and God.  I began to feel completely and totally unlovable.  I felt like I was being punished.  My irrational brain told me that John would be better off with a different wife.  So I told him I wanted a divorce and I went to stay with my mom for a few weeks.  But John wasn't having it.  He fought for our marriage when I wouldn't and in the end, he won!  Well, I guess, I won because I still get to be married to him!

We got counseling and after a while, wounds healed and my heart felt better.  I felt like I was ready to try again!  So we did, and a month later in July 2009 we got a positive pregnancy test!  I was more cautious this time about who we told. Just our moms and some family members, but definitely not the kids.  Caroline was very sad when I had to explain to her that she wasn't getting another sibling.  I just didn't think I could do that again. 

So this time, I felt good and was positive that everything was going to be great.  In September, Caroline wanted to go camping for her birthday, so we went.  It was so great!  My mom and sister went and we had the best time.  Until I started bleeding.  So I took it easy and the campground.  John did most of the work and I just sat around the fire.  On Sunday, Caroline's birthday, we had planned to leave the campground and head to my mom's house for a big family birthday party.  We got home to get cleaned up and the bleeding got worse and cramps became unbearable.  I knew I was losing this baby, too.  But my mind is freaking out about a birthday party for my beautiful daughter that is only a few hours away!  Super Husband to the rescue!  He drove me to my mom's house so I wouldn't be alone and he took the kids to the store and literally had to buy everything for this party!  I hadn't done anything!  Two hours later, my mom's house was transformed into party girl central!  He did an amazing job!

I went to the doctor the next day and they confirmed that I had miscarried.  Again, devastation.  But I told myself right there and then, this was NOT going to get the best of me this time!  We would get through it and come out on the other side stronger than ever!  And we did!

Two more times we tried to have another baby. Two more time the pregnancies ended in miscarriages. The last one required a D&C and hospital stay.  I just couldn't believe it.  I was sad and I just didn't understand why this was happening.  The doctors weren't much help.  Just kept saying it wasn't meant to be and there was nothing they could do about it.  I just could not accept that.  I could not accept the fact that I was already able to maintain two pregnancies and give birth to two perfect, full-term babies.  There was something that wasn't working and I wanted to know what!  So I went in search of another doctor. 

This brings us to 2011.  I decided I was ready to try again and I had found a doctor who understood what was going on with my body and had a way to fix it.  He told me that my blood was clotting and was causing my body to be unable to maintain a placenta, which, obviously is required to be pregnant.  But he knew what to do!  He had a very high success rate with women who had multiple miscarriages.  I was very excited about this possibility, but not super excited about the process.  I was to start taking baby aspirin and progesterone supplements 2 weeks after I started my period.  Then 2 weeks later, take a pregnancy test.  So I did and it was positive!  I told y'all I was fertile....we've never really had to "try" to get pregnant!  Staying pregnant was the problem!  The minute I had a positive pregnancy test, I was to start taking shots of Lovenox.  In my stomach.  Everyday!  UGH!  I guess now would be a good time to tell you that I refused an epidural during my previous two labors because I am TERRIFIED of needles!  So now I have to take a shot everyday??? Yuck!  But I knew that it would all be worth it if this medication helped maintain my pregnancy and we ended up with a healthy beautiful baby at the end!

Well, those shots worked miracles for this momma and now I am getting ready to celebrate two years of life with the precious boy we worked so hard to have.  So much heartache over 3 years and 4 miscarriages and now I have this amazing little angel to make it all better!  His pregnancy was rough, his labor was intense and scary and he has dealt with 2 surgeries in his little life, but everything has been so worth it!

I don't dwell on the sadness of those lost babies like I used to.  I don't even think about them everyday like I used to.  Little things remind me in small ways that I will have one huge family when I get to Heaven!  When I meet a child named one of the names we had picked out.  When I look at the 4 beautiful white birds on top of my Christmas tree.  I remember them, but it's not sad anymore.  Cooper Preston Voorhees came into our lives January 16, 2012 and forever changed us.  He has brought us so much joy.  He is ornery and wild and a complete handful, but he is also gentle and loving and completely amazing!  I remind myself when he is throwing toys down the steps or screaming at the top of his lungs that he is a miracle, a gift sent from God, as all children are.  I worked hard for my crazy boy and I will be eternally grateful that I didn't give up trying.

I don't talk to people about this often, and some of the details in this story will surprise even some of my closest friends and family.  But when trying to "make sense" of why I had to go through this, I knew that I had to tell my story.  I knew that I wasn't alone in this problem.  I knew that if one more beautiful baby is brought into this world because I could be an encouragement for a couple to try one more time, then it was worth it.  

So, Happy Birthday my little Coop.  I will never forget what a miracle you are.

For this child I have prayed and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him. 1 Samuel 1:27

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Morning Show Inspiration... #PimpinJoy

Every morning on the way to school, my seven year-old Corbyn and I listen to the Bobby Bones Show.  If I don't turn it on AS SOON as we get in the car, Corbyn is asking for it.  Even my toddler can sing the theme song.  Bobby and Amy are my favorite radio personalities ever. They are both so real, honest, open and, most of all, caring people.  And they are funny as hell!  I love that they both use this platform of radio and being in the public eye to raise awareness of things they are passionate about: animals, orphans, cancer patients.  I just love everything they stand for!

And today, I was inspired!  I have always had a compassionate heart.  I will do anything for anybody, give anyone the benefit of the doubt and I love doing things for other people.  It just makes me happy. 

Today's Bobby Bones Show was all about making other people happy and spreading joy.  Amy told us about her mother Judy, who is suffering from cancer, for not the first time.  And if anyone has a reason to not be "joyful" it's Judy.  But, according to Amy, Judy is all about spreading the love, or Pimpin' Joy!  Amy told us that when her mother is at the hospital, she always makes a point of complimenting other patients and doing kind things to brighten other people's days.  Judy wants her legacy to be that she made a difference, even if it's just to one person. She is truly an example that no matter what you are going through, you can CHOOSE JOY! 

And today, #PimpinJoy was born!  Inspired by Judy's mission to spread joy to others and her brilliant twitter handle, @JudyBePimpinJoy, Bobby and Amy are starting a great new thing!  The first week of March will be #PimpinJoy week.  It's all about spreading joy, being kind to others, brightening people's days and trying to make a difference for someone.  There is no specific charity involved and no money required!  Find what you are passionate about and do something!  They are also asking people to make tshirts that say #PimpinJoy and the name of your city and post pics to twitter!  Make sure you use #PimpinJoy to show your shirts and to let everyone know how you are spreading joy!

For more information:

The website will be up soon:  PimpinJoy
And make sure you follow everyone on twitter:

I'll post my pics here and on twitter!  Get your kids involved and get out and spread joy!   You better believe I'll be out #PimpinJoy!!


Monday, January 13, 2014

2014 Reading Challenge

I love to read!  Reading's my favorite!  And when I'm reading a book, I take that book EVERYWHERE!  To the bathroom, in the car, to bed, to the kitchen, everywhere!  I have loved reading my whole life.  I read the entire Babysitter's Club series in the 3rd grade.  All through middle school and high school, I would get absorbed in a book and forget to do my homework!  I was at the bookstore at midnight for the release of every Harry Potter and Twilight book.  I read all 3 Hunger Games books in 4 days.  I love reading!!

My sweet daughter doesn't seem to share the same love for reading as I do.  She will enjoy a book when she reads it, but can always find something she would rather be doing.  She read the first Harry Potter book and liked it, but hasn't touched the rest.  She did find a great series called "Confectionately Yours" about a girl her age who loves to bake cupcakes, just like Caroline!  There are four books and she has read the first 3.

And she also just finished The Hunger Games and started Catching Fire a few days ago.  She seems to really enjoy those books, but I had to bribe her to get her to read them.  Apparently, Caroline is the only 12 year-old in the entire world who hasn't watched The Hunger Games and Catching Fire.  I honestly wasn't sure she would like it, so I hadn't let her watch them yet.  So I made a deal with her that if she read the books, she could watch the movies!  Well, that definitely made her want to do it!  So she has read the first one and seen the first movie!  I'm hoping she finishes the second one before the movie is out of theatres!  I wanna go see it!! 

I have been trying to find ways to encourage her to read more.  Her main complaint is that she isn't a fast reader.  I keep telling her that she has to practice at it to get better!  But, she's a tween, and definitely smarter than me!  But I think I may have found something!  Today we spent a lot of time on a great website:  It's sort of a social media site for book lovers!  You can connect with your facebook friends to see what they are reading, read book reviews, rate and review books, and get recommendations!  When I was doing some exploring on the site, I saw that they have a book challenge!  You can enter in the number of books you will read in 2014 and it will keep track for you!  Such fun and I love a good challenge!  I also signed Caroline up with her own account on there!  She committed to read 12 books, 1 a month, and if she completes the challenge, I'm gonna get her a little treat!

Another thing that is helping her enjoy reading more is reading on the IPad!  I personally love to read from a traditional, actual book.  I love holding books and I love the way books smell.  (Ok, I guess my "weird" is starting to show.  I'll just tuck that back in!)  But Caroline seems to really love reading on the IPad!  She loves the little digital bookmark and she always highlights the last word she reads so she knows exactly where to start!  Whatever works!

I encourage you to go take the 2014 Reading Challenge.  It's easy to sign up and in 5 minutes your "want to read" list will be a mile long!

I'm currently reading the Divergent series, what about you??

Gonna curl up and finish this book!


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Out-Of-Town Guest Anxiety

I love love love having our family members from back home in South Carolina come to visit. Really, I do.  But I swear sometimes it causes me so much anxiety and stress before they get here! Ever feel that way?

Especially when it is one of the moms, mine or my husband's.  I go into total freak-out cleaning mode.  And I rally the troops, AKA, my husband and the kiddos, to help!  Things in my house that haven't been cleaned in a long time get cleaned!  Closets that haven't seen the light of day in months, get organized!  To do lists a mile long and not nearly enough time to complete them! The last time my mom came to visit, I actually scrubbed the grout on our tile floors with a toothbrush because it wasn't clean enough!  And our ENTIRE downstairs is tile floors!! LOL!!

Both of our moms are very tidy people.  My mom actually get PAID to organize people's houses. Her "junk" drawer is labeled and sorted.  It's in her blood.  But not in mine!  I want to be organized so badly and I have so so so many good ideas to keep our home organized and neat all the time, but I swear my kids have different plans!  I guarantee my mother-in-law has never uttered the words "pardon the mess" when someone showed up at her house unexpectedly, but I do.  Every.  Single.  Time.

Well, my mom is coming next week.  EEEEEEKKKKK!!!  I am in FRANTIC mode!!  But I seriously can't wait!  I haven't seen her since last March! Really looking forward to talking to her in person and getting hugs!

Besides feeling the need to deep clean everything, the 2nd most stressful thing about having out-of-town guests is keeping my kids on a schedule.  They still have to go to school, so they still have to get up at 6:30 in the morning, even if we stay out late sight-seeing.  So I am always torn between entertaining my guests and keeping the kids on track!  It's always so hard for me because I love being out, showing my family our new city.  Coming from a small town in SC and now living in Las Vegas, it's a big difference!  Lots of shiny lights and fun things to see and do! 

Guess I better go clean something!  Luckily, I know that my mom knows me well enough to know that my home will never be perfect, but it will always be fun and welcoming!  And I'll take that any day!


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Getting Ready for Valentine's Day!

One of the things I am doing differently this year to be "better" is to not procrastinate as much!  I am the mom who is always shopping on Christmas Eve and the day before Easter.  I am the mom who is up until 3am the night before Valentine's Day because I waited until the last minute to get them done!  Well, not this year!  Getting a head start on it, starting now!  I have been scouring Pinterest like it's my JOB!  And I have found so so so many cute things that Corbyn and I may have a very difficult time deciding what to do!

This year, I guess I only have to do Valentine's for one kid's class since Caroline has moved on to Middle School.  It's just not cool, Mom. (Said with her eyes rolling as far back in her head as possible).

I wanted to share some of the super cute ideas I found with you in this post.  These are all great ideas for you and your child to make for their friends!

Cereal Box Valentine  These right now are a top contender! So cute and easy!
Goldfish Valentine  Love these!  Great "no candy" option.  Adorable!
Cupid's Arrow Valentines  Super cute!  Could use pencils instead of Pixie Stix for a "no candy" Valentine. 

Pop Rocks Valentine  Pop Rocks are always fun!
Here are some more "no candy" options:

Popcorn Valentines  These are also a top contender for me!  The link goes to this lady's etsy store, but you could certainly DIY these!  I know I will be!!

Crayon Hearts  Love these!  Especially for little ones!
Bookmark Valentines  Adorable! And Cheap!

 12 more No Candy Ideas!  More great ideas!
Star Wars Valentine  This link has some great ideas for boy's valentine cards including this super duper cute Star Wars one using a glow stick as a light saber!
Well, those were some of my fave finds from this week's Pinterest searching!  There are tons of ideas on there!  Would love to see what you do!  I'll post up pics of the ones we decide on!  Be on the look out for a husband themed Valentine post soon! 

Follow me on Pinterest here!

Love love love!