The Year of GROWTH

Hi friends!

Wow, this year is already flying by! Can you believe February is almost OVER?! Holy cow!

Lately, I’ve been listening to A LOT of podcasts — I usually listen to one episode everyday during my evening walk with Ella.  One of the last episodes I was listening to spoke of New Years Resolutions, and how instead of making giant lists of action items, to fit your resolutions around a “one word theme” for the entire year.  This was so interesting — I’d never really thought of it that way, but after thinking about it, my resolutions do usually fall into a similar pattern.

Some are typical: get fit and healthy, save money, get out of debt.  But, this year — there’s something deeper I’m focusing on: me.  I mean, the real me — not just my outer body or some physical attribute that people can see right away.

It’s almost like, I feel the past few years I’ve consumed myself with distractions, work, and somewhere along the line, I’ve lost myself.  I work hard to be a great mother, wife, and friend — but at the end of the day, I need to work even harder to be a great .. me.  By being a better “me,” I will be even greater in the other roles I fill.

It seems so simple when you type it out or read it — but for some reason, this has been a very difficult thing for me to realize:  I’m worth more than what I’ve been giving myself credit for.  Sure, I’m my own worst critic and have really high standards, but you know, I need to put more faith and trust into my own ability to be great.. to be awesome.

So, I’ve chosen my word for the year: Growth.

Maslow said, “You will either step forward into growth, or step backward into safety.”  It’s time for me to focus on becoming my best self.  It’s time to step outside of my comfort zone and try new things.  Make new connections.  Now is the time to take challenges, for the bigger the challenge, the bigger the opportunity for growth.

I once read somewhere that, in this world, “you are either growing or you are dying, so get in motion and GROW”   A ship is safe in its harbor, but that’s not what a ship was made for.  The same applies to us — and I’ll be damned if I let another year pass by wishing I would’ve pushed myself, grown a little more, and created new memories by leaving my “harbor.”

Just some random thoughts during nap time. 🙂  Hope everyone is having a great week so far!

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Lessons in Real Life

Today is beautiful.

Beautiful weather, open windows and a breeze through the house.  We started the morning with pancakes, then Daddy let Momma get another hour and a half of sleep [best Valentine’s Day Eve gift ever!]. We went for our morning walk, listened to our daily podcast, and before lunchtime, Ella and I made cookies again.

She was SO excited to make cookies — she kept saying “I love cookies! I love cookies!” Even though when I first opened up the dough and she managed to grab a pinch of dough and put it in her mouth — she’s quick, man! — we had a great time cutting out cookies again as a Valentine’s Day Eve activity!  I even posted a cute pic on Instagram showing our efforts — feeling all proud and Pinterest-y — total #momwin today!

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Cookies in the oven, Ella was quietly playing, I was enjoying a cup of hot tea, listening to some music…

…Then, Ella came to me to tell me she went “stinky.” And good god, did she ever.. TMI, but it’s true, and I try to be real with y’all. Ever have those moments where you really try to reason with someone when you know they don’t quite understand?  That was me during this diaper change.

Me: “Ella, Stinky girl!  You know, this wouldn’t be as stinky or uncomfortable if you would just go stinky on the big girl potty..”

Ella: “STINKY!”

Me: “Yes, STINKY!! When do you want to try to do this on the big girl potty?  It’s SO much better when you stinky on the potty than in your pants!”

Ella: “STINKY!”

Yeah, she totally gets it.

When we finished cleaning up, we walked out of her room and I smelled something different… A “stinky” unlike the “stinky” I was just cleaning up.

Crap. The cookies. 

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Fail.

And all I could do is laugh.

My point is, even though we burned the cookies today, it’s still a beautiful day. Not everything in life is sunshine, rainbows, sweet smells, and perfectly baked cookies. It’s how we react in the moments where it isn’t that truly matters. Because, you know, they may be burned this time, but the process was what was most enjoyed.. Something I’m still learning to acknowledge everyday. Thank you for the reminder! 🙂

I hope this brings a smile today, and hope everyone is having an amazingly beautiful weekend!

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DIY Wednesday: Frosted Valentine Cookies [Toddler Edition]

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Happy Valentine’s Week, everyone!

For today’s DIY Wednesday, I decided to be “brave momma” and make oh-so-messy frosted sugar cookies with Ella.

Those that know me know I don’t really like “messy” things — but I feel becoming a mom has been the best thing to teach me patience, understanding, and to accept life for the amazing journey it is, instead of constantly striving for “perfection,” which doesn’t really exist anyway.  I feel as if I have spent so many of my years striving for”perfection” — and what I’ve come to realize, as Voltaire said, “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good.”  If we keep these high standards of perfection, and don’t stop doing something until it is “perfect,” or worse — don’t try something new for fear of not being good enough — we won’t complete anything, we won’t experience new adventures, and we may miss out on beautiful memories. A little deep and kinda heavy for a cookie baking day, but you get the idea. 🙂

So today, we got messy!

I sorta cheated and bought packaged cookie dough (oh no! ;)) from the grocery store.  I told Ella we were going to make cookies, and I swear she lit up like a ray of sunshine, just repeating “Cookie, cookie” over and over again.

We rolled the dough out, I taught her that sometimes you have to use a tiny bit of flour to keep it from sticking, and she pat it down with her hands.  Then, she used these little cookie cutters to cut out our cookie shapes.

Afterward, I let her put sprinkles on a few of the small hearts to show her a preview of what we would do once they were baked and cooled.

She must have sat in front of the oven for about 5 minutes watching the cookies bake — which in toddler world, is FOREVER.  She would look up at me with questioning eyes and say, “All done?” “All done?”  Soon, baby.  Soon.

Once the cookies were done, I let them cool for almost an hour before showing Ella that they were out of the oven.  I knew I wanted her to eat lunch first, and if I showed her a cookie, lunch would be out of the question. So, after we ate lunch, We sat on the counter and watched as Momma frosted each cookie, and Ella sprinkled cute heart shaped sprinkles on each one.

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She loved this — it was an absolute blast.

I had a smaller heart cookie that I iced and let her decorate, and told her that this one was extra special because it was for her to eat.  “Eat?” She said with smiling eyes.

And, EAT SHE DID!  With each bite she would make “Mmm” sounds and try to say “It’s good!” with her mouth full.

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She’s the greatest thing. And, I think she’s quite the decorator!  Future Masterchef Junior?  We’ll see!  The cookies came out really cute, and tasty, too!

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Life is messy, friends.  A hot, sticky, slobbery, half eaten mess. But you know, it’s okay. If it weren’t, it wouldn’t be as beautiful.  And, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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