Wednesday, July 16, 2014

i want a tiny house

This is not a joke. I really do. I think my husband assumes that the Texas heat is making me delirious. To that I say, "No, dear, being at home with all these kids, every single day is making me delirious. The kids wearing 14 changes of clothes, and snacking every single second of every single day, and crafting, and cutting up paper, and gluing all of the things, and making all of the messes makes me delirious." When I think of how much time I spend cleaning, it makes me want to downsize. Like my friend Jennifer says, "It's all gonna burn." Amen.

I have been watching the new series Tiny House Nation, and can I just say, GAH!!! I want one. Just think about the advantages:
  • being able to clean your whole house in 30 minutes #winning
  • less clothes...less laundry #nudistsdontseemsocrazy
  • the freedom of no mortgage #daveramseywouldbeproud
  • less of an environmental footprint #weonlyhaveoneearth
  • mobility #maybealaska #yeahright
  • The less you have, the less you have to maintain. #myhubbyagrees
  • less time handcuffed to housework = more time with the snacking, clothes changing, messy kids #halleluyer
  • no more clutter #cluttermakesmelosemyshizz
The only disadvantages I can see are:
  • No Christmas tree (seriously...this is a biggie for me)...I could do this though:
    Ikea fabric tree #icoulddigit

  • I might possibly consider taking up drinking if I have to be within 3 arm's length of any human being for more than 8 hours a day. #ineedtointrovert
  • Where would all of our stuff go? #noreallywherewoulditgo
  • I must have a tub and real toilet. #noneofthatcompostingnonsense
  • the noise of being so close #lotsofnoisemakesmecranky 
So, there you go. If you still don't see the appeal, I leave you with this my friends:
tiny storybook house
#SHUTYOURFACE
Cutest house ever. End of story. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

flying my decorating freak flag

Anyone who knows me well is very aware that interior design is my passion. I never really figured out why I didn't major in it in college. My best guess is that I had no idea it was a "real" job. I remember growing up with my Memom taking me to the fabric store, and I would run the fabrics through my fingers and flip through pattern books looking for our next creation together. It was the fabrics and ribbon that did it for me. I am, and always have been a textile junkie, although I am allergic to the dye in the fabrics. I don't mind...if I'm going to go into anaphylactic shock, I would die a happy girl if I was surrounded by satin ribbon, and gingham, and vintage lace. I also love paper, typography, and furniture. I remember thumbing through my mom's Southern Living and Country Living magazines since I was a little girl. I never thought they were "boring grown up magazines". I was always very interested in seeing how rooms came together, and how color and texture, furniture and fabrics, art pieces and knickknacks were telling a story. I remember begging my mom to redecorate my room as a teenager. I was so excited when she agreed, and then proceeded to paint my room this hideous bright turquoise with a white sponge painted faux finish. I found a southwestern piece of art for above my pine furniture, and that is, fortunately, all I could remember. It was hideous. But I was hooked on decorating. Did I mention how hideous it looked? Well, it was hideous.
I find myself stuck in a decorating rut in my own home. Like some of you (any of you?), I thumb through pages of the latest home decor magazines (Southern Living and Country Living are still two of my favorites...like mother, like daughter), peruse Pinterest, and scour my favorite blogs, to be inspired...but sometimes I don't feel inspired. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed. Sometimes I feel frustrated.
I can't even explain my style anymore because I feel drawn to so many. I think my style is nature inspired/industrial/farmhouse/cottage/vintage/eclectic. That's totally a style. Mmmhmmm. I love neutral spaces, but I love a little color. I love sweet florals, and soft romantic fabrics, but I also love cowhides, wood, and plaid. I love lots of white, but I also love pops of color. I LOVE ALL OF THE DESIGN AND ALL OF THE STYLES.
I can boss people around give my friends design advice all day long without a problem, but I am paralyzed when it comes to putting up a picture on a wall in my home. I clearly have issues.
Recently, I read The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith.
The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith
Y'all, it has changed my life. It gives you permission for your home to be imperfect. Decorate with what you love. Decorate with what is meaningful. Her blog is pretty fabulous too...

The Perfectly Imperfect Home
This is the other book that I am reading now it The Perfectly Imperfect Home. It is pretty incredible too.
And since we are talking about flying our freak flag...weren't we... I am going to chose to fly my decorating freak flag. Let me back up a bit. I read this post from The White Buffalo Styling Company. Go ahead a read it, or it won't make sense... or you can just read this excerpt because it explains everything I am feeling:

"What if people think my style is weird?  I mean my style is kind of out there. What will the voters want?  Should I tone down my style to please others?...I’m going forward with my designing life and CWTS committed to FLYING MY STYLE FREAK FLAG, a.k.a doing what I love without worry of what anyone else thinks.
And I want to re-encourage y’all to do the same!  Fly it high and proud.  Let it wave and flap in the winds of other opinions that brush up against it. Do what you love.  Always.  Without worry, without fear.  And do it with joy. Because when you start to worry about what others are going to think or like, your joy and creativity is stolen.  Gone.  Without a trace.  Trust me."
~Lindsay of The White Buffalo Styling Company
I'm choosing to use colors that I love, pictures that I love, art that I love, fabrics that I love, and anything else that I want to because YOU AREN'T THE BOSS OF ME! Seriously, I think that we should surround ourselves with things we love. Don't worry if it doesn't fit a style, or look like a book cover, or isn't what all the cool kids are doing. Seriously, the cool kids just have low self-esteem and their parents are fighting again.
So, I challenge you to do the same. Surround yourself with what you love. It will be perfect. Perfectly you, and you will love it.



Tuesday, July 8, 2014

i need a redo (or redeaux if your are fancy)

Okay, I am going to get real y'all. I've had a horrible day (and it's only 2:00 PM). It's one of those days where you want to stop and yell, "do over!!!" . It started out innocently enough. I slept in (hands to the Heavens for summer), got up and made my kids a good breakfast, then (this is where I made my first mistake), my daughter asked if we had cornstarch, and I said yes. (Side note: If you child asks if you have cornstarch, just say no.) Being the super cool, laid back mom I am (but not), I asked her what it was for, and she proceeded to tell me about this experiment she had seen on t.v. this morning. She wanted to make it. It was in the name of science, you see, so how could I say no. 
Sparing you all the details, this "experiment" turned in to a kitchen pasted from counter to floor to doorknobs in this goopy mess. This is where it gets ugly. I lost my shizz y'all. I went on a rant about the mess, and about chores, and about cleaning, and about how no one helps me with anything around here, and every other thing in this world is just dumb and wrong and stupid and dumb. I may have even muttered curse words under my breath. I then stopped, took a deep breath, and realized no one was around to lay ears to my wrath. If they kids have learned anything, it is to run for the hills when mom turns 50 shades of red. I just sat down on the couch, finished my coffee, and waited for my poor children to come back into my circle of crazy. I apologized for my ranting and told them that, although I handled my emotions poorly, I needed help. I need them to pull their weight. I am simply asking them to be responsible for themselves and their belongings. Easier said than done.
So, we all sang "Kumbaya", and cleaned the house in harmony, right? WRONG. 
Let me tell you, sometimes I think that kids just aren't my jam. I adore my kids. I love them with every cell in my body, but sometimes, I just want them to disappear into their rooms and not make a peep for a few days hours. They are loud and messy and selfish and messy and loud (Wait, am I talking about me or the kids?). I am being very transparent when I say that sometimes, I forget how to mom. I forget what being a mom means and I get selfish. Being a mom is the most unselfish thing that a person can do. When you become mom, your own needs and desires are pushed down to make way for theirs. Now, that doesn't mean that you don't get to have coffee with the girls, or paint, or have a weekend to yourself. It does mean that 99% of the time, your kids are your life. It's all about where they want to eat, or what they want to watch, or what game they want to play. Sometimes that part makes us happy, and sometimes it makes us mad. Well, today I just got mad. I was tired of cleaning up after them constantly. I was tired of cooking 3 meals a day for everyone. I was tired of cleaning up spills. I was tired of their messes and the loud words coming out of their mouths. I was tired of laundry...so. much. laundry. I just wanted help....but I wasn't getting any. So, I had a small pity party, cried a few tears, threw a hanger across the room (yes it broke, and yes it felt really good), and went on folding laundry. I did not keep calm. I did not beg for forgiveness. I yelled, I put them to bed with a book, I went back and yelled a little more, I slammed a few doors, cried a little more, then I finished the laundry and re-made my bed (that they unmade while they were supposed to be helping with the laundry, but did no such thing). 
Am I proud of it? No. Not even a little. Will they forgive me? Yes. Because children are full of grace, just like My Father. It's on days like this that I wonder if the reason I had my hissy fit was for me to see the fullness of His grace, and be thankful that my children extend the same grace to me. 
Yes, I will apologize...again and again and again. I think it is important for our children to see that we are human. We are imperfect. We make stupid mistakes. We are not above apologizing when we do wrong, because they are no less important than anyone else in our lives. Then we can explain The Father's love to them, and that we extend the same to them.
Today didn't go as planned. No day every really does. Just when I think kids aren't my jam, I meet someone special.

This is Underwoman.
And this is why kids ARE my jam. 

Hope your day is better than mine. Peace out to all you moms doing the most underpaid, under appreciated, toughest job in the world. We are in this together.

Jenn

Saturday, July 5, 2014

baby steps

Remember my last post? Yeah, me too. All I'm going to say is "baby steps". Yes, I stayed up WAY too late, and worried about each detail, and stressed until the last minute (even though I told my friend Carolyn, "Hey, look at me. I'm chill. I'm not stressing. Nope, not a bit. Zero. Zilch. Nada...10 bonus points if you can guess that cartoon).
Let me tell you what I did do though. I compromised. I did send out email invitations. Would I do it again? No way, Jose´. They felt impersonal, and some people never even opened their invite. Blah. Lesson learned. I did buy a cake, but I personalized it. I might have piped on the kids' names and then scraped it off (twice). I would totally do it again. Costco cake (delish) + me personalizing it exactly how I wanted it  = winning! I bought most of my decorations, but personalized a few. Let me just go ahead and say that I made a pinwheel garland that I strung up on my mantle and I might never take it down, ever. I'll just have to redecorate my whole house in red, white, and blue. Okay, so back to the party & the food. I bought it all. Costco for the win again. Chicken salad on croissants ("fancy food" according to my sister...I am nothing if not fancy), watermelon cut like this, a cheese tray (again, so fancy), fresh fruit, cake, iced sugar cookies from Kroger, sweet tea (this is Texas for Heaven's sake), and lemonade. Easy peasy. Oh, and I forgot the 2 gallons of Blue Bell (again, because Texas) in the freezer until everyone had already left. Sorrynotsorry.
For entertainment I did an interpretive dance. Kidding. I made a ginormous slip and slide out of 6 mil plastic sheeting from Lowes, landscape pins, a water hose, and some baby shampoo. The kids had an absolute ball. $30 for hours of entertainment. I might, or might not have, slid down it a few (dozen) times today. If I had, I would tell you that it was a blast and my kids have crowned me: "Best and Most Fun Mom Everrrrr". We also did fireworks... and by fireworks, I mean a $37 package of poppers and snap-its from Costco. Okay, this is where I almost lost my "It's all good" vibe. I really thought I purchased real firecrackers. Apparently, I didn't read the packaging. I saw a big 800+ "4th of July pack" for $37 and ran to the checkout like my hair was on fire. When it was time for the big fireworks show, the kids ripped open the package and started popping away while I was grabbing my 3rd sugar cookie refilling drinks. When I came back, my sweetie says to me, "You know the giant package of fireworks that you bought...well, they are all poppers and snap-its." This is where I might or might not have said, "What the crap?", but my sweet husband quickly added, "But the kids are having a ball." Whew! Cool status still intact.
All in all, we had a blast (see what I did there). Our firecrackers poppers and snap-its might not have looked like a "rocket's red glare" or "bombs bursting in air", but our awesome neighbors decided to really go all out this year. Maybe they saw me with my killer fireworks and thought, "Dang, I don't think we can outdo that, but let's try". I'm pretty sure that's what they said. Anyway, thank goodness for competitive neighbors, because we were thoroughly entertained by 360 degrees of a legit fireworks extravaganza for the last 45 minutes of the party (well, that's if you don't count the remaining 3 hours after we went to bed...awesome).
Enjoy my professional iPhone pics...see, I'm chill like that. By the way, you are about to view the cutest kids on planet earth. Consider yourself warned...

Seriously cute stuff, and a great way to personalize your party.
(Printable from Caravan Shoppe)
The key to any great kid party...balloons. 
Epic slip and slide...at least, that's what I heard.
Mantel decor. It's never coming down. 
I could eat her up.
The birthday boy with his fireworks "fireworks".

The birthday girl is totally cool with her sparkler.  Totally.
One more...can't help myself.
Best buddies 
"The" Costco cake...because nothing say,s "I'm all easygoing" like a store bought cake.
There is always that one kid. So glad he's mine. He cracks me up.
Yep, my friends have cute kids.  

So, let's recap, shall we? We shall.
Costco cake - good. Homemade slip and slide - good. $37 "fireworks" - bad/good (depends on whom you ask). Homemade food - not necessary. Sweet tea - necessary. Chicken salad on croissants - fancy.

There you go. You're welcome.

Jenn

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

let it go...yes, i went there

That post title either got you really excited, or your left eye is twitching and you are in the fetal position. Either way, sorrynotreally this post isn't about Frozen...
It's about birthday parties and the crazy that is what birthday parties have become. I am guilty. I haven't hired miniature ponies or the entire Disney cast to entertain, but I have fallen into the trap of Pinterest + I love my kids + I love to decorate for parties. The combination can definitely take a party from normal kid party to, "What the crap have I gotten myself into, and where in the frig is my double sided tape, and I am tired, and help me what have I done???" #thatescalatedquickly
Seriously, I use to think that store bought cakes and evites were totally cool and acceptable for everyone else, but for me...um, not so much. I can do better. I can make cool stuff. I must handcraft an amazing cake from scratch, covered in marshmallow fondant. I must make 3D invitations spit out confetti. I must have a spread that looks like it is from the pages of Martha Stewart Living Magazine. Seriously, what was I thinking? My kids don't remember. They definitely don't appreciate it. I was stressed. I didn't even enjoy their birthdays because I was fuzzy-eyed with exhaustion from making it all happen. I threw up my white flag a couple of years ago. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE pretty/cool parties. I love everything about them: the decorations, the food, the cake, the food..oh wait, I already said that. Seriously, I love putting parties together. That is why I do what I do. It might seem a little selfish, but how is a busy mom supposed to unleash her pent up creativity? I get to use my kids' parties to get it all out of my system. It's really a win-win, right? Say "yes, you are right". Thankyouverymuch.
I did finally come to my senses and realize that decorating a plain Jane cake from Costco is going to be just dandy. (You didn't think I was going to keep my hands completely off the cake, did you? You don't know me. You don't know me at all.) Store bought decorations... yup. Evites (gulp), yep, I totally went there. I am throwing a shared party for my 2 littles (turning 7 & 8) on July 4th. It's in the middle of their birthdays, and on the 4th. I know. I am a genius. Totally kidding, but I definitely did plan it that way on purpose. #winning
As moms, and back me up here, we feel overwhelmed by all of the creativity we see out there in Pinterestland and Blogville. We see these amazing birthday parties with their perfect kids, and perfect decorations, and perfect gluten free, soy free, cakes with green tea buttercream and sugared flowers. It is enough to make us "regular moms" feel like failures. But you know what? We are awesome. We love our kids just as much. We work just as hard. We are equally as thrilled that those little munchkins were born, and we are just as capable of making our kid's birthday memorable. We have to ask ourselves: What are they going to remember? Is it the handmade cake and coordinating decorations, or the water balloon fight in the back yard. The petit fours with their monogram out of free trade chocolate, or the balloons that are as big as the kitchen table? The amazing tablescape with a full catered meal, or the PB&Js cut out like airplanes? 
Please understand, I am NOT bashing those super creative, amazing, picture perfect moms. I am far from that, but I do appreciate the eye-candy that their parties are. I just decided that it wasn't worth the gray hair that I was sprouting from pulling all nighters (I'm too old for that mess). 
Moms (and Dads), don't stress. Buy the cake from the market down the street, or even better, make them with your kids! Let them decorate them (the control freak in me just died a little bit) if you want! Get a gazillion balloons...kids LOVE balloons. Seriously, hours of fun here. Oh, and FYI, party favors are optional. Let me repeat: PARTY FAVORS ARE OPTIONAL. Why do we think that we need to feed and entertain our little guests, then send them home with more stuff? I have just now embraced this and it is totally freeing. 
So, just remember y'all, kids grow up fast. Spend your time, energy, and attention on the things that do matter. No need for a laser show, or a petting zoo, or (fill-in-the blank entertainer). Your kids just love cake and their friends and family.  Oh, and presents...don't forget the presents. ;)

Happy 4th y'all. I'll be partying...but not to hard. 

Jenn

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

how to summer

I'm sitting here in Panera enjoying my quiet time because, you know all to well, that quiet time and summer in the same sentence is an absolute oxymoron. I don't know about you, but I fall into the category of wanting to keep my kids busy (so they aren't destroying the house all day and whining about how BOOORRRREEDDD they are) and wanting to become a hermit for 3 months because of the Texas heat.
I. cannot. deal.
It isn't even hot here yet. It hasn't hit 100 degrees for a solid month. Why am I whining? Because hormones. Yes, they have taken ahold of me with a furious passion and have made me a sweaty, cranky, sweaty mess. I even went to the doctor to check my "levels" or whatever they do. I'm fine...medically, at least. Mentally? We won't go there. It is summer and I have three kids after all.
What do y'all have going on? Most everyone I know is taking exotic vacations to Europe, and the Carribean, and San Antonio.
My kids want to go to the beach. "Which beach", you ask? Any beach. It must be because of the memorable trip to the Texas coast last year. Be jealous...it was everything you can imagine.
Actually, it was fun. The kids had a blast. We had a blast watching the kids have a blast. Isn't that what it is about anyway? Who goes on vacation for anything but the squeals and laughter of our kids? No one I tell you. No. One.
As a parent, vacations are exhausting and highly overrated. They are expensive. The packing in itself makes me lose the will to live. The pet sitting, house sitting, chicken sitting. It is all so exhausting. Then there is the drive (because who in the free world can pay for 5 round trip tickets anywhere) with all of the snacks, and "when are we going to beeeeee there", and "(insert child's name here) won't stop touching meeeeee"!!! And then there is the post-vacation depression that sets in...usually en route back home. Everyone is cranky, sun burned, and exhausted. There are no less than 145 loads of laundry (filled with sand if you are "lucky") to do, kids who, immediately upon stepping one foot in the door, are "SOOO bored",  and a dog that needs every inch of your space because he missed you and thought you were never, ever, ever coming back EVER.
But then we see this...








...and all of the sand in every square inch of my body, the 19 layers of sunscreen, the ,"Are we there yet?", the packing, the unpacking, the never-ending loads of laundry, the 3rd story hotel room with no stairs, the salty brown "drinking" water, the boogie board burn, and the sunburn are worth every single minute.
Happy summer y'all.

Monday, January 13, 2014

contentment

As I sit here, tears rolling down my cheeks, I realize how blessed I am. I am on a comfy couch, with a cup of yummy coffee, little lights surround me on the walls and the ceiling from the sunlight that is pouring into the living room and dancing off of the little mirrored Christmas ornaments that I just couldn't put away. I am in a beautiful and cozy home that I have molded and shaped into a little nest for my family and me, and I am awestruck at God's goodness towards undeserving me. I say undeserving because we are all undeserving of His love, but He graciously lavishes it on us every second of every day. Sure, I have rough days, but I never question why. I know that God is molding me and shaping me, as I do my home, into the person He designed me to be before I was even born. Wow! He knew me even then and loved me. He loved me before I even knew Him or even cared for Him. He called me to Him and has given me a life that I don't even deserve. I am grateful…and working on being content. I say working on it because it has been a process.
Contentment is hard (especially when we live in a society that constantly tells us that we need bigger and better because "we deserve it"). It isn't something that has come easily for me. I have a tendency to always be looking forward instead of enjoying the present. "I can't wait until the kids are older and more self-reliant." "I can't wait until we move to our dream home." "I can't wait until I have lost all of the weight I want to lose." "I can't wait until fill-in-the-blank." Why can't I wait? The answer is simple: I can. In the waiting is where we get glimpses of God through our children…in their laugh, and in their hugs, and even in through their tears. In the waiting is where we love our home and make it a safe and comfortable place for our family and friends, and that is the dream home. In the waiting we learn perseverance and discipline to lose that extra weight. In the waiting is where we see that we are not worthy, yet God sent His one and only Son to die for me. For me? The me that doesn't have my quiet time everyday? The me that might not even crack open my Bible between church services? The me that gets angry and yells at my kids? The me that dreads cooking dinner every night even though there are people all over the world that are starving? Yes, for me. I still feel like I won the lottery when I meditate on the thought that He chose me. Of course, I had to chose Him too, but that part was easy.
So, as I go about my day, I chose to see things for the present. I'll scrub my children's hair and cook dinner with a sense of thankfulness. I will fluff the pillows on my couch in my little living room, grateful for the coziness of it. I will continue to get up before the sun and sweat, thankful that I am able to do it.

This is what I strive for:

"I have learned to be content no matter the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength." Phillipians 4:11-13

Have a blessed day!
Jenn