11/10/14

Meals

Today is a gorgeous Monday! I plan on enjoying every second of this day because that Arctic blast or whatever the catch-phrase the news is calling it is on it's way. And it's going to get downright COLD.

I look forward to cooler weather during the hot months because I like my Fall and Winter wardrobe much better than my summer (I can't believe I actually typed that out) but when I say cooler weather I'm talking somewhere in the 60's. NOT THE THIRTIES. 

We are going to try and play outside a lot today and might even make a trip to the zoo. Eli has been asking to go for awhile now. This is one of those activities that was much easier without a baby, now with a nursing baby it's a little more inconvenient, but I need to take him before it gets cold.

Anyways all of that to say that the only thing that DOES excite me about really cold weather is cooking. I love cooking when it's cold outside, hot soups and yummy baked goods (although I guess I'll avoid pumpkin). I need to plan my menu this week! Also I'm going to one of those meal prep parties this week where we will make 8 meals to freeze to cook later. That sounds great!

Here is what was on our menu the past couple of weeks:

Monday: Creamy Baked Chicken Taquitos
My family absolutely LOVES this meal. It is one that even Eli gobbles up which is hard to find these days. We pair it with the Cilantro Lime Rice as suggested and it is all delicious. I also usually put some black beans with it or make some broccoli. 

Tuesday: Taco Soup
My go-to taco soup for the past couple of years has been Paula Deen's taco soup. It's easy, quick to put together and so filling. We have leftovers for days. 

Wednesday: {Leftovers}

Thursday: Poppy Seed Chicken
This is one of those classic meals. I grew up eating this and actually forgot about it until my grandma gave me a handwritten recipe book with this in it. I hadn't made it in awhile but I was glad I did cause Eli also liked this one. I'm noticing a trend of him enjoying the "creamy" meals. 

Friday: {Halloween - eat out} Five Guys. YUM.

Sunday: Bow Tie Fiesta Pasta
I got this recipe from Blue Eyed Bride several years ago. It was passed around the "blog world" for awhile and became a favorite here in our home. 

Monday: Baked Potatoes
We have small group in our home on Mondays and we always try and eat together. It's hard to think of meals that everybody would enjoy and that would make enough for all adults and kids. Someone in our group had the idea to do baked potatoes with all the toppings this week. It was a great idea!

Tuesday: Crockpot BBQ Chicken Sliders
 This is in Luke's top 5 favorite meals. I always serve it with corn and sometimes we eat some chips on the side.

Wednesday: Stuffed Pepper Soup
Oh man this is such an awesome soup recipe (but I'm a big soup fan). Make this soup this week when it gets cold. YOU WON'T BE SORRY. 

Thursday {Leftovers}

And the meals end there. I'm looking forward to lots of good meals this week!



11/6/14

Random Thoughts.

1. I've been doing a really good job of meal planning a keeping track of it all. And just today Luke and I marveled at the fact that we haven't eaten out in about two weeks. This is HUGE for us. Hopefully huge money saving also!

2.  I made THE most delicious pumpkin crunch cake this week for our small group. Almost every single person there declared that they don't like pumpkin (excuse me, what?) and my husband tries not to eat too many sweets so he didn't partake in it. So I was left with a HUGE pumpkin crunch cake for just myself. I will say I have enjoyed it immensely but nothing good can come from eating a whole cake by yourself so I took it to my playgroup today to share with the moms. If you like pumpkin you should try it! Recipe HERE.   I'm going to try and make it again at Thanksgiving. Surely somebody there will like pumpkin!

3. Last night we went and took our yearly family pictures. Back when I first had Annie I was already looking into the future excited about taking pictures in the Fall. I figured by then I would be back to my pre-pregnancy weight (wrong) and I also assumed I would give it a lot of thought and be really prepared (wrong again).

I decided to pick out what to wear right before we left to take pictures which resulted in me regretting what I wore. I think it was a bad choice. And yes, this is all one giant white girl problem.

I also scoured Pinterest before our pics looking for cute/fun poses. Does anybody know who the robots on Pinterest are? I mean HOW do they get those poses to work and look so perfect?

I thought this particular pose would be cute:



I still have buises on my neck where Eli pretty much strangled me while I tried to hold a squirmy Annie in my arms. I can promise you it looks nothing like the picture.

As long as we got ONE good shot for the Christmas card it will be fine. Even if I don't like my outfit.  Again, major white girl problem.

4. I'm going to do a blog post about Babywearing. I've really gotten into it this time around and I've been able to answer questions that some friends have had about it. It doesn't take an expert obviously but I had no idea what I was doing the first time around with Eli. I wrote a post about my favorite carrier when he was a baby but I feel much more educated now so I'm going to do a follow-up to that post.

5. The November Warmer and Scent of the month are pretty great!
https://megantree.scentsy.us/Buy/ProductDetails/30147

https://megantree.scentsy.us/Buy/ProductDetails/30379

I've been warming that scent since I got it. It totally smells like Christmas in my house!




6. I spent some precious time this week and organized my pantry thanks to some $3 bins in the $1 spot at Target (it's confusing I know). I feel so much better about my life now that the pantry is organized.

7. I started watching Gilmore Girls. The verdict is still out on whether I like it or not, but for now I'm going to continue to watch.

8. If anybody has a baby Eli let me know cause I have some shirts to sell from when he was a baby. I sold a couple on a FB site but I have a few more size 12 months to sell!

9. My contacts feel like they are going to pop out of my eyeballs so I'm going to end this right here.

11/3/14

Halloween 2014

The holidays really are so much more fun with kids. I've always heard that but it's one of those things that you can't really understand until you do have those kids with you on the holidays.

Since graduating from junior high (is that too old to trick or treat?) Halloween has always just been another day, no big deal made about it, no dressing up, just October 31st.

But this year it was SO fun. Although I had no idea that Halloween festivities would take up the whole week of Halloween! Seems like we had something everyday. What will Christmas be like? Something everyday for the whole month??

Anyways, back in September I asked Eli what he wanted to be for Halloween and he said a gorilla. Well....ok. Thinking that he didn't understand the question I waited a couple of days to ask him..... and he said he wanted to be a gorilla again. He was very insistent on this, so I sought out for a gorilla costume

And lo and behold I found one at TJ Maxx of all places. And it was the perfect gorilla costume! Because of Eli's costume choice, Annie's costume came naturally; a banana.




As could be expected Annie was not a fan of the banana costume,  but she was a trooper each time she wore it.

Halloween morning we woke up and went to our favorite donut shop. They were giving a free Halloween donut to all kiddos dressed in a costume. We will never pass up a free donut.


The donut shop is close to Luke's work so we took a box of donuts to his office which allowed us to show them Eli and Annie in their costumes. Everybody is a fan of a gorilla and banana.

That evening we had our annual Trunk or Treat at church. Each car is responsible for coming up with a game. This year we did a banana toss game - I was very proud of myself for sticking to a theme, something I'm not usually good at. I usually throw something together at the last minute. Actually I did throw this together at the last minute, it was just an easy theme to stick with. 


 And our game sounds a lot more put together than it actually was. I noticed a couple of days before Halloween that my trunk would slowly close on it's own ending with a big BANG as it picked up momentum and slammed shut. I noticed this when it almost took off my head once or five times.

I then forgot about it. Until we were at trunk or treat. An event that requires us to leave our trunk open for two hours. So we spent the next two hours wrestling our children while dealing with several hundred kids stopping by our trunk, and holding open the trunk door. And by we I mean mainly Luke. He has now asked me to mention all car problems to him in a timely manner.

We came home and were exhuasted but I wanted Eli to trick or treat at a couple of houses. I like the trunk or treat and think it's fun, but I grew up going door to door trick or treating and I wanted Eli to experience it, I knew he would love it.

And he did! We stopped by a few of our friend's houses and each time we left he would say "Ok let's go to another house that was fun!". Luke and Annie stayed at home so it was just me and Eli, and it was so special.

Then we came home, ate dinner and went to bed. We were all so tired!

It was such a great day and night. I can't believe October is already over, looking forward to November!




10/26/14

Sleep

I'm currently sitting on the floor outside my three year old's room working on various tasks on my computer.

I'm also mentally begging my child to fall asleep. Please just go to sleep so I can get off the floor and go get in my own comfy bed.

And I just remembered I still have to wash my face, take out my contacts, and brush my teeth. I despise the bedtime routine. I always have, even before we implemented the three hour please-go-to-sleep bedtime routine for the three year old.

It wasn't on purpose, and up until March of this year we had a wonderful sleeper. He never had a problem sleeping and even transitioned to a big boy bed with ease. It was too good to be true. TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE.

Then we had a baby - and because babies don't like to sleep at night when they first enter this world she naturally slept in our room so that I could feed her at all hours of the night.

So three out of four family members slept in the same room. Do you see where this is going?

I mean I get it. I don't like to feel left out, if everybody is hanging out I want to be invited. I'm not a big party gal but if there is a party I'M THERE. Just don't leave me out.

I can only assume that Eli felt left out in his own room and own bed while the three of us shared another room. I'm sure in his mind we were having all kinds of fun in there. If he considers sleepless nights, spit up and sleeping on towels that are covering up where the baby just peed because I'm too tired to change the sheets fun then we were having A BLAST.

Pretty soon the new baby was sleeping through the night, which was fantastic, and would have been a victory in the realm of parents getting some sleep, if only the three year old would have followed suit and stayed in his bed all night.

I have to admit something. I was once a firm person. And I'm not just talking about my belly (which is no longer firm) but I was a firm YES or NO person. If I said yes I meant it if I said no I meant it and if I said never I meant it.

Oh how I wish I could go back and take back any "never" statement I ever made. Because all those times I said I would "never" let a kid sleep in my bed are coming back to mock me. Laugh at me as I sleep on the tiniest sliver of the right side of the bed while simultaneously being kicked in the ribs by three year old feet.

We've tried various tactics in the seemingly impossible task of getting Eil to fall asleep alone and stay sleeping in his own bed all night long; bribery, discipline, begging, firm voices, ALL OF IT.

One morning I woke up defeated and discouraged, which was probably due to the fact that our queen size bed had too many people sleeping in it, but I was desperate. So with coffee in one hand and desperation in the other I started seeking the advice of google for ways to get the child to stay in his bed all night.

One site suggested you take the child back to their bed without saying a word to them. Just lead them back to their room put them in bed and go on your merry way. Oh yeah that sounds like a good plan. Until you do it SEVENTEEN TIMES.

Seriously who are these people? Apparently that worked for the perfect Leave it to Beaver family, but us Trees are resilient. We are fighters. We are tired and just need some SLEEP.

I became consumed with figuring out how to get Eli to sleep in his bed all night. I worried myself sick. I made bold statements about how we were failing as parents.  When Eli joined us in bed around 3am it was as if it was a physical reminder of the awful job we were doing. Why couldn't we get our kid to stay in bed?? When did we become such failures?

I think Luke could sense my discouragement (insanity?) and reminded me that it wouldn't always be this way. Yes, right now it feels consuming, but time will pass and he will sleep in his own bed all night eventually.

Since that talk I've felt better and less like a failure (well at least in this particular area). I try to enjoy every aspect of motherhood because I know the time with my babies in my arms is short - but sometimes, some parts are just exhausting, quite literally in this case, but I also know it won't always be this way.

So for now we just roll with the punches. Sometimes we sit outside his room while he falls asleep, sometimes we lie down next to him, sometimes when we joins us at 3am we let him stay in our bed and sometimes we carry him back up to his bed (several times).

I've realized that there are no absolutes in parenting. What works for some (ahem google) doesn't work for others. And what works one week may not work the next week. It doesn't mean we are failures and it doesn't mean we won't ever reach a victory in this area. If he is 14 and still wants to sleep with us we have a problem, for now we have a normal three year old who is HOPEFULLY just going through a stage. He will sleep again.

Until then we keep moving forward. And pricing king size beds.

10/22/14

Meals Last Week

Where do the weeks go??? I seriously plan to blog every day and have all these ideas in my head and I have half-written posts in my drafts and then before I know it its Wednesday and I haven't published anything.

The weeks dissapear faster than my memory on my iphone.

But really, where does that memory go? Why do I delete hundreds of pictures, texts, emails and even favorite apps yet I still have NO SPACE???

It's a conspiracy I tell you. I don't know what kind of conspiracy or what the reasoning would be, but I'm a constant skeptic so I call CONSPIRACY.


Another conspiarcy? Alarm clocks. If you don't set your alarm clock you will somehow, suddenly wake up early in the morning without the ability to go back to sleep.

If you do set your alarm you end up pushing snooze 18 million times and feeling more drowsy than you did the day you didn't set your alarm. Weird.

I experienced this conspiarcy this morning. I planned to go to bootcamp and set my alarrm. And then somehow slept through it for about 30 min. Well I kept pushing snooze in my sleep. Which is not uncommon for me. In high school and college I had to put my alarm clock across the room so that I would have to wake up and walk to it to turn it off. And still sometimes I wouldn't remember turning it off. So basically not really a conspiracy but just a person who can sleep through anything. Except my children crying.

Anyways, all of that to say, I came here to share my meal plan from last week (flawless transition there, thank ya).

It was a not so great week of eating out several times. I have spent almost the entire time that I've lived here in our town looking for good Chinese and while I was pregnant I found it and now when I get a craving for it I HAVE TO HAVE IT. So have it I did this weekend. Along with several other eating out experiences. Not the best use of our money. But it satisfied my craving for some good Chinese food.

Monday: Chili
It was a little "chilly" on Monday. Well it was probably like mid-70's but that's cool to me so I made my favorite chili which is this Whole Foods Market Chili recipe. Seriously the best.

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Crockpot Sasuage Dinner
This is one of those easy throw it all in the corckpot and forget about it dinners.

Thursday: Spicy whole wheat linguini with sasuage and roasted peppers.
This is a Skinny Taste recipe which did not disappoint at all (I've never had a bad recipe from that site).  I did make this un-spicy for my bunch.

Friday: BLT's
This is one of my favorite easy dinners. We eat it with chips and dip. Easy and yummy!




And then it was followed by our bad weekend of eating out. Eating out and trying to figure out what Luke and I will wear for our annual family pics. It was thrilling. 

Try the chili! You'll thank me!




10/13/14

Best Sellers

This past week I hosted my annual Fall/Winter Scentsy open house for all my customers to come smell new scents and pick up a new catalog.

I love doing this because I'm able to visit with my customers and give them some fun samples while also answering questions they have.

This year was really fun because it was my first open house in our new house so I had a lot of my new friends from our neighborhood stop by and pick out scents. I love introducing people to Scentsy, they always love it!

There are so many new great scents and warmers so I thought I would share some that I've noticed to be the most popular so far this season.

This is by far my most popular warmer right now - which is funny cause it's not even new to this catalog, but I have one in my house and I think when people see how pretty it is they want to order it. All the warmers are pretty in the catalog but they are so much prettier in person!



This gorgeous warmer which donates proceeds to the National Breast Cancer Foundation is another big seller right now: (MUCH prettier in person)


And the warmer of the month this month that is 10% off is Grateful Harvest


Of course the Fall/Winter and Holiday scents are extremely popular right now. It's hard to pick my favorite so my top three right now are: Cedar Cider, Pomegranate Pear, and Shimmer But really you can't go wrong with most of the scents. And there are so many options, there is something for everyone!

Some of my popular scents during this time are:
 
Pumpkin Roll
Christmas Cottage
Peppermint Dreams
Autumn Sunset
Orange you Glad
Silver Bells 


As always be sure and checkout the CLOSEOUT section on my website. So many great deals on tons of products. These would be great for teacher gifts and other "random" gifts you are faced with during the upcoming holiday season.

Let me know if you have any questions or need anything!

10/12/14

Meal Planning. Again.

Sometimes I feel awesome, and sometimes I don't. 

I feel like my awesomeness happens every other week.

For example if I'm awesome this week, it means next week I will for sure be a total and utter train wreck.

And my awesomeness is in regards to all areas of life; wife, mom, friend, director, homemaker, etc etc.

Some weeks I'm spot on. Clean house, plenty of play time with Eli, meals planned and on the table every night, meaningful convos with Luke, caught up on all Scentsy to-dos etc etc. Basically just a rockstar at life.

And then some weeks I'm a disaster. No meals planned, scrambling around trying to figure out what to cook for dinner, pit of a house, behind on all to-do lists and so on - which all adds up to me feeling awful about myself.

Usually you can tell what my emotional state is based on how our fridge looks. If its clean and everything is put away all nice and its freshly stocked then I'm having a good week. But if it's disgusting and full of leftovers from last week that need to be trashed and random odds and ends that wouldn't make a good meal when put together, then I'm having a bad week.

The truth is in the fridge.

I try not to let the state of our fridge affect my emotions. But sometimes it's hard. I will declare I'm the "worst mom, wife, fill-in-the-blank" ever. And then I'll get over it and move on.

One thing that I have found really helps me stay on top of things is meal planning. I was really good at meal planning at the beginning of our marriage and when Eli was a baby. And then last year we moved and were sort of in transition for about 6 months and I let myself get out of the habit of doing it.

But I'm trying to get back into the routine of meal planing. Life seems to go more smoothly if I start the week with all our meals planned. It takes so much stress out of the week.

So I'm going to try and get back into the habit of sharing our meals on here, basically for record for myself of what I've cooked and what we like.

For some reason when I'm sitting down trying to plan meals I can't remember a single meal and end up doing basic things like spaghetti and tacos every other night. So hopefully keeping track of them will help me.

For the majority of our meals I will cook the main dish and then we will cook some veggies with it. In the past I did a big meal with several sides but it got to be too much. We save money by buying a ton of those frozen veggies that you steam in the microwave and just throw it with whatever meal I cook. It doesn't always go together but it works for us.

Two weeks ago was a rock star awesome week.....Our meals:

Sunday: Pioneer Woman Beef Noodle Salad Bowls
This is a meal we cook often and we love it. I could eat these noodles every single day! We usually eat ours with broccoli mixed in.

Monday: Penne with Mustard, Basil and Sausage via The Dough Will Rise Again
Gosh this recipe is so good. SO GOOD. It's probably my favorite recipe right now. I serve with some veggie and bread.

Tuesday: Chicken and Cheese Quesadilla Pie via The Girl Who Ate Everything
This is an easy and quick meal but also really good and filling. I've made it a couple of times and Luke always talks about how good it is. I only put jalapenos on half of it because I'm the only one who likes a little spice in their meal.

Wednesday: Crock pot Chicken - no recipe, if I'm running out of ideas, or didn't go to the store, or trying to save money I will just throw some chicken in the crock pot and put something on it. This time it was taco seasoning and salsa.

Thursday: Italian Mini Meatloaves

Last week wasn't so awesome and consisted of tacos and trying to throw something together the other nights. I don't even remember what we had but I do know one night I made Lemon Chicken Soup that I found on Kate's blog. And it was DELICIOUS! It was the perfect meal to eat as we welcomed in cooler weather.

I planned to meal plan tonight but got distracted doing other things including writing this out. Hopefully I will get the next week planned before the end of the day tomorrow.

I also really need to clean my fridge.






10/5/14

Weekend update


Friday was the day that Fall dreams are made of, well at least my dreams.

It was cool without being cold. 

It was an overcast day without being rainy and dreary.

We wore long sleeves and pants and it was perfect. 

Fridays are probably my most favorite day of the week. I love to cook a good meal and dessert on Fridays and enjoy the evening with my family. Bonus points if we don't have plans the next day and get to go to sleep knowing that the next day is full of nothing. 

This Friday was a little different though, Luke and I had a wedding to go to, which essentially meant we had a date night. 

Any night just the two of is with uninterrupted convo is a date night. I'll be honest and say that we aren't good about "date nights". So actually going out and getting a babysitter was a bit out of the norm for us, but very much anticipated. Even Eli was excited to have a babysitter for the night!

I was afraid Annie would cry a lot as she has been rather attached to me lately but she did fine after we left. 

The wedding was beautiful and we enjoyed a dinner together. It was perfect. 


On Saturday we lounged around most of the day. Luke and Eli have a tradition of making pancakes most Saturday mornings so they did that while I fed Annie. 

We played outside most of the morning and went to the park before naptime for Eli and Annie. 

I used naptime to read Gone Girl which turned out to be an incredibly creepy book. Creepy, but kept my full attention.

For dinner we went to a restaurant and ate outside. Eli was able to run around which is always perfect for a 3 year old. 

It was a gorgeous night and we all enjoyed being outside.


Sunday after church we went to a work party that Luke's company holds every year. I get excited to go cause I know Eli will love it. And he did. He got his face painted and jumped on several inflatables and looked at (but didn't touch) various "extreme animals" (snakes, a baby kangaroo, a porcupine). It was a fun event and a changeup from our normal quiet Sundays. 


The weekend was a great one....even though it started out feeling like Fall but Sunday afternoon it was downright hot. It still felt very fall-like

Hopefully Fall weather will be here to stay soon!  

10/1/14

Our day on Wednesday

Recently when  my parents moved my mom found an old journal buried in a box. It was a journal she started when me and my middle sister were young and when my mom was still pregnant with my youngest sister.

She texted me a picture of the journal so that I could read it and although it was just a normal-everyday "mundane" day in our lives at that point (year 1992) it was so fun and interesting to look back on now.

She talked about going to the doctor, and going to check on the new house with me and my sister and other random tid bits from that particular day. I loved reading every bit of it in my now adult eyes looking back on my childhood. Not only looking back on my childhood but also looking back at my parents as actual people. At the time they were fearless, confident, and worry-free in my eyes, but now being in their shoes I see they were just practically kids themselves, figuring out this life day to day.

I texted my mom and asked her to send me the other pages that it was so fun to read, and she texted back that she only kept the journal that one day. Well that was a big disappointment! I would have loved to read all about the normal days of my childhood from my mom's perspective. Her thoughts, concerns, attitude and just view on our life, the life I remember so fondly.

Because of that incident I've been encouraged to journal more in my life. I have no idea what the world will look like when my children are older, but I think it would be so neat for them to have memories of what the world looked like when they were little, when their parents were new to this parenting thing figuring it out every step of the way.

I would like to make a commitment to write more just day to day memories but I've never been good with commitments so like I do everything I will just take it day by day. I want to be more active about writing down our memories and journaling our pics. I want my kids to not just look back at the pictures but to look at the background, to see that our house was usually messy, and some days we had bad days, and that's ok, that's normal!

So today I made an effort to take pics throughout the day. Nothing extraordinary happened and it was pretty much a regular run of the mill day, but everyday is different and I want to do my best to record the memories both the big and small.

So here was our day Wednesday October 1st.

I started my day at 5:30 by waking up for boot camp. I've started going with a friend recently and I'm really enjoying it. I have seen NO difference in my body but I also continue to eat like a person who hasn't seen food in a week. It could be the fault of nursing, or perhaps eating like a cow for a year while pregnant. Either way I've still got a ways to go before I get into my regular clothes again. But boot camp is fun and it's nice to be awake before the family.


I got back around 7:10 and started picking up around the house while Luke got ready for work. Shortly after that the kiddos woke up and we started our day.

Eli has school on Wednesdays so our morning was a bit more hurried than other mornings. Luke left for work while Annie and Eli enjoyed their breakfast.

Cereal for Annie


Waffles on the floor while watching Daniel Tiger for Eli


I dropped Eli off at school and met up with Luke for Eli's "parent teacher conference". It was a little funny to have a "conference" for a three year old but I'm glad his school makes the effort to keep parent's connected. Plus it was good to spend some time with Luke during the day.


 Then I went to run some errands.

Around 11:00 I went to get my hair done. The other day I was thinking about the days when I would get my hair done every 6 weeks on the dot. That is a DISTANT memory now. I get my hair done about 3 times a year at tops. And that's just if we have extra money to put towards it. I hope to be blonde again one day when I can handle the upkeep but for now brown hair is easier to maintain.

A friend from bootcamp did my hair, it was nice to visit with her. She homeschools her kids so her young daughters were more than happy to watch Annie most of the time. It was a nice couple of hours.


After my hair cut and color I went home, ate a fast lunch and then went to get Eli. He had a great day at school (as usual).



 After I got Eli we stopped at Braums to get chocolate milk (a necessity in our house). He really wanted to drink it in the store but I needed to get home to feed Annie so I asked for a cup and poured him a cup right there in the store so he could feel like he was drinking it there. I felt half genius and half ghetto. Which could sum up my life.




Then we came home and played in the playroom for a bit and then outside for awhile.


Then Luke came home and we ate dinner that I had put in the crockpot earlier in the day (HOLLA). It was not a peaceful dinner but rather one filled with "life" (that's a good way to say it). Eli didn't want to eat and Annie was screaming in between bites.


Eli and Luke went to church and Annie and I went to Target to get our weekly necessities. 



We all arrived back home around 8:30 in time to start bedtime and get the house picked up for the night.

On a whim I purchased Gone Girl on my Kindle so now I'm going to read that. Well it wasn't really a whim but rather seeing 200 commercials for it and deciding I should read it.

So that was our day. We stayed busy all day, but it was a good day!


9/28/14

I broke his heart.

One of the best parts of parenting is watching your child's personality grow and develop right before your eyes.

Well I guess I should also say that it can be scary watching it develop. Like when a temper flares or you see a characteristic that reminds you of yourself - possibly something that is opposite of the fruits of the spirit, that can be scary.

But for the most part it is exciting to watch this person that you helped bring into the world become, well for lack of better words an actual person. A thinking, creating, functioning human being.

As Eli and grown and his personality has developed one trait that we have noticed in him is that he LOVES to be funny. The boy will do anything to get a laugh. Don't bother telling him he is "good" or "smart" or "cute" he doesn't care about those things, simply tell him he's funny and he will think you hung the moon.

And then use one of his many tactics to make you laugh. He sings songs in funny voices, makes funny faces and does just about anything for a laugh.

Sounds harmless enough. Which it usually is, however there is a problem with this......once he finds something that makes you laugh he will do it ONE MILLION TRILLION TIMES.

Seriously. don't laugh at something the boy does unless you want to watch it repeated and repeated and repeated.

About two months ago we were all in the car when Eli saw a McDonalds and very casually said "oh I want to go to McDonalds". Luke and I laughed because it was funny. We have never taken him to McDonalds, simply because we never really eat there. Luke doesn't eat any fast food, and for some reason Eli and I have never gone there (probably because we are too busy giving our life savings to Chick Fila).

Anyways, Eli said he wanted to go to McDonalds and we laughed. It was funny, our laughs were genuine. He said it in this funny little voice also which made it funnier.

Then we saw another McDonald's and Eli said "Oh I want to go to McDonald's" again in the same funny voice and we laughed. It was funny. Again.

And then we saw another McDonald's.......

Have you ever realized how many McDonald's there are in a town? A lot. A LOT.

A month went by and Eli still said it every single time we passed a McDonald's. Please hear me when I say I am NOT exaggerating. This child can be half asleep, about to enter nap land and see a McDonald's and still muster the energy to say it. Nothing stops him. And if we don't laugh he will get mad and say it until we laugh. Over and over.

One Saturday while driving around town Luke and I started talking about how to get this to end. I'm going to be honest. It was driving us insane.

We tried just not acknowledging what he said. Didn't work.

We tried over exaggerated fake laughs thinking he would sense the fakeness and quit saying it. Didn't work.

Finally I said I was just going to tell him it wasn't funny. The time had come. A month had gone by of forced laughs every time we passed a McDonald's and Eli needed to know it wasn't really funny.

Pretty soon we passed a McDonald's and we heard the familiar "Oh I want to go to McDonald's".....I took a deep breathe and turned around to face him.

And this is what I said "Baby, I have to tell you something, it's not really funny anymore. The first time you said that it was funny, but now it's not. It's just not funny anymore so you should stop saying it ok?"

I mean......WHAT KIND OF MOTHER DOES THAT? But I had had enough, I broke. The repetitiveness of the same sentence every couple of miles BROKE ME.

I don't really know what I was expecting from him after that. He's three, it was highly unlikely that he would say "ok mother that's a very good point thank you" but I had to say it.

I looked at Eli and he looked back at me and in his eyes I saw heartbreak. True and actual heartbreak. It was like I had shattered his whole world. He loves to be funny and in one instant this person he thought he could trust just told him he wasn't funny.

And then the tears came, the real actual tears. Not fake tears a three year old pulls trying to get what they want, or even tears of anger. These were tears of pain, actual hurt.

Instantly I felt horrible. What did it matter if it wasn't really funny? Was it so bad to fake laugh every so often? If it wasn't hurting anything why did I feel the need to make sure Eli knew that it wasn't funny?

It just all seemed so silly in that moment. He is going to go through this life and have moments where he is let down, moments where people hurt him and moments that he feels bad about himself. As his mom I want to protect him from these moments but they are a part of life I can't. However in this situation I could, and I felt like I let him down.

Immediately after he started crying and tears started streaming down his face Luke and I both started shouting "JUST KIDDING, IT WAS JUST A JOKE IT'S SOOOOOOOOO FUNNY YOU ARE THE FUNNIEST BOY EVERRRRRRRRR"

What did it matter if it drove us crazy when he said it 30 times in one car ride? It wasn't hurting anything, it won't last forever, so for now we will fake laugh.

It's now been a month since that day and we still fake laugh daily. Multiple times in fact. He has completely forgotten that I ever told him it wasn't funny and that's ok with me. For now I will continue to protect his little heart.

However, if McDonald's goes out of business anytime soon we won't be too sad over here. 


9/1/14

Thoughts and Pics

I feel like I have so much to say on here but finding time to sit down and get it all out is challenging.

And honestly I don't really know where my time goes. I wouldn't call my self a "busy" person. I think we tend to throw that word around a lot. Right now I feel like the only thing that keeps me busy is stopping every 3 hours for about 30 minutes to feed Annie. Now that's a major time suck.

In between that I'm trying to keep the house clean (key word is trying), working on various Scentsy tasks, working on household tasks, and keeping the children entertained. I've even let working out fall to the side lately which I hate.

But here we are at the beginning of September. It's the downward slide of the year, but oddly enough feels like a time for a fresh start. Fall is upon us, the routine of school days and meal planning and all of that is becoming the norm again. So I'm trying to incorporate blogging back into that.

Last week I went to Tulsa and kept my nephews while my sister and her husband went out of town. It was a fun and CRAZY week. Annie and my youngest nephew are two months apart so it made for some interesting days. luckily we stayed with my parents so by 4:30 I was pretty much "off duty".

Because I need time to gather my thoughts to write about all the things I want to write about (breastfeeding the 2nd time around, Eli's adjustment to Annie, the riveting Saved by the Bell movie I watched tonight (see not busy), possibly starting weight watchers again) I decided the easiest thing tonight would be for me to share some pics of my favorite products from the new Scentsy catalog that came out TODAY!!




(I already got this for the kid's bathroom since I was planning on doing a "you are my sunshine" theme in there)


(this warmer is 10% off this month and is beyond popular, I've already sold over 20)

(proceeds from this warmer go to the National Breast Cancer Foundation)

I don't know how Scentsy continues to come up with all these awesome designs but they do! I'm loving it all!

As always you can order from my website HERE

And if you are looking to make extra money please email me and let's chat about how Scentsy might be the right fit for you. Maybe you need extra money for Christmas this year or all the back to school needs? Email me! MeganTree84@gmail.com

Ok that's all for tonight, I'll be back with some real content hopefully tomorrow, but for now enjoy the pics!

8/20/14

Eli's First Day

Last year Eli started attending a Mother's Day Out program two days a week.

When he started we were in between homes renting a house that hapened to be pretty close to his school.  When we found and moved into our new house in November I quickly realized that his new school was a bit further than I wanted to drive.

It wasn't a horribly long drive, but now that I have a baby in tow I started thinking about how nice it would be if I didn't have to spend about 30 minutes in the car both ways. So I started looking for an opening at a school closer to us, and thankfully I found one.

I was sad to leave his school, it had a smaller feel and I really liked the teachers there, but I also know he's only three where he goes to a preschool two days a week doesn't define the rest of his life. And right now distance is important.

Although we had a great summer and stayed busy Eli was ready to go to school. He loves school and being around other kids, which makes me happy. I'm not counting on it always being this way so I'm enjoying it for now.

 

 

Because my car is still in the shop I had to drive Luke's truck to drop Eli off at school. I was more nervous about the truck than anything. I was so scared about driving the truck, especially in a crowded parking lot full of lots of children! I was the person who parked in the very back of the parking lot that day.

Eli had been SO excited all morning and was very wound up. He very confidently marched into school and his classroom. He went straight to his cubby hole that he recognized from the open house the night before and started putting his stuff up.

I got one really bad picture of him putting his lunch box up, I tried to snap it really quickly and discreetly cause I didn't want to look like a crazy mom taking pics of her child's every move. Then I realized other mom's were taking pictures also and I'm just the crazy insecure mom.


By the time I got done with my insecurity rabbit trail in my head it was too late to take a pic of him hanging his bag up, so I just told him to stand by it so I could take a picture.


Luke picked him up and said he had a great day. He said that music was his favorite part of the day (of course).

That night he was so tired and went to sleep early, now I remember why I like this school thing. I kid, I kid, but it was nice to not have to fight him at bedtime.

He had another great day again today and again said that his favorite part was music. I asked him who he played with and he said "the kid who runs fast and the boy with the firetruck on his shirt". Clearly they aren't on a first name basis yet.

So our summer is officially over. And as Eli goes back to "school" and I watch other moms send their kids to real school where they will be gone all day I'm thankful for yet another year at home with my babies.




Also.....




Almost all products are 10% off this month on my Scentsy website

Plus the following scents are being retired so be sure and stock up if your favorite is on the list! 



Speaking of stocking up, now is the best time to take advantage of the combine and save deals - six bars for only 22.50!!





8/14/14

New Struts

A couple of weeks ago my car started making a noise. Well it wasn't so much of a noise as it was a weird feeling vibration thingy coming from the right front side of the car. The combined noise and weird vibration feeling made me certain that my tire was going to fall off at any point.

But that seemed like it would be expensive to fix so I continued to put it off and not take it to the shop. 

This is what I do in my life, I procrastinate. I hate it about myself but I keep saying that tomorrow I'll change, I'll be better. And then I decide I'll change later.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

Eventually my car needed an oil change so I used this opportunity to explain the weird feeling/noise that was coming from my car. 

Good news: my tire wasn't just going to fall off while driving.

Bad news: I needed new struts. Struts are expensive. Wouldn't ya know something called "strut" is expensive. Just makes sense.

We dropped my car off on a Monday not knowing how much it would end up costing us at the end of all the services. So when they offered me a rental car I politely declined.

In my mind I felt like I could save us money if I didn't have a rental car. I couldn't run to Target to get "necessities". I couldn't go out to eat at lunch just because chick fila sounded better than a turkey sandwich at home. Plus I would save a ton of money on gas if I wasn't driving around.

Basically I felt like I was a regular ole Proverbs 31 woman sacrificing for my family.

So for the majority of the week Eli, Annie and I have been housebound. And for the most part it's gone pretty well.

Normally I would have run to the store to get groceries to cook what I wanted to eat for the night, but without a car I couldn't do that. So I became resourceful and made dinner (and lunches) from what we had in the house. It was like I was a Pioneer woman. Maybe even The Pioneer woman.

There  also haven't been any Sonic runs during the day, and we've all  managed to survive.

And the cherry on top of the whole story is that my warranty on my car is going to cover the cost of the repairs.

If that's not a reward for my sacrifice of living without a rental car then I don't know what is.

However I'm very ready to have my car back. It's been nice not feeling rushed around or on the go, but enough time has passed for that gig. Let's get my car back so I can actually go the store and buy some groceries.

I'm excited to drive my car around with new struts. That just sounds fancy!



8/13/14

This Time Around

I thought I had prepared myself for the reality of postpartum pregnancy this second time around.

You see the first time around I thought I would lose all my weight by the time I left the hospital. That's just what happens right? You gain 40+ pounds, pop out a 6 pound baby and then in the span of a couple of days you are back to your normal weight.

Skin all tight, body all shapely, everything back to normal.

You can only imagine how much of a startling revelation it was when I walked out of the hospital room looking all the nine months pregnant I had walked in there.

Eventually the weight did come off and I found myself back in regular clothes again. I quit nursing and was able to wear regular undergarments and clothes without needing to accommodate feeding my child. It was nice to get back to normal and I almost forgot just how out-of-sorts I felt after giving birth.

Almost.

Then I got pregnant again, and I vowed to not feel the same way after pregnancy again. So everyday, whether I felt like it or not I would do some sort of physical activity. Jogging outside while pushing Eli in the stroller or doing some sort of workout DVD. And then I found out I had placenta previa and couldn't do strenuous physical labor anymore. So then I had to walk. I tried to walk two miles everyday but towards the end it was more around three times a week. And then I quit completely at 34 weeks.

I also tried to eat better, not snacking as much, not drinking a soda every single day and just sticking to overall healthy eating.

And what do you know? I gained the same weight I did with Eli. I started both pregnancies at the same exact weight and ended both at the same weight. It's a little weird.

So here we are again....in that awkward after stage where my body doesn't really feel like my own. And getting dressed is a chore due to trying to find something that fits and also easily lends itself towards feeding my child.

But something is different this time around, and I'm not just talking about my mid-section that seems much flabbier than the first go-round.

The thing that is different is my attitude. First I'll admit that I still have "bad" days. Days where I wish I had my old body, or days where I wish I could go in my closet and easily get dressed without feeling like I'm trying to shove a square peg in a round hole, but those days are much less than they were in my postpartum days after Eli.

My attitude is different because I know that I am in this position because my body carried my child. And that makes it ok. I managed to lose all the weight with Eli and although my doctor drilled it into my head that "weight is much harder to lose the second time around" (I can hear her voice in my head saying that) I plan to lose the weight again, but all in due time.

Now that I've had two kids I'm more than certain that my body holds on to weight while I nurse. If you are one of those lucky girls that loses all the weight while nursing I am probably jealous of you, because my body tends to hold onto extra weight Which is frustrating but I'm trying to remind myself that it's temporary.

I was talking to my cousin about it yesterday and she reminded me that I have the rest of my life to lose the weight, right now is my time to feed my baby and just focus on her,  and it's so true. If I've learned anything it's that these baby days fly by in the blink of an eye.

My body may not look like it once did. And I may have an insane amount of pants in my closet that don't fit, and I may feel like the button of my jeans is going to pop right off when I button them over my new wider hips, but I have my baby. My healthy, breathing, laughing, growing baby.

And that's enough.

That's not to say that I won't have days where I'm frustrated with my body or play the awful comparison game and compare my body to other new moms (I'm bad about that) but this time around I'm learning to quickly adjust my attitude. I'm not letting it consume me like it did after my pregnancy with Eli.

After giving birth to Eli I wore very loose clothing and spent a lot of time trying to hide the fact that I had extra weight. This time I wear normal fitting clothes and don't obsess about what my midsection looks like. I'm giving myself some grace this time. Maybe even a little more grace since I didn't give myself any the first time. 
This time around I don't beat myself up if I don't workout in a couple of days (or a week). I don't even try and stuff myself into my old jeans only to feel frustrated that they don't fit and I'm trying not to obsess over when {if} the extra weight will come off.

Right now I'm just enjoying my time as a mom with young kids. Yes I do want to be healthy for them, and a mom that is obsessed with her self-image and losing a few extra pounds is not healthy.

Becoming a parent has taught me so much, I grow in this job a little more everyday and it's not always growth in how I parent but sometimes, like this, it's growth in personal issues. So this time around I'm learning daily to not obsess over my looks or the way I feel, and instead focus on this fleeting time with my babies.



8/6/14

Halo SleepSack Swaddle 100% Cotton Muslin Review

Oh the swaddle. It's a wonderful thing. Those first few days, weeks and sometimes months at home the swaddle becomes a magical thing when you have a crying baby. You don't know what to do to calm their crying so you swaddle them tight and before you know it they are sleeping soundly.

Since Annie was born we have used the Halo SleepSack Swaddle in 100% cotton muslin and dare I say this has been a lifesaver in our house.


I love using it for so many reasons. The first reason is because it is so soft, in fact it seriously gets softer the more you wash it.  The fabric is breatheable so I never have to worry about if it was to get over Annie's face. Secondly I like to use it because it's so easy to use. The velcro on the swaddle makes it easy to get Annie nice and snug and the bottom to top zipper is great for those middle of the night diaper changes.


With this SleepSack Swaddle you can choose whether to keep their tiny arms inside or outside the swaddle. As Annie has gotten older and wants her arms out this has been a great feature. I can still keep her covered and warm without worrying about using loose blankets and she can keep her arms out, which she seems to prefer some nights. It's really a win-win for us. 


 The Halo website offers a variety of SleepSack Swaddles. I can tell you this is all we will be using. Even without using the swaddle feature the SleepSack is perfect.

And in an added bonus Halo SleepSack Swaddles are safe for your baby and have become a standard in hospital nurseries.  Swaddling offers many benefits for your baby including helping them sleep longer and helping to soothe them.


If you are pregnant or even just need the perfect baby gift, let me recommend the Halo SleepSack Swaddle. You can visit their website HERE.

8/5/14

Our Summer Recap

Every year around the beginning of August I start getting that "fall-itch". I start yearning for days of boots and cardigans. Scarves and hot drinks. Pumpkin patch trips and football games and bonfires. It all sounds so magical when I'm surrounded by nothing but hot days resulting in a full body sweat just from stepping outside.

But this year is different. I can't quite put my finger on why I don't have the yearning for Fall this year, but for once I am not ready for summer to end. Our summer has been unbelievably cool. I mean we've had days where the temps were in the 70's. SEVENTIES. It was a bit freaky and made me wonder if the end of the world was rapidly approaching, but still the coolness in the air was heavenly.

Another factor in not wanting summer to end is probably the fact that Eli is at such a fun age. We have so much fun together. We go to the pool, go to the park, spend time playing outside and end each day with bike rides around the neighborhood and playing outside with our neighbors. It has truly been a perfect summer.

And through it all Annie tags along with us. Our second born has no choice but to have a "go with the flow" attitude and so she does. Never fussy or hard to please, she has been the perfect addition to our family.

In true Megan-I-will-always-find-something-to-worry-about fashion I was worried at the beginning of the summer that it would drag on. I was worried about keeping Eli "entertained" and I was sort of sad that we weren't planning on going anywhere for vacation, I just wasn't looking forward to the summer season.

But in true God I've-always-got-everything-under-control fashion He revealed many things to me this summer; not to worry about the future, don't try and plan everything, each day is a gift, and the most importantly through the mundane days of summer I was once again reminded just how important my job as a mom is. This life right now is my children's childhood. It sounds like such a obvious statement but sometimes in the day to day of getting all my tasks done I forget to just stop and enjoy every moment. Even the moments that don't seem special are special because they are moments of their childhood. I am helping shape them everyday so what may seem like just another day at home to me, is really a day for me to spend playing with my kids.

I feel like a broken record to myself because I'm constantly reminding myself of these things, but I think it sticks a little bit more every time. And also watching Eli grow and become more independent helps me understand these things even more.

A glimpse into our summer:

After being cooped up inside all winter we ventured outside and met our neighbors in our new neighborhood. We have had so much fun getting to know everyone and have made some great friends. It's the highlight of Eli's day every night to go outside after dinner and play with all the kids. We have even had the occasional water balloon fight

 (these photos were clearly not taken by me)



Eli mastered riding his bike. It was hard for him to pedal at first but eventually he got the hang of it, and has even since graduated to a bigger bike. Such a big boy.


Annie went from a tiny newborn baby, to a loud and active baby. She's still a tiny girl at only 11 lbs but she is definitely full of personality. She spends a lot of time laughing at her funny brother.


We started going to a weekly playgroup where I've been able to make some new friendships and Eli has fun playing with the other kids.


I  mastered the art of "wearing" my baby and Annie spends a lot of time in a baby carrier. It makes life easier


Eli abandoned his love of The Polar Express and found a new love with The Sandlot. Which resulted in countless hours of playing baseball outside. According to Luke he has gotten really good for a three year old!  He also is always sure to wear his "Benny hat" which is an LA Dodgers hat that Benny the Jet wears in The Sandlot




Luke and I celebrated our sixth year of marriage. We went out to eat which is a rarity for us. It was such a fun night as we reminisced on the past six {wonderful} years. So truly thankful for Luke and the Godly man he is and all the ways he serves our family.

Luke took a Sunday off and we spent a long weekend visiting both our families. It was our "vacation" this year. It was relaxing and just what we needed. 


Have I mentioned that we spent A LOT of time outside? I usually wear Annie or put her in the stroller and then we go outside and Eli rides and rides and rides. At night he likes to play basketball with the boys from down the street



Those were just a few of the fun things that kept our summer occupied. We also had a lot of time inside playing, watching TV, movies, and the occasional childhood temper tantrums. It was a well-rounded summer. 

Eli starts "school" in just a few weeks. He will once again go to a Mother's Day Out program two days a week. I'm so glad we aren't at the "big" school age yet, two days a week is enough for right now. This summer has shown me just how much I love these lazy days at home with my babies.

And I'm sure, before too long I will be ready for Fall weather with those hot drinks and cute boots and football games. Just a few football games - let's not get carried away.