Motherhood

Self Love V2

Self Love

**NOTE: Originally, I had planned on this being about motherhood but it took an unexpected turn and ended up being about being a wife. This surprised me and made me feel super vulnerable but I’m just going to go with it. So here goes nothing.**

I want to start this off by saying that I really don’t know where I am going with it. I keep asking myself over and over WHY I feel the urge to express myself via a blog and so far, I have been unable to answer that question. I don’t have an answer. I guess I was looking for an outlet of some sort and if you know me at all….you know I almost always have something to say and its usually something sarcastic or awkward…or inappropriate. While I can’t put my finger on why I decided to start blogging….I like it. So, when Amy….someone I look up to in every way….as a wife…a mother…a friend….an entrepreneur…..ALL THE THINGS….posted about #selflove…..it got me thinking.

I’ve been staying home full-time now for almost a year and I love it. I do. Sometimes I feel guilty admitting that but I love being a stay at home mom. It is more than I could have ever hoped it would be. I knew I was missing out but I had no idea what I was missing. I have said it before and I will say it again. I do not think children are better off when they are at home with their mom and/or dad and I do not think mom and/or dad are better off if they are at home with their children. In fact, some days I think the exact opposite. When I was working full-time, I was more attentive at home. I was more focused, organized and patient. Surprisingly (or maybe not to you wiser parents), being at home, I have to actually work harder at being present. I believe this to be because I have come to take it for granted and that makes me feel like a real jerk.

I pride myself on being a peaceful parent. This is important to me because I lived many years of my life in complete and total chaos. So, peaceful parenting is my jam. In our home, we don’t yell. We don’t hit. We don’t berate. We communicate. We talk and hug it out. We love in all we do. But if I am being totally honest with you…which is what I am trying to do….being a peaceful parent is EXHAUSTING. I am constantly having to re-center myself….take a deep breath….and pray. SO. MUCH. PRAYER. Lately though, I have been feeling more anxious and impatient….with everyone. My kids. My friends. Even my husband. And I LOVE my husband. Like that annoying, gross love that makes people uncomfortable. There are days I want to shave off his eyebrows but I desperately love that man. He is the best human being I have ever known. Literally, ask anyone who knows him, there is no one better than him.

When we started the “staying home” conversation….it took us almost a year to make the decision. We made lists. We weighed our options. We discussed the pros and the cons. Andrew was always supportive….encouraging…uplifting….and one of the pros/reasons for me was that I wanted to “be a better wife”. I wanted to be more present in my marriage. More affectionate. More attentive to my husband and I thought I would be able to do this better/more if I were at home. However, after a year….I believe I am/was wrong.

I give all of me every second of every day to my children. I am a good mom. If we’re talking about #selflove….I can honestly say that I am a good mom. I mean….don’t get me wrong….I make mistakes and have hard days (give me ALL THE WINE) but I’d probably give myself a B+….maybe even an A- in Momming. I promise I am not saying this to brag or make myself feel better because it is not something that just comes naturally to me. I work very hard at it. You know those memes about whispering “what the f*{$” to yourself all day….that’s me….seriously….all day….

Scary Mommy WTF

Being a good mom is not easy. You guys….I DON’T EVEN LIKE BABIES! I am not one of those moms who dreamt about motherhood their whole life or believed their sole purpose in life was to be a mother. I was totally fine without having children. In fact….I didn’t really want to be a mom….until I met Andrew. I have made a lot of mistakes in my lifetime….I have done things I am not proud of….I pushed boundaries as far as I could and there were times in my life when I wondered if I was legitimately crazy…..I was lost for many years…crucial years of my life. After self induced heart break….a couple psychotic breakdowns and a near death experience….I moved on a whim (via a Greyhound bus) to a different city in a different state with no money, no car and no job….to “find myself”. At the time, I didn’t know what that even meant. I got a job and made some friends and honestly….I was having the time of my life. I finally felt normal and you know what….I liked myself…which was new for me. Then I met Andrew….at a club….at 2am. It makes me laugh every time…can you imagine Andrew at a club at 2am? Well, it’s true. He was there….dancing up a storm slinging gin & tonics to all the pretty girls. Like any good love story….I had no intentions of falling in love. I can’t really explain it but Andrew is just good. Andrew helped me to see the good in…well…in almost everything. Andrew made me believe in good again. Andrew made me believe in me again. I won’t say Andrew saved me because I saved myself….but Andrew made me believe that I was worthy of even more. For some reason….with Andrew’s amazingness comes my own self doubt. I still sometimes think to myself that I am not good enough for him. He is what movies are made of.

As you have probably gathered….I could not love my husband any more than I do and yet, at the end of the day, after the kids are in bed, the dishes are done and everything is put away….I don’t want to “chat”. I wince even typing that because I know it’s so mean…I know. I don’t want to play a game (we love cribbage), or work on one of the 40,000 house projects we want to do this year….or anything….I don’t want to do anything. I want to be silent. I want to sit in silence…I want to drink wine and stare at Pinterest or watch awful television that I am too ashamed to even list on here. I want NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYONE. You want to know why I don’t text you back??? I DON’T WANT TO TALK TO YOU. There. I said it. However, I do want Andrew to be alone with me. Just having him THERE is enough for me. I want to sit on the couch….next to him….in silence….while staring at our phones.

lay in bed meme

I know that marriage is more than this. This will probably come as a surprise to you (especially after reading about my gross obsession with my husband) but I am not a sappy love story kind of gal. If you have ever received my love….you know it is something fierce but I believe that marriage takes a whole lot more than just love. It takes hard work. You’ve got to put in the work. My parents were divorced TWICE and remarried TO EACH OTHER three times. Let that one sink in for a minute. I have nightmares about failing at marriage. At least once a week, I wake up in the middle of the night and pull Andrew’s arm around me and/or forcefully wake him up to tell him I had a nightmare. That nightmare is our marriage failing. What gives!?

You know….I thought cooking dinner every night and having it ready when he got home was one of the ways I could be a “good wife” or preparing his lunch for him to take to work.  I thought having a clean house, happy & well behaved children and clean laundry was another way for me to be a “good wife” but what I’ve realized is while we like all of these things and he appreciates all of those things….to him….none of those are the reasons he loves me or are reasons HE thinks I am a good wife. He thinks I am the best wife because I make him laugh. I encourage him and push him. I support and respect his goals. I love our children. I listen to what is challenging him and laugh at his jokes….even the bad ones. I love him something fierce….in sickness & in health….in good times & in bad. I love him. Unconditionally. Every. Single Day….and you know what….he literally thinks I am the best….even on my worst days.

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So, in honor of Milk & Mascara’s #selflove campaign, I’m looking to you to help me show some love to not only myself but to my marriage. For myself….I think I want to work out so I am going to head over to the local Athletic Club tomorrow to tour their childcare options and see if maybe that is a way I can show myself a little love (even though I feel so guilty spending money on something that will take me away from my kids when my husband has made so many sacrifices to make it possible for me to be at home). I’ve got to make “me time” a priority so that I can keep on being the glittery ball of sunshine my kids and my sweet sweet husband have come to know and love. How do you show yourself the love and how do you prioritize your marriage? I am looking to you to help me find some balance….what are your secrets? Tips?

>>> sending you LOTS of love >>>

Emily

Lucy Logue by Annie Helen-4352

Motherhood

Mom Love Campaign

selflove

If you are a mother, the term Mom Guilt is likely a familiar one (at best). At worst, you spend a large amount of your mental time hashing out what you could have done better, different, or maybe what you wish you’d not done at all. The first 4 years of my mothering life were plagued by mom guilt. The last year and a half, no longer living under that heavy rain cloud, has been joyful and liberating! And since it is exactly one month before MOTHER’S DAY, we think this is the perfect time to kick off a little Milk + Mascara Mom Love Campaign!

The background: my son had just turned 4 and my daughter was 1.5. It was early fall & a new preschool year had just started for my oldest. During a parent meeting, we were asked by the amazing teachers to share our areas of parenting strength and challenges. A list immediately formed in my head of my weaknesses (imagine a scroll unfurling & running the length of the room). I suddenly realized that my greatest weakness in parenting was my own self loathing and bullying. I was missing SO MUCH in my children’s lives because my head space was filled with would have, could have, should haves. I made a commitment to myself that evening (and I said it out loud to my fellow parents – an absolute key to my quest!) to combat my chronic mothering put-downs with some very intentional self-love. And I decided this wouldn’t just be a week-long endeavor, but one that I’d keep doing until I changed my narrative.

The challenge: every time a thought enters your mind that is nagging and negative (“I’m such a bad mom”…”I’m the worst mother”…”I shouldn’t have been gone so long”…”Did I really need that workout/massage/alone time?”), STOP mid-thought, acknowledge the tendency you have to criticize yourself, and identify something you are proud of as a mom. It doesn’t matter if it is a large, generalization of your mothering, or a small, fleeting moment that felt like a triumph: whatever makes you feel good about yourself on this maniacal mothering ride! And then repeat.

REPEAT

REPEAT

The result: FREEDOM! Sweet freedom from harsh, unhelpful thoughts! My brain tendencies have changed dramatically and I find myself naturally playing this little mental “put-up” game:

tinyheartI am NOT the crafting, home activities mom (just not my strong suit)…however I am the mom that provides a ton of local, out-in-nature adventures for my kids. Maybe this is you or are you the reverse?

tinyheartI’m not great at pretend play and actively engaging in Legos for long periods of time…but I might be THE BEST mother on the planet when it comes to daily dance parties and belting out tunes unabashedly.

tinyheartMy son will shortly be running circles around my math and science knowledge…but both my 5-year-old and 3-year-old will hit you when you least expect it with a rad (and hysterical) vocabulary word.

tinyheartI swing and miss constantly in “teaching moments” or explaining something in an exciting way…but I talk to my kids like they are big people and I’m a pretty dang funny mom.

tinyheartI don’t love to give my kids a lot of tv time…but when I do I make the MOST of it: instead of wasting it with mom guilt, I crank out a task I’ve really wanted to tackle, I sit in indulgent silence, drink a cup of coffee, I do a quick workout, or I lay on the couch next to them and close my eyes for 30 minutes. When it is over I give myself a little inner fist bump because my mom game is stronger and I did not, in fact, rot my children’s brains.
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The examples are endless and so is the breadth of your awesomeness! Please join me for this brain (and heart) reboot! And keep in mind: we have strengths and weaknesses as employees, friends, partners and relatives…how can we expect to be perfect as parents?

I also like to remind myself that the day my kids were born, I too became a newborn mother (initially as a first-time mom and then as a new mom to multiple kids). I have given my children all the space they need to grow at their own pace, so my mothering deserves the same nurturing love.

xo,

Amy

AM

Motherhood

Toddler Easter Baskets

Easter Basket V1

Can you believe that Easter is this weekend? I can’t. It’s bizarre to me that we’re already to Easter. What I can tell you is that I am ready for spring. The rain this year in the Pacific Northwest has been breaking records….and my soul. I have never complained about the rain or weather in the Northwest because it was worth it. The lifestyle…the summers…the green…all of it…totally worth it but this winter has been grueling. Having a baby and taking care of a toddler indoors is no joke. With that, we’ve still got some rain ahead of us so I had some ulterior motives for Lucy’s Easter basket this year. What can I stuff in a basket to keep her entertained, busy, distracted without throwing in candy or junk food?? Well, here is what I am filling her basket with and almost all of it as Amazon Prime so you can order it today and have it in time for this weekend if you haven’t gotten around to it yet!

Easter Basket V2

  1. Wubble: pretty self explanatory and loads of fun.
  2. Imagine Ink Book: you can find one with almost any character. I carry one with me at all times – they’re perfect for restaurants or if you need something in a pinch but Lucy carries hers around with her everywhere. You can also find them at Target.
  3. Ultimate Sticker Collection: I was originally introduced to these by @mommysmetimeblog over on Instagram and we love them. You can also find them at Barnes & Noble.
  4. Melissa & Doug Alphabet & Number Placemats with Wipe-off Crayons: I am very excited to see how Lucy takes to these. She has been showing a lot more interest in mark making and I think these will be great for encouraging that.
  5. Kinetic Sand: I talked a little bit about how much we love Kinetic sand here. This is pretty self explanatory.
  6. ABC See, Hear Do: I am probably most excited about this book. I have heard so many amazing things about this book and cannot wait to work through it with Lucy. Follow the author @stefaniehohl over on Instagram to learn more!
  7. Band-Aids: please tell me your kids are as obsessed with band-aids as mine?
  8. Touch Night Light: a while back Lucy started getting out of bed about an hour after she went down and I was at a loss of how to handle it. She just wasn’t tired and she was getting out of bed with the biggest smile on her face which was difficult to be upset about…man was she READY TO PARTY. So in true millennial style….I turned to the internet for ideas because I wasn’t willing to give up her early bed time. See why here! Anyway, the internet told me this was all about her exploring her independence and that independence and choices are healthy so to look to ways to give her options. We gave her a night light and told her that she could go to sleep or if she wasn’t tired she could turn it on and “read” her books in bed. We also told her she could sing to “dogger” or read to him to help him fall asleep. This gave her a task which is apparently empowering. Anyway….it worked like a charm. She turns it on and lays in bed reading books and singing to dogger and is very proud of her night time “independence”.

There you have it. Hope your Easter is magical and blessed no matter what or why you celebrate. Happy Easter and much love from all of us at Milk & Mascara!

~Emily

Lucy Logue by Annie Helen-4352

 

Mini Fashion · Motherhood

First Fridays Feature: Donuts + Dinosaurs

D&D Logo
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Milk & Mascara’s First Fridays Feature continues with a behind the scenes look at the mommy and son duo of the online fashion retailer Donuts + Dinosaurs. We caught up with Jonette Gogue and her son CJ to find out the meaning of the brand’s adorable name, what inspired her to add to her already full plate and how CJ pulls his weight as her little VP.

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What inspired you to start Donuts + Dinosaurs? How would you describe D+D’s style?

To be honest, I got so tired of seeing the same clothes on kids when C.J and I would go to parties or family functions. The clothes that I would see at stores wouldn’t really match CJ’s personality. I also wanted items that celebrated the mommy and me relationship with clothes that make you laugh and exude your sense of style. So one day, I decided I was going to start a mommy and me online children store with clothes that did exactly that. Next thing you know, I became a business owner.

I like to describe the D+D style as fun and trendy. We incorporate love in every item, using quality materials and witty messages that celebrate our greatest gift in life – our children. As fellow mommies might agree, the best part of us will always be them. 

D+D

How did you come up with the name Donuts + Dinosaurs?

I wanted a name that represented my son and I. Donuts and Dinosaurs is a nod to my son’s devotion to dinosaurs along with my love for the holed confection. Some people don’t know the reason why I love donuts so much. My dad would work crazy hours and he was hardly ever home. My sisters and I would wake up to a pink box of donuts with a note from my dad telling us to have a good day, make sure our room was clean, be sure to take care of each other and that he loved us. I always looked forward to seeing a pink box on the table in the morning. Everything about our store has something personal about me and my family.

What is your favorite aspect about running D+D? Have you learned anything since starting the business that has surprised you?

My favorite aspect of running the business is that we serve a purpose in what we do and that we do everything together. D+D is truly a mommy and me business. C.J helps me pick out items, gives me ideas, helps me with packaging and signs his own thank you cards.  I knew it was going to be a lot of work and very time consuming. I think what surprised me most was the amount of love and support we have received from everyone, including strangers. I didn’t expect our business to be so busy, especially when I didn’t pay for advertisements or utilize social media to its full potential. It is truly a blessing.

What advice do you have for a ‘mompreneur’ just starting out?

Don’t lose sight of what matters most to you. Running a business is a lot of hard work and it requires a lot of time. Being a mom is not an easy task especially if you have multiple children. It is important to have a balance. This is your business and you’re the boss, just remember that being a mommy comes first. I struggle with finding a balance and I’m still working on it. What I won’t do is sacrifice my time with C.J.. I cherish our moments together.

What are your favorite items for spring? What current trends are your favorite? What trends do you see that are up and coming?

Continue reading “First Fridays Feature: Donuts + Dinosaurs”

Motherhood

My (super secret) Sanity Savers

When I first started staying home, I was 4 months pregnant with my second and had no idea what I was getting myself into. Within two weeks, I was bored. My two year old was bored and there were only so many parks in the state of Oregon. I knew I had to get some sort of routine in place and figure out what my purpose was (and how to survive) at home.

I turned to Pinterest and found an unbelievable amount of inspiration. I started with activities that were easy, fun and educational. This has since turned into what we refer to as “Tot School” but these are still my go to tricks to do whatever I need to do….you know…take a shower, do some laundry or just drink a hot cup of coffee.

Pom Poms

I don’t know what it is about Pom Pom’s but they have some sort of toddler magic woven throughout….whatever they are made of (I literally have no idea) but I pull these out for so many different activities. You can buy them here. When I bought these, I don’t even think I knew why but here are just a few of the things I have used them for:

  • Pom Pom Drop: Take empty toilet paper and paper towel roll tubes and adhere (I don’t care how…I used Zots) to Kraft paper or directly to wall (DON’T use Zots on your wall)! Give child pom poms. Let them drop them through the tubes with their hands….tongs…whatever they want. If you really want to make it interesting….give them a few containers to move around to catch the pom poms.
  • Pom Pom Sort: I’ve used muffin tins, shape sorters & egg cartons. We sorted by size & color. We counted. We scooped and poured and transferred to our hearts content.
  • Pom Pom Launchers: my husband and I may or may not have played with these after the kids went to bed.

Continue reading “My (super secret) Sanity Savers”

Motherhood

Mickey Mouse Safari Birthday Party – Printables & Source List

Header Safari Party 1

Not only are my children born two days apart but they are also born during the busiest time of the year – December. Yes, apparently I am only fertile during the month of March so I just recently took my chastity belt off. Phew!

I love birthdays and I love parties so I vowed that I would make my children feel special by honoring their own day. No joint birthday parties in this house! Well the first time my pledge was challenged it was knocked down by a little voice in my head saying Ronen is only 1! He doesn’t have an opinion!! Take advantage of this time!

So I had this idea of a modern safari-themed birthday party but our 4 year-old daughter had plans of her own. She kept asking to have a Mickey Mouse Safari. I was hesitant since we had a Minnie Mouse themed party for her second birthday. But I gave in because (sigh) she is right. Mickey makes everything better and after all it is her party too, I guess.

As usual my Pinterest search yielded great inspiration and pictures. The Mickey Mouse Safari theme is very popular in Brazil. The sites that I came across offered the printables for free! I love, love free stuff! I was getting confused between the different websites I was visiting, especially since it was in Portuguese. I found myself thinking that I wished these sites were all on one list. Thus this blog post was born. So here is all you need to know to throw a DIY Mickey Mouse (and friends) themed Safari party.

Invitation: 

https://www.etsy.com/transaction/1208095260

I loved this safari themed invitation because the girl and boy reminded me of Auburn and Ronen. I was so happy that Misty from Gracie Girl Designs was able to add Mickey Mouse to the mix!
Safari Invitation
Backdrop & Photo booth Area: 
PhotoBooth

This jungle tree backdrop  from Amazon really added to the atmosphere of the party. The backdrop is huge. It is 4′ x 30′. Yes 30 feet. I used it to cover the whole back wall and the photoshoot corner. It is a great buy at only $15.79.

The jeep photo prop was a hit. The kids loved it! It was $8 well spent. I also bought these Giant 11 piece Safari Balloon Bouquet through Amazon. The foil animal shape balloons were awesome!

CarnivalSource.com had the best prices for the safari party hats, wild animal masks and wild animal noses.

Eden
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I used this free printable banner from Fazendoanossafesta.com.br for the ‘Roar for 4’ banner, safari hats and the sour belt sticks. I love the colors in this printable package! This print kit offers everything from cupcake wrappers and invitations to tea bag labels (you read that right) and thank you cards. I printed these at home with card stock paper. Brochure paper works well too and can be purchased on Amazon.

I mixed this printable in since it featured a Minnie Mouse graphic. I used it for the sour belts and the water bottle labels. The sour belts on sticks were Auburn’s favorite item from the party!

MM Safari 2
I had to find these files individually so I attached them here to download directly. Just click on the image.
For Ronen’s birthday banner I used this printable to mix it up. I think the baby safari animals are so cute. There are a total of 7 different animals in this package.

Dessert Table

Cheetah

The closest I got to having a ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ party for Ronen’s first birthday was this shirt. I purchased it from the Ollie&Penny Etsy shop.

MM Safari 3

Header Safari
The cakes were a steal. I bought both cakes from Albertsons and my friend made the cake toppers with her cricut and glitter card stock. The giraffe themed smash cake was only $12.
As party favors I created a coloring/activity book and bought twig colored pencils from World Market and safari themed temporary tattoos.
Coloring Book
 Twig Pencils
Here is a link to Mickey Mouse Safari Coloring pages in case you want to create your own coloring/activity book. I added personalized pages in the activity book like the one below. There are so many different ways you put your own personal touch on it.
Activity Book
So there you have it! You can do any of the above or you can just have a party at the park with some push pops and party supplies from Party City. That’s what I’m doing next year. But where’s the stress in that?!

Happy partying!
Jenelle
Jenelle