Motherhood

Lets be Includers

We’ve all heard it: “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” Well….William Congreve likely didn’t have kids when he wrote that because a woman has got nothing on a Mother. You want to talk about fury….I double dog dare your kid to push my kid at the playground.

Be an Includer

I have dealt with anger issues for most of my life….I just didn’t know it until I met my now husband. Long story short….I was angry. I was angry at my past. My parents. My siblings. The town I grew up in. The kids I grew up next to. Myself. The world. God. After years of therapy….forgiveness….growth and love….anger was no longer something that held me captive. Sometimes I still feel angry of course but I am able to easily combat that anger with joy. Peace. Love. Hope. I am happy. For all the right reasons. I know how good I’ve got it and I really do….I’ve got it good. You would have a hard time making me angry….or offending me because there is little that can bring me down without some serious self reflection, understanding and empathy. That is….until a week ago. When someone was mean to my kid. I’m not talking like didn’t share their toys mean. Lucy got mean girl…ed.

Let me start off by saying that I know my Lucy is not perfect. She is a wild little lady with all sorts of opinions. Every day…every transgression is a teaching moment….we teach kindness….we teach gentle hands….we teach inclusion….compassion….love….forgiveness…acceptance. I work hard at all of this every day. There are days that get the best of me….and unfortunately…..there are days that get the worst of me. I’m not perfect. I have bad days…..just like my almost 3 year old. BUT I assure you….my Lucy is also kind….and funny….and playful….and social. She….in its purest form….is a child. An innocent child. A child that I will fiercely protect for as long as I live.

You may see where this is going. Last week, I dropped Lucy off at “Kids Camp” at the gym where her and her brother spend an hour or two twice a week while I work off this mom bod. She ran in with excitement….hugging her teachers….her girlfriends and promising to take care of her little brother. There is nothing quite as wonderful as finding somewhere your kids feel safe, loved and heard at while you can work on a little #selflove. Am I right? I returned to her classroom an hour or so later to find Eli eating (per usual) and Lucy….in the corner of the room….playing by herself while her girlfriends (girlfriends we know well….friends, neighbors, etc.) were playing on the other side of the room….laughing, dancing, pretending. My heart fell to my stomach. This is so unlike Lucy. We saw each other and she ran to me with excitement….not a care in the world. She asked how my class went and if I had taken a shower (she doesn’t like sweaty mom) and I asked her how “Kids Camp” was. She said it was “wonderful” (her words not mine) and that Eli had a hard time going to sleep but that pita bread made him happy. As we packed up her snacks, I asked her why she was playing by herself when I got there to which she replied “oh, my friends wouldn’t let me play with them. They called me a baby. Then they told me to go away.” She didn’t even blink an eye. She was fine. I however felt rage. Hot blooded rage. Rage traveled through my veins and I could feel my face turn red. “You’re a baby?” I asked. “Who said that?”

So, Lucy is almost 3. She will be 3 on May 11th and she talks….A LOT. She uses words that I didn’t use until I was in my late 20’s….trying to impress a guy I met at a bar with a masters degree. Lucy has expressed frustration when kids her age aren’t able to communicate with her or talk with her as much as she might like so she sometimes gravitates towards kids who are a year or 2 older. The friends at Kids Camp fall into this example. They are 4 and almost 5. These kids join us quite often for neighborhood activities and events and are generally good kids. Sweet kids. So, I was surprised. Then, one of the girls ran over to us and said “It was me that called her a baby. She is a baby and we didn’t want to play with her.”

I mean…..she’s not wrong. I get it. Lucy isn’t even 3. She is a baby. MY BABY {insert Godzilla mom stomping buildings and eating small children}.

My heart was broken. Does mean girling really start this soon? I had NO IDEA what to do or how to handle this or what to say to Lucy. I was speechless…..and heartbroken. As we walked to our car, I asked Lucy about her day. She told me that she had a great day. She played and colored and tried to play house. Tried? “What do you mean you tried?” Well, {X} & {X} were playing house and I wanted to play too but {X} wouldn’t let me….so I played by myself.” My response? Nada. I had nothing. I was so sad. I think (know) I was hurting more than she was. I know it’s real. I know the mean girl factor is out there. I know it exists. I was bullied. I was bullied HARD. Elementary school. Middle School. High School. I was bullied and I was excluded. Excluded because of my parents. My siblings. My behavior. It was awful. Now…..I am not necessarily blaming anyone else. My behavior wasn’t great. I pushed boundaries. I was rebellious but as a parent today, I want/need to remember that even the most rebellious kids want nothing more than to be included. To be loved.

Anyway, what was/am I to do with this situation? I had no idea. My first thought was Google but that was overwhelming. So, I pinterested (is that a word?) “Toddler Bullying” and WOW….this is a thing you guys. A lot of more graceful and eloquent parents prefer to call it “peer rejection” since toddlers rarely know what they’re doing….they’re not bullies….or so they tell me. My first introduction to the topic was by Pennies & Playdough and I immediately felt ashamed. This woman showed so much grace….and love….and empathy in how she navigated her experience…..while I was over here googling how to give a 5 year old diarrhea. I immediately felt like a failure and while I loved what Crystal had to say about teaching our children about inclusion and empathy….I did not relate to her approach. Like at all. She didn’t even consider arson? I mean…..who is she? Jesus?

I also came across Playground Parkbench and I LOVED what she had to say…it made me feel capable….equipped….like I could handle this without going to jail:

“One of the best pieces of advice I received came from Terri, a retired elementary school principal who now blogs at Our Good Life.

Her comfort level was with the other kids in her class. She doesn’t understand exclusion and its effect on others. In this case, it is acceptable to show the mean girl how the excluded child could fit in. For example, mom walks with child over to the group and says, look! My child is wearing the same shoes as you, or both of you have barrettes today, or, I am friends with your mom! This gives the mean girl a way to fit the other girl into her set.”

The 4 year old girl isn’t in fact a ‘mean girl’, her social development is just at a point where she isn’t yet comfortable including children she isn’t familiar with in her social circle.  By pointing out shared commonalities, it helps young children find common ground which gives them comfort and helps them build friendships.”

Okay….so what you’re saying is that maybe this 5 year old isn’t Satan after all?

I also reached out to my tribe. This is a group of woman from all walks of life….teachers, Grandmas, wives, professionals, mothers, sisters and most importantly….people who dearly love my family. Their advice? Talk to Lucy. Talk to her about what happened. How it made her feel. Validate her feelings and then turn it into a teaching moment about why and how we love our peers. I know this sounds so simple. It is simple but in the moment I saw red. Then I felt ashamed and ill equipped to handle the situation. You know those moments in parenthood where you hit a wall and think….”I didn’t see that coming!”? This was one of those moments for me. What happened to that peaceful parent I had worked so hard to become? She was gone in a matter of seconds and replaced by a psychotic bully that wanted to fight a 5 year old.

So, how do we teach our children inclusion?

Well, I came across an article on PBS about Relational Aggression as a form of bullying and this is where I really felt empowered to use this incident as a powerful teaching moment and lifestyle choice. I am excited to intentionally roll out these tactics in our every day life and for my children to reap the benefits of being “includers”.

“The best thing parents can do is to empower kids to act as “includers.” When we instill kids with prosocial skills, we spread kindness and compassion. Follow these steps to teach your kids to include others.

  1. Listen and empathize. It can be very difficult to sit back and listen when a child tells a story of being excluded, humiliated or otherwise hurt at school, but listening and empathizing are the two best things you can do. While it might be tempting to respond, “What a terrible friend!” what your child actually needs to hear is, “That sounds terrible. You must feel so upset right now.” When we empathize with our kids, we teach them to do the same for others. Empathetic kids can create giant ripples of kindness in this world. All we have to do is be there for them and let them work through their emotions.
  2. Be an “includer.” Ever stare at your phone to avoid social interaction when you’re just not up for it or you don’t know anyone in the room? You’re not alone. Technology makes it easy to avoid uncomfortable situations, but using technology to avoid social interactions sends mixed messages to our kids. If we want our kids to learn to reach out to others and include new people (or people they wouldn’t otherwise sit with), we need to do the same. Show your kids how to make new friends by introducing yourself to new people and striking up conversations with people they don’t know.
  3. Look for someone who needs a friend. It’s normal for kids to get caught up in their usual groups. Young children like routine and tend to sit at the same table at lunch or play with the same groups at recess, but this can be limiting. Teach your child to scan the room (or field) to look for someone who might need a friend. Practice ways to invite a new kid into the group or ask others to join a game. When kids practice these skills at home, they are better able to use them out in the world.
  4. Talk about unintentional exclusion. Sometimes kids exclude others without intent to harm. In the case of my client above, she didn’t invite that other girl to the weekend outing because it involved roller coasters and she knew the girl didn’t like roller coasters. She meant to protect her friend, but in planning a secret outing with others she actually caused more harm than good. Talk to your kids about what it means to exclude and how they can include others. Ask your kids to draw connections between being excluded and possible negative emotions and between being included and possible positive emotions.Open and honest communication helps kids work through feelings and emotions. It also increases empathy and compassion. Host a weekly family meeting to talk about the good, the bad and the in-between. In helping our children process emotions, we show them that kindness really does count.”

I am going to work hard to instill this kind of behavior in our home so that I can raise kind humans who will love and include your kind humans. Join me! Seriously though…don’t raise assholes….the world has enough of those.

With love,

Emily

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Style + Beauty

HIGH Performance, LOW Toxin: Makeup

 

Makeup Header 1I’m an undercover tomboy. My best friend would actually beg to differ on the “undercover” part. Or she’d take credit where credit is due and realize she caused the conversion back in our 20s. So, now that you have the background, hopefully it is less annoying to read these words: I love doing my makeup. (said no tomboy EVER, and yet here I am!)

Here’s why: my face feels so good with my makeup on. It is also sun-protected and reaping benefits of products made with essential oils and other goodies like jojoba oil and vitamin E. Trust me, this was not always the case. Doing my makeup felt like a chore and I could feel it on my skin…all day long. Sorry Bare Minerals, you were a major culprit in my weighted-face feeling and breakouts. Inspired by my aesthetician, who has a super high bar for all things natural & high performing, I decided to revamp my makeup drawer one product at a time (it is expensive to shift makeup!!). After much investigation and trial (and error) the winners are…

Julie Hewett and BeautyCounter! Here is what these brands have in common: they are high performing products that are made mindfully and without toxins. Let’s face it, I love to wander aimlessly through Whole Foods, but there’s nothing sexy about getting your makeup from the natural grocery store. I would be all about it if I’d had luck with the products! But I find them to be low toxin products that are also low- to moderate-performers. Meh. No thanks. Julie Hewett is a makeup artist first known for her work on the movie Pearl Harbor (she has the classic Hollywood lip on lock!). Obviously her makeup has to perform, but mineral makeup that you can actually smell (a hint) of the cedarwood essential oil and every lipstick formulated with organic camellia oil gives this brand a ‘beyond expectation’ mark. BeautyCounter makes it so easy to know exactly what you are getting in every product with their ingredient list highlighted right below the instructions on their website. Not a chemist in your other life? Their line is frequently listed as “Top Scoring Products” on EWG’s Skin Deep database. (I’ll hit you with more info on this amazing tool in the skin care edition post!)

So here is my honest opinion: you can’t really go wrong between these two brands. I have my favorite products between the two, which I’ll share here.

FACE

I live in California so I’ll sneak in a tip from my upcoming skincare post: after cleansing & toning I start my makeup party with a face sunblock (ain’t nobody trying to look older faster!). Then comes my absolute favorite products from each line:

FacemakeupCollageTint Skin Hydrating Foundation from BeautyCounter (I use Sand). I put it on like a face lotion. Next comes Julie Hewett’s Ora Mineral Foundation (my color is 1.5). Here are my favorite brushes to use: one for all over & one to use the powder as a concealer. Julie Hewett’s foundation has high grade zinc oxide that doubles up my SPF layer…all while keeping things very light-feeling on my face. What I love about both of these products is that they are light-weight secret weapons that pack a major punch.

BlushBronzermakeup CollageOk, here is where you can’t go wrong: bronzers & blushes. I happen to use Julie Hewett for both but have gotten my paws on the BeautyCounter counterparts and they are fantastic: Julie Hewett Ora Aphrodite Bronzer and Bud of Rose blush and BeautyCounter Color Contour Matte Bronzer & Color Sweep Blush Duo.

We never get paid for our opinions at M+M but we love to pass on a good deal: use promo code BOGO50 for 50% off Bud of Rose blush when you buy an Ora Aphrodite bronzer! Also get signed up with Julie Hewett announcements to find out when they bring back their Breathless palette (one of my best purchases of all): 4 blushes & 16 eyeshadows! BeautyCounter also has seasonal palettes, just not as many shadows & blushes in theirs. So that takes us to…

Eyesmakeup CollageEYES
Julie Hewett’s shadows really don’t “move” on your face. We all know that icky eyelid crease that forms with many shadows…not hers. I haven’t

100percent Blackberry
100% Pure Blackberry Mascara

worn BeautyCounter’s enough to testify, but I love that they come as Color Shade Eye Duo (two for one, eh!). I have an eyeliner of each: Color Outline Eye Pencil in Violet (subtle but fun!) and Julie’s Smudge Brown Eye Pencil. Both great, both do what you want: line without running. But here is what neither have to offer: mascara (technically BeautyCounter does but I am NOT a fan at all). The best performer (and I’ve tried a number of colors): 100% Pure Natural Mascara. I love their fruit pigmented lengthening formulation in Blackberry (again subtle but fun with green eyes).

LIPS

Oh ladies, here is where we have fun! Both brands are very different but both have great options for the all natural look or high drama mama. I have so many favorites (and I used to NEVER wear anything on my lips!). For BeautyCounter, it’s all about their Lip Sheers for me. Twig is an Allure award winner & is pretty much the perfect summertime sheen. I use Petal as my daily lip during fall-winter-spring, and those of you who can rock a good red will love Scarlet.

Lip Sheers

JH LipsJulie Hewett is really known for her lips. And, woman to woman I have to tell you, you just need to have a tube of JH lipstick. I can’t do red (she has the most amazing array of reds!) but my wow-factor favorite is her Scarlett, a bold fuschia. I’m also the owner of Jacqueline, both Camellia balm sticks (Ruby and nude), and Posie Cheekie (for lips & cheeks). I happen to know two other M+M contributors who owe it to all of us to find their favorite Julie Hewett red (Jenelle, Emily…make it happen).

It turns out it’s pretty fun to be a girl and a tomboy – and there is a place for both! There is also a place for both mom & woman…and if you are wondering what to ask for this Mother’s Day – maybe ask your loves to treat you to something new! And then tell me all about it!

Smooch,

Amy

AM

Motherhood

I am an addict ….or something like that.

It’s true….I am an addict. I am addicted to….all the things. In all seriousness…I am a product of addicts. I come from a long line of alcoholics, drug addicts, etc. My Grandparents on both sides, Uncles, Aunts, parents & siblings. It would have been difficult to avoid. So, not only do I have an addictive personality but addiction is in my DNA. However, my “struggle” with addiction is a little different then what you might expect. I am well aware of the normal prospects of addiction…alcohol….drugs…prescriptions pills and such. Been there done that. I am even aware of the less susceptible addictions….social media…money…gambling, etc. I am cognizant of the risks associated with all of these. These (thank God) aren’t my problem(s). Where I can’t seem to find balance….is in….well….all other areas of my life. I am all in. All the time. 100%. There is no in between. I live in black and white. I’m in or I’m out. I love or I hate. It’s intense. Exhausting. All consuming. It’s my form of addiction I guess? Perhaps addiction isn’t the right word. Or the right terminology. I have no concept of balance. Maybe balance is the word I am looking for. Let’s go with that….I have no concept of balance….but what does that even mean? If one were to have balance? I’m serious.
Balance
My problem is that I can’t casually or recreationally pursue anything. There is a little bit of peace that comes with being able to admit this….or recognize it. Friendships….relationships….employment….all of it….I AM ALL IN. It may take me a while to figure it out or to commit but once I’m there…that’s it. I’m in. There is no turning back. I love fiercely. If working….I am a workaholic. If shopping….I am a shopaholic. When I started my journey as a Stay at Home Mom, there was no down time…I went from 0 to 60 in 2.3 seconds. You know my heartfelt post about #selflove last week? Well, I did it. I went to the local athletic club. I joined and I have been to the gym 5 out of the past 6 days. I am so sore I am currently trustfalling on to the toilet. I have sent an email to ownership on how they can improve their childcare and have already mapped out my classes for the next 30 days. I have committed to the gym in such a way that I now feel guilty for spending money on the membership or spending time away from my kids….or husband. Or another example is Revel Strategies….I started to pick up some consulting work (to keep my resume somewhat relevant) and I have full blown started my own business. Same goes for religion….I am either a full blown bible thumper or a full blown sinner. As most of you know….I like to keep a clean house. I’m not just talking “picked up” clean either. I’m talking bleach and q-tip clean. My friend Joe lovingly coined it as obsessive compulsive….neurotic….cray cray….call it what you will but I lack balance. I could name several more examples to prove my point but if you don’t get it by now….well you just don’t get it. The simplest way I can put it is I AM ALL IN…ALL THE TIME. It’s a good thing I don’t do drugs or I’d be shooting heroin on the regular.
In 6 days…..I am fully addicted to the gym. I crave it. I feel good you guys. I like it and I hear you….it’s ONLY 6 days….but in those 6 days….I have neglected housework….my marriage….my goals because I have directed my “neuroticness” towards something new….it’s like a new “high”….if you will. On Saturday….during nap time….a time where Andrew and I would usually tackle a house project….lay on the couch and take a nap together or catch up on our favorite TV show….I rushed off to the gym to get in a work out. This was/is usually a time we look forward to all week. We don’t do anything special but we’re together….and that’s enough. Insert guilt here. Andrew was of course supportive and proud of me for my newfound commitment to the gym but I felt like I should have taken that opportunity to be with him. I felt guilty for choosing the gym. There is that word again. Guilt. Was I wrong for taking the opportunity to do something for myself? No, of course not. Right? But how often do Andrew and I get to have a few hours just to ourselves? Not often. Not often enough. So am/was I being selfish? I still don’t know the answer to this. On one hand no….and on the other yes. In planning out my week….I decided I couldn’t go to the gym on Wednesday AND Thursday because it wouldn’t be fair to put the kids in childcare two days in a row. Right? Wrong? I seriously don’t know. Is there even an answer? I talked about wanting to prioritize my marriage….to a man I adore….and yet I was choosing to go to the gym rather than spend time with him. What a hypocrite?!?! If it’s not the gym…it’s cooking….or blogging….or consulting….or totschooling. I enjoy all of these things and none of things are “bad” for me but it’s how I approach them. I am so intense….in everything I do. I used to reference this as a strength in the professional world…and it was a strength. You were lucky to have me on your team….you would never find someone more dedicated, loyal and committed but in my personal life, this trait has evolved in to what I am starting to think may be a detriment….to my mental health. In a world where we want to do it all….with good intentions…..how do you find balance in your life?
With love,
Emily
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P.S. Candice made me change my picture because she felt like I was seducing her.
Food + Fitness · Health + Fitness · Parties + Entertaining

Week 8 Meal Plan

Weekly Meal Plan 8

  1. Garlic Lime Chicken Tenders & Quinoa via Eat Well 101 & MY FAVORITE BROCCOLI EVER via A Beautiful Plate
  2. Taco Tuesday (Ideas here & here but I don’t think anyone needs to tell you how to make your tacos…mmmmkay)
  3. Un-stuffed Cabbage Bowl via Skinnytaste
  4. Greek Turkey Burgers via Skinnytaste & Lemon Cous Cous via The Weart Chef
  5. Asian Inspired Flat Iron Steak via Savory Sweet Life & Sesame Noodles via Gimme Some Oven + Sliced Cucumber

Week 8_V2

Week 8 Grocery List (viewable in iBooks)

Week 8 Grocery List

List:

 

Taco Meat of your choice
2-4 chicken breasts (enough for 1 recipe – I will use 1 Costco pack for this week)
2 packs of ground turkey of your choice
1 lb ground beef (I used turkey instead)
2 flat iron steaks

2 lemons
1 lime
2 cucumbers
cherry tomatoes
18 cloves garlic
fresh ginger
cilantro
parsley
scallions
2 broccoli crowns
1 medium head cabbage (I just bought a bag of pre-shredded cabbage)
1 white onion
1 red onion
1 zucchini
green onions
1 red bell pepper
carrot sticks
fresh oregano
fresh mint

cumin
fennel
ground coriander
Hungarian paprika
dried marjoram

cashews
sesame seeds
raw, sliced almonds

soy sauce
sherry
honey
sesame oil
rice vinegar
white wine vinegar

seasoned whole wheat breadcrumbs
2 slices whole wheat bread (I skipped this)
quinoa
1 pound (16 oz.) linguine or spaghetti
brown rice
couscous

8 ounce can tomato sauce
less sodium beef broth (I used chicken broth)
2 can chicken broth

1 large egg
freshly grated aged pecorino
feta

raisins

Happy Earth Day everyone! Be kind!

~Emily

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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

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Food + Fitness · Health + Fitness · Parties + Entertaining

Week 7 Meal Plan

Weekly Meal Plan 7

  1. Lasagna Soup via Carlsbad Cravings
  2. Taco Tuesday (Ideas here & here but no one should tell you how to make your tacos damn it!)
  3. Coconut Chicken Tenders via Sally’s Baking Addiction & Cauliflower Rice via Iowa Girl Eats
  4. General Tso Chicken via Carlsbad Cravings
  5. Balsamic Chicken Salad with Lemon Quinoa  via Cafe Delites

Week 7_V2

Week 7 Grocery List (viewable in iBooks)

Week 7 Grocery List

List:

Continue reading “Week 7 Meal Plan”