On Being Content and Thankful

Good morning, ladies! I'm not sure how many of you are still around after I took a two month long break from blogging. But it's a break I was in desperate need of. You see, a few months back I stumbled across a quote that resonated with me. 

"The reason people struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else's highlight reel."

In the world of social media, this quote couldn't be more true.  Over the last several years, I've spent countless hours a day staring at a screen. Hours have been wasted scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest wishing I had this or looked like that. All the while never realizing I was growing more and more discontent with the things in front of me. The very things I once prayed earnestly for or wished I had. But thankfully God got a hold of me and opened my eyes so that I could see how misguided my vision had become.

Over the last few months I've taken time to step back and re-evaluate. I stopped blogging, stopped reading blogs, spent less time on social media, stopped posting as often on my own social media accounts, and tried to regain focus. I'll be honest. It wasn't easy. It's hard breaking habits you've had for years. But it was worth it.

Over the last few months, God's helped me to have a life of more contentment and taught me how to be more appreciative of the things in front of me.  I've learned to not look at my closet each morning and say, "I have nothing to wear" but instead look for ways to reinvent the outfits I do have. I've learned that I don't need to have a new home to have the home I want but instead I can renovate and redecorate the one we have to make it look more like the home I envision. I've learned to cook new recipes in an effort to save money and in turn enjoy dinners around the table with family and friends. I've learned to say no to frivolous spending and in turn invest money in things that matter like family outings and vacations. But most of all, I'm learning to love the life that God gave me. The one that isn't so picture perfect or blog worthy; the one filled with anxiety, arguments, meltdowns and chaos. The one that speaks truth and doesn't just showcase the picture perfect reality.

So from here on out ladies, this blog is about to get real...

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Life with a Threenager

When Harper turned two, all of the seasoned parents warned me about the infamous terrible twos. I was prepared for the drama that was associated with this newfound independence of a toddler. I expected the occasional tantrum; the meltdown here and there. As Harper approached the three year old mark, I felt like we were making it out unscathed as for the most part, Harper's terrible two stage was a breeze. Only when Harper turned three, I realized I was wrong; so very wrong. Because no one, NO ONE, warned me about the threenager. If you're not familiar with the term, it's because you don't have one. The threenager is your typical three year old who thinks she's thirteen. And ya'll it's no joke. Some days I'm not sure if we're going to make it out alive. But just in case you don't think it could possibly be that bad, let me give you some insight into what it's like sharing a roof with a threenager these days.

> They suddenly have an opinion on what they wear.
Before Harper turned three she never cared about what she wore. Each day, I made it a point to offer her two choices. A dress or shorts; sandals or tennis shoes; blue hair bow or pink hair bow, etc. Yet, suddenly, I'm the one being offered two choices these days. Case in point: This past winter I bought Harper two pairs of boots, a brown pair and a black pair. Until she turned three she didn't care anything about either one. But suddenly, they've become her favorite shoes ever...in the heatwave of summer. Each morning when she's dressed and I offer her her shoe choices, she promptly corrects me with "Mommy, brown boots or black boots?" 

> Speaking of clothes, they suddenly want to pick them out when you shop. 
Since Harper was four days old, she's always accompanied me on shopping trips. Like I do with her clothes, I'll pick up a few items and ask her which she likes. She usually points to the one she likes and goes back to fiddling with the seatbelt clasp on her stroller or buggy until I pick up another item for her to choose from. So you can imagine my surprise when we headed to Belk over the weekend and I offered her a few new clothing options to which she repeatedly said "No, I don't like them. I want this one." and ran off to yank the most hideous dress you've ever seen off of it's hanger. I literally hung it up no less than five times as each time I offered her a clothing option, she'd emphatically remind me she didn't like any of them and would yet again run off to point out that ugly animal print dress. 

> They suddenly know how to negotiate.
A year or so ago, my husband started a habit of buying Harper a toy every time he accompanied us to Target. It wasn't such a bad idea until suddenly, Harper began to expect it and only asked to go to Target in hopes of getting a new toy. So a few weeks ago, we were having dinner at a restaurant just around the corner from a local Target. As Kevin paid for our check and we got up to leave, Harper told her Dad that she needed to go to Target. When asked why she informed us that she wanted to get a Hiro train. Hearing this, I reminded her she'd already gotten a train that week so we would not be getting Hiro on this visit. Without missing a beat, she responded, "That's okay, Mommy. I don't need a Hiro train. I like any train." 

> They suddenly have a large vocabulary and know how to use it.
A couple of weeks ago Harper was having one of her days where she was rather whiny. Without thinking I asked her to chill because she was getting on my nerves. To which her reply was, "Why Mommy? I'm not being annoying." Not long after that event, Harper was with Kevin and again,was whining. When he asked her to stop, she told him she didn't know why because she wasn't being ridiculous.

> They are suddenly independent...until they don't want to be. 
Harper has always had an independent streak. After all, the child had to be evicted from my womb and even then she decided she wouldn't make it easy and took a whole twenty eight hours to get her butt in the world. Yet, that independence has increased ten fold since turning three. Suddenly, it's "Harper do it". Harper has to dress herself even if her shoes are on the wrong feet; brush her own hair even though she combs it more like a  mohawk; brush her own teeth even though she just sucks off the toothpaste; fix her own drink even though she gets more on the floor than in her cup, put her own self in the car even if that does mean it takes her ten minutes in the pouring rain. But when it comes to saying, "Harper clean up", suddenly that independent streak is out the window in a heartbeat and it's all, "Mommy do it". 

 They have no fear.
I'm not sure what happened to my child who always needed me in the same room and couldn't sleep without the light on. Because suddenly she's been replaced with a child who loves to climb the stairs by walking up the outside of them and holding onto the spindles. And don't get me started with the side of her that just knows she can walk in the parking lot without holding my hand. That's definitely a story for another day!

> Their favorite word is NO.
I'm happy to say no is a word that never entered Harper's vocabulary. That is, up until last week when suddenly everything was no. Clean up your toys. No. Pick up your trash. No. Stop jumping on the couch. No. No, No, No. 

> Everything. I repeat, EVERYTHING, is a big deal.
It can be as simple as what they're eating for breakfast or as big as "you're going to bed now". If it doesn't match their expectation and they end up disappointed, it's going to be a BIG deal. Just like last week when Harper cried for a solid hour at the top of her lungs as if she was being brutally attacked all because it was getting dark and we couldn't play outside anymore. She'd be great at drama (; 

So have I convinced you yet that this stage is horrible? Because if so, I do have some good news. Despite the temper tantrums, stubborn streaks, and know-it-all attitudes, three has been my FAVORITE age by far. Because along with all that negative stuff comes a kid who is smart as a whip; a kid with the biggest heart; a kid that loves hard; a kid that wants the best for everyone she's around; a kid that loves adventure; the kid that quotes Bible verses and says her prayers; and the kid that has me wrapped around her finger.  

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{Gift Ideas} Extra for the Classroom

Back to School. 

Those words are everywhere these days. I don't know about you, but for me, it's hard to believe it's that time of year again. I'm not going to lie, I'm a little bummed about it. This has truly been the most magnificent summer. Harper and I have embarked on so many adventures while her brother has attended daycare each day and I have absolutely adored our one-on-one time together. Now that she's a bit older we've been able to do so much more this summer as compared to our summers past. This year we caught some movies, went to some splash parks, visited museums, and just overall enjoyed ourselves. Yet, this week that all ends as Harper heads to her new school tomorrow. 

We took Harper to her orientation yesterday and when we went, we took her teacher a basket of extra supplies. As a teacher myself, I realize that teachers often only ask for the minimal amount of supplies because we realize for some families it's a sacrifice to purchase just the needed amount. That being the case, I wanted to be sure Harper's teacher ended up with some extra things on hand so as not to have to go out and purchase them herself. I also wanted to provide her teacher with some items that I know she'd need but wouldn't ask parents for such as ziploc bags, clorox wipes, wet wipes, post it notes, etc. 

If you want to help a teacher out, double up on your child's school supplies or better yet, give them a gift card to your local Walmart or Target because I can guarantee you he/she will be running there nearly every week grabbing things for lessons, projects, and crafts for your child's classroom! Trust me, I know what I'm talking about (;

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{Confessional Thursday} A Bunch of Randomness

It's Thursday which means it's time for a good 'ole fashion confession session. Since it's been so long since I've been around here, I have so many things to talk about but I'll try to narrow it down a little and save some for another time. But regardless, buckle up and get ready for a whole lot of random.

I confess...

>> I cried not once, not twice, but three times yesterday after the fact that my child has started regressing in the potty training department. We started potty training about three weeks ago and it took Harper a good week of afternoons and/or mornings at home to get the hang of it. But last week she did phenomenal. We ventured out and about, did some shopping, headed out to grab lunch and dinner, and not an accident was had. And yet yesterday,  she had accident after accident after accident. The thought of starting all of this over has me so frustrated. I've prayed and prayed it was just an off day.

>> I can't tell you the last time I saw a television show other than Paw Patrol, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, or Sheriff Callie. My DVR is quickly running out of space and at this point I'm fairly certain it'll be Christmas before I catch up on all I have recorded.

>> I've got photos dating all the way back to the spring of 2015 that I keep meaning to upload to Facebook but haven't. I figure I'll get around to it at some point but considering my iphone keeps telling me my storage is almost full, I gather it'll need to be soon.

>> We've made approximately a gazillion cupcakes for our business and honestly, I'm not sure I've tried more than 5 of them. I'm pretty sure that makes me a bad baker but I trust the opinions of those around me.

>> I start my Christmas shopping every year in July due to Target marking all of their toys on clearance to bring in the new ones. That also means my children's Christmas lists are done and we've already started making purchases... including this Power Wheels Thomas the Train and Track Set for the little man.

>> Mail is my biggest pet peeve. We have a basket that sits directly next to our door that's meant to be our mail catch all but for some reason, it rarely makes it to the basket and ends up on the kitchen table one day and the kitchen island the next. Until eventually  it feels like it's taking over my kitchen.

>> A few weeks ago I decided to order the kids Pottery Barn Anywhere Chairs and I seriously deliberated over what colors to order for two solid days. I couldn't decide whether or not to have the chairs match our living rooms (where they'll be at first) or have them match their bedrooms where we'll eventually move them too. In the end, the living room won.. but thankfully the colors I chose will coordinate with their rooms too!

>>  I've been eyeing these shoes for a month now after my coworker wore them one day. They're the perfect Tory Burch knock offs for less than half the price but I just can't pull the trigger on a sandal that pricey that I really don't need. 
Well that's all the random I've got for this Thursday. Be sure to grab the button above and link up with some great ladies. 

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Coming Back + Weekend Recap

Girls, it's been a really long time. In the last two months I've missed this space. I've sat down many a time and started typing away only to stop, clear out the words, and log out. Why you ask? Because I still live in fear that the same thing that happened to one of my dear friends might happen to me (read all about it here). It's a scary world we live in and keeping my family safe is a top priority.  But this week I felt God pushing me to return to this little space. I'm not sure why the sudden urging but I feel confident in His calling and so here I am. So let's get started on this weekend recap...

Kevin's been working pretty much non-stop here lately but this past weekend he somehow lucked up with having two days off in a row. Hallelujah! Praise Jesus! Amen! Can you tell I was excited?! He spent most of Friday sleeping. The poor guy had quite a bit of lost sleep to catch up on and I was a-okay with that. While he slept, I got some work done around the house. When he woke up, we got ready and we headed to Danville to grab some dinner with the brother in law. Not exactly craving anything, we finally all decided on grabbing supper at Applebee's. Kevin and I always split the 2 for $20 (we're cheap like that) but this go round I spotted the most mouth-watering looking burger on the menu. I really wanted to order it but I chickened out the last minute in fear I wouldn't like it and we'd have wasted $10 (again, cheap mama here) but as luck would have it my brother in law decided to order it and share. And ya'll... no lie...BEST BURGER EVER!  I didn't think to snap a picture beforehand so here's the menu picture just so you can visualize. It's the brunch burger and it's topped with bacon, a fried egg, hashbrowns, and onions. I know it sounds disgusting but for real, you will not be disappointed. My mouth has watered all weekend thinking about it. So yummy!

After indulging in way to much food, we headed to Target per Harper's request. She knew a Target was just around the corner and informed her daddy that she wanted a "hero train"; which we've yet to figure out what that is. We quickly informed her she wouldn't be getting a hero train as she'd already gotten a toy earlier in the week. In which she promptly responded, "Oh that's okay. I like any train." We seriously couldn't stop laughing. The things this girl comes up with.

Following our trip to Target, where Harper left toyless, we headed to Kevin's parents house to check out their new car and hang out with them for a while. Not meaning to wear out our welcome, we ended up not leaving until midnight.. which was totally out of character for us. When we got home I was exhausted but for some reason my children decided they weren't. By 1:00am I was tired of fighting to keep my eyes open so I handed Boston over to Kevin, turned on some episodes of Paw Patrol, and left Harper to her own being on the downstairs couch. I'm not sure what time Kevin eventually got the kids asleep but what I do know is this mama had the best sleep she's had in weeks. 

Saturday we all slept in and ended up not getting up and moving till nearly lunch time. Kevin's uncle came by and changed out our back porch light...a task that we'd needed to have done for months but hadn't got around too..simply because I couldn't find a light I liked well enough. But I'm pretty sold on this one

After he left we headed to our favorite little Mexican restaurant for some lunch, made a quick trip to the grocery store, then headed to my parents to check out their new car (& yes, both the parents and in-laws got a car on the same day!)

Saturday evening, we headed to Olive Garden with my family to celebrate my sister's birthday. I don't have any pictures from the evening other than snapping some photos during the car ride.

We had all intentions of heading home right after but on the way home we made a split second decision to visit Kevin's grandma and I'm so thankful we did. Harper loves seeing her Memaw and Memaw is just as happy to see them. 

Sunday we spent the day as usual. We headed to church, ate lunch at the parents' house, then made our way home. Kevin headed back into work leaving me at home with the babies. Harper had been invited to VBS at a local church so we headed there while my best friend volunteered to look after little man. 

When we returned home from VBS, the in-laws had swung by so while B had little man and the in-laws occupied Harper, I took the opportunity to enjoy some fast food on my own without sharing.  Something you mamas know is a rare thing. Here's to hoping I have another moment like that again soon. A girl could get used to that (; 

Hope you ladies had fantastic weekends as well!

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