Life is messy. Caffeinate it.

Schedules get off track. You clean your house and, without fail, it immediately becomes even dirtier than it was, clutter piles up, things get forgotten, and KIDS happen. They just HAPPEN. And now your favorite jeans are a little too snug because your body takes on a whole new shape since you’ve birthed an entire human. Relationships sometimes fall apart, you get stuck in an unfulfilling job or a numbingly boring routine, and you get completely overwhelmed by the never ending lack of sleep. Don’t get me wrong, motherhood is beautiful. It’s full of more love and wonder than a girl could ever have imagined. But being a mom is hard; stuff just sucks sometimes. And that’s OK.

LIFE IS MESSY.

For some, learning to enjoy the ride comes naturally. But if you’re anything like me (you know, the type A super organized lover of planning everything), it gets tough. Luckily, I have two really awesome miniature sized life coaches to guide me through the roller coaster lifestyle. Grab a coffee… Welcome to parenthood.

COFFMAN & CREAM


Please visit my etsy shop for an awesome chance to score a few vintage coffee mugs.


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#oneword2016

I’m not into New Year’s resolutions. Sure there are a lot of things I’d change or improve upon, but I’ve never fallen into that “New Year, New Me” stuff. I’ve never set a list of resolutions on Jan 1st and actually worked toward it. It’s just not my thing.

 

After all, I have to admit to myself that I’m not as much of a doer as I’d like to be. I’m a dreamer, for sure. I’m full of ideas and LOVE planning out things (like this blog, for instance – you should see how many unfinished drafts I have floating around) but when it comes to actually doing things, I lack the motivation and discipline to do hardly any of it. 

 
However, I’ve been seeing this #oneword thing pop up in my Insatgram feed time and time again these last few days and it’s grabbed my attention. The concept of choosing just one word, ONE WORD, to strive towards, to describe what it is you want to obtain, something to anchor you, to guide you, to remind you what it is you’re doing…. is very appealing. And simple. One word. Choose this one word that means something to you and pick it apart. Define it. Use it in context. Write down famous quotes about it. List synonyms and antonyms. Write it at the top of each calendar page to remind you.

 

One word. 

 

 

If it’s goal setting that doesn’t set well with me, perhaps what I need instead is vision.
So this morning I’m spending time going through other people’s one word. I’m reading through explanations of these words they chose (and they’re doing some pretty creative artwork of this word on IG, I might add). I’m getting a lot of ideas for where I want this year to go…

 

But what an incredible source of focus this has provided. One thing I feel I always need to work on is actually thinking about what it is I’m doing. What do I want? What is my purpose? How am I doing so far?

 

So I’d like to share this with you >> oneword365.com

 

Check it out. Think on it for a little while. See if you can come up with your one word.

 

Happy brainstorming!

Halloween 2015

Let me start by saying I like to plan things out way in advance. We had my daughter’s costume decided upon, picked out, and purchased by September 20th. (Little mermaid, our favorite!) And my son was going to chose between his Avengers costumes he already had. 

 

Done!

 

Then after I took the kids to see Hotel Transilvania 2 little brother decides he wants to a bat. Hmmm. 

 
Mistake #1 – I gave in and bought Ethan a bat costume. When it came in, ten days before Halloween, Bree immediately decided she wanted to be a bat, too. But not just any bat, she wanted to be Mavis

 
Mistake #2 – I gave in to the idea of Bree being Mavis. Simple enough right? Just a turtle neck dress, red and black striped tights, and red shoes. No biggie. But she decided she needed bat wings as well because she wanted to be the bat version of the vampire Mavis. 



Except there were literally zero pairs of red shoes to be found in-store. Also, kids apparently don’t wear turtle necks anymore because those were non-existent as well. And black tights with little red stripes in them? Nope. Nothing. 

 
And bat wings? Not as popular as butterfly and angel wings. You’d think bat wings would be as common as witches hats during Halloween. My solution was a pair of black fabric set of angel wings that attached to your wrists. I’d add a band at the elbow to make them drape bat-wing style. Done. 

 
So after creating a plan to redesign an adult turtle neck into a dress (which in itself was a huge project for someone who doesn’t carry many sewing skills) and having both decided plain black tights were just fine, we still needed those darn red shoes. I finally found a pair in a boutique in a town an hour away the night before her school Halloween party.  All was well. Halloween was saved. 

 
The morning of the school party we got dressed, added her eyeliner and dark plum lipstick. Painted her nails and styled her hair. Then went to put the red shoes on and what do you know? They’re too small. 

 
No problem, though. My fall back was a pair of glittery red flats at Walmart. Bree decided any red shoes were better than Mavis-style red shoes. We’d stop by and pick them up on the way to school. 

 
Our Walmart didn’t have them in her size. 

 

I started to panic. She was definitely set up to fall apart. I had 10 days to turn her into Mavis and failed. I braced myself for the meltdown that was sure to come. 

 
Then something incredible happened. She looked at me and said, “You know what, mom? I’m proud of my bat costume. My black boots will be fine.”

 
I nearly cried. I was so stressed out about keeping her satisfied this Halloween that incompletely underestimated her maturity and ability to go with the flow. 

 
I’ve decided letting them change their minds and “giving in” to second costumes wasn’t a mistake at all. I did something she was proud of. She wore her semi-homemade costume with pride.

   

  
 
I totally won this Halloween. 

 

 

Adventures in Saying Yes…. Part 2

Adventure #2:

“Can we take a bath in your bathroom?”

It’s become a dreaded nightly inquiry. My kids LOVE my bath tub. It’s wider, it’s deeper, it’s got a fancy light directly over it. It’s cool. And so coveted…

So what’s my problem with having two monsters use my bathroom? Well, first off, it’s MINE. My space, my tub, my area. I keep my yoga pants draped neatly over the edge of the tub. I keep my shoes on the floor directly under it. And most of all, I like to keep it DRY.

Secondly, my bathroom undergoes a messy wash up anytime the kids are in my tub. More room for them to move around somehow makes splashes BIGGER and MESSIER.

But then, what kid WOULDN’T want to bathe in their parents’ big tub? I can remember how excited I would be on the rare occasions my mom would let me use her tub. It was completely round, had super wide ledges, and made me feel like a princess. So I get it…

Tonight, when they asked that dreaded question “Can we take a bath in your bathroom?”, I remembered my mission; and I said YES. Now for my kids, they don’t ever necessarily like taking baths together unless it’s in my tub (hence, the extra splashing). They play so happily together it’s really a pity I ever say no.

So guess what happened tonight in my bathroom. My floor was soaked. My walls were splattered. They PLAYED. They GIGGLED. They SCREAMED.

They connected.

No amount of messes or unheard demands to stop splashing is worth missing that. I said yes tonight and my two kids had a chance to grow closer together, to make memories, and to be a team. (Even if they were teamed up against me.)

One of my many wishes for my littles are that they are always on each other’s side. I want them to be connected and stay connected all through life, to have fun together, and to have a childhood full of happy memories made together. Tonight’s “yes” helped do just that.

LIFE IS MESSY. And that’s OK.

 

Read Advenures in Saying Yes… Part 1

See more of my posts here.

Adventures in Saying Yes

I’ve found its easy to say “No” to my kids in respect to ‘can we do’ questions. Can we paint? Can we go shopping? Can we go swimming? Can we do a craft?

A lot of the times, I say “not right now, I’m busy” or “maybe later, honey” or even “can it wait until after my show?” Yep. There are days when when my priorities get completely off track. What am I busy with? Facebook?? What show is so important that I can’t just pause it? (Hello? It’s Netflix for crying out loud.)

All they’re really saying is: can we do something that requires your attention and effort?

Hmm. I wonder why they ever start in with the whining and the bickering and the fighting… Sooner or later I’ll realize that I’m being a total lazy jerk. And that I need to stop whatever it is I’m doing, pour a cup of coffee, and turn to my kids and say YES.

And you know what happens? Messes. Wait, no… MEMORIES. And giggling. And chit chat. If you ever want to realize how awesome your kids really are, just say YES when all they’re asking for is your time.

Adventures in Saying YES: change your parenting perspective, strengthen your connections. COFFMAN & CREAM

Adventure #1:

Last night, I was on day 3 of the four year old arguing about sleeping in her own bed. This can be a battle that lasts for hours and usually ends up with her in my bed.  Her complaint: it’s so scary in there. (Yeah, the place she can stay in all day and all evening… Super scary at bed time. Even with all the string lights hanging around her bed… <insert eye roll here>)

So I asked her, “What’s so scary about it, Bree?” And her response was, “I just don’t want to be alone. Will you sit in here with me?”

First of all, the kitchen was so messy I could smell it down the hallway. Secondly, she has a loft bed, no way I’m getting up on that thing. But I decided to try a different route. I put down my dish rag and grabbed a bar stool, pulled it up to her bed, and sat there with my arm over the bed rail.

She asked me if I wanted to know what her favorite thing about the day before was. And then I realized, I haven’t been asking her my nightly question of ‘What was your favorite thing about today?’ And it finally occurred to me why she was so resistant at bed time: she was missing some vital part of her day that I had no idea she needed.

Boy did I feel guilty. All she wanted to do was talk and I was pushing her away.

We chatted about yesterday’s events and then about today’s. We talked about things that she did at school last week. We talked about what we were going to do tomorrow. We giggled about funny things she said about her brother. We connected.

After a few minutes of silence I asked her if it was OK if I left to finish cleaning the kitchen. She turned to me and goes “Yeah. I’m fine now. You can go.”

Talk about a punch to the heart.

The biggest battle of the day was all my fault. Because I was rushing bedtime to get back to what I wanted to do. Because I didn’t take the time to say yes.

Click here for Adventure #2… 

Have you ever taken a moment to turn your “NO’s” into “YES’s”?

Taco Soup

Ready for a super EASY, super YUMMY go-to recipe? This one is a house favorite (and a frugal one at that!).

In our house, if it ain’t quick, it ain’t happening. I’m always searching for quick and easy dinners that I can whip up in way less than 30 minutes. (Kids just have this tendency to be incredibly impatient. Anyone else notice this?) I found this recipe and instantly fell in love with it; you are in for a treat. This soup smells better than ANY taco I’ve ever had in my life. And it’s so simple, my four year old could make it.

Easiest (and YUMMIEST!) Taco Soup in the South


TACO SOUP

1 lb. cooked ground turkey
1 can ranch-style beans
1 can Rotel
1 can sweet corn
1 can hominy
1 package dry ranch
1 package taco seasoning

Combine all ingredients into a large pot (don’t drain anything). Bring to a boil then simmer for about 10 minutes. Enjoy.

It’s really that simple!

Hold the Fritos, though. The corn and hominy provide enough carbs for the entire meal.


Although I’ve made this one more times than I can remember, this is not my original recipe. Props to Marietta McClure (McClure Fitness) for passing this one out in her beginners basics class. Thanks Marietta!

Mornings Are For Moms. And Coffee.

Wait… Mornings are rushing around aimlessly trying to get loud, screaming Grumpy Grumpertons out the door so we can all get to where we’re going as quickly as possible. Right?

Except I sort of remember a time where mornings were a peaceful time to collect your thoughts over a soothing cup of coffee and plan for the day ahead. One thing is for sure, mornings set the tone for the entire day. So you better set it right.

But what about Grumpy One and Grumpy Two? They’re driving me crazy in the mornings! I’m frazzled and scattered and constantly forgetting things. I usually don’t get to my coffee until its cold; my showers do not go uninterrupted, it takes forever just to get makeup on (thanks to having to constantly run out to the living room or the kitchen or another bedroom for some utterly important crisis), and I become more concerned with trying to distract the kiddos before they blow up into flames while juggling the things we need to take with us than I am with actually setting the tone for OUR day. Yeah. It’s our day. Not just mine. Our mornings affect their day, too. So when I, the adult, arrive to work completely off track, how are they doing at school?

Enter Mission: Take Back Mornings (And HOT coffee)!!

My my focus for this week will be regaining that sense of direction with setting the tone for the day. And that most definitely includes drinking my coffee while it’s still hot.

So… Why don’t I just WAKE UP EARLIER!? Hahaha! No no no. Interrupting precious sleep is not the answer. I need a plan that calms the morning storm… I need to invest in some prep-work.

5 Steps to a More Peaceful Morning

1. Make sure we all expect the same thing for our mornings. We can’t expect mornings to go smoothly if we aren’t all on the same page. Letting the littles know what to expect helps them to process and accept the inevitable. In our case, the inevitable is school. Talking about what’s to come during dinner or bath time can help alleviate the anxiety mornings usually bring.

2. Set out clothes the night before. Eliminating the time it takes to look over your closet trying to piece together an outfit each morning works wonders. In fact, we even take the outfit out of the closet altogether so we aren’t tempted to change our minds come morning. I’ve found this is an excellent way to give the kids a sense of control over their day. After baths, they each put on their pajamas and set out their clothes and shoes for the next day. And I’ve found it really helps speed up my own routine of getting ready.

3. Gather all bags and gear needed during the day and set it by the door. How many times do we have to go through the same frantic scenario of rummaging around the entire house on a daily scavenger hunt before we learn to gather our belongings ahead of time? How much time do we have to waste running back into the house time and time again after so many forgotten items before we get it under control? Put your purse and keys near the door. Hang the kids back packs and jackets by the door. If you’re currently in the days of the diaper bag, try keeping it stocked and ready at all times. If you prepared a lunch and it’s in the fridge, leave a post it note on the door. I think I could easily save a good ten minutes with this step alone!

4. Prepare for breakfast. And Coffee! This doesn’t mean plan out a full course home cooked southern spread. This is simply asking each person to decide what they’ll have for breakfast before going to bed . We usually choose between instant oatmeal and cereal. It is what it is. However, I am saving precious time by not having to negotiate the decision between option 1 and option 2 for two very indecisive non-morning people. We sometimes set out bowls and spoons on the bar to make it even easier in the morning. And my coffee mug is set under the loaded coffee maker – all I have to do is push the button!

5. Pick up the mess. Waking up to a messy house makes me feel disfunctional. I do not like tripping over my own shoes in my bathroom just to get to the toilet. I do not like digging for a clean bowl and spoon for each child just so they can eat. I also do not like navigating a living room that has obviously been grounds for a toy war while running back and forth for who knows what. The goal here is to clean up before retiring for the night. That means we pick up the toys, we clean up the kitchen (and then set out bowls 😉 ), and I pick up the bathroom while I’m setting out my clothes. Starting with a clean slate sets a great foundation for the day. I feel collected and in charge of the day when the house is simply TIDY.

BONUS TIP: Go to bed! This one’s simple: staying up late results in sleeping in late. Or at least being less than enthusiastic about getting up. We’ve recently moved our typical bedtime of 10:00pm to 8:30pm and it’s been magical. No one’s waking up at the crack of dawn either! It’s amazing how a little extra sleep can improve temperaments. Mine included.

Nightly prep-work is vital to my sanity as a parent. Does it work perfectly? No. But it does help me feel like I can actually do this. As long as I remember that missing out on that hot cup of coffee every once in a while is totally OK, then I can tackle the storm and remain calm. And that certainly reflects itself on the kids.