Lucy in the Snow 2017

Snow Days and Chasing Slow

Lucy in the Snow 2017

The last few weeks have been short ones around here. We got back to a somewhat normal schedule after the holidays, just to be slammed with more days off of school for the kids than I can count.

Just kidding, I’ve counted. Twice.

Basically with the combination of national holidays and inservice/teacher learning days, we have four-day school weeks from now until mid-February. Which, let’s face it, isn’t ideal. Not only does this make my work schedule difficult, it is hard on the kids as well! It’s almost impossible for any of us to get into a groove when our schedule is all over the place.

When I’m faced with these types of working mom problems, I tend to get extremely over-stressed and anxious. I find myself making lists in my head of everything I won’t be able to do because I won’t have the time. I torture myself by looking at the social media feeds of my competitors and colleagues, seeing all their perfectly lit images and the work they have been doing, and instead of cheering them on, I feel resentful. I worry that I’m falling behind, yet again, and that I’ll never get ahead of the game. I decide that I’m destined to fail, resign myself to my bed with some fuzzy socks, ratty PJs and Netflix. Why bother even trying, right?

WRONG. Because I don’t have to live fast in order to find success, and the whole idea of hustle equating happiness just doesn’t resonate for me anymore. When my kids have a day off school, I enjoy being with them. I like stepping away from the computer and being present as we throw snowballs at each others heads or read books. I don’t feel lazy when I’m in my PJs with them until 11 a.m. I feel happy. Joyful, even!

Tate in the Snow 2017

So why I am I torturing myself? When they were babies and I worked out of the home full time, I felt guilty for missing all these moments. When I started my own business and they were in preschool, I felt guilty because I couldn’t work as much as I wanted to. Now I’m feeling guilty when they have days off elementary school. I keep waiting for the next phase of life, when things slow down, but I’m starting to think that’s NEVER gonna happen. There will always be something pulling me in one direction while another is pushing me the opposite way.

This year I am planning to focus more on being present, but also on listening to my inner self when it comes to my schedule and work. I am finding doubling down on hustle when it comes to work isn’t always resulting in success. Instead, when I focus on doing what feels right in all facets of my life (working, creating, mothering, reading, meditating, eating chocolate, whatever) the success seems to follow. Recently I was fortunate enough to be asked to read the new, beautiful book Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner, which really speaks to this topic. Erin chronicles her journey from a fast life, to a slow life and back again…and her conclusions aren’t what I expected. Instead of being a book about slowing down your life, this book was more about the question of why do we believe we have to have any particular sort of life for it to be a happy one? I related so much to her journey, and it made me think twice about my goals. Do I want a fast life? Do I want to be a minimalist? Do I want to disconnect from the internet and live in a yurt? Do I want to move to New York City and take my kids to school on the subway? Do I want neither? Both?

Chasing Slow

Do I have to decide?

Maybe we can just be balancing along the middle…sometimes wanting to throw out everything we own because the clutter is strangling us and other times buying a shirt on sale just because it looked cute online. Who knows? But for now, I can only be where I am. And I am a mom of two kids who are growing into grown-ups faster than I can fathom, so if they have a day off school, I’m probably needed on the front lines of the snowball fight. Afterward, when they are sipping on hot cocoa and fighting over marshmallows, I’ll likely sneak away for a little editing session or to answer a few emails. I’m not perfect, but luckily, no one is.

Lucy in the Snow 2017

If you’re looking for more info on this topic, the podcast “The Lively Show” is an amazing listen. I recommend starting with this episode!

DIY Halloween Rocket Pack

Easy DIY Halloween Costumes!

It’s that time of year again…Halloween! It’s my favorite holiday, and along with our yearly tradition of watching Sleepy Hollow and Hocus Pocus on repeat, I love whipping up fun, DIY costumes for my kids. Better Kansas City asked me to come on their morning show last week to share a few of my favorite DIY costume ideas. Grab your spray paint, some old boxes and enjoy!

KCTV5

Better Kansas City September 2016

Tips to Save Your Sanity in the Morning

Better Kansas City September 2016

Recently I was invited back to the Better Kansas City show to talk about how I manage stress while trying to get my kids out the door and off to school in the morning. I know it’s funny, but my number one tip is to have my kids sleep in their clothes! It works! And saves me at least 30 minutes of arguing over outfits in the morning. You can see the rest of my tips and tricks in the clip below.

Tate First Day of Kindergarten

Saving Money and My Sanity with Groupon Coupons

Anyone who has met me knows I’m not a big shopper…I just find the whole process extremely overwhelming, especially when it comes to shopping for clothes. I walk into a department store and my skin starts to crawl. I can’t help it! The chaos of all the clothing racks and the multitudes of options make my heart race and trying on clothes in a dressing room gets me all clammy.

The worst part of this particular aversion is that it ends up being pretty expensive. Most discount stores and shops with reduced prices tend to be the ones that are, for lack of a better word, messy! While the more expensive, exclusive stores are set up in a way that is much easier for me to navigate, with lots of white space, limited options and uncluttered dressing rooms. I always hear of friends getting amazing deals on clothing for themselves and their kids by using coupons or shopping during special sales, but the thought of that makes me want to hyperventilate. Shopping is stressful enough without crowds and clipping coupons!

That’s why I was so excited to hear about Groupon’s newest offering, Groupon Coupons. Groupon has partnered with a huge number of retailers to provide thousands of online coupons to shoppers, and it’s so easy to use. You just head to their website to find tons of coupon codes, many of which you can use online and in the store. And this isn’t just for random shops either! With back-to-school shopping and kids who grow out of their clothes on a monthly basis, I have been using Groupon Coupons at some of our favorite shopping spots, like J. Crew Factory and Macy’s. We also like to stock up on extra special school supplies, educational games and books at Barnes & Noble, so we were super pumped to find a Groupon Coupon for there as well.

I’m so happy that Groupon is helping shopping-averse goofballs like me save a little money, and that they are keeping it super simple with Groupon Coupons!

This post was sponsored by Groupon, but all opinions and words are my own.

Baby Safe Cleaning Products

Daily Safety Tips for Parents : National Baby Safety Month

In honor of National Baby Safety Month, I was asked to share a few of my top safety tips for parents over on Kansas City’s own Fox 4 Morning Show today! (I will link and embed the video when it’s available.) Becoming a parent can be a stressful transition, and the last thing I wanted was for something in my home or car to be dangerous for my child. Luckily with some simple adjustments, you can make your space much safer and gain a little peace of mind as well.

Home Safety Tips

1. Clean Up Your Cleaning Supplies – One of the biggest hazards for little ones is when they get into home cleaning supplies. Make sure all chemical cleaning supplies are locked up in a childproof cabinet, with the sprayers turned to the off position. You can also replace your cleaners with less toxic or homemade versions. My favorite non-toxic cleaner is Young Living’s Thieves Household Cleaner, which does not made with any dangerous chemicals. It also can be used on everything from glass, to surfaces to floors. You can also make your own household cleaner, by mixing one cup of white vinegar with one cup of water. I add in lemon oil as well, just to cut down on the vinegar smell a bit.

Baby Safe Cleaning Products

2. Detergent Pods – These bright, colorful pods look like candy or toys to little children, which causes a HUGE risk for parents. In fact, just this summer Consumer Reports decided to remove these pods from their list of recommended detergents because of their safety issues. If you do decide to continue using these pods, be sure to store them somewhere locked up and out of reach of small children.

3. Mount Your Furniture and TV’s – One of the most common injuries for kids is when TV’s or unmounted furniture falls on them. But there is an easy fix! You can get mounting kits online, at electronics stores, furniture stores or hardware stores for around $10-$15.

4. Watch the Candy! – The most frequent cause of choking for kids under 14 years old is from attempting to eat candy! Make sure you’re not giving any hard candy or gum to kids 4 and under and pass that rule along to caregivers and grandparents. Yes, even if grandma insists on giving your little one a sucker…be strong, mama!

5. Sign up for Recall Alerts – This is one of the most simple ways you can ensure your child is as safe as possible. When you purchase a new piece of baby gear, make sure to send in the recall card that is included in the box, so you will be informed if there is a recall. You can also sign up for recall alerts online at recalls.gov.

Car Safety Tips

1. Know Your Car Seat Installation/Requirements – Make sure car seats are installed correctly and that you are using the right size car seat for your child’s size. Get the seats inspected by installation experts (police and fire stations can do this) and make sure the straps are placed correctly on your child. Also, don’t use bulky coats or blankets underneath the car seat straps! Instead, place a blanket over your child after they are buckled in or invest in a lightweight fleece that isn’t bulky, but provides warmth.

2. Know Age Limitations – While actual laws vary by state, recommendations and guidelines should be observed nationwide. Children should be backward facing until 2 years old, regardless of their weight or height. Children 12 and under should always sit in the backseat, regardless of size, due to passenger side airbags being too powerful for young bodies.

3. Set Rules for Car Behavior – No screaming or yelling in the car, or distracting the driver. If it’s unavoidable (a crying baby), pull over in to a parking lot or safe space until the car is quiet and you feel safe to start driving again.

4. Put Your Cell Phone Away – Keep your cell phone out of sight or turned off while you drive to avoid temptation. This also will carry over as your own kids learn from YOU how to behave while driving…and goes with my number five tip below…

5. Be a Good Example and Follow Your Own Rules – If you want your children to follow safe driving and riding guidelines, you need to do the same. You’re setting the example for their future driving habits! Start now!

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