Wonderful Women

Last night, I attended a “women’s supper club” for a group of women from my church. It was FANTASTIC. There was sharing, laughing, crying, hugging, praying, talking, teaching, and loving each other. I met new women, reconnected with some I hadn’t seen recently, and chuckled and snuggled with women I know well. It was a much-needed night of frivolity and fellowship and faith-building. I realized this: I have lots of wonderful women in my life, and I love finding more. You can never have too many women who are peers, women who are mentors, women who are mentees, women who have walked through your trenches, and women who are in them right beside you.

Women were created for relationship. It’s in our nature. God created Adam, and then created him a companion in Eve. I think that we were created for communication, fellowship, compassion, and love. This isn’t just limited to a romantic relationship, or familial relationship. This very nature of women spreads to all relationships – friends, acquaintances, strangers, all.

I’ve had several blog friends recently start up ways for women to connect with and find friends online (in a non-creepy or stalkerish way haha). Women can be lonely without a group, without a tribe. I am lucky in that I have a tribe built in where I live, but I still want to grow it! I want to help women connect with each other, build meaningful relationships, and make lasting impressions on each other. I know how important those types of relationships have been in my life, and how much they still will be for the rest of it.

I’m not sure the way I want to go about this yet. I want to help y’all out, help you get to know each other, help you find gals in your area who are like-minded and need a group of friends as well. I want to make it authentic and not forced. I want to make it realistic and long-lasting. So it’s a tall order, but it’s on my heart. And I’m going to be praying about it. It already makes me excited!

Please comment if you have ideas, ways to connect that are already in place, or anything else you think might be helpful in the process. If you’re a praying person, I invite you to join me in prayer in the first steps of the process, and for the hearts of the women that might get involved!

Weekend Styling

I don’t often post about style. I’m not the most stylish person I know, nor do I know all that much about it. However, I like to look nice, I like to be fairly fashionable (not too out of style) and I’m a big fan of accessories.

So today, when I realized my belly was getting a little big for half my shirts, knowing that my maternity clothes are packed somewhere in the storage unit (to which Hubby conveniently misplaced the key) I knew I needed to buy a couple of shirts to get me through to the end of next month when we will have unpacked the unit. AND Stella & Dot was having a sale, so naturally I logged myself into my stylist account to see what I could find!

Here’s what I ended up with:

Two maternity shirts from Target, both Liz Lange. One grey hoodie (comfy, versatile) and one black and white striped short sleeve top (versatile, will go through to warmer weather). I’m wearing the hoodie right now and it’s nice and long – easily worn with leggings – without being so bulky that I feel like I’m wearing a moo-moo.

I also got a new S&D necklace – the Fortuna Stone Pendant. It’s a double-stranded beauty, comes in gold and silver (I got the gold) and I’m SUPER excited for it to arrive. I ordered it yesterday and I received the shipping email last night! I love their super-fast and always cheap ($5.95 no matter what) shipping! I also got a new wallet. I LOVE the shape and size of their Chelsea Tech Wallet. It’s usable as a clutch or a wristlet, fits my iPhone, or tosses in every purse I own just fine. The one I’ve had for two years I haven’t given a single day off, and I’m just now starting to notice a few rubbed places. It was a  great excuse to get the new hot pink perforated one – the cut-out design line is adorable!

Pink Chelsea Tech Wallet - $69 retail
Pink Chelsea Tech Wallet – $69 retail
Fortuna Pendant, Gold - $79 retail
Fortuna Pendant, Gold – $79 retail

As far as the Stella & Dot goes, I’d love to help you find the perfect accessory, or be your Stylist! If you want to browse online, just make sure you choose me as your stylist (it’ll ask you when you check out) OR go straight to my website first! I’ve really enjoyed wearing their pieces, selling them to friends, and making a few extra dollars with it. If you see a lot that you like, talk to me about doing an online trunk show, and we will set it up!

Anyway, that’s all I will say in self-promotion and I’m done with my fun style pieces for this weekend. Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend, and a safe one, if there’s still some snow where you are!

10 Tips for Soon-to-Be Moms

I’ve had a few friends who are expecting their first baby ask for a little advice on how to prepare for the bundle of joy. So here are a few things that I figured out either with EK or with J or because a wise woman told me so.

This was when a friend and I took our collective three kids on a walk. Only two are mine, but she was saying since we knew we’d have another, it was only a matter of time until it was me without a friend…

1. When placing your nursery furniture, to important to make it look nice. It’s also important to make it convenient for you to use each of the pieces in the room. For instance, when you wake up to the cry of your newborn at 3:00am, walk in the nursery, and immediately smell something… terrible… you know that you’re gonna need to change a diaper, and probably clothes, blankets, and maybe sheets. You pick up your sweetie, move to the changing table, and roll up your sleeves. Within arm’s reach, you want to have that extra change of clothes, as well as diapers and wipes, of course. So when arranging your furniture, it’s good to have your dresser (or wherever clothes are kept) within easy reach of the changing table, so you don’t have to walk off and leave the baby!

2. Speaking of changing the sheets, all moms know that changing crib sheets is a giant pain in the booty. So how do you make yourself have to change them less often, even though your baby will have messy poops, incredibly sized pees, and spit ups that stink to high heaven? One word: layer. My wonderful mother-in-law introduced me to this idea, and it’s saved my sleepy or busy self more times than I can count. So what you do is have 4-6 sheets AND full mattress-sized waterproof pads, and layer them into the mattress. I like to take the mattress completely out of the crib to do this. That way, I just peel off the offending layer whenever there’s a mess, and toss it in the laundry, and there’s already a sheet on there, ready to go! Of course, 1/6 times, I’m screwed. But I’m saved the rest of the time!

3. When someone offers to make a meal calendar for you, take them up on it. When they ask for email addresses, give them every single one you know. If people don’t want to help/are too busy, they just won’t sign up. But everyone else? Let them feed you. Lots of them (like me a lot of times) will just ask what you want from your favorite take-out place. It’s a win-win. And sometimes, it’s a sweet friend, who comes bearing dinner, and does some dishes or some laundry while she’s there, because it’s somehow easier to do someone else’s than your own. ((If you need help with this one or don’t have someone to do it for you, email me and I’ll help you out.))

4. Related to #3, stock your freezer. If you’ve got a meal calendar set up with people doing dinners, stock the freezer with pancakes, waffles, muffins, breakfast sandwiches, sausage, bacon, etc. Another great idea is to pack individual baggies with everything for a smoothie in them. Put in your fruit, kale, spinach, oats, flax, or whatever you like in there, each in an individual Ziploc bag, and then all you have to do for breakfast (or lunch, or a snack) is put it in the blender with the liquid of your choice, and yogurt or peanut butter if that’s how you roll. For lunches and dinners, spaghetti sauce and chili are easy things to make and stock up on, as well.

5. Get the book Happiest Baby on the Block or at least skim it in Babies R Us one day. Cliff notes: When they are fussy, swaddle them, let them suck on something, swing or bounce them, hold them positioned on their side or stomach and make some loud white noise (loud “shh”, vacuum, hair dryer, etc). Y’all are thinking I’m crazy. Try it.

6. Start letting baby put himself to sleep even when he’s a couple of weeks old. When he’s fed and diapered and snuggled (and swaddled, in my opinion), lay him in the crib and leave the room. Learning to go to sleep on his own will make everyone’s lives easier in the long run.

7. Something I didn’t do until recently (mostly because I think they didn’t have it when EK was a newborn) is sign up for one of those Amazon or something diaper subscriptions, where they just send them to you. I’ve got it now that my kids aren’t growing out of diaper sizes too quickly (and they’re both in the same size), but here’s what I did. I took all those coupons for creating registries at Babies R Us and Bed Bath and Beyond, and bought diapers – a couple of cases in every size. I waited till they were on sale (since before you have the baby there’s no rush, right?) and used the coupons. Babies R Us is great at mailing you stuff monthly, and almost every time there are coupons for diapers. I only bought one box of newborn size (they grow out of those the quickest in my experience) and two boxes of the rest (stopping at size 4) just in case. I felt totally prepared, and if I did run out of diapers, I at least had some in the size up they could wear so I was never completely and totally out.

8. Find a good stain remover. This is a total must, because your baby is going to be causing stains on everything. I really love Babyganics, and it really seems to work on everything from poop and spit-up to red wine and coffee (and those are the four most common stains at my house).

9. Use the heck out of those annoying and wonderful Bed, Bath and Beyond 20% off coupons you get all the time. Use them on carseats, strollers, toys, nursery furniture, pillows, swaddles, and anything else you can buy there instead of a baby store. Our BB&B recently got a major baby section upgrade, so I get tons of stuff there with those super coupons.

10. Don’t refuse the help. Yes, there’s a line between letting a thousand people traipse through your house every moment of the day and accepting the help of well-meaning friends and family for a few days, or a few days a week if they’re willing to keep it up for a little while. But if someone offers to snuggle the baby and let you nap, or let you shower, let them. If someone offers to do a load of laundry or pick up some groceries, let them. These things are so nice and helpful, and often it’s a chance for a friend or aunt or someone to meet your little bundle. A win-win for everyone!

All you almost-mamas, I hope this helps! Pass it along to anyone who might need some words of wisdom before their little babe gets here!

Do the veteran mamas have anything to add to the list?!

Featured on April’s Everyday Mom Link-Up! everyday mom link up

Currently – the Home Edition!

Linking up with Becky at Choose Happy and the other super bloggers for another Currently party! Join us – we want to hear what’s going on with you currently!

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Watching || The Oscars! Since we don’t have cable, on nights like these with exciting televised happenings, I’ve gotta phone a friend and beg to use their cable. Luckily, my friend Ginna said come on over! So in my pj’s, snacks and laundry in hand (yeah, I used her big time) I headed over to watch the Oscars till I got too tired to pay attention. So naturally, I had to Google who won best picture this morning when I woke up (I loved Birdman, by the way, but I also kinda wanted Grand Budapest Hotel to win, because I also love Wes Anderson). And also, NPH is a favorite fellow of mine!

Organizing || The kitchen. And when I say organizing, I really mean that my husband is doing it (thanks, Babe!). Our sink is leaking somewhere, so he had to clean out the cabinet underneath and do some investigating, and organized while he was going. We’ve also got lots of kitchen stuff in valuable storage places that we aren’t using as often as other items, so we are having a few days where we evaluate what we want at hand, and what we don’t mind digging for when we use it every 4 months.

Loving || the paint color I chose for the mudroom and powder room downstairs. We used a totally neutral grey everywhere down there except for those two rooms and the laundry room. which is bright white. It’s tough to get a picture of how gorgeous the color is, but here’s my try:

We asked EK where the potty was... and she totally found its spot.
We asked EK where the potty was… and she totally found its spot.
The color is called "Swimming". It's a few shades lighter than the one of the tile colors we're using for back splash in the laundy room.
The color is called “Swimming”. It’s a few shades lighter than the one of the tile colors we’re using for back splash in the laundy room.
The grey we're using is called "Anew Grey" and it's a little less beige than our color from upstairs, but close enough that it won't look totally different as you walk down the stairs.
The grey we’re using is called “Anew Grey” and it’s a little less beige than our color from upstairs, but close enough that it won’t look totally different as you walk down the stairs.

Eating || these little fruit-and-nut treats that I found at Costco! They’re not great for you but not terrible, and right now the salty-sweet combo is floating my boat big time. Totally yum!

Partially dipped in dark chocolate, and only 7 grams of sugar per serving? Okay!
Partially dipped in dark chocolate, and only 7 grams of sugar per serving? Okay!

Well that’s what’s happening currently in my home – what’s going on with you?!

That Moment When…

That moment when you look at your kids, and they’re playing nicely together.
That moment when their plates are empty, and haven’t been flung to the floor yet.
When they say please and thank you.
When they ask for an extra hug and kiss.
When they blow your mind with their brilliance, their intuitiveness, and their stinkin’ cute curls.

But also, that moment when she pushes him down.
That moment when all the stuffed animals are in the toilet.
That moment when you aren’t sure how much they ate, because food seems to multiply when it hits the floor.
When you’re sure your kids had friends over while you went to the bathroom, because two kids couldn’t have done that by themselves.
When you didn’t finish your breakfast, or your coffee, or shower.
When they refuse to nap, refuse to eat, refuse to be held, and refuse to be put down, simultaneously.

That moment, you are a mother. Yes, you’re always a mother, but you might wear a hundred other hats in a day… wife, sister, chef, friend, housekeeper, daughter, co-worker, chauffeur or any myriad of other jobs you may sometimes hold. But that moment, you’re simply a mom.

You are more than just a busy woman or even a slightly sticky, exhausted human. You’re a mom who provides fully, loves deeply, tries hard, and picks herself up when she slips. You’re a mom who kisses booboos, fixes hair, wipes noses, and cuts crusts off sandwiches. You’re a mom who molds minds, chases dreams, encourages personalities and shapes the future.

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Hard Mornings Can Still Become Good Days

This morning, I was the grump queen. Can't you tell?
This morning, I was the grump queen. Can’t you tell?

Sometimes, EK drives me up the wall.

She shouts. She often shouts things I’ve heard myself say. I try really hard not to shout or yell or holler or whatever at my kids, but sometimes the words I use in a speaking voice that probably are the same as yelling. Sometimes, she’s whiny and tantrum-y and needy and clingy and attached to Daddy even when I’m the only one around, and it’s hard. It can be so hard. Especially when there’s another little one who is also clingy and needy and whiny, it’s really hard. It wears on me. And let’s not pretend that my pregnancy hormones aren’t making it worse, because they are. “She of little patience” has become “Monster with no patience at all”.

Today, we had a hectic morning. I was trying to get the kids and me (with our laundry) out the door so that sick Hubby could rest without screeching (the happy or the sad kind) and bumping and whatever other kid-related noise. While I was doing the normal stuff to get them ready to go, something happened. For the first time, EK hit me. I was totally baffled. I didn’t even punish her. I couldn’t figure out why or what started it. I’d been doing what I normally do in the morning – fixing breakfasts, getting everyone dressed, finding shoes and coats, convincing them to help me get them ready to go, etc. I leaned down to pick something up off the floor (I can’t remember what, now) and while I was leaning over, she swiped at me, right on the side of my head.

It didn’t hurt. She’s just a little girl, so obviously I wasn’t hurt. But my feelings were. I’ve never clocked her on the side of the head (duh) so why would she think to do that to me? She didn’t seem particularly upset in that moment, and I didn’t even say much besides, “Why did you just hit me? Should you sit in time out?” I didn’t know how to respond, really. I just went on with getting us ready and out the door, and remembered it only a few minutes ago.

It was a terrible morning, really. We were all on edge from the moment we woke up. It might have to do with the fact that I woke up on the couch, EK woke up too early, and J woke up too late. It might have to do with the fact that I rushed them immediately out the door. It might be that I wouldn’t let them go see Daddy because I didn’t want them to get sick. It might be a hundred other things. But we were all in a crappy mood, and it just compounded when we were all doing it together.

But after we had spent a morning having breakfast with friends in our favorite little bakery (Tart Sweets – their cinnamon rolls were divine), had a few minutes of play time at home, picking up lunch from Cookout and eating at while we shopped at Babies R Us (it was a weird day, okay?) the kids were in great spirits and are now down in the second hour of their naps. A DOUBLE NAP! I’ve already prepped dinner! It’s wonderful MADNESS, I tell you! Hubby is a little weak, but still peacefully sleeping as he’s been doing all day, the kids and I had a tickle fight on EK’s bed before they napped, and I thankfully got a shower. See, my day could be redeemed. But I won’t pretend that as I packed them in the car, both crying, to go to breakfast, I wasn’t crying along with them, saying, “Jesus, take the freaking wheel.”

After a freezing cold week of being semi-iced-in, cancelled preschool and church activities, and random bouts of sickness, we needed a day out on the town, visiting friends and being productive. We needed to be worn out in a good way. We needed a day away from the TV. The kids are tired of spending all their time in one room (they’re used to roaming between upstairs and downstairs), the half of their toys that aren’t packed, and the fact that we’ve resorted to watching too much TV (even if it’s movies). It’s terrible. I’ve felt cooped up and so do they. We are ready for spring, for the renovations to be done, and for life to return to its regularly scheduled programming. Right now, in our lives, the struggle is real. But thank you Jesus for the reminder that my day, the kids’ day, our lives in general, can be redeemed.

Happenings with the Hsumans

HEY-O! I am 17 weeks. Say WHAT?! It’s nuts. I can’t believe I’m already here. We’re getting closer naming our little guy (woo!) and I’m finally posting the much anticipated bump picture! (Even if it wasn’t much anticipated, just give it to me. Just let me assume you’ve been wondering how big the bump was.)

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The Hsu house has been struck with the stomach bug. EK had it two nights ago, a quick, relatively easy 7 hours of sickness, and then bouncing back to normal. We thought maybe it was something she had eaten… but alas, today Hubby started feeling yucky and is in the throes of it now. Here’s a GIANT prayer that J and I don’t get it. I hate stomach issues more than anything else.

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The Hsu house has been struck with the stomach bug. EK had it two nights ago, a quick, relatively easy 7 hours of sickness, and then bouncing back to normal. We thought maybe it was something she had eaten… but alas, today Hubby started feeling yucky and is in the throes of it now. Here’s a GIANT prayer that J and I don’t get it. I hate stomach issues more than anything else.

As far as the house goes, we’ve had half a wall torn out upstairs, and replaced with plywood and plastic (ha!) to keep out the draft from the basement. (This is a good place to insert how wonderful ICON is… they replaced all our furniture, rug and toys before they left that day.They are totally awesome.)

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Wiring is getting finished up, painting happened today (I didn’t get the chance to go see, but I’ll post some pictures later), and cabinets are going in early next week. I’m hoping that once the floors are done, we can look forward to having our washer and dryer hooked back up! That would be the biggest relief, because with our laundry constantly going and coming and being everywhere for lack of a place to put it, random rooms look like this:

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Anyway, there’s a mini update on the craziness that is our life right now. Here’s hoping everyone is well and life is moving on tomorrow!