Wednesday, February 19, 2014

New Job!

Several months ago I was chatting with my friend Karen and she mentioned needing an assistant.  She is a consultant for Rodan + Fields (amazing skincare) but didn't want to work more than a set number of hours each week.  This was right around the time I realized I needed something to keep my mind sharp.  Stacking blocks just wasn't doing it for me.

Fast forward to January and I am officially her new (part-time) assistant.  I'm so excited!  The first time I completed a task I called Michael and told him how great it felt.  When you stay at home with your kids all day there isn't a beginning or an end.  To have a list of things to do (that doesn't include groceries or chores) and to be able to mark things off that list.... it feels amazing. 

Karen's one request was that I also become a consultant for Rodan + Fields so I could better understand her business.  We've been talking about me becoming a consultant for over a year but I always made an excuse.  Karen has had incredible success with R+F and as my mom said, "If the products don't work the business will fail."  Instead, it is thriving.

Before I posted anything on social media, I wanted to try the products for one month.  If after one month I was happy with the results, I would go public.

And that is where I am now.  I've been using REDEFINE (anti-age for wrinkles and fine lines) and absolutely love it. My mom is a huge fan of REVERSE (brown spots & sun damage).  Apparently we both loved the Florida sun a little too much. Fortunately, the products work... and work quickly!   For the last five years my mom used products purchased from an aesthetician and she is now completely revamping her skincare regime.

The other two regimens R+F offers are UNBLEMISH (for acne and post-acne marks) and SOOTHE (for sensitive, irritated skin).  We also have some incredible tools that combat wrinkles and make your skin feel great.

I would love to talk to you more about the products and the business.   Below is a link to the products we offer--if you have any questions or find something you'd like to try (everything has a 60-day guarantee), let me know.  I'm able to offer you a discount on the products so don't order straight off the website!

This business is great for anyone.  Whether you work or stay at home, the hours are flexible and the earning potential is great.  I know several women who replaced their previous (or current) salary in very little time.  It's impressive and I'm glad to be a part of it!

CLICK HERE to visit the products page!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Jude & Sloane's Mom

Not long ago I was catching up with a friend I hadn't seen in awhile.  She asked how I was doing and I replied, "The kids are great.  They are into absolutely everything."  It didn't even dawn on me until I'd already replied that she didn't ask about the kids.  She asked about me.

My response was probably pretty typical for a stay-at-home-mom.  Look at my Instagram account.  My facebook account.  My blog.  Michael and I include ourselves in pictures every once in awhile to prove we still exist, but the majority of our pictures and stories are of the twins. 

This is not a sob story.  I love my life.  My messy, crazy, diaper-filled life.  But something finally clicked.  I realized it doesn't make me a bad mom if I allow myself to have a life outside of them.

And it was like the sun came out after too many rainy days. 

One of the first things I did after this realization was submit a few articles to TWINS Magazine (yes, writing an article about parenting right after I decided I could be more than "just a mom" is quite ironic).   Being published has always been on my bucket list but I never felt I had anything important to say.  I figured I'd give it a shot and when I didn't hear back for a few months I decided they were not interested.  Bruised ego for sure, but not hearing anything led me to pursue something I've been wanting to do since I was pregnant, which I will explain more in the upcoming weeks.  Last week they released the 30th anniversary edition of TWINS Magazine and I found out they published one of my articles!  I was so excited.  (Still excited.  Too excited.)

The article is a blog post I wrote last April. 

So there's a tiny tidbit of my life right now.  I have more to share and I plan to do so more consistently.  I love being Jude and Sloane's mom.  I love being Michael's wife.  I love being a life group member and an amateur photographer and a casual writer.  And I love that I don't have to choose just one.

I posted this news on Instagram last week and was overwhelmed by the kind words.   Thank you, thank you, thank you for taking the time to say such nice things.  Means more to me than you will ever know. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Colossians 1:17

Do you remember when you first learned your parents were human?  As in, they made mistakes.  They had opinions that were different from your own.  They didn't have all the answers.  By the time I truly understood this I was in my early twenties.  Most kids probably realized it far sooner, but I've always put my parents on an exceedingly high pedestal, and I'll fight anyone who says they don't belong there. 

My brother and I are so lucky.

When you realize your parents are human, it's a relief but also quite terrifying...  They make mistakes.  They have opinions that are different from your own.  They don't have all the answers.  And on top of that, they are not immune to pain.

Last fall, my mom sent a text and asked if I had time to chat.  I called and we exchanged a few (forced) pleasantries before she dropped the bomb.  "Your dad's going to be fine.... But he's been in a motorcycle accident."  My dad, my helmet-wearing, rule-following dad, was hurt.  His lung had collapsed and he had many broken ribs.  He was in the hospital and would stay there for several days.  When mom first shared this with me, I remember holding my breath until I knew he was going to be ok. 

While he was bruised pretty badly, it could've been so much worse.  His helmet was destroyed and his bike was totaled.  But to hear his story... it was so obvious God was watching over him that day.  I know God is omnipresent, but I think he took a break from everyone else for that moment and made my dad his priority.  I say that as a joke, but really?  I kind of believe it.

My parents visited us a few weeks ago and while they were here my mom casually told me about a lump she'd found.  They were going to biopsy it the following week.  She didn't seem concerned so I wasn't concerned.  Last week she sent a quick text and let me know it was Stage 0 (completely contained) breast cancer.  She would be having surgery followed by six weeks of radiation.  Once again, I held my breath while reading the text.  And once again, it was (is) a terrible situation that could've been so much worse.

I'm not sure why I'm writing about all of this.   Maybe it's a PSA:  Wear your helmet.  Perform self-evaluations.  Or maybe it's so I can finally get all of this on "paper" and give my hurting heart a bit of a break.  It's scary when you understand--when you really understand--that your parents have a beginning and an end on this earth.  And it made me realize that even though I learned they were human 10 years ago, I still thought they were unbreakable.  Untouchable.

I love to wrap up each blog post with a neat little bow, but I'm not there yet.   While a small part of me can't help but think, "Why them?  Why now?" a much bigger part is just so thankful they're still here.

I'm thankful we serve a God who doesn't make mistakes.  Who does have all the answers.  And who holds it all together while I hold my breath.

My mom had surgery this morning.  Please keep her in your prayers!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Jude & Sloane | 15 Months

Since Jude & Sloane have check-ups at the pediatrician's office every three months, I figured I'd make these monthly posts more like their first year posts.  So sit back, reheat your coffee in the microwave for the fourth time (just me?), and enjoy...

Jude & Sloane are all over the place these days.  One of the biggest changes I've noticed is they now run in the same direction. Before, I had two circus acts competing for attention and applause.  Now they are a two-person act (still demanding applause).  Lots of giggling, lots of knocking each other over, lots of tears.  It's a beautiful mess.

Jude's stats at 15 months:
Weight: 26 lbs 3 oz (70%)
Height: 32 in (75%)
Head:  18.75 in (75%)
Words: Mama, Dada, Mmmhm ("moo"), Dat (that)
Sign language: All done (Understands "Eat")
Wears: 18-24 month clothing

Sloane's stats at 15 months:
Weight: 23 lbs 3 oz (55%)
Height: 31.5 in (80%)
Head:  18.5 in (75%)
Words: Mama, Dada, Dat (that), Uh! (Uh-oh), cat
Sign Language, All done, More, Eat (She is the one who let's me know when it's time)
Wears: 12-18 and 18-24 month tops/dresses; 2T pants (due to leg length)

Both have really slimmed down, but they are still quite the chunks.  While Sloane's legs are now twigs, her belly is bigger than Jude's.  It's adorable.  

Jude & Sloane are eating strictly table food these days.  They adore fruit!  Bananas, blueberries, strawberries, applesauce (that counts, right?)... you name it.  Sloane is like a chipmunk with blueberries, her tray is empty two seconds after we give them to her.  Jude's hatred towards carrots (remember this video?!) has disappeared and he's now their biggest fan.  Sloane feels the same towards peas.  They also love yogurt, hummus, oatmeal, hamburgers, pizza, and grilled cheese sandwiches.

We're struggling in the food area because Michael and I are not the greatest eaters.  Even though we can eat the same things, we typically feed them organic milk, fruits, veggies, etc., and then we eat Domino's pizza.  Since we're on a pretty strict budget we can only afford the best food for two people.  Michael and I feel our bodies have already been ruined so we give the twins the good stuff. :) We're really working on finding meals that satisfy everyone but won't leave us homeless.

They have whole milk when they wake up, oatmeal + fruit for breakfast, sandwich + fruit/veggies for lunch, a snack + whole milk after their second nap, dinner (varies), and whole milk right before bed.  Water is served with all meals. 

These two are still pretty great sleepers... as long as they are in their cribs.  They wake up around 7a, nap at 10a (1.5-2 hours) and again at 2:30p (1.5 hours).  They go down for the night a little after 7p.  They still require pacifiers to sleep, which we don't love but aren't fighting at the moment.

This past weekend we went to Fort Smith and they did NOT sleep well in the pack n plays.  They haven't in the past but I was really hoping they'd outgrown that phase.  Nope.  They're still excellent car sleepers (sometimes too good--I have to ride in the back after church for fear they'll fall asleep in the 10 minutes it takes to drive home)!

Gone are the days of quietly sitting on blankets and playing with a toy.  Jude & Sloane have the shortest attention spans and run from one activity to another.  They love to climb on chairs, windowsills, couches, coffee tables, us, you name it.  Neither have much fear so you better be ready because they will jump off of anything and it's up to you to grab them.  Not so easy when there is one of you and two of them.  We've dealt with lots of bumps and bruises this month.

The most common phrase around here is "Sit on your bottom.  ON YOUR BOTTOM."  Jude & Sloane handle instruction quite differently.  Jude looks at you, smiles, and continues doing exactly what he wants.  He understands "No!" and couldn't care less.  Meanwhile, Sloane is a rule follower.  That  does not mean she is perfect--far from it.  She does everything she isn't supposed to do but obeys you when you tell her to sit, get down, etc.  One day we caught her climbing on the coffee table and told her to get down.  She wanted to be on the coffee table so badly that once she slid off she held onto the table and kept lifting/shaking her right leg.  She just couldn't wait to get up there again!

Even though Jude is rambunctious and full of energy, his absolute favorite thing to do is read books.  He will sit in your lap as long as you'll allow it and listen to the same story over and over (and over) again.  Sloane, on the other hand, loves to sit down and listen to approximately two pages before she's bored. 

They both love puzzles,  rocking horses, the tunnel, noisemakers,Violet/Scout the dog, their Dog guitar, and the garbage man.  They also love hugging and kissing their stuffed animals.  When I was first teaching them about hugs and kisses, I would always clap wildly and say, "Oooohhhh, sweet SLOANEY/JUDE" every time they hugged a stuffed animal.  Now I tell Sloane, "Give me a kiss" and she comes right up to my face and says, "Oooohhhh..."  It's perfect.

We've also introduced television.  They watch a whopping 5-10 minutes a day.  I'm more relaxed on tv time now but neither are very interested so 10 minutes is their limit.  Most of the time they get bored and Jude brings me a book.  I can't help but smile when that happens.  I know there will be a day when all they want to do is watch television or play games on our phones.  I don't want that day to be anytime soon.

It is really, really hard not to compare twins.  Actually, it's impossible, at least for me.  If Jude does something, I immediately think, "Why isn't Sloane doing this yet?" if it's good and "Why is he doing that? Sloane isn't doing that!" if it's bad.

Jude has a temper.  If he does not get his way, he runs until he gets as far away from you as possible (it'd be hilarious to get in a fight with him on a football field) and throws himself down.  He went through a biting stage, which has lessened dramatically, and is still in a head banging stage, which hurts greatly.  Meanwhile, Sloane whimpers for a few seconds if she doesn't get her way and then she's over it.  Apparently both reactions are normal. 

My other concern at their 15-month appointment was their word count.  These two talk all the time.  They use inflection and hand gestures but it is complete gibberish.  I always talk back to them (using actual words) and we've had quite lengthy conversations.  But when it comes to real words... not so much.  The doc did not seem concerned so I'm not concerned.  Well, I'm trying not to be concerned.  I have an issue with repetition--it drives me crazy.  So while I should be saying, "Ball.  This is a ball.  Ball. Ball. BALL.  Hand me the BALL," I end up saying, "This is a ball.  Oh you want to play in the tunnel?  Great!"  Patience is a virtue.  Apparently I am not very virtuous.

Dear Jude,
My little blondie.  I can't get enough of your cuddles and smiles.  You are the emotional twin with lots of highs and lows.  Fortunately, the number of highs far exceeds the lows.  You are quite the observer--you want to understand how everything works and you won't leave something alone until you've figured it out.

I'm constantly surprised by you.  My mom and I were working diligently to teach Sloane the cow sound, not realizing you were close by listening intently.  A few days later I casually said, "Jude, a cow goes..." and you gave your perfectly adorable (and not at all close to) "moo" sound.  It has since stuck and you love it when we ask. 

Your favorite spot is in our laps or on the windowsill.  I think you love to sit a little higher than everyone else, plus it gives you a great view of the cars and garbage man.  Your laugh is still one of the sweetest sounds and absolutely contagious.  You also have a new face that takes "Judgy Jude" to an entirely new level.  You furrow your brow and purse your lips and everyone who sees it laughs.

You had your second haircut this month and while I think she cut it way too short, your hair managed to get even blonder and you now look even older.  Slow down, sweet Jude. 

Your dad and I are so proud of you.  You give us so many reasons to smile and we absolutely adore you.  I am so excited for you to learn more words because I can't wait to talk with you.


Dear Sloane,

My little sweetheart.  While you are still so sneaky, you are so thoughtful.  You are Jude's second mommy, always making sure he has enough to eat as well as his pacifier.  Unfortunately, he doesn't reciprocate yet, which means he mostly steals your pacifier after you've given him his.  I know he'll come around, but until he does, what a good example you are!

Little one, you are ALL girl.  You don't walk, you prance.  You don't flex, you point.  You love when I put bows in your hair and you grin when people tell you how cute you are.  I was a tomboy for much of my childhood so this will take some practice on my part, but I must say it's far easier than I thought: I cannot WAIT to enroll you in ballet!

Right now you're all about trading.  You don't take things.  Instead, you bring us something and want to exchange it for what we're holding.  This is especially true with Poppy's glasses case.  You would give him the moon for that case.  It's hilarious. 

You have become quite needy this month.  You get a little anxious when I leave the room and you love to be held (by anyone).  You typically wake up before Jude and constantly want to know where he is as well.  This hasn't caused issues yet (we're still able to leave you with family/friends) but I'm curious to see if it escalates.  Just know we'll always come back for you.  Always.

You, my darling, light up our lives.  You make the room brighter with your presence and bring so much joy to those around you. 

I love you, I love you, I love you... Love-Mama

For more pictures from our twin meet-up, visit Amber's blog!



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