Friday, September 30, 2011

Bikes, Blues, and BBQ! Yeah, Baby!

Today my husband and I leave for Bikes, Blues, and BBQ Motorcycle Rally in Fayetteville, Arkansas. We have been looking forward to this trip all summer, and we are so excited to be shipping Emma off to Randy's parents and getting away for a few days! While it won't be very romantic (we are sharing a room with my dad and his girlfriend), we always enjoy every opportunity to just step away from the stress of work, life, and parenting to just be us. I think trips like this are crucial to every marriage and I'm hoping we find time to talk and reconnect even if there isn't going to be much privacy! ;) Our marriage needs this weekend, and I hope that I don't stress about money or worry about Emma so much that it spoils the fun. Pray for me! ;)

I really do love to ride in Arkansas. The scenery is gorgeous, and the Ozark Mountains make for wonderful riding. I think my husband and I have found some summer traditions through the two bikefests that take place in Arkansas. I'm sure that as soon as we get back, we will start making plans for the bikefest in Eureka Springs in June.

I have also discovered that I actually feel sexiest on the back of a motorcycle. Is that weird?! Probably. But, it's the truth :) I am so glad I finally caved and decided to start riding with Randy. It really has made for some awesome one on one time, and it's nice to have a hobby that we can kind of share. What kind of hobbies do you share with your spouse?

I hope everyone has a great weekend and I promise to share lots of pictures when we get back! See you on Monday!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Why The Blog World Needs A Better Business Bureau


Remember THIS giveaway that I did at the beginning of this month? And do you remember THIS pretty lady who just happened to be the "lucky" winner? Well, this lucky lady turned out NOT to be so lucky thanks to MyMemories poor business practices. Yep, MyMemories baited me, and like a stupid goldfish who doesn't know any better, I took the bait (commence banging my forehead into the wall). SIGH.

At the end of August, MyMemories contacted me and asked me to do a giveaway with their scrapbooking software. I readily agreed and they sent me a code to download my very own free version of the software to try. I excitedly downloaded the software, threw together a few scrapbook pages, and got the giveaway up and running!

I had several wonderful followers enter, which made this giveaway my biggest one yet! I even stayed up way past my bedtime on that Thursday to select and write a post about the winner! Yes, all seemed well and good. Unfortunately, that was almost two weeks ago, and I still have NOT received my winner's code from the company.

I have emailed them three separate times, and the last time (on Monday morning), it was NOT a very nice email. I gave them three days to get me the code and guess what? I'm still waiting. Yep. Poor Jane! She was so excited and now I've let her down! BOO for MyMemories!

I am extremely disappointed in MyMemories and part of me wishes that the blog world had a Better Business Bureau, because I would totally turn them in! Unfortunately, nothing is forcing this company to give me a code for my winner, even though I saved all the emails proving that they said they would. I guess when it boils down to it, it's my word against theirs and basically when it comes to giveaways and promotions, we are all running on the Golden Rule around here.

I am still working to make things right with Ms. Jane, even if I have to send her something else in it's place. I just feel awful that things turned out the way they did, and I want to assure everyone that I really am a girl of my word. If there was anyway I could of prevented this or seen this coming, I would taken care of it. But, unfortunately, this is my first rodeo and I'm still learning all the ropes.

Thankfully, this experience has taught me a few lessons and one of them is: I will NEVER do another giveaway, unless I have the item I am going to giveaway in my possession. That doesn't mean that I no longer want to work with companies to do giveaways that promote their products or their brand, but it does mean, that I will expect all of those companies to send me the product they want me to review and giveaway in advance. For instance, I should of asked for the winner code ahead of time, before I even did the giveaway. UGH. You win some, you lose some, I guess.

I hope that all of you who liked their Facebook page and their blog as a result of this giveaway will take a moment and "unlike" both of them. This company does not deserve your business or promotion if they are unable to follow through with their promises...as they clearly are. I am sorry for the inconvenience this caused Jane and I hope all of you will at least swing by her blog and show her some bloggy love. I know she'd appreciate it.

Dear MyMemories,

You seriously messed with the wrong blogger. Now instead of a happy customer, you have a girl who has a space where she can freely express her dislike and mistrust of your company, and who isn't scared to tell ALL her friends to stay away from you.

Maybe you should take some classes in customer satisfaction and get a giant sign made that reminds you of the Golden Rule every. single. day.

Good work.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What I'd Wear Wednesday

In an effort to spice of my marriage as I talked about here and here, I have been thinking a lot about date nights. I love date nights and I'm really looking forward to going out of town with my husband this weekend. Granted, it will be a jam packed weekend and we will be sharing a room with my dad and his girlfriend in an effort to save money, but I'm excited to just spend some time with my hubby!

So, in honor of date nights and all things sexy, I'm dedicating this week's What I'd Wear Wednesday to just that.

What would you wear on a hot date with your hubby or boyfriend?


What about you?! What would you wear?! Go here to create your hot date night look, and then post it to your blog! Leave me a comment and let me know where I can check it out!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Autumn

After much deliberation, as well as some kicking and screaming, Emma and I are finally on board.

Autumn here we come.


And in honor of our fall excitement, here are some of my favorite "fall" Pinterest finds.






Source: bhg.com via Angi on Pinterest










Source: imgfave.com via Sarah on Pinterest



Source: None via Cindy on Pinterest





Monday, September 26, 2011

Attitude Check

"5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Romans 15: 5-6


The Lord has really been convicting me about my attitude and emotions lately. I believe that the Lord made me an emotional being, but that His will for my life is that I choose to keep some of those emotions in check, because most of the time I let my emotions get the best of me. Unfortunately, for me, my emotions and my attitude go hand in hand. I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve and I do a terrible job of hiding when something is wrong. It's just who I am, but I'm starting to believe that the Lord wants to change that about me. Especially after yesterday.

As many of you know, I volunteer at the same Christian school where I graduated. The school is actually a ministry of our church, and because of my willingness to help, I have been their first choice to substitute teach and referee their volleyball games for almost 3 years. I enjoy substitute teaching and reffing the volleyball games because not only do I feel like I am helping the school, but it's also a nice source of extra income for my husband and I since I don't work full-time. We have come to really depend on this extra income, especially in the winter months when my husband's job usually requires him to go on unemployment, which basically cuts our monthly income in half. Working for the school has been a huge blessing to our family, and I praise the Lord everyday for giving me the opportunity to work in His ministry that way.

At the beginning of this school year, one of the teachers, who is also married to a good friend of my husband's, became pregnant. She questioned whether or not she would go back to teaching, since she wants to stay at home with their daughter after she is born. She decided to commit to teaching up until the baby arrives, but the school will have to find a permanent substitute for the last four months of the school year. Even though I don't want to teach permanently, I was excited about the opportunity to be that substitute when the principal approached me about it. I ran home, discussed it with Randy, and after much deliberation as to what we would do with Emma while I taught, we decided that we would agree to the substitute teaching position, as long as they allowed Emma to enroll in K3 at the school. When I start teaching, she will only be two months shy of age 3, so we thought that by then she would probably fit right in. I discussed the conditions with the principal, as well as the Kindergarten teacher, and everyone seemed to agree that would be an okay arrangement. After two separate conversations, I was under the impression I would for sure be taking the position and I began making plans to do so. I even spoke with the Kindergarten teacher about sitting in the class I would subbing for a few times right before I was supposed to start, so that I could get a feel for how our teacher-friend did things. She seemed to think that would be a great idea and that was that. Everything seemed to be in order until yesterday at church.

Yesterday, the principal approached me after the morning service and told me that he had spoken with my mom the day before and was surprised to find out that I thought I was the one who would be substituting in our teacher-friend's class once she went on maternity leave. He told me that because I had expressed to him in the years before that I didn't really want to sub in the younger grades, he thought I wouldn't want the position and he had already offered it to someone else who had agreed to do it and they were working with her. I was really taken off guard, I mean WHY would I offer to do something, if I didn't want to do it?! WHY would I have had multiple conversations with them a few months ago about making arrangements for my daughter if I didn't want the position?! WHY?! My husband had even spoken with a school board member about it, when the question arose about if I would still be paid my usual $50 a day or if I would make teacher's salary for those months. Why would all of those conversations have taken place if I didn't actually want the job?! They wouldn't of!

I suddenly found myself hurt and betrayed! I mean, I have bent over backwards for the school. I sub EVERY time they call me, and I am always willing to take on extra activities if they need me too! I have been reffing their games and acting as their guidance counselor. I do everything they ask me to do. I WANT to volunteer! I WANT to be involved! But, then when something big comes along, they pass me over. They give it to someone else. I just don't think that's fair and I'm having a hard time keeping my attitude in check over the whole thing.

Yesterday, I left church vowing I would never sub or help out again! I am tired of being taken for granted. I cried to my mom and my sister and I angrily texted my cousin about it. I was fed up. But, then this morning the Lord gave me a new perspective.

It hit me: if I'm volunteering at the school to glorify the Lord, then I shouldn't be worried about recognition. In my heart, I felt like them allowing me to have the full-time substitute position was their way of recognizing all the hard work I've been doing for them. And while recognition and appreciation are not a bad thing, they are if that is the only reason you are doing something. By getting angry and swearing never to help again, I was taking the work I do for the Lord and turning it into something selfish. The more I thought about this, the more I knew that the best thing for me to do would be to turn the other cheek, put a smile on my face, and continue to wait on the Lord. I know the school has other things I can do for them, and I am just going to have to teach my heart to be content with what I am given. After all, my ministry at the school is NOT about me, it's about the Lord and the work He is doing through those kids.

I think the Lord understands my heart and He also understand my anger and frustration, but I am choosing to believe that He is going to use this experience to grow me and continue to teach me about my attitude and what it truly means to serve Him. I pray that He continues to give me a servant's heart and that He continues to show me ways I can best glorify Him. I also pray that He will help me keep my attitude and emotions in check, so that the choices I make will also glorify Him. Yes, it's not always easy and yes, most of the time I fail. But, I am a work in progress and as long as I keep thinking on these things and doing my best, I know the Lord will bless me through this.

What about you?! Have you felt the Lord speaking to your heart about something similar recently?!

Happy Monday!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Disclaimer

It came to my attention last night that I needed to do a disclaimer regarding this post.

As many of you know, my husband and I have had a hard summer. Some things have come out about our relationship and we have had to work even harder to get things back on track. It hasn't been easy, but the more and more I pray, the more I realize that God never promised me that marriage would be easy. He never promised it would always be sunshine and butterflies. But, He did promise that He would be there loving us and guiding us through this, as long as we keep giving it over to Him and let Him be in control. Through Him all things are possible...even marriage and nothing has made that more clear to me than the past year.

My mother says that marriages go in cycles. Things will be fine for a while, almost perfect, and then you hit a bump in the road and all of a sudden everyday is a struggle. But, as long as you stick it out and work through it, it won't be long before things get back on track. And for us, this year has been very off-track. But, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I can see that things are getting better, and it won't be long before we figure this part of our dance out. In addition to all of that, we are also experiencing the transition from newly married to comfortably married. We've both done A LOT of growing up in the last two years since our daughter was born, and we've seen the evidence of that growth in everything from the way we spend our money, to our priorities, to the way we love each other. It's true what they say, a baby DOES change everything. I also feel like we are coming into our own, but that doesn't change the fact that there will always be struggles and heartache that set us back a few steps and make the days long and the nights even longer. I'm learning that those struggles will always be apart of it, and that's okay.

I say all of this to say that I never intended for my previous post to paint the picture that we are miserable, because we're not. We are just trying to learn how to love more maturely, and that means that we don't always know how to express it and sometimes it leaves us (mainly me) feeling frustrated. Yes, I feel like our marriage lacks passion and romance, but that doesn't mean that we won't figure out how to get it there and it certainly doesn't mean that we are giving up.

I am fully and whole heartedly committed to my marriage. The struggles over the last year have only made me realize just how much I love my husband and the lengths I would go to make us work. For us, divorce is not an option. I have lived through divorce. I have seen first hand the damage it causes, and because of that experience I am willing to fight that much harder for mine. My husband is everything to me, my whole heart, and I don't know what I would do without him. No matter how aggravated or mad he makes me, I cannot imagine my life without him.

I share really personal things on my blog not to cause a stir, but because the love and support I get from women in the blog community really helps me get through the tough days. If you don't like something I write or if you are overly concerned, please feel free to email me (OR if you are related to me or know me personally, you can ALWAYS call me).

My blog is only a glimpse of my life, not the whole story. So, please don't take one thing you read and blow it out of proportion or make it out to mean something it probably doesn't. And as always my blog policy still stands: if you don't like my blog or my opinion on something, you don't HAVE to read it. No one is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to click on my link or type the name of my blog into your search engine. Just quit reading it if I upset you. I'm entitled to my thoughts and opinions. This is my space, not yours. Just sayin'...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Emma's First Trip To The Zoo

Yesterday I had the pleasure of hosting an elementary school field trip to the zoo with the Christian school I work with. Not only did I get to enjoy the craziness that comes with hosting my first field trip, but I got to take Emma and Noah with me, since Noah is enrolled in our K3 program.

It was definitely an experience, and all the kids had a great time! Emma and Noah LOVED all the animals and the weather was perfect! I don't think we could asked for a better day! Emma has been talking not stop about feeding the goats at the petting zoo and the giraffes. Noah loved the zebras, bears, and the elephants. The talking parrot who waved and "laughed" at everyone was fun too! All the animals were out sunning themselves, so the kids were able to see every animal the zoo had to offer which made it extra fun for everyone. We ended the day with lunch at the zoo's playground and then both kids zonked out about 10 minutes from home! :)

It was a great day and I just wanted to share a few pictures! I hope everyone else had a wonderful Friday!


Thursday, September 22, 2011

One for One: A Different Kind of Marathon

About a month ago, I wrote this post about my friend, Erika who is preparing to run the ING New York Marathon by finding sponsors for children through World Vision. It truly is a huge goal. A goal that only God can help her obtain. Well, today she is offering a little incentive that I wanted to pass along to you!

The next person to sponsor a child through World Vision will receive customized artwork from the talented Brooke Kelley. Brooke is a shoe artist for TOMS shoes and is known for her creative TOMS shoe designs.




Brooke doesn't just customize TOMS shoes. She will customize anything for you!

{picture sources}

Yep, Brooke is amazingly talented! Even if you choose not to sponsor a child, you should swing by her blog, Vanilla Abstract to see all of her other designs, as well as show her some blog lovin'! Her life is just as creative as her artwork!

But, if you would love to have Brooke customize a pair of your TOMS, one of your baby's onesies, or anything else you would love to add some flair and color too, then all you have to do is stop by Erika's blog and sponsor a child to help her reach her goal of 26 children. Erika is a little over half way there! Only a few more sponsorships to go! Woohoo!

So, have you been looking for a way to give back? Then why not sponsor a child?! I promise you won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hello?! Fairy Godmother?!

My husband and I, like most couples who have been together a long time, are kind of in a rut. We've been struggling to find ways to rekindle our marriage and our relationship. We are definitely missing the passion and excitement our relationship had during our three years of dating and our first year of marriage, and we know a lot of it is a result of the stress and problems we have been encountered over the past year. We are trying harder to communicate with one another, as well as, be more open and honest about a problem. And while I feel like our communication is improving, our marriage is still missing something.

In fact, I woke up this morning longing for more romance in my life. My husband has never been very romantic...EVER. But, occasionally he manages to pull something out of his hat, like the leather jacket he got me for Christmas that I really, REALLY wanted and had NO IDEA he was getting for me. Yep, sometimes he does a great job and then other times like my birthday this year, he didn't get me anything, not even a card. I try to tell myself that I don't need gifts or flowers or cards, and that for the most part anything I really want I can just go out and buy myself. But, it doesn't work. I still feel some level of resentment towards him when my birthday or Mother's Day or whatever comes and goes without even a card or a special memento to celebrate. I have always struggled with the need to be recognized and appreciated, and for me gifts symbolize that. I wish it didn't. I wish that wasn't how I tick, but it is.

But, you know, I don't just long for gifts. I long for passion. I long for way he used to look at me when I was 18 years old. I long for the way we couldn't keep our hands off of each other and the how it felt to want to spend every minute of every day with each other. I can remember afternoons spent hiking at our local state park or eating lunch together at our local city park. I remember when we used to go to the movies ALL THE TIME and all those hours I spent sitting in his shop watching him work on his truck or dirt bike. We were inseparable and I long for our relationship to be like that again. I just feel like our marriage needs a shot of life and energy. If there was such a thing as a "marriage fairy godmother", you can bet I'd be looking her up. Unfortunately, there isn't and I am left floundering and looking for ways to make our marriage better.

Now don't get me wrong. I love and appreciate my husband so much. He is a hard worker. He gets up everyday and gives 100% to provide for Emma and I. He makes me a better person and I try everyday to be the best wife I can be by respecting him, being careful with the money he works so hard to earn for this family, keeping our house clean and in order, making good meals, and staying at home to raise our daughter. And despite my best efforts, I know that I too have failed. I have struggled with intimacy issues since our daughter was born, and I know that the wounds I harbor from the past year have not helped to make our marriage better. But, we are working through them and things are definitely getting better, but they are not quite where we would want them, especially when it comes to the passion and excitement we both want for our marriage.

I do know that as a woman, I have needs and my needs are very different from my husband's needs. I want to be romanced. I want to be swept off my feet. I haven't lost faith that our fairytale is still out there, we have just lost site of it for the moment. The truth is, I miss my best friend. I want us to be excited about spending time ALONE with each other like we used to be and I want to quit filling our time alone with parenting and money conversations and with the need to spend it with our friends. I want to find our way back to "us". To who we were when this whole crazy thing started and to who we will be when our friends move on and our children grow up.

I know I need to just give this over to God and I know that He is causing us to grow and is making us stronger through this, but that doesn't change the fact that it's still a struggle, and at the end of the day I miss the girl I was at 18. Sometimes I think there was something more beautiful and desirable about her than the woman I am at 26.

Does anybody else feel this way?
{click on each picture for it's source}

Saturday, September 17, 2011

My Plea To Crazy Sports Parents

For those of you who don't know, I am a volleyball referee. I got my certification two years ago and this is the third season I have reffed junior high/high school girls volleyball. I absolutely LOVE to ref! It's the easiest money I have ever made and it's a lot of fun. I played volleyball in high school and I even coached for a year during college, so I have always enjoyed being involved in the game, and reffing is a way for me to do that minus the teenage girl drama.

When I decided to get my certification, I knew I would not be a hardcore referee. I was not going to nit pick or spend an entire game blowing my whistle every 10 seconds. Every time I get up on my stand, I make a conscientious effort to just let the girls play. An iffy hit here and a tiny foot fault there is not going to make or break the game, so why be picky? Why not just let them play? So, that's how I ref.

Now enters Crazy Sports Parent a.k.a. CSP. CSP thinks I should call everything, unless it pertains to their child. CSP likes to repeatedly question my judgement LOUDLY from the stands. CSP THINKS they know all the rules and are therefore the foremost authority on those rules (even the ones they just made up). CSP will coach their child from the stands or say things like, "It's okay, Sally. SHE obviously doesn't know what she's doing." or "Just shake it off. It was a bad call anyway." CSP has no mercy. CSP would LOVE to give me a piece of their mind, but at the risk of getting ejected from the game, most of them keep to the stands. CSP NEVER thanks me and NEVER comes to me politely with a question about a rule or a call, and un-surprisingly, their child won't either. Apparently, CSP needs a reality check, so here you go:

1. I will NEVER intentionally make a bad call.

I'm not saying that there aren't one-sided referees, because there are. I have seen that first hand. But, I am saying that most of us, including myself are NOT that way. We actually take our job very seriously and we do the best we can. With that said, you need to realize that we ARE human. We will miss things. We will make mistakes. We don't mean too, and 90% of the time, when we make a bad call, we realize it immediately after the fact. But, our training teaches us to go with it and stick to our call, because second guessing ourselves will make you doubt us, and that just makes for a bad game all together. If I have made a poor call, and I realize it, I will usually go and apologize to the team or the player after the game. I have found that this works best, and it quickly patches things up between I and a coach or player. So, with that said, I NEVER intentionally make bad calls. I don't play favorites. I am not "out to get anyone". I'm just human. Sue me.

2. Making loud comments about my reffing,
makes YOU look stupid NOT me.

The best way to get my attention: approach me after the game. Because making loud comments about my reffing only makes me dislike you more and MORE! And here's a news flash: you aren't embarrassing me, you are embarrassing your child when you act that way! Yeah, you should see the looks I get from the kids and other fans when someone is expressing themselves by yelling indirectly at me from the stands. Yeah. The fastest way to get your kid to unclaim you: act like an idiot. Seriously. Why don't you do me and everyone in the gym a favor by having a seat or leaving?! Please and thank you.

3. See my patch?
Well it makes me certified to ref this game.
NOT you.

Just because your child plays a sport, that does not make you the foremost authority on the rules for that sport. However, MY patch does. Did you know that referees have to take a 100 question test over the rules of the sport they want to referee in order to get certified?! Yep. I even had to pay to take the test! So, that means I probably took it pretty seriously. I also bring my rule book and case manual with me to EVERY game. Just in case I'm not sure on how to call something. I have been known to call a time out more than once, just to review my rule book. Yep. True story. So, when you start telling me how to make calls from the stands, 90% of the time, you just sound stupid. Because 90% of the time, the things you think I should be calling aren't rules at all or you've been misinformed. Also, did you know that there are rule changes EVERY season?! Yep. That's why refs have to PAY to get re-certified every season! Just so we can keep up with all of that. Yeah, so that toe touching the line under the net isn't really a foot fault like you keep screaming it is, because they changed that rule this year. Oh, you didn't know that?! Yeah. That's why I have a patch. Not you.

4. Just because I haven't ever ejected someone from a game,
doesn't mean I can't start tonight.

I think because I look so young, people refuse to take me seriously which irritates me to no end. Hello, I'm 26 years old, people! I'm an adult! And just because I'm 5'3 doesn't mean I won't come down off this stand and escort you out or find someone else to do it for me! Try me.


Competitive parents create competitive children, but it's up to you to teach your kids the most important value of any sport-sportsmanship. According to Webster: Sportsmanship is conduct (fairness, respect for one's opponent, and graciousness in winning or losing) becoming to one participating in a sport. And don't you think that fairness, respect, and graciousness are all things we use in our everyday life, whether it's a home, work, or school? And wouldn't you want to set this type of example for your kids, so they will know how to apply these things to their adult life? For instance, what if someday they don't get that promotion at work? Would you rather them be gracious and congratulate the person who got it, even though they are disappointed or would you want them to scream, cry, and throw a temper tantrum because they disagree with "the call"? Seriously. Think about it. When you act like a fool at a sporting event, you are passing that trait onto your child and who know when or where that trait will manifest itself.

So, if you suffer from CPS syndrome, then you need to take my above 4 rules and apply them to your next sporting event experience. Trust me, your referee and everyone else will thank me, and you may just find out how much more enjoyable a sporting event can be when you decide to CALM THE FRICK DOWN!

Thank you.

Friday, September 16, 2011

My BIG Birthday Giveaway Winner!

This morning marked the end of my BIG Birthday Giveaway! I was actually up at 12:00 AM waiting for them to announce the winners of duet night at Bootlegger Idol, so you all didn't keep me up or anything! LOL! My friend and I didn't win, but it was such a great experience! Plus, it allowed me to come home at 2:00 AM to see if I had anymore last minute entries before I went to bed! :)


I just want to thank everyone who entered my BIG Birthday Giveaway! Thanks for taking the time and making this giveaway my biggest one yet! I felt so blessed by all the bloggy love!

Now, without further adieu! The winner via Random.org is:



Ms. Jane from over at
A Few of My Favorite Things!


Congratulations, Jane! I will be emailing you the info you need to download your personal copy of MyMemories Digital Scrapbook Software! I hope your thinking about all the wonderful things you are going to do with it, because the possibilities are endless!

Thanks again to everyone who entered!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My Re-Introduction: A Revolution

Meet Me.

Crazy. Quirky. Loud.
I laugh at things no one else thinks is funny.
I dance to the music in my head.
In another life,
I was a Broadway superstar.
I cry often.
I wear my emotions on my sleeve.
When I'm angry,
I fly off the handle.
I say too much too soon.
"Shut-up"
is not apart of my vocabulary.
I tend to exaggerate.
I am not low-key,
but I am not high maintenance.
I'm funny. I'm witty.
I am strong.
People who don't know me,
think I'm a snob,
and the one's who do,
know those other people
are sorely mistaken.
I am best friend material.
I will tell you when you are being stupid.
I will answer your phone call at 1:00 AM.
I will be the mean lady at your wedding,
just so you don't have to be.
I will listen.
I will give good advice.
And if I don't know
I'll tell you that I don't,
and I'll buy you a drink.

I am beautiful. I am fun. I like to laugh.
I accept that I tend to be
like no one you've ever met.
I like that I am emotional.

And today,
I am choosing to embrace myself.

Since I was 12, I have let other people define me. I have let them embarrass me, humble me, make excuses for me, and write me off. As a teenager, I lived in the shadow of the "prettier" and "more popular" girls. As a wife and mother, I find myself constantly comparing myself to other women who seem to "have it all". As a writer I drool over other people's writings and wish to be as creative. As a vocalist, I cower at other people's talent and always walk away feeling inadequate. I have always hidden from who I am instead of owning it. Well, not anymore.

Today I am choosing to accept myself. After all, "You are the only one who can pull off you". Today I renounce feelings of inadequacy, fear, insecurity, and self-hate. Today I am choosing to smile at the face in the mirror and to embrace who I am.

"For You created my inmost being;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from You
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in Your book
before one of them came to be."
Psalms 139:13-16

How amazing to know that God made me just the way I am. He is not ashamed of me, but proud of me. To Him, I am beautiful. To my husband, I am beautiful. To my daughter, I am beautiful. To my parents, I am beautiful. To my sisters, I am beautiful. And it's time I started allowing myself to believe it. By choosing to embrace myself and my life, I will be a better wife and a better mother. I will set the example. I will lead the way.

Today I am choosing to stop listening to the media about what is beautiful, sexy, smart, and funny. Today I will wear what I want (Take that, fashion industry!). Today I will quit caring what EVERYONE else thinks. Today I will stop judging other women. Today I will embrace that a smile IS the best accessory.

What about you? Will you accept the challenge of accepting yourself? I'm not talking about, "Sure, I like who I am". I'm talking about self-love, about no longer trying to be something you're not, about making peace with yourself. If so, then today I am challenging all of my followers to post a picture of themselves and their "re-introduction". I would encourage you to encourage YOUR followers to do the same. Let's start a revolution that starts with ourselves.

What do you say?

What I'd Wear Wednesday

What would you wear to take your kids
pumpkin picking at a local farm?

Pumpkin Pickin'



Even though it has been super warm this week, I've been itching for fall and autumn like activities. I have been dying to get my fall decorations out and take Emma to pick out pumpkins and mums. I've been wanting to trade in my summer tank tops and shorts for my skinny jeans, sweaters, and flannel shirts. I dream of morning coffee with caramel creamer and a fresh batch of blueberry muffins. I also find myself craving some of my favorite warm crockpot recipes like beef stew and pot roast. I've even been doing a little "fall cleaning". Yesterday, I washed the sheets on both beds and even managed to wash and line dry my comforter. It smells so fresh and clean! I longed to put my summer sheets away and break out the flannels to go with it. But, alas! It's still to early!This is the time of year when fall feels the farthest away, yet so close you can almost smell, taste, and feel it.

Has anyone else been longing for fall? Or has autumn already come to your house?

There are still 2 more days left to enter my BIG Birthday Giveaway! Have you entered yet?! I would love to get a few more entries before Friday just to make things interesting, so please take a minute and drop your name in the hat! If you win, you will not be disappointed! And if you decide to play this week's "What I'd Wear Wednesday", please leave me a comment to tell me where I can stop by and drool over your fall look!

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Memories from Papa's Farm

Emma loves to go stay with my in-laws, Papa and Grammie.

Emma with Papa and Grammie.
Christmas 2010


She loves that Papa and Grammie let her sleep with them, they let her stay up WAY past her bedtime, they think cookies make a perfectly acceptable breakfast, and they live on a farm full of cattle, two dogs, and plenty of room to play.

Emma loves to help Grammie water her plants, because she let's her play in the water until she's soaked through to her underwear!

Emma playing in the hose at Papa and Grammie's
Summer 2010


But, probably Emma's favorite thing to do is to help Papa feed his cows. She asks to do it almost every time we are there. Sometimes Papa feeds them at the fence, and other times he loads Emma and the hay up in his truck and the head off into the field to feed them. Emma always comes back with big stories about how she helped Papa!

I know she's making memories that will last her a lifetime every time she goes over there and that's why it was so awesome for me to catch this moment on camera:


The image of her feeding the cows in her underwear is a moment I will never forget! She walked right up to that fence and called, "Sue Cow!" until the big brown one trotted over and took the leaf right from her hand! It was super cute! I can't believe that my little girl is turning into quite the little cow hand!

I just have to mention that I made the above scrapbook page using the MyMemories program I am giving away in my BIG Birthday Giveaway! It's not to late to enter, because the contest ends Friday, September 16th at 12:00 AM! So, go HERE and enter while you can! The more I play with this program, the more excited I get for my future winner!

I hope everyone is having a fabulous week! Link

Monday, September 12, 2011

One Of My Many Hats: Guidance Counselor

It's 9:30 AM and Emma is STILL sleeping! Ugh! How come she can't sleep in on Friday mornings when I don't come home and go to bed until 1:00 AM?! Just my luck.

Anyway, I've been up since 7:00 AM wearing my "guidance counselor hat" and getting ACT/college prep stuff ready for the 5 high school students I am meeting with this afternoon. On top of nailing down a date for the next ACT (October 22nd) and calling my one senior's mother to tell her when the meeting is, I have been getting checklists together for my juniors and senior and making college FAQ sheets to go over with all of them. It's quite a process and it's a good thing I enjoy it!

I love acting as their guidance counselor and helping my students and their parents make important decisions about their future. College is such a big step after high school, and all of the paperwork and preparation associated with it can be intimidating. So, I love being able to take their hand and guide them through the process. A lot of my desire to help has come from the desire I had as a senior for someone like this to help me. Christian schools don't always have guidance counselors, and I think it would of made the college process go smoother for me if I would of had someone there helping me out. Instead my mother and I learned the hard way through a series of trials and errors! As frustrating as it was at the time, I feel like I've learned so much from my experience, and I love being able to share that with my kids.

It's especially exciting for me this year, because as of Spring 2012, I will be a college student again. I think applying for college and re-filling out the FAFSA was a great refresher for me and it reminded me of a lot of things I had forgotten: like how sometimes filling out your FAFSA online is anything, BUT pleasant and it's very, VERY time consuming! Ugh! I love being able to take this first hand knowledge to my kids, because it helps them be more prepared. Especially since at Christian school our students don't qualify for aid such as the A+ program or local scholarships.

So, Guidance Counselor Ashley is in the building! Feel free to ask any college related questions you might have, because if I don't have the answer, I'll find it! :)

Also, have you entered my BIG Birthday Giveaway yet?! What are you waiting for?! The contest ends at 12:00 AM on Friday, September 16th! So get your entries in before it's too late!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Mean Does Stink

Today while perusing my Facebook I came across this fan page:

{site}

As many of you know from previous posts, I have quite a little soapbox when it comes to teen bullying. Because of this, I love and support brands and/or celebrities who are making a stand against this issue that is plaguing our society. Any time someone uses their voice to stand up for what's right it's a good thing in my book! And I'm excited that through this Facebook fan page, Secret is encouraging and helping girls take on girl on girl meanness! They even have a line of t-shirts! One of the cool things about the page, is that they are giving girls the ability to say encouraging things to their friends in a creative way. Here's one I created:


I think this is an awesome way to offset some of the hatefulness a teenage girl you know might be facing on her Facebook wall everyday. I mean, how would it make you feel to see something positive on your wall? I can only imagine how this would make a girl feel who is being tormented by other girls. It would probably lift her spirits a little bit, huh?

Secret is encouraging girls to end girl on girl meanness one girl at a time. They want each girl to stand up for their friend and their friend to stand up for another girl and so on and so on to create an unstoppable positive movement! What a novel idea? Taking a stand for that girl you see being picked on through Facebook or in the hallway at school. Wow! I just love it! I would encourage everyone to take a minute to "like" this Facebook page and share it with EVERY teenage girl you know. One of the best thing we can do as adults is encourage girls to stand up for themselves and the people around them.

What do you think?

Also, have you entered my totally, awesome digital scrapbooking giveaway yet?! You haven't! Well, why not?! I'm trying to give you free stuff, people! This is HUGE! So take a minute and enter! Do it for me and for the sake of my blog, okay?! K!

Love you guys! Happy Saturday!

{I received no monetary or gift compensation for promoting this site. I just thought it was cool and wanted to blog about it. I'm original like that.}

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The BIG Birthday Giveaway!

As many of you know, I struggle with my crafty side! I always wish I was better at decorating or even scrapbooking. For instance, my aunt gave me a beautiful purple scrapbook for Emma's baby shower and it's still sitting neglected in her closet, because I wasn't even sure how to begin! On top of that, cutting in a straight line is a problem for me. Even if I would of worked up the bravery to attempt scrapbooking, it would of been a mess of poorly cut photos and embellishments! YUCK! So, needless to say, I had given up on scrapbooking until Liz from MyMemories contacted me.


MyMemories is a digital scrapbooking software that makes scrapbooking easy for not only the scissor handicap and uncreative mothers, but also for the scrapbooking goddesses among us! How exciting to have all of your pages, embellishments, and lettering right at your finger tips! No gluing, cutting, or centering required! It does it all for you!

Here's a little something I created last night using MyMemories:


Cute, huh?! Not only am I excited about creating tons of digital scrapbooking pages that I can print and put in Emma's scrapbook, but I love that I can convert all the images into a .jpeg file which makes them easy for sharing! And that is only the beginning of all the possibilities!

MyMemories has TONS of free downloads from paper packets to lettering, and if your looking for something specific you can download their designer themes and lettering for less than it would of take you to drive to your nearest scrapbooking store!

The number one thing I love the most about this program is that I can do all of this from my PC! If any of your little ones are like mine, the minute I get paper, scissors, and craft supplies out, Emma is right there wanting to "help" me. It's so hard to get anything crafty done with her nearby sticking her fingers in my glue or adorning my pictures with Dora the Explorer stickers. But, with this software, I was able to go into my room, close the door, get comfortable and create! No sticky finger there trying to "help"! I also loved how I didn't have to search for someplace safe to put my crafts to dry! I'm sure you all can relate to these situations, and can see how this software is a lifesaver!

If MyMemories sounds like a digital scrapbooking software you would love to try, then today is your lucky day! I'm working with Liz and MyMemories to give one lucky reader their very own copy of MyMemories Suite Digital Scrapbooking Software v 2.0 (a $39.97 value)! Woohoo!

Here's how to play:

(Look I made this button using MyMemories too!)

1. Visit MyMemories and pick out a digital scrapbooking kit that you love and tell me what you would use it for!

2. You must be a follower of The Mommyhood Adventure.


Extra entries:

1. Become a follower of MyMemories blog. (+1 entry)

2. "Like" The Mommyhood Adventure on Facebook. (+1 entry)

3. "Like" MyMemories on Facebook. (+1 entry)

4. Blog about this giveaway and leave a link where I can read about it! Feel free to copy and paste my button! (+3 entries)

Please leave 1 (one) comment for EACH entry along with your email address.

Giveaway ends at 12:00 AM, September 16th! So don't wait!


Also, as a special for all of my readers, I've been given very own Share the Memories code located in the upper right hand corner of my page that provides a $10 discount off the purchase of the My Memories Suite Scrapbook software and a $10 coupon for the MyMemories.com store. A $20 value! Yay for coupon codes! :)

I'm super excited about this giveaway and I hope to have more entries than I did for my last one, so please do me a solid and share this giveaway with EVERYONE you know! I promise, the winner will not be disappointed!

(I received no monetary compensation for this post, but I did receive a complimentary copy of MyMemories software for myself and one to giveaway. I will, however, receive monetary compensation every time the coupon code is used to make a purchase. This is to compensate me for spreading the word about their site and their merchandise.)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Happy Birthday To My Blog!

1 year ago today I started blogging!
And now here I am,
118 loyal blog friends and counting!
I am so blessed!

I just want to thank everyone who reads this blog.
It is because of you that
I put my thoughts out there for the world to hear.
I am honored that the blog community
has been so welcoming and encouraging,
and I find myself talking about some of you
as if you were my real life friends.
Thank you!

I have exciting things in store for the next year!
I want to do more giveaways,
gain more readers,
and maybe even make a little spending dough
off this little blog of mine.
But, no matter where the Lord takes me over the next year,
I'm excited to share every moment of it with you...
my bloggy friends.

Happy Birthday To My Blog!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Birthday Weekend!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day weekend! I know I did, because Sunday was my birthday! My friends and family made this one of the best birthdays I have had in a long time, and I just wanted to share some of the fun and fabulous photos with you!

Pictures with my sisters, my dad, and my hubby!
No birthday would be complete without them!


Pictures with friends!
So many people came and I wish I had the time
to share all the pictures with you!
But, these are a few of my favorites:
Top left to bottom right: Jannea and I; Erica and I;
Me with Jamie and Amy; and Kent and I


Partying it up with karaoke and dancing!

I recovered Monday, Labor Day,
on a boat with some of my favorite people!


I had 80+ pictures of the entire weekend, but I won't bore you with all of them! I just wanted to give you a glimpse of how awesome it was to turn 26! I wouldn't of changed a thing about MY weekend, and I want to thank all of my family and friends who came together to make 26 WAY BETTER than turning 25!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

It's My Birthday!


I am 26 years old TODAY!
And yes, that does seem dangerously close to 30,
doesn't it?!
SCARY.
Anyway,
I'm going to spend today doing all the things I love:
lunch with my family, karaoke tonight with my friends,
and tomorrow we are going boating!
{Thanks, Mike!}

25 was definitely a fabulous year,
but I'm out to make 26
even better!

So, here's to today,
and here's to the future!

Happy birthday to me!


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Karma Is A B!%@#

Well, actually Karma is our new kitten. The cat I SWORE I would never have, because I HATE cats. (Well, I pretty much DISLIKE animals in general. I'm not particularly prejudice to cat.) But, Yes, God does have a funny way of working things out, hence her new name.

Exhibit A

Meet Karma. She is the reason why I will NEVER say "never" again. Because when you say "never", God brings a starving stray cat your way and plays on your mother instinct. It was total sabotage. Completely unexpected. I mean, why God would trust me with an animal is beyond me. But, despite my repulse, I won't be getting rid of her anytime soon, and don't worry, I haven't COMPLETELY lost my sanity.

Karma WILL be remaining an outside cat. Period. Clean freaks like me and cat hair like Karma's do not coexist. It's a proven fact. My mother has three cats, none of which are hers and all of which were dumped on her unexpectedly by my sisters. So, thanks to them, I can barely manage 2 hours in her house, and sleeping there is a little out of the question. (I'm pretty sure I have a phobia to cat hair. It's true. Sorry, Mom.) Anyway, the OCD in me just cannot allow Karma inside, not even for a minute. So, an outside cat she will be. And as soon as I can save up some money, I'm going to get her spayed. I mean, I'm not an idiot. The last thing I want is MORE cats. I'm pretty sure that would result in me just falling over dead. Seriously.

The whole "cat owner" thing is new to me, and I have only been repulsed by her once in the last week (i.e. when she decided to take a crap in Emma's sandbox WHILE Emma was playing in it. Yep, that was pretty high up there on my gross factor chart). She is actually a very friendly cat and after 48 h0urs of crying in terror every time the cat touched her, Emma has really warmed up to her. She has actually been begging me ALL day to go outside and play with the kitty. Too bad it's 100 degrees today!

She looks scared in the picture, but she's really not.
Promise.


As I watched them play in the yard last night, I could see a fast friendship forming between my girl and her new cat. I'm kinda of glad she finally has a pet she can call her own. Maybe she'll quit bugging me about the goldfish now, especially after I warn her that Karma might eat it. Wait...Is that scarring for a young child? Ugh. Great. I may end up with more animals than I want. Bleh!

Anyway, I am currently taking "cat owner" advice. Please respond below. Thanks.

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Disclaimer

I do not receive monetary compensation from any of the products, companies, or organizations I promote through my blog, unless otherwise specified during a giveaway or promotion. I am just your average mom trying to share products that I enjoy with other moms, as well as organizations and charities I believe in.