Posted in Mom life, Two Cents Worth of...

Find Your Calm

Recently we have been able to stop by a few friend’s homes for unplanned visits.

The only preceding plan was a text message asking if they were home so we could stop by.

My personality doesn’t let much in life be unplanned. Having a kid has taught me how to be more flexible and go with the flow more often. It’s something I needed. I make list after list of what to buy, what to do, what is planned every week.

It is exhausting.

These recent stops at our friend’s homes have been visits my soul and mind needed and for my husband and son too.

We sat, we chatted, we laughed, we did nothing, we watched my son or our kids all play together.

The picture at the top of this post relates to one of our most simple conversations, seeing a rain storm coming. This image reminded me of that conversation and truly how simple the time was with them.

It was calm.



The unplanned and simple moment(s) it was at each place is what I would love more of in my life and think everyone should have it.

Sure, my life and personality wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t plan and make my lists.

But the calmness is necessary to ground ourselves again and recharge our own batteries.

It’s what I hope we can instill in and teach our son that it is so important to slow down and enjoy what is and who is around you.

Rushing and planning seems to be the most common way of life in this crazy world. I hope he can see that the calm moments with friends is also what we need in life more.

One of the moments I want to remember forever as I talk about this calm we experienced is that my son went running, yes, running, into an open field after tiny white butterflies.

He went after them for 30 minutes and our friend’s dog chased him too. There were 5 of us watching him and laughing while he took the simplest thing around him and without a care went after each one he saw. The simple and most calm thing to watch, a child enjoying life in the moment.


All the news and talk of Simone Biles prioritizing her mental health this week is a great example of how stepping back and taking care of yourself is so important.

I don’t need to reiterate what most of us read over and over, but man is she someone I cannot wait to teach my son about. Not only the best Olympian in her sport but a woman who has proven that she can exceed everywhere, even in her own mind to ensure she is #1 to herself and not to everyone saying what she should or shouldn’t do.

What an example of putting yourself first. She needed that calm for herself.

The point of adding her to this is that she made it clear to the world that everyone needs some calm around them. The fact that she was on the largest stage in the world and had the most pressure ever, in the Olympics, riding on her shoulders and could recognize how important it was to find the calm in her life before she injured herself is a great example to anyone.


I am thankful we have had recent visits that I am able to reflect on this way and want to work on bringing more of that to my son’s life.

The hustle and bustle we all pressure ourselves into make time move too fast anyways.

Go find your calm.

Take a day or evening of no plans, stop by a friend’s home, take a hike, sit with your kids, have a picnic outside and enjoy that time. Just be there.

If you can look back at that moment and realize you truly enjoyed it without any stress, thoughts, and a breath of fresh air, you found your calm.

I hope we can find more and prioritize it in our lives and teach my son how impactful it can be.

Posted in Mom life, Two Cents Worth of...

Two Infinity & Beyond Birthday Party

Two months ago, was our little guy’s birthday party with our family and friends. Uh, where did those 2 months go?! Yet, let me rephrase that, where did the last 2 years go?!

I let the Pinterest mindset get the best of me and I’m not sorry about it. His little party turned out great! The weather chose not to cooperate with us, but that didn’t defeat the fun of his day.

Below are some of my tips or simply what I did for his day that maybe another parent can use to plan for their kiddo’s special day!

There were decorations I did that were cost efficient and other things that were not. I am a mom that loves to plan and someone who loves a good party. I can’t help myself when it comes to things like this and can get carried away.

I will admit I put more pressure on myself for a two-year old’s birthday than someone should. I don’t recommend it for everyone to go as far as I did but there are others who go further. I like to think I was the middle of the road with the decorations! Some might even say I took shortcuts and didn’t do what they would. It’s all about preference.

We went with a TWO Infinity and Beyond theme since he loves all of the Toy Story movies and Buzz Lightyear is his favorite character. Obviously, it’s been around a long time, so the ideas were not hard to find.

My biggest suggestion to anyone is to go to the Dollar Tree for your decoration needs first! They have much more than people think. I always make sure we go there first for anything, then get what you still need elsewhere. It saves you money in the long run!

Decorations we used for his party:

  • Letter board that we owned already. I have used this same letterboard through my pregnancy with him and as a decoration in our home.
    • I put the saying on it, “Houston, We have a Two Year Old”
      If it seems like I have my life together, that saying is still on the board hanging on our wall. 🙃
  • Toy Story toys we owned became the party decorations. Set them up around the food. We had Mr. Potato Head, Buzz, Woody, and Bo Peep. Each one had a part to play with the set up and food themes.
  • Food Labels. I have a Cricut Joy and made labels for the foods that were themed to the movies. I used cardstock paper from the Dollar Tree. These could easily be done by hand too! Below are the ones we used for the food we had. There are many other ideas out there for additional foods!
    • Space Ranger Cake
    • Mr. Potato Head Chips
    • Slinky Dog Hot Dogs
    • “Bow” Peeps Pasta Salad
    • Bullseye’s Carrot Salad (horses like carrots, duh)
    • T-Rex Broccoli Salad
  • Pizza Planet labels inside the pizza boxes. This is where I’m not fancy and I found the logo online to print and simply taped it inside the pizza boxes.
    • We ordered our favorite local pizza, Brenda’s Pizza! They have a half-priced day that I was able to snag their take-n-bakes early and freeze them for the day of. Cost savings and something everyone likes!
    • We did the take-n-bakes too so that we made the pizza fresh as it was being consumed. It worked well for us!
  • Dollar Tree Finds:
    • Balloons. I found the colors we wanted and bought a few bags. You can order helium ones as well and they always last a long while when I’ve got them there!
      • They even had a neat strip to buy to make a balloon banner that we hung from our ceiling fans. It took time, sure, but remember I’m the one who likes this kind of stuff and made that banner the day before during my son’s nap.
    • Birthday Candle – The Dollar Tree is where they’re at! They have an array of colors to choose from and all kinds of fun ones too. Don’t break the bank at the local grocery store for something you’ll use once, maybe twice.
    • Favors for the other kids who come. I found puzzles, pencils, chalk, and buckets for the kids! No parent wants the junk, but you can find a few nice items to put in their favors that the kids will enjoy!
  • Cake & Balloons themed with the movies – obviously not from the Dollar Tree!
    • This is based on your budget and who you can find to make these.
    • We went with who made our wedding cake 4 years ago and she did not disappoint! Mountain Flour Bakery
      She absolutely nailed his cake and the taste was amazing too!
  • A Template with facts about the birthday kiddo! They do have templates you can buy but I didn’t find one I liked so I made one for him!
    • Another thing that proves I’m not as put together as I seem…
      I 100% forgot to put this template out for the party *Face palm*
  • Some of the additional things we found were from Party City
    • Toy Story Table Cloths
    • Toy Story Happy Birthday Banner
    • Toy Story wrapping paper for his gifts

Will I do this much again? Maybe. Maybe not depending on how busy life gets.

I did say to my husband that I can’t wait for when he’s older with friends so we can go to a facility and pay them to do it all so I only have to show up with the kids and watch them have fun. It was said with love, of course. But there are things that go with planning anything that are more stressful than they need to be.

It’s up to you as their parents to make it what you want.

Don’t use me as your example to follow. Don’t use someone else either.

Set your own expectations and limitations to what you want in an event to celebrate your little ones.

Believe me, I did both of those. I had expectations, yet full limitations I plan to stick to for years to come. Because at the end of the day, what matters is that my son is the star of the show and he has fun. No one or nothing will stand in the way of that being the goal and end result of his special days.


“TWO” INFINITY & BEYOND, SPACE RANGERS!

Obviously we all had Buzz Lightyear shirts!
Kohl’s for the win on those!
Posted in Mom life, Two Cents Worth of...

Reading Together Every Night

Our son has recently started to want to read a few books with us every night before bed as part of his bedtime routine. This is new to us because he never really enjoyed it much before now.

Of course, you’re told to read to your children from day one, so they are introduced to many new words and many other reasons that will help with future learning. We would try here and there but it wasn’t in the plans for him at first. He is a man with a plan and on his own schedule. Things have since changed!

Each night in the past few weeks when we go to bed, he walks to his room saying, “mama, book!” and I pick him up to choose a few books from his giant selection we have. It makes my mama heart happy knowing he developed this love for books.

I really love how many books we have to pick from and the variations of the books that we have! This was a wonderful idea we used for his baby shower. We had everyone bring a book instead of a card. It’s money well spent in the long run, rather than wasting it on a card that most people do not save!

In case you haven’t seen that before, books instead of cards, it’s a great tip to pass along to anyone you may know who is having a baby shower coming up! There are all kinds of cute templates to include with a poem in the invitation. 😊 It’s so sweet to see who got him each one too when we read them as a little reminder of how much he is loved.


Now these nights give us an extra snuggle with our sweet two-year-old while he sits on our lap to read and browse through his books. He likes the task of being our page turner for me while we read each book. Sometimes he wants to go a little faster than my mouth can read those words!

I see him becoming more interested each evening in the types of books he picks. They have to be his choice though, not ours. Typical toddler.

I really enjoy when he interacts with some of them as they may ask where something is and he points to it, or if a flap is involved in some of them to find something or touch & feel/tracing books. They have him interact and learning as I get to see that little brain work and learn.


Another fun tip to add more books to your child’s collection that I wanted to share is Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. We signed up when he was born and it is for all children from birth to the age of 5 years old no matter the family’s income. We have received and enjoyed a book with him each month since signing up!

All it takes is a quick search on the site to see who is participating in your area to send out the books. They send you age-appropriate books to your home for your child each month. We enjoy each one we have been gifted and learn together. Some you will have heard of and others are new to us. Each one is special and something we all look forward to receiving!

Take a moment to see if there is availability in your area for your children or children you know! Click here to go to the site.


For someone who isn’t much of a reader herself, I am really enjoying this new routine with my son every evening. I hope it continues as he grows, reading together every night. We both interact with the books whether it’s different voices I make with the characters or him making animal noises and honking his horn while we read any of the “Little Blue Truck” series, it is so much fun each evening.

It opens both of our minds to our imaginations and more importantly gives us time together after our crazy days.

That is what I find to be the best part of it all, time together.
I encourage you as a parent, grandparent, friend, aunt, uncle, or anyone who loves a little one to spend your time with them reading together every night.

Posted in Mom life, Two Cents Worth of...

We Ask A Lot

Do you realize as parents that we ask a lot of our little ones?

Specifically, when we go places such as social events. We expect them to be on their best behavior, say “HI” to everyone or “Bye,” and then give either hugs or kisses to them. Don’t react or show feelings because if you do, you’re being bad.

We are asking tiny humans who haven’t experienced this scary world the way we all have for years, to jump into big situations with lots of people around them and to be “normal.” Whatever that actually means.

We expect them to be okay with the overwhelming feeling of everyone looking at them when we can’t handle that ourselves.

My husband and I typically will grab a beer or beverage of sorts to ease our own nerves of a situation we’re uncomfortable in. No, that’s not always the best example to give but it’s what we do. Why are we asking our son to be okay with it if we aren’t? Sure, we’re outgoing when we’re comfortable, but at first, we are the quiet ones too. Children should be given the same expectation we give ourselves in social settings.

I must remind myself this, as well as my husband, when our son seems cranky or acts out it is because he is uncomfortable. It is not because he is tired, hungry, or simply bad. Those are big emotions that he doesn’t know how to handle as much as we don’t either in settings, we aren’t familiar with.

Social events with people he has never met are extremely overwhelming for all of us as a family. Everyone wants to see him and how much he has grown or how much he looks like his dad. *Cue the eye roll from mom*

Think about that from his two-year-old perspective. It sucks.

Strangers, to him, walking up and getting into his face. Other family members reaching out for him to come to them immediately when we get somewhere. Everyone waving to him with giant smiles. I too would be scared and upset if I were him. My own mother will tell you what I say often, “I hate people.”

It’s a strong statement, I know. People are overwhelming and A LOT to handle at times.

My son always warms up, just as we do, once we’re at an event for a bit and he gets a bearing on his surroundings. However, I need to be his voice and sounding board.


If someone begins reaching for him, first of all, he’s two and he doesn’t necessarily want to be held any longer. I’m not certain why that’s hard for some to realize but it is. I speak up as he puts his head into my shoulder and say, “please give him a moment. We just got here, and he needs time.”

Other times, someone asks him to “come here and see me!” or “go play with the kids!” I watch for his reaction to them and see how he assesses the situation with his mannerisms. I, as his mom, know him as any parent knows their child’s reactions to things and how they’re feeling better than anyone else. Then I’ll reassure him if he either wants to do the task or not do it and back him up on it by telling him so. “It’s alright, you can sit here with me until you’re comfortable.”

We need to stop forcing our kids into things. I’m voicing this because I’m guilty of it, as well as my husband.

We ask him to dive into situations and be great and be the good kid. Well, guess what, we need to stop it. If we don’t want to do something, we don’t do it. So why should he? (This is specifically to social events, not in every aspect of parenting)

When we’re leaving and he doesn’t want to give hugs or blow kisses, that’s OKAY! We can say bye for him and see them next time. I don’t even like to give hugs to everyone when I leave somewhere.

Some people understand this and do not mind. Others expect the kids to always love on them because they exist. That’s not happening for my son any longer. They can get over it and I’ll stand up for my child to know when he’s had enough.

He is a small child who is learning this world with mine and my husband’s help. We will protect him and stop asking so much of him in social gatherings. He is perfect the way he is and if you don’t like it, tough shit. 😊

It’s a matter of stating what I know we all feel but most won’t say. I won’t ever apologize for putting my son and family first in all aspects of life. I’m not perfect and I’m learning as I go.