Monday, March 31, 2014

“When Parenting Meets Chaos” - Part 1: Choosing to Make the Most of a Kid Situation

Today’s post is part of a three part series called, “When Parenting Meets Chaos.” Make sure to visit Tuesday and Wednesday for the following: 

Pt 2 - When Parenting Meets Chaos - “No More Shame, No More Guilt”
Pt 3 - When Parenting Meets Chaos - "How to Make Your Own Emergency Kit"

Chaos frequently happens when you have little ones. The question is are we prepared for those moments that creep up on us? Oh and if you have little ones it is not a matter of “if” it is a matter of “when” because something dramatic will happen when you least expect it.  Last week I was no where near prepared for the adventure that came knocking at my door. 

My husband is part of a tennis league so the kids and I enjoy heading out to cheer on dad. We had never been to this particular tennis court so I wasn’t sure what to expect. When we arrived I was a little relieved to see they had a small bleacher stand, a grassy area that was enclosed for the kids to run around in, and nobody else in our designated court but our family. Perfect. I can let the two older kids run around and sit with the baby and actually enjoy watching this tennis match. About 20 minutes into the match I turned my back to the grassy area and I see the older two running in circles and having a blast. The weather was absolutely gorgeous! A few days ago it was rainy and cold so the kids had been cooped up indoors so it was fun to see them running around and giggling with one another. Until…I caught a glimpse of them jumping into a mud puddle. Oh well, it seemed harmless just their feet were getting dirty and it didn’t seem like too big of a deal. I turned around and continued to watch the match in peace with no kids to yell at for running on the bleachers. Another 10-15 minutes go by and I look over and my kids are drenched in soppy mud! They looked like little piglets rolling around in this mud puddle. And I mean they weren’t just rolling in it, they were swimming in it and then my son dunks his head in the puddle. Dear God what happened in a matter of minutes! 

I typically try to avoid these scenarios especially if I’m not prepared for it but after I took a deep breath and just let it be it was actually quite funny. Their giggling is what got me. They were genuinely having a fantastic time and I wasn’t about to ruin that for them. I just couldn’t. I’ll deal with the after math somehow.  

Watching them play brought back a flood gate of childhood memories of my brother and I. My brother Jonathan and I are only 15 months a part. Growing up he was my best friend, my playmate, and my go-to buddy in times of boredom. That’s how I see Sophia and Jack. I started thinking back to our mini adventures of riding our bikes around the neighbor, making mud pies, and running through the sprinklers. Mom not once, not ever, did she yell at us for being too messy. Guilty. I’m ashamed to say I’ve been guilty of aborting my kids’ fun because I didn’t want to deal with a mess. Ashamed. So ashamed. This little adventure was a good wake up call and reminder that kids are going to be kids. They want to explore. Don’t you remember having adventures of your own as a child? 

There’s a family who lives a few houses down from us and just about every evening I see the little boy’s father playing outside with him. They’re always playing hockey or throwing the ball. That little boy is never going to forget that. He’s going to look back on some pretty special moments and bonding time with his father. I want my kids to look back on their memories and think that about me and my husband. I don’t want their memories of us to be that we were always stationed behind our phones or computers.  

Thankfully when my husband’s tennis match was over he laughed along with the kids and took the opportunity for some photos. He looked over at me and said, “Well look on the bright side I’m sure you’ll get a blog post out of this one.”  

The tennis courts we were at actually had a locker room so I wrangled the two little piglets and gave them a shower. I didn’t have towels on hand but I actually had extra clothes in the van. I dried them up with wads of paper towels and just threw on their clothes I had. We found trash bags and threw their muddy clothes and shoes in it. With pieces of grass and mud still stuck in places we left the establishment with laughter and memories. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Five Fun Facts on Friday

In all its are five fun facts for this spectacular Friday!

1. I'm the oldest of 5 children.
I come from a big family. I'm also a very proud big sister who has 3 brothers serving our country. My brother Jonathan has done one tour in Iraq as an Army Medic. He is now in the Army Reserves. The second oldest of the boys, Justin will be graduating from boot camp very soon from the Army National Guard. My baby brother, Jordan is in the Navy and is stationed at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Jonathan is the only one married (to Sarah) with two handsome boys (Austin & Logan).The baby of the family, my little sister Rebekah, is a mommy (to Emery in red) and an aspiring photographer. We are all in our 20's and 30's. 
Family pic with my parents, siblings, our kids & my sister-in-law

2. I've been married for quite some time!
I'm proud to say I've been married to my handsome husband for 13 years now! Just like any other couple we've encountered our hard times but life is so boring without him I can't imagine it any other way. 

3. Always Pack Snacks
I've been going to the park a lot with my kids and in the evenings when my husband has a tennis match I load up my thermal tote filled with all kinds of snacks for the kids. This cute bag was a gift from a friend and it has served me well! I'm not sure if Thirty One Gifts still has this exact design but they do carry the tote for only $18! I usually pack two of these Ziploc containers, one for each kid and they both fit just fine. This bag is a life saver! 

4. Stay Organized
I came across these file bands at Target on clearance and it was the perfect fit for keeping my planner intact. Stay organized with this small investment and it will keep all your papers from falling out or getting wrinkled up. 

5. San Pedro Springs Park
I came across this hidden gem a few weeks back, San Pedro Springs Park. It was absolutely beautiful. I loved the variety the park had to offer: sidewalk throughout the park for walking/jogging, pool, huge trees, gazebo, playground, and skate ramps. It was so tempting not to revert to my childhood days and climb up some of the fun looking trees! The pool was filled with water but wasn't officially opened for the public but the kids and I had a great time eating our lunch by the pool. It was by far one of my favorite parks! 

Happy Friday Friends!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Purse Organization

I hate shopping for a purse because I'm super picky! I'm petite in stature so finding a purse to fit all my stuff (and I have a lot) without it looking like a duffel bag is hard to do now at days.

 I'm not one to spend money on name brands so I usually scope out TJ Maxx or Marshall's until I came across a great deal on Vera Bradley's website the other day. I hate to say this but I'm usually not a fan of Vera Bradley either. Her prints are a little too busy for my taste but I came across a deal on a purse that was marked down to $42 (60% off). So I reconsidered and decided to do my homework. Another thing I never do is shop online because I want to "try out" a purse and feel it in my hands but I figured I couldn't let go of the deal.

 If you are an organized individual then you may want to consider Vera Bradely's Mandy Purse. It measures at 12" x 9 3/4" x 43/4" with  11" strap drop. It measured decent in size to me so I checked that off my checklist. It also has a recessed zipper closure that opens to reveal six interior compartments with a front slip pocket. One thing I was lacking in my last purse was a zipper. I hate not being able to close up my handbag for fear of stuff falling out. So I checked off zipper on my checklist. I read all the reviews on their website for the purse and it seemed great. I also came across this woman's website about her Vera purse that helped me in making my final decision.

For those who like the Mandy style but think the handbag is a little too big they also carry a smaller version called Little Mandy. The hardest choice I had to make was picking out the print and I was limited on choices since I was going after the ones in the Sale section. I hate to admit it but I'm usually pretty dull and boring when it comes to my color scheme. I usually wear a lot of black and grey but thanks to Spring I've gravitated towards more colors of pop! So I decided to go with Mandy in Provencal. I'm happy to say I'm very pleased with my new purse!

These are the two purses I've been using: black and tan. They both actually were pretty fair in size and I enjoyed both of them but my new planner and "mommy things" needed a bigger home.

So what do I carry in my purse and why did I need a bigger one?

Well first of all I purchased a new planner by Erin Condren that I absolutely treasure! It has become my go-to for all my calendar needs, shopping lists, note taking, etc. So of course I have to carry it around with me! I also have an iPad mini that is my best friend for several reasons. It's my library of books all packed into one, it is my bribing tool for my kids when they need entertainment, and also a great note taker when needed. On church days I like to carry a separate notebook for all my note taking. I know it's seems a little bit of overload but I like to keep things separate and organized.

I also carry my wallet, a bag full of colored Sharpie pens for my calendar, and a cosmetic bag with all my girly essentials. You can't see it but in the purses's compartments I carry my hand lotion, my phone, and my ear buds.

If we go out to a restaurant with the kids I also like to carry mini Play Doh for them to play with while we are waiting on our food. Let me tell you my bag looks like Mary Poppins! Surprisingly my bag is not heavy at all.

So what do you all carry in your purse? What do you have in there that you can't leave without? Do you have any purse organizing secrets? I'd love to hear your stories!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What Inspires the Writer in Me

I don't know about most bloggers but my number one problem when it comes to blogging aside from finding the time is gaining inspiration on what to write next. If you haven't figured it out by now most of my writing is centered around how I see God in my everyday life and 99.9% of the time it's lessons I learn through parenting.

As a stay at home mom believe there are a million things I can write about because there's always a funny story to tell, a lesson to be told, or a fascinating insight but then there's also the everyday duties of life that entangle me and the unexpected happenings that leave me empty handed and unmotivated.

Someone asked me not too long ago how do you do it? How do you keep up with your blog? For one I don't write nearly as often as I'd like and two, writing is my passion and outlet. I do my best to make the time because writing is what fuels me and it's my little escape although it's never perfect and doesn't always happen.

I know a lot of bloggers set aside a designated time to plan out their posts for the week and some even further in advance. I haven't been that lucky to do that yet. Hopefully soon I can work a weekly date with my blog and planner but something always seems to stand in the way. So for now I just try to find bits and pieces of inspiration where and when I can get it. By the way if you are trying to start your own blog I'm not even close to being an expert but for my life, my season, and my family this is the only way I know how.

So today I wanted to share with you what inspires my blog writing. By the way I think these four things not only apply to bloggers but it can be implemented in your everyday life. If you're in a rut or stumped when it comes to "fill in the blank" take these simple principles and apply them to your life. Are you a real estate agent and lacking ideas or motivation? Maybe you have a 9 to 5 job and you're in desperate need of a "pick me upper" for your day? Whatever it is you're doing in life I hope these insights give you some ideas to make your daily journey a little bit more exciting.

1. New Scenery
I don't usually have the opportunity to go dream in regards to writing so desperate times call for creative moments! I've learned being outdoors gets the wheels in my brain turning so with kids in tow I'll head to the park with a lunch bag full of snacks. Just listening to the birds and enjoying the beautiful weather it's an escape from the realties of house work. Maybe for some a coffee shop is what your afternoon calls for, a walk at some beautiful trails, or even a jog to clear your mind. Home is usually where I can be found so changing up my scenery is always a nice treat to get the creative juices flowing. 

2. People
I'm a people person. People intrigue me. Sometimes coming across a new face or even an old friend with some good conversation is what ignites a blog post. So get out of your shell and meet someone new or pick up the phone and invite a friend over for coffee.

3. Events
Attending a birthday party, going out on a date night, or attending a conference are all ideas that could help inspire you. Pick out a moment from that event and write about it or capture every detail and share it with your readers. You'll be surprised by how some people want to go on that journey with you.

4. Reading
I'm a book worm. If I were allowed I'd buy more books than clothes! Reading takes you mentally to places that you won't always be able to visit. Not only does that allow for some creativity but just reading the way others write can help you with your writing.

So what boring routine do you find yourself in? What do you need to change up to bring you some inspiration? I'd love to hear what inspires you...

*The above pictures were taken at San Antonio's Mission San Jose.  I took them myself with my iPhone and edited them with the App VSCOcam.*

Monday, March 24, 2014

Lessons I've Learned from my Father

Earlier this month we celebrated my dad's birthday. I won't say how old he is in case he stumbles upon this post but I will say this, he's stronger than most young men I know (he's always working out), he's blessed with a full head of hair, and he and my mom were high school sweet hearts who had me at a young age... he's still young! 

His birthday had me thinking a lot about our relationship. Our relationship was not perfect but as I've grown up and matured I've valued our relationship more than ever which has led me to share with you all a few lessons I've learned from my father...

1. A great appreciation for music
My dad is a trivia junkie when it comes to movies and music which if you know me you now know where I get it from. One of the things I remember doing with my dad as a kid is playing song after song and singing at the top of our lungs. Neither one of us can sing but we sure enjoyed doing it. Dad introduced me to all his "oldies" and we spent time talking over lyrics to songs and what they meant to him. Thanks to him I can appreciate music. 

2. Work Hard
As long as I can remember my dad has always worked and worked hard. There were times growing up where he even had 2-3 jobs at a time just to make sure we had food on the table and a place to live. He was and still is no stranger to hard work and you rarely see the man resting! Thankfully a strong work ethic has been instilled within me.

3. Give Generously
My dad has always had a big heart and if he has something you need you can guarantee he'll make a way for you to get it. I've seen him give to the homeless, helped his family and kids financially, and it's extremely rare if you pay for your meal cause he'll always beat you to it. His big heart has taught me to give when you are able and to give generously.

4. Be organized
Believe it or not it was my dad growing up who was the clean freak and organizer, not my mom. Till this day he loves using a handwritten planner, he writes out his goals, likes things in order and in their right place. Yup...I am my father's child! 

5. Never Give Up
Another thing my dad and I shared was a love for competitive sports. The one sport I stuck to throughout junior high and high school was long distance running (cross country and track). Not only would dad take jogs with me when he was able to but his presence was always strong at any of my meets. After a few laps around the track I could hear his voice in the crowd cheering me on. It made me feel proud that he'd take time to see me after being in the office all day. He always knew what to say to me after a race and it was his words that would encourage me to do better.

Like I said we had our rough patches. I'm the oldest of five children so I'm sure navigating parenthood with a daughter wasn't always the easiest, but I'm sure glad we now have sweet memories to look back on, obstacles we've overcome, and a friendship that will last forever. Thanks to my dad I'm an independent, strong woman, who loves the Lord and has learned to fight the good fight.

Friday, March 21, 2014

I've Been M.I.A (but I'm back)

I recently had an unwanted visitor, the stomach bug! That darn bug attacked each one of us in our family and then left me with another week of work and catch up. The laundry was never ending, I lived in my pajamas and I felt as though I lived in a cave. Thankfully we are all back on track and striving for better weeks to come. 

I was missing in action from Beautifully Living but hope to report this upcoming week with some new lessons learned, places to visit, and mommy hood drama. 

Thankfully I spent this morning rubbing elbows with some talented women and bloggers over some coffee and it was just the motivation and inspiration I needed to get a head start for this upcoming week. Thanks to Colleen at San Antonio Mom Blogs who sets up these monthly gatherings and I had a wonderful time chatting up with Erin Chase over at  

Looking forward to reuniting with you all on Monday until then Happy Friday!
Me and Colleen @ San Antonio Mom Blogs

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Give Careful Thought to Your Ways

I'm continually tested in a number of areas in my life but one I usually keep making the rounds on is trust. It is no secret to those who know me well that an organized life is a happy wife! I love plans, order, schedules, and organization - the typical A-Type personality. 

When there is no organization I tend to break out in hives. If there's a hiccup in my plans I try not to melt down. Just being honest with you. So when I read this in my devotional today I had to laugh out loud. Straight from my True Identity Bible here's a portion of what I read today:

"We can make elaborate plans for our lives, but really we have no idea what the future holds. That's why David wrote, "My times are in your hands" (Psalm 31:15). Only God knows what will happen in the future. But aren't many of our plans made with the assumption that we have plenty of time? The credit card commercials promise us a world of fun if we spend now and pay later. Many bright (but misled) people buy into the belief that there's always time to save later, just like many bright (but deceived) people believe there's always time to give their lives to God later. But God sometimes has a way of surprising us and upending our well-laid plans, just as he did in Jesus' parable about the rich fool (see Luke 12:16-21). Having hoarded his money, the rich fool though he had time to sit back and enjoy it. But God had a surprise for him."

God is continually breaking me down that trusting in me, the need for control, will only go so far. He is the Author and the Finisher. I strongly agree that God wants us to have order and be better managers of our time. The reasons for these things are so we are healthier people who in turn can be better used to serve others. But the moment you start leaning entirely on YOU He will make sure to remind you.

Haggai 1:5 says, "Give careful thought to your ways." 

When you get a chance read the short two chapter book of Haggai it is a good reminder that we are to give careful consideration to our priorities. (Haggai 1:5-6)

So if you are like me I hope this serves you as good reminder when the well laid out plans of your day go awry. Because at some point, some day, they will and who knows maybe God is teaching us a lesson or has the "Big Picture" laid out that we have yet to see.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Trust Me I Know What I'm Doing!

The other day I had an epiphany.  There are a lot of things I've said to my kids that God is also telling me. I too like my kids talk back, roll my eyes, grunt in disapproval, disagree, and cause dramatic scenes. Come on…you know you’ve done it to God too!

We are His children and like children we sometimes don’t understand the whys or the timing but we are asked to trust or obey or whatever the case may be. The point is parents just know better. They’ve lived a little longer. They’ve experienced life. Parents want to guide and provide a sense of safety because they’ve “been there.” 

There has been a number of times I’ve said the following to my kids:

- Don’t try to make sense of what I'm asking you to do; just do it!

- Trust me I know what I’m doing.

- You’re just going to have to be a little patient.

These are just a few examples of things I’ve said to my children and immediately felt God gently nudge me that I too should do the same. 

We have a heavenly Father who wants to help us in our journey of life. I know it’s easier said than done but trust Him for he knows what’s best.