Wednesday, November 15, 2017

What Mom {Really} Wants This Christmas

Wondering what that special Boss Lady of your family REALLY wants for Christmas this year? It's real simple:



1. To pee in peace.

2. To roam the aisles of Target, Home Goods, & TJ Maxx. Alone. With no budget.

3. To not have to put ONE.MORE.KID. in his carseat. 

4. A clean kitchen. Or better yet--a personal maid!

5. A massage. Preferably at a spa. Under a cabana on a tropical island.

6. To not have to wipe any butts.

7. To sit in Starbucks alone. Drinking a (gasp!) HOT coffee, whilst reading a book not about parenting.

8. To not have to make any decisions.

9. A gourmet chef. (Who specializes in chocolatey treats)

10. A silent night.

Please, Santa? I've been a good girl all year. (Except for those times I yelled at my kids...)

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Clear, Smooth, & Moisturized

I often get asked what my daily face regimen is like so I thought I’d write a little post about it. I am nearly obsessed with keeping my face as clear, smooth, and moisturized as possible. It’s a pet peeve of mine for anyone to touch my face. And while the thought of wrinkles does pester in the back of my mind like any other 30-something-year-old, I am more concerned about sun damage, cleanliness, and whether or not a product contains harmful toxins and chemicals. 


*Please note, this is not a sponsored post. (But wouldn’t that have been nice?!)

A product I have used for a few years now is the Makeup Removal Cloth by Norwex.  I refuse to use anything else, as this cloth does not contain soap or other harsh cleansers. Since using this cloth, my face does not break out. You just wet the cloth and wipe your face. I swear to you it removes even eyeliner and mascara. Then, just wash the cloth in your washing machine as often as you want (I do it every week) and reuse! Incredible, right?

(I even had a random bout of eczema on my hand, but after using the Body Cloth for three days it disappeared and never returned!)

Next, I use a toner. Honestly, I have been skipping this step for the past few years because I haven’t found a toner I like, as most of them leave my skin feeling filmy. That was until I was recently introduced to Modere’s toner. Why use a toner? Because it helps remove any traces of dirt or grim your regular makeup remover may have missed. I believe it’s a vital part of skin care.

But what’s best about it is that I’m not using harsh chemicals on my face. I know this is true because Modere is an EWG Verified Member. EWG (Environmental Working Group) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that “empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment”. To be “verified” the products must score in the “green” zone, they cannot contain any ecotoxicity and/or contamination concerns, they must disclose all ingredients used on the label, they must follow the European Union’s labeling requirements/guidelines, among other standards.

Basically, they use all their smartness to do the research, and people like me get to reap the benefits. It takes the guesswork out of knowing which products are good or bad for me. I downloaded the app onto my phone and while I’m shopping I can scan almost anything to see how it scores by their standard. I used to research products I brought into my home and it can be so daunting and confusing! Now, I just look it up on EWG.

I am currently still using Rodan and Field’s Hydration Serum, night cream, and eye cream, and I like it, but I’d love to try Modere’s Dual Action Eye Gel and Wrinkle Guard next!

For years I have been using TRESemme shampoo and conditioner, but a hair stylist said it was leaving my hair with a waxy film. I gave Modere’s hair products a try, and let me tell you, I was not disappointed. I was actually thoroughly impressed and surprised with how great my hair felt immediately after showering, and also after styling: smooth and silky, without a waxy or greasy feeling! I was gifted a Body Bar and can tell you I’m just as equally satisfied. It has a very gentle exfoliant and my skin is so smooth; I rarely use lotion after showering. 

Two other products I own are the Hand Wash and Fresh Space (air freshening spray). I like using them in my home because they don’t contain controversial chemicals!

However, my MOST FAVORITE product I use every single day is Modere’s Antioxidant Gel. I cannot rave about it enough, actually. The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is wipe my face with Norwex’s Makeup Removal Cloth, then apply the Antioxidant Gel. From the moment I put it on my face for the first time, I fell in love! It was like running a silk scarf across my face. I kid you not.

Some other products I hope to try soon are Modere’s Skin Veil, and Body Butter. I bet my kids would like the Body Butter because it has a sweet fragrance of caramel, cotton candy, and sugary fig. Yum!

Oh! I almost forgot! I use Modere’s toothpaste, too. The first time I tried it I thought, “I don’t know about this--it doesn’t seem strong enough.” But I don’t have any complaints. I actually accidentally used Crest the other day and thought it was way too sweet tasting! I’m sticking with Modere. 

To top off my daily routine, I always floss! ;-)

So there you have it. A pretty simple routine, I’d say.

And just in case anyone is interested in the Modere products I mentioned above, you can use my Referral Code: 597875 and receive $10 off your first purchase. 


I’d love to hear what your routine is like, and what products you love!

loyally,
katie

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Thank you, New Bern

It's been nearly five months since we uprooted my little family of five from the picturesque small-town of New Bern, North Carolina to sunny Southern California. And while I have never loved a place more climatically perfect, I have been feeling awfully nostalgic about the people I had to leave behind. The truth is, I could never put into words just how magical these people were to me, but I do have some words of gratitude to share:


Thank you for that time you babysat my kids so I could unpack my house.

Thank you for that time you came over for “Pizza, PJs, & Puffy Eyes” when our husbands deployed.

Thank you for that time we exchanged numbers for a play date.

Thank you for that time you drove over just to dispose of a dead bird on my porch because I. Just. Couldn't. Deal.

Thank you for letting me borrow your husband (on more than one occasion) to hang picture frames and change light bulbs.

Thank you for that time you convinced me to join MOPS.

Thank you for all the dinners. And wine. And coffee. And chocolate.

Thank you for that time you drove me to the ER and watched my kids when I sliced my finger open.

Thank you for that time you let me cry and prayed over me when I missed my husband over Christmas.

Thank you for that time you stood by my side when I was Baptized.

Thank you for all the after-church family sushi dates.

Thank you for that time you helped me get through kindergarten.

Thank you for all the carpool line texts.

Thank you for all the Snapchats to brighten my day.

Thank you for that time you threw me a baby shower.

Thank you for that time you took my kids so I could nap.

Thank you for that time you took care of my kids while I had another baby.

Thank you for that time you helped me organize and prep my house to move.

Thank you for all the times you loved on my kids like they were your own.

Thank you for ALL. THE. TIMES. you told me we’d be friends no matter the distance...

// // //

loyally,
katie

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Prayer Process


I have discovered I am The Best Version of Me when I begin my day with intentional prayer. My alarm goes off, and before my feet hit the ground, I recite The Lord’s Prayer and a Hail Mary. Most of the time I will actually hit “snooze” and repeat both prayers over and over until my alarm goes off again. I envision a specific person (or people) for which I offer up my prayers. (Although I will be honest and say I sometimes can’t help but fall back asleep! #sleepdeprivedbecauseofbaby)

Praying first-thing in the morning helps me feel more grounded and in tune with God, and myself, thus leading me to be a better wife and mother. I find that prayer transforms me to be more patient and think before I speak (or yell). I encourage everyone to try it!

You will find below, that I have paraphrased Matthew Kelly’s guided process for praying, that I follow (most) every morning. I have a notebook I write my prayers in, which helps me stay focused and disciplined. If you are not familiar with Matthew Kelly, you can read more about him here, along with his ministry, Dynamic Catholic. My husband and I were blessed to hear him speak a few years back and it was quite transformational.

The following “prayer process” can be for anyone, regardless of your religion! That’s the amazing thing: we’re all praying to the same God!

“The Prayer Process”

1. GRATITUDE – Thank God for what you are most grateful for today.

2. AWARENESS – Think about times in the last twenty-four hours when you were and were not the “best-version-of-yourself”. Talk about these times and what you have learned from them.

3. SIGNIFICANT MOMENTS – Find something that occurred in the past twenty-four hours and ponder what God may be trying to say to you by way of that event/person.

4. PEACE – Seek forgiveness from God for any wrongdoings you have done, whether it be against yourself, another person, or Him. Ask God to give you peace over the situation.

5. FREEDOM – Converse with God about how He is welcoming you to change your life, in order for you to be “the-best-version-of-yourself”.

6. OTHERS – Offer up to God anyone you want to pray for today, requesting He blesses and guides them.

7. PRAYTHE OUR FATHER’ (or if you’re Jewish, pray 'The Shema')

I pray the latter helps you be more intentional with your prayer, and that it leads you to be The Best Version of Yourself.

I'd love to hear how prayer has transformed or improved your life!

loyally,
katie 
     

Monday, June 19, 2017

North Carolina Goodbyes & California Vibes



So we did A Thing: We moved across the country.... to California! I can’t believe we did it, but we did. It wasn’t easy--that’s for sure; and it’s not over yet! It has been stressful, both physically and emotionally.

This adventure in our life has been Crazy with a capital C. There's so much I want to say and yet, for weeks now, every time I try to sit down {‘try’ being the operative word because A) I own three needy little humans, and B) because I’m sleep deprived} I just can’t seem to put into words all of my emotions. Like the fact that I’ve been wanting to write a “love letter” of sorts to my friends in North Carolina, but I keep pressing the delete button because I don’t feel like my words emulate just how much they mean to me.

Moving with the military is bittersweet. Getting to live in different locations, climates, and houses is both fun and exciting, for many reasons. If we weren’t forced to purge our stuff every two years, I’m slightly afraid we’d be submitted to be on the TV show, Hoarders! The hardest part about moving every two years in having to leave behind some wonderful people. There’s no other way to say it, except for: “It sucks!” But I truly believe it is “better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.” I wouldn’t be the person I am today without every single one of my friends from past moves. And that helps ease the sting a bit...

Making new friends can be tough, so when you meet people you really connect with, it can be very difficult to leave them. But what’s even more devastating than leaving your own friends, is watching your kids leave their best friends.

There have been some rough days, watching my girls (especially Emmalyn) feel sad over leaving her friends. When she says things like, “I wish we didn’t have to keep moving houses. I wish we could just buy a house and stay with our family forever,” it breaks my heart! But she continues to show me just how strong and resilient she is, and it puts a smile on my face whenever she FaceTimes, SnapChats, or Marco Polos her friends.


I'm sure going to miss our quiet and quaint little Nicholas Sparks town, and all the people in it! But as Winnie the Pooh once said, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” That chubby little cubby is a wise one.

The logistics of sending your entire life across the country is quite tedious. It took months of preparation, starting with my aunt helping me organize and purge a lot of our stuff. I don’t know what I would have done without her help! I am 100% positive all of her hard work (and a dash of mine) is going to pay off WHEN we move in to our new house.

Oh, that’s right… we left North Carolina on May 22, and still haven’t moved in to our house. We have stayed in three different hotels and are now in a vacation rental condo (for another three weeks!!!) At least we can see the Pacific Ocean from our window...

Some days I feel like I’m losing my damn mind, y’all! One Friday, I went the entire day thinking it was Thursday. Now, people do this a lot of the time, but usually snap out of it within a few hours (or at least by the end of the day). Well, NOPE, not me. I woke up Saturday morning believing it was Friday. I looked over at my still sleeping husband and was worried his alarm didn’t go off for work. I asked him, “Do you have to go to work today?” and was elated when he answered, “No,” believing he had a surprise weekday off! Later that morning I got a phone call from the massage place asking if I wanted to reschedule since it was 10:05 and my appointment was for 10:00. I confidently said, “My massage is for tomorrow.” The lady on the phone apologized and said she would see me then. When I got off the phone Blake asked, “What about church?” I was all like, “What do you mean? Tomorrow is Saturday.” He said, “No it’s not. Today is Saturday.” Then I continued to argue with him over it. Seriously, folks, I am losing it!

Living out of one container of toys and books, and living off of ten outfits is difficult, to say the least. The girls have been fighting a lot more because they’re on top of one another 24/7, sharing every inch of this condo. Fortunately, Emmalyn will be going to musical theatre camp this week, giving the girls a break from one another. 

We have definitely made a lot of happy memories amidst the chaos, though. We’ve gone to the zoo, the beach, Balboa Park, lots of different playgrounds, hiking, outlet shopping, and swimming. We’ve also met some wonderfully kind families, welcoming us to this beautiful new town (and watching my kids so I can go to the grocery store in peace and pick up everything on my list because I can actually hear myself think!).

I joined the good 'ole YMCA, and have taken Barre and Yoga, which has been super helpful for my psyche. Pinteresting paint colors and loft beds have also distracted me from being “homeless” this past month.

Knowing that “This Too Shall Pass”, helps me get through the OMG-I’m-Going-To-Sell-My-Kids-To-The-Circus moments.

Normalcy is right around the corner--I can feel it!

loyally,
katie

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Today is a New Day

Thanking God this morning for literally a breath of fresh air. 

Yesterday was a shit day. Adelaide couldn’t go to school because she was sick the day before, but I had a hair appointment. My amazing cleaning lady insisted she watch Adelaide so I could get my hair done before we go out of town. I bring Alexander to the salon with me and he is a pretty good sport. Here’s when things go downhill: The new girl cuts my hair two inches TOO SHORT and screws up the color! It was so blotchy, but I didn’t realize this until I got home and played around with it. I cried! This is my worst nightmare! I call the owner and she says she will fix it that evening. So I scramble around to find childcare since Blake was suppose to be taking a night flight. No such luck. She says she can come in early the next day, too, but I realize Adelaide has her school pictures and I don't want her to miss them because when you're a military kid those things are important.

Meanwhile, I get the two littles dressed to see the Easter Bunny and in the car to pick up Emmalyn from school. We get to the mall, only to be told we have to wait thirty minutes for The Bunny to come back. The girls are hungry, but there’s no food court in our mall because: small town. I get them Chex Mix from Michael’s Crafts, but we have to wait in the longest line! By this time, the bunny is back. 

As I was taking Alexander out of the car seat, he scratches his face and is bleeding. He’s never done this, but of course it happens seconds before the picture. I also realize he has a poop and is hungry (notice his searching-for-the-boob-face below). Also, Adelaide all the sudden decides she is afraid of The Bunny and refuses to get in the picture. No amount of chocolate bribery will work. I choose not to force the situation because I don’t want to traumatize my daughter. After all, I would punch someone in the face if they forced me to have my picture taken with a bird. So I focus on the other two kids, but Alexander is fixated on finding milk from The Bunny and will not turn his head towards the camera. I am sweating at this point. We get the best picture we can and call it a day. Then The Bunny hands Emmalyn a candy and Adelaide goes to get one, but I tell her no because she did not get her picture taken. The Bunny does a back-and-forth dance with the candy, not sure what to do, and ultimately gives Adelaide the candy. I take it away and she has a full-blown meltdown all the way across the parking lot. 

I vow never to do Easter Bunny pics again. It’s not worth it! Did we even interact with the bunny? NOPE. Did we get a picture with all three kids? NOPE. Did anyone have fun? NOPE. What was the effing point?! 

As I put Alexander’s car seat in the car, the stroller rolls away across the parking lot and I have no clue until a random man shouts out to inform me. Adelaide puts up a mean fight to get in her car seat, but I don’t back down. I have to use every muscle in my body, but I finally get her in. I collapse into the driver’s seat and cry. (And this is hard to do when you’re on antidepressants!) 

“Mommy is having a bad day,” I tell the girls. Apparently this is code for: Let’s Fight All The Way Home. One shining beacon of light is Blake calls and says he will cancel his flight so I can get my hair fixed. I feel terribly guilty about that, but tell myself sometimes I need to put myself first! 

I somehow manage to throw two frozen pizzas in the oven and the girls in the tub. As soon as Blake gets home, I grab the baby and hightail it out of the house, back to the salon. The owner was super apologetic and sweet, and thankfully Alexander slept the whole time. I got home after 9pm, nursed the baby, pumped, ate a snack while watching trashy reality TV (The Twins), and crashed as soon as my head hit my pillow. 

The whole day I kept repeating the first line from The Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.”

The nice thing about days are: they must come to an end. And tomorrow will always be a new day. I woke up this morning, reciting a Hail Mary and The Lord’s Prayer, and vowed to have a positive outlook on the day. After all, our sweet little boy is getting baptized this weekend, and there’s no sacrament more exciting!

God is good!

loyally,
katie


Here’s the full Serenity Prayer in case you need it today:

God grant me the serenity 
To accept the things I cannot change; 
Courage to change the things I can; 
And wisdom to know the difference. 

Living one day at a time; 
Enjoying one moment at a time; 
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; 
Taking, as He did, this sinful world 
As it is, not as I would have it; 
Trusting that He will make all things right 
If I surrender to His Will; 
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life 
And supremely happy with Him 
Forever and ever in the next. 

Amen.
(Reinhold Niebuhr 1892-1971)


Monday, March 20, 2017

Law of Babies & The Hoover Dam

What you're about to read are true events.

A friend was coming over for dinner so I decided to throw the girls in the bathtub directly after school to get it out of the way. They’re normally pretty well-behaved in the tub so I thought, Hey--why don’t I jump in the shower real quick? After all, the baby was sleeping in the bassinet so I figured I had a little time. 

Plus, my scalp was really hurting. Has your scalp ever hurt because your hair is so heavy? Y'all don’t hate on my thick hair. I’m grateful for it and all, but sometimes it can be a real pain in my... er, head... because it’s so thick and long and the weight just pulls on my scalp. Damn gravity. The pain is comparable to when your two year-old wants to “play with Mommy’s hair”. Wait, maybe that’s why my scalp really hurts? I can’t be sure at this point anymore. Anyway, the only thing that makes my scalp feel better is washing it. Actually, a scalp massage by my husband does the trick, too, but since he was flying, a shampooing would suffice.

But I digress.

I put Alexander in front of the shower (there’s no door or curtain to our shower) so I can keep an eye on him, should he wake up. Which he does because Law of Babies: Whenever a mother enters a shower, a baby shall cry. 
my actual shower. 
pic cred: my actual iphone.


So I’m rinsing out the shampoo and dreading turning the hot water off, when I hear, “Adelaide stop hitting me! MOOOOMMMMM, she’s hitting me thirty times!”

Shit.

How long has she been hitting her big sis while I was in the shower? How dare I care about my hygiene! Moms can be so selfish sometimes...

I throw a towel around me and fly down the hall to see: Yes. Yes, the toddler is hitting her sister. To which I sternly state, “Adelaide, stop hitting your sister.” Naturally. Then run back down the hall to tend to the still-crying newborn. 

I know he’s hungry because he looks like a blind baby bird searching for a worm. But my hair is sopping wet and I don’t want to baptize him because I don’t think I am qualified to do that; plus none of our family is here and I’d be such a jerk if I held such a momentous occasion without them. So I tell him he’s gotta take one for the team and wait while I brush my hair and ring out some of the water. But this isn’t an easy feat because my hair is naturally wavy-curly and it takes half a bottle of detangler spray and a month to brush it. No joke. My roommate in college could take a full shower before I was done brushing my hair. It sounds like I’m being ungrateful for my thick and long hair. I promise I’m not. Well maybe just a little.

So three hours go by and the baby is STILL crying. Sheesh, doesn’t he understand priorities? So I go to pick him up to nurse him, only to hear, “STOP IT ADELAIDE! MMOOOOOMMMMM, she’s hitting me again!” I run down the hall, but this time in the buff, and also this time leaking breastmilk down my body. It’s like the Hoover Dam has sprouted a leak from my boobs. I shout to the girls, “Drain the water; you’re getting out!” Then run back down the hall to the baby. Still crying.

I start to pick him up then think, I better put on some pants. It's drafty. I STILL hear fighting from the girls so I shove the baby on the boob, then run back down the hall. With one hand, because Baby on the Boob, I get Adelaide out of the tub, towel her up, dry her off, and put on her pull-up and jammies. Emmalyn is old enough to fend for herself. Well, I wouldn’t send her out into the wild to fend for herself--yet. She’s only six! She needs to be at least ten for that. Geeze, what kind of mom do you think I am?!

The moral of the story? There is none. This was just a crazy and true scene from my life and I thought I’d share. You’re welcome :) 

loyally,
katie

Friday, March 10, 2017

A Postpartum Update


It’s been three weeks since our little man, Alexander, entered the world. And if you didn’t already know, I had to have an emergency c-section, after twenty-four hours of labor, because the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck--three times! Of course we didn’t know this until he was born. 

It was such an out-of-body-experience, and in a lot of ways, just like you see in the movies: After being stuck at 7cm and contractions not increasing in intensity, and hours of the doctor, nurses, and Blake maneuvering me in every possible position to try to get a better read of the baby's heartbeat, my OB-GYN finally said, "We did all we could. We need to go NOW."

To say I was frightened to have a c-section would be an understatement. I was taken by total surprise, after having two previous natural deliveries. I also have never had surgery before. I was shaking and crying and praying a hundred Hail Mary’s. 

But it was all worth it for my perfect little boy. Because it was an emergency delivery, nurses were pulled in from all directions and they didn’t know we’d been keeping his gender a surprise. I imagined a huge “IT’S A.....!” announcement, but there was nothing. Honestly, I didn’t even know the doctor had already cut into me until I heard a baby cry. Blake and I, blind on the other side of the curtain, heard whispers of, “Hey buddy” and “his” and “he”. We looked at each other and I said, “Did they say ‘he’?!” But it wasn’t until the nurse brought him around the curtain that we saw the true reveal. It was a BOY! We both broke down in tears. 

The c-section was a surprise, but the fact that our baby was a boy was an even bigger shocker! I couldn’t believe it. Some days, I still don’t even believe it, even though I change his diaper a million times a day.

I think what scared me the most about having a c-section was the thought of recovering, while also taking care of three small humans. I thought, I’m going to be in lots of pain and confined to a bed--how the heck am I going to do this?! Originally, Blake and I planned to have a couple of days at home before family came to visit, but because of the urgency of my care, my angelic mother-in-law flew in just hours after we got home from the hospital. Unfortunately, my mom had to have unexpected surgery on her foot and was unable to come. (But that’s a whole other emotional story. Thankfully she’s recovering well! Praise God!)

The recovery of a c-section was a painful one and it took a toll on me emotionally. On top of that, our oldest daughter came down with a 104 fever, and the baby and I had to basically be quarantined to the bedroom. That did not do well for my psyche. You’d think with this being my third child, I would have remembered how much of an emotional roller coast postpartum can be, but I didn’t. I had many moments of, Is this EVER going to get better? and Am I EVER going to feel like myself again? Needless to say, I wasn’t cutting myself much slack, and was being far too hard on myself, especially after having major abdominal surgery. I’m thankful for a husband and a phone call from my therapist to remind me: One step at a time... 


With my history of Postpartum Depression, I couldn’t help but think, “Is today the day I’m going to get it?” I had the same feelings after Adelaide was born, too. But I had to force myself to stay positive, patient, and faithful in the Lord. I’m happy to say that it doesn’t look like PPD is going to be rearing its ugly head this time around! I have zero anxiety about taking care of the baby, and my girls are driving me the same amount of bananas as they always were. 

The adjustment from two to three was easier than I anticipated. But then again, I usually have the mentality of “expect the worst...” that way I’m pleasantly surprised. There are a lot of "stop-touching-hims" and a lot more “wait-a-minutes” these days, but I’m hoping that will soon dissipate, as the girls are forced to be learn to be more patient. (A mom can dream, right?!)


Overall, I’m doing really well! I’m so grateful to all the people who have called, prayed, taken care of the girls, and brought us meals to feed our bellies and save us from cooking or giving our kids frozen pizza and mac-n-cheese every night. We’ll save those meals for when things get back to normal ;-)

loyally,
katie

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