Thursday, January 26, 2012

I've found it! The Key to Staying Sane As a Stay At Home Mother!

I've discovered something pretty amazing. The key to staying sane as a stay at home mother. I've been testing this two part technique out for a year now and I'm pretty sure it's a winner.

Part one:


"Oh my, I wasn't expecting company! Please, have one of my famous sugar cookies just out of the oven! Would you like to stay for beef bourgogne?"


The Supermom day is a happening that can't be planned. It happens organically. You just have to be ready for it. You wake up one day and just feel good. You feel motivated. You feel rested. On a morning like that, you decide then and there that this will be a Supermom day and you make it happen. You get up and get dressed in clothes that are a combination of, "I'm a mom so I'm comfy, but it's a Supermom day, so I look awesome too". Make-up is required. Then you get to work. You tap into that extra energy as long as it lasts. I have a list of Supermom Day chores that just wait for these days. Organize the pantry, clean the baseboards, clean the light fixtures. I might organize the toys with the kids, tickling and playing while we clean. Also, I do a lot of baking and cooking on Supermom days. Almost always, I make cookies or muffins with the kids and a big pot of homemade soup. (Made this soup on a recent Supermom day.) During the whole day I try to include them and play as much as I can. The key to a Supermom day is being able to realize when you have the right attitude and energy to have one, and then to make it last all day. I can't tell you how much I get done on these days. Usually Shane comes home to a spotless home with a beautiful dinner and very happy kids.

Of course, the caveat is that you will be totally and utterly exhausted at the end of the day and you will probably be asleep at 9pm. So your husband won't be getting any action that night. I said Supermom day, not Superwife day.

Supermom days should not be attempted too often. I have one about twice a month. Of course, I'm doing a lot of these things on every other day of my life, but Supermom days are special. They are a positive day of exhaustive constant work to catch up on all of the things that you just can't get to on normal days. At the end of the day I feel happy and satisfied.

Part 2:


"What do you mean? I am dressed for the day."

The "I no work today" day is crucial to a stay at home mother's sanity. See, stay at home moms don't get Saturdays in the conventional sense. Remember how when you worked and Saturday was a day that was different from every other day? A break from the routine? Maybe even a day to yourself? Well, that isn't the case for stay at home moms. Everyday is the same. Everyday you make 3 meals, wipe bums, clean up toys, wash dishes, deal with tantrums.....every single day of your existence. And of course its wonderful. But sometimes you just need to rest. Every once in a while you have to have a "Saturday" when your day focuses on something other than the routine.

This is when you have a ""I no work today" day. You don't plan it. It just happens. You wake up and feel crappy. You are tired, unmotivated or on your period. What you want is a day off. The "I no work today" day is the closest you are going to get. First of all, to really be a "I no work today" day, you must announce it to your family.

And you have to do it in an old Chinese lady accent.

"Hey! I no work today!"

It's the only way it's official. I don't know why, but that's how it works. I don't question.

Now the key to a "I no work today" day is make a goal to do no more than is totally essential. Normally if you just laid around, you would see it as a failure of a day. But making a it a goal to do so? Well then you have set yourself up for success. My my, what a wonderfully successful day of unwinding. Getting dressed? Who needs it? Breakfast? Emergency pop tarts of course! Spending time with the kids? Well, I'll be reading on the couch, so you guys enjoy some serious cartoon time. Lunch...the gas station has a drive thru! Diet coke for me, corn dogs, popcorn and slurpees for the kids! Dinner? Well, luckily I froze some soup from my last Supermom day, so I will drop that in a pot.

Usually I will make myself spend 30 minutes quickly cleaning up before Shane gets home so that he will be able to walk through the door without breaking his leg. (I always let him know when a "I no work today" day is in the works.) He comes home to a lack luster dinner, messy home and very happy kids. They LOVE an occasional day of TV and junk food. At the end of the day I feel happy and rested. So rested, I'm usually able to be a very good wife later on.

For me, "I no work today" days usually happen about twice a month. You can also claim several weeks of "I no work today" days during your first trimester of pregnancy, your 9th month of pregnancy and any time when you had nights dealing with colic or puke. Click here for a recent post from a "I no work today" day.

It seems simple, but adding these two days into your routine just might save you. Try it out and let me know if it works for you too...

By the way.... "I NO WORK TODAY!"


Don't forget to link up your favorite post from last year to win a very fun surprise package. 
Remember, the winner is chosen randomly, so pick anything you like! 
Also, a few more days to enter to win some Minted valentines! (low entries)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Best of the Year Blog Link-Up Party and (very very cool surprise) Giveaway!

Ooo, I have a fun little treat for you. For the last few months I've been looking for unique trinkets to put together for a giveaway. The package has turned out quite darling I must say. Just some pretties I think every woman would like....some tasty treats, a pair of homemade earrings, a gift from Etsy, something vintage, one treat from Hobby Lobby, one lovely from Nordstrom. Perhaps something to read by the fire. It would be the perfect mid-winter surprise. I'm sure you will find some yellow in there as well. But I figured you would assume that. :)

Usually you just have to leave a comment to enter to win a giveaway, but this time I thought I would make it a bit more fun.

I want you to think about all the posts you wrote in the last year and pick your favorite. It can be anything from a great photo, outfit, vlog, recipe, craft idea or just talking about your day. Link them up to this post and leave a comment. Of those links, I will feature my favorite five here on natalie's sentiments, along with a little write up about you. The winner of the giveaway will be randomly selected from all the links. 

You can enter up to 3 links if you can't decide on your favorite, but you will only have one entry to win the surprise giveaway.

I'll start by linking up my favorite post from 2011 first. (Though "My Fifty Year Old Self" is my favorite "wordy" post.)

I'll pick my five favorite on February 6th. Good luck! I can't wait to see what your year was like.

(Don't forget to enter to win some cute Minted Valentines while you're at it. )

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Minted Classroom Valentine Giveaway - Two winners

Minted came out with classroom Valentine's cards! YAY! They are just so stinking cute I just spent the last hour trying to pick my favorite. 

Of course, I was supposed to be doing a movie and take out with my husband right now (Friday night 9:00PM), but he got called into work with an emergency, so instead I'm watching a chick flick and writing up a giveaway. My loss is your gain!

Some of my top picks:

And look at all the darling backer options

And the backers. 

Of course my favorite is the yellow, you make me smile

So cute!

Two lucky natalie's sentiments will be receiving 25 Classroom Valentines!
Oh yeah. For once you will be the mom who sends the coolest thing to the class party. 
(I'm never that mom by the way. Ok. I was once.)

To enter:
Head over to Minted and them come back here and tell me which classroom valentines you like best. 

For additional entries, let me know in a separate comment if:
I'll announce the winner on January 30th. Good luck!
US addresses only

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Holly Marie Jewelry

I so wanted to showcase Holly Marie Jewelry early last November, but by that time they were totally booked with Christmas orders. I thought I would share some of their lovelies now for those of you looking for a Valentines or Mother's Day gift. It would be just the thing to go in together on with your siblings for a very deserving mom. (I know it's early, but again, the slots to create a one of a kind piece fill up fast!)

For my 10 anniversary this year I wanted a souvenir. But I had a particular idea for this item. I wanted an heirloom. Something that would last for years. See, as I thought about the 10 years of marriage I was celebrating, I kept having the same thought. More than anything, I wanted my daughter to have the same joy in marriage that I have. I wanted her to remember the love she witnessed as a child, and not to settle for anything less. I wanted to give her something, when she went out into the world, to remind her of this. To wait until she finds what she wants.

When I saw the Holly Marie Petal Ring, I knew right away it was what I wanted. With a vintage, rustic feel, I knew this jewelry would stand the test of time. I picked out a photo from my wedding day I loved and sent it to Holly. Soon after I received this gorgeous ring. It's perfect. Light enough for me to wear every day, beautiful enough to receive compliments on it just as often. Classic enough that one day when I give it to my daughter, it will be just as lovely. It's stunning.

Holly crafts each piece of her jewelry by hand. She uses precious metals – primarily sterling & 18k gold layered sterling – mixing it with crystals, leather, & gemstones. Precious photos are permanently sealed and metal marked with whimsical personalized inscriptions of names, words & poetry. Each piece a commissioned work of art unique to the wearer. They are waterproof to showers and rain. (Not chlorinated pools.)

Holly Marie Jewelry has beautiful necklaces and bracelets as well. I have my eye on the Heart of Gold necklace for Valentine's day this year. And for my next baby, I think I may just have to ask Shane for the Bohemian bracelet.

If you are looking for a breathtaking gift to last for generations, make sure to check out the rest of the wares over at Holly Marie Jewelry

Monday, January 16, 2012

Yellow and Gray Lovelies

Some more yellow and gray to delight and enthrall....
(make sure to look at this post on my actual blog. It matches my background!)

You can't fault me for including my little boy. 
I mean, his middle name is Grey for goodness sake.

Happy Bleak Mid-Winter. May your gray days be golden.

Leave a comment below and I'll enter you to win some yellow and gray earrings, compliments of me. I'll announce the winner next week. 
Cause January is a great time for a little sunny pick me up, don't you think? 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Couch to 5K, New Years Resolutions and decorating indecisions.

Remember that Couch to 5K goal? Well, I know that I should be done with that by now, but I hit a little hiccup. I really thought that I would be able to keep running the week we moved. However, I wasn't anticipating catching a nasty little cold. Along with Shane. Does anyone know what happens when you get sick and you aren't able to rest at all? Well, you stay sick. During the entire pack, move out, unpack two weeks, Shane and I were sick and I didn't run once.

By the time I felt better I was itching to hit the treadmill. The first time back I thought it was going to be awful, but the most amazing thing happened. I was running! Like, I didn't feel the need to stop and walk. I just keep running and it felt amazing. I ran longer than I ever have in my entire life.

The next day I felt so good, I went to a Zumba class.

The day after that I woke up to a pulled groin and I had thrown out my shoulder. Sweet.

I had to put the running on hold for a couple weeks. By then it was Christmas and I was on vacation. My only exercise was lifting snacks to my face while playing cards.

I did take the kids hiking around my parents home, so that's something right??

Anyway. I decided to start again at week four. This will be a gentler transition back hopefully.

I want to run a 5K this summer. That's goal number one.

My other new year's goal for the year is pretty simple. Actually, that is my new year's goal.


I have a master list of things that I want to get done everyday:

Read my scriptures.
Spend quality one on one time with each child.
Kiss and talk with Shane.
Make healthy meals.

There are lots of other nice things in my life I want to spend time on too, but these are essentials. I have noticed that when any of these things fall by the wayside, I start feeling like a failure. That is a horrible feeling that I would really like to shake. If I can get these things taken care of, I know that all the other necessary obligations will be easier for me to do. I sure feel better about cleaning when I know I've spent time with my kids. I don't mind blogging for a bit at night when I've spend time with Shane. I don't feel quite so alone when I have prayed for help each morning. Exercise makes everything better. (You can find this cute simplify sign here.)

So those are my two goals for 2012. Run and Simplify. I have lots of small goals in place to make those two goals manageable.

One thing I'm starting to do to add a little healthy is making green smoothies for breakfast. 
Thanks to Santa (i.e. my Dad), I've sent my crap blender to the shelves of Goodwill and I'm reigning in the pure power of the Blendtec. 
Wow. This thing is a beast! Love it!!! I can't believe how well it works.
The best green smoothie recipe I've found is my friend Melanie's. If you haven't tried this on your kids yet, you're missing out. Tastes wonderful and you don't notice the greens at all.

We also canceled our cable. It was mostly a financial decision to offset the higher energy bills in this bigger home.  But bonus, the kids now love to go to the gym daycare to watch the Disney Channel
and I don't mind the treadmill TV either. Seriously, watching Toddlers and Tiaras makes me feel so much better about my parenting.

In other news...

I've taken down Christmas and just left out "Winter" decor. 
Though, I never take down Christmas cards until January is over. They just make me happy whenever I see them. (I took the photos in a few of these cards. Look whose figuring out how to use her camera!)

Our home is almost totally unpacked and we've started painting. I still have no idea what to do on this mantle. I know it needs a big statement piece, but I'm not sure what. 
(Love the bird plate mom!)

Then immediately after taking that photo I changed my mind and put the winter stuff on the hutch.

So then I stuck up some painted canvases and a piece from Modern Bird Studios. Maybe a trifle too "loftish" for this particular fireplace, but it will work for the week. I already have a Valentine themed display in mind....

And here's what the kids were doing while I was taking that mantle photo.
Tug of war with the sash to my robe. 

I was wearing said robe at 3pm. My kids were still in jammies.

Getting dressed everyday is not an necessity. Simplify People. 


P.S. Thank you for all your wonderful comments on my last post! They were fabulous!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

"No wait! I'm just like you!" (Alternate title, "Come on kids, let's go to court!")

Just reading through my journal and I decided this entry needed to be shared. I'm thankful I experienced it, and that it's over. Enjoy. I promise, it will make you feel better about today. I know it did me. Happy New Year.

June 22nd, 2009

Yesterday was my first outing with one month old Collin. I wish I could say it was to a Le Leche League meeting or Mommy and me outing. No, it was to court. I got that ticket for an expired registration on my way back from the hospital last month. (Worst day ever. Until today.) Well, Shane was called out on town on with a work emergency, so I had no choice but to go to court myself. With registration infractions, there is no option just to pay a fine. You have to be in court. Court started at 8. To drop the kids off somewhere would have been waking up a friend at 6. And Collin doesn't take a bottle.

So there I was. One month after my c-section (and yes, my incision is still infected), dragging my 3 year old and 1 month old out the door at 6:30 am to get to court on time. Getting dressed was a minor exercise in humiliation. I stood in my closet for 20 minutes, trying to figure out anything that I could possibly fit into that would be "court appropriate". I finally discovered a pair of khakis that I dubbed my "fat pants" after Lydia was born. I grabbed flip-flops and a black v-neck that was stretched out enough at the neckline to allow for easy nursing. I pulled my greasy hair into a knot, grabbed some earrings and called it good. My mistake was looking into the mirror. Everything about me is "swollen". My breasts, my ankles, the bags under my eyes. My body looks like I should have a black line superimposed over my face as they show me on the news as being an example of the rise of American obesity. I am hideous.

It's June, but it feels like August. We had to park several blocks from the courthouse and 2 minutes after leaving the car all three of us were dripping. Poor little Collin. The extra pain medication I took was doing nothing to stop the searing pain radiating through my abdomen. I'm not supposed to be out of bed. I'm definitely not supposed to be rushing down the sidewalk with a double jogging stroller. By the time we reached the courthouse entrance, I was hiding my tears with my oversized sunglasses. My tears continued when I saw a sign across the door stating "Entrance Closed".

I called the info line listed on my ticket to find out where I needed to go. I knew I was not going to be happy the moment I heard that bored southern drawl of a bitter women who hates her job and most likely was left by her husband for a striper.

"Ma'am. (Long annoyed pause). That entrance has been closed for a year. You have to enter through the parking garage."

"Where is the parking garage? Can I walk there? This is the address it gave me on my ticket."

Longer annoyed pause.

"No ma'am. Everyone has been entering the garage for over a year. You have to drive."

I look at the clock and start rushing back towards the car. My c-section incision feels like it is about to burst and both kids are crying.

After returning both kids to their seats, gingerly shoving the enormous stroller in the car without straining myself, I finally find the parking garage after circumventing the construction and one way streets. I want a GPS for Christmas. And possibly a minivan. No. I take that back. No minivan.

I pull the stroller back out, unbuckle both kids, buckle them back into the stroller, and ran. Well, I hobbled quickly.

I make it to the security check five minutes before I'm supposed to appear before the judge.


I look up as I'm piling my baby paraphernalia on the the belt.

"You can't take a stroller into the courthouse"

No. That can't be right. I didn't prepare for this. I'm not supposed to pick up anything over 10 pounds. I have a 8 pound baby and a 15 pound diaper bag. My diaper bag isn't big enough to carry everything I have. It's spilled it's contents into the bottom of the stroller. I don't even have my baby sling.

"Is there anyway? I just had a baby and he's asleep in the stroller. I'm not supposed to carry him for more than a few minutes."

"Sorry, no."

He was a nice enough guy, but I kind of wanted to punch him in the face.

I picked up Collin, dumped out everything from my diaper bag except the bare necessities, grabbed Lydia's hand and took two steps. I thought I was going to pass out. I kept going because there was really nothing else to do.

I made it to the courtroom 5 minutes late.

The bailiff stopped me at the door.

"I know, I'm late, I'm so sorry!"

"No. That's not the problem. You can't take children into the courtroom."

This time I just stared. For an uncomfortably long time. I could see in the bailiffs eyes he was scared. He knew I was about to have a total breakdown.

"Ma'am. Just go sit over on that bench. I will come and get you when it's your turn. I will try and get you to the top of the list. We'll figure out what to do then. You probably will still have about 15 minutes."

I just about kissed him. Then I started to cry again when I realized he was being nice to me because I was pathetic.

I walked to the bench and decided to nurse Collin. I kept talking to Lydia about what was going on around her.

Did I mention that I told her we were on a field trip to the court? She was having a blast.

I was in mid-sentence of explaining to her what the judge does when I saw something incredible.

I saw me.

No, not in a mirror or reflection. I saw me, 5 years ago.

Five years ago I was working for a law firm. Shane and I had been married for a couple years. I was in fantastic shape and a great place in my career. Every Friday I donned my black suit, heels and pearl earrings to head to court. I meet with clients and defendants, assisted the attorney in the court room. I loved it. I felt successful, attractive and in control of my life.

There I was. Only 5 years before. A woman in the same place in her life as I had been. Same suit, same heals, same pearl earrings. And then she turned and looked at me.

I could see the look. I knew it because I had given it. She was wondering behind those smokey eyes, how does a women get to this point? Dripping in children and breast milk. What is she wearing? How hard is it to take a shower and get yourself ready for the day? She probably thinks of nothing but Elmo and coupons.

I wanted to scream at her. No! I'm just like you. Really! Underneath this extra 30 pounds and unhighlighted hair and disgusting clothes with snot and spit up. I can be pretty! Just not right now. I have style. I just can't fit into anything except sweats and this handmade nursing blanket. I am interesting! But not since the baby was born and my mind is mush and I couldn't remember the word for "Walnut" yesterday. I am successful! Though wait. I have given up any semblance of a career.

Her gaze wandered lazily away and the bailiff appeared, looking embarrassed. I noticed then that my nursing pad had worked it's way out of my bra and was attached to my neck.

The judge allowed Lydia to sit with all the bailiffs while I spoke to him. If I hadn't been in total humiliation of standing in front of dozens of people in my current state, I might have thought it was cute. There she was, all smiles as she sat surrounded by ten men in uniform. To her, this was the best field trip ever.

The judge looked at me and started laughing. Collin responded by shooting spit up down my back.

Loudly for the entire court to hear he chuckled, "You know. Technically I can send you to the work yard for a few days for an expired registration. Do you think I should send her to the work yard?"

I glanced at the court full of people waiting to be seen. They did not look happy. In fact, they looked really annoyed.

"I'd rather just pay a fine if it's all the same"

"Do you have proof of a renewed registration?"


"Then you can go. But next time its the work yard."

Somehow I managed a smile and by the look the judge gave me, I knew without a doubt, he was a grandfather.

Lydia was hungry so I let her pick out a drink and a snack out of the vending machines.
She took a photo with a policeman.
She said it was the best day ever.

Then she had to go potty.

I thought I had experienced low points in my life. But this topped them all.

There were no women anywhere to help me. There was no stroller to put my newborn. Lydia was too small for the toilets. She had to be held up so she didn't fall in. Kids weren't allowed in the courtroom so there was no changing table to strap Collin in.

There I was. My new baby laying on my diaper bag next to the toilet. I was crouched with my knee supporting him so he didn't fall off, and both arms holding Lydia as she did her business. My pants were too tight for that position. I had to unzip them. The stall was so shallow, half my butt was hanging out below the door. I was in some of the most excruciating pain I can imagine, trying to smile as Lydia retold the days exciting events. I prayed, please don't let the "me from 5 years ago" walk in.

Oh my. What have I become?

However, as I drove home, I felt such relief I found myself smiling. I did it. If I could be a mom of two on this day,  I could totally hack it.

My thoughts strayed to the woman I had seen.  I wondered if I could ever be her again.

Probably not. I could be attractive again. I will have my mind back most likely. I guess I could have a career at some point. Though that sounds so exhausting at the moment I won't even dwell.

But I will always be different. There is a world you pass into when you have kids. A world you cannot understand beforehand. I don't care how much you've babysat or how many nieces and nephew you have.

All the opinions you had of life after kids are merely misunderstood perceptions. Having children changes you in ways you can't control. The way I used to think about young mothers was wrong. I just couldn't see it because they were literally in a different dimension from me.

Still. I want to be that way again. I want to be me, just with children. I want to have style and hobbies and sex and normalcy.

I instinctively reached up to pull a stray piece of greasy hair from my face and I noticed something. The earrings I had chosen to wear in my exhausted 5:45 Am stupor.


Hum. Maybe, be it ever so slowly, I'm already on my way back.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


2012. The last year. You know, cause the world is supposed to end on December 23rd, 2012. 
I'm kind of doubting that personally, but what do I know. I did take a Mayan Studies course my senior year of college and they seemed pretty smart. Except for that whole human sacrifice thing. 
That was a little creepy.

Any who, Happy New Year! 
Someday I will get around to making some resolutions, but right now I'm still on vaca and I'm eating chocolate, watching TV and drinking soda. Cause that's what New Years Day is all about.

My pants are tighter this week than they were two weeks ago. Yours too?

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