Being Present In The Moment

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about being more present with my kids. I brought it up in a recent Instagram post. I’ve noticed in myself, and in so many around me, this need to constantly be connected. Nowadays, it’s really no secret that social media can be addicting. The problem for me came when I realized that maybe I was one of those people that was addicted. I like to think that I’m aware of how often I pull out my phone to scroll Instagram or check my email, but I could be doing SO MUCH BETTER. I know you can probably relate. I want my children to have memories of me being with them, playing, and being available to answer their many questions. And for myself, I want to be more present in all of those moments so that I can enjoy life more.

To be honest, I love Instagram. (Who doesn’t!?) I love posting pretty photos, the encouraging comments I receive, and the supportive community of other moms/creatives I’ve found. But I often turn to social media when I’m feeling bored. I like being creative and lately I’ve been scrolling Instagram for inspiration. But what I’ve found is that I’m doing more consuming than creating. And more and more often, I come away feeling discontent and insignificant.

Deep down, I know that I have creativity that is worth sharing and a life that is worth every bit of my attention and enjoyment. So I’ve made a plan to do a little less consuming and a little more creating. I’m going to make more of an effort to be fully THERE as a mother.

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Last Friday as I was thinking about all of this, I decided to put my phone and computer away for the day and pull out my camera instead. I enjoyed so many beautiful and fun every day moments with my kids and I was able to be creative while doing it. Afternoons at home are often the hardest part of my day. It’s easy for me to get in a funk of feeling bored and uninspired. I can’t tell you how good it was for my soul to force myself to look for the inspiring moments where I wouldn’t usually see them. I ended up with a little video of our afternoon. I found special details in a completely normal day as Lucy woke up from her nap and figured out how to make sounds with a recorder, as Owen and Milo built a couch-fort, and Ande built an epic Lego parking garage. It made going out on a date that night feel great because I knew I had soaked up some good quality time with the babes beforehand. And now, with this video, I can enjoy those moments over and over again.

The video I worked on is below, and I hope you’ll follow along with my little journey through motherhood by subscribing to our channel while you’re there!

 

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For our date night in the video, I wore my favorite lace midi dress! I got it from H&M a few years ago, and altered the sleeves from long sleeved to short! I looked for a similar lace dress to share and listed a few cute ones below!

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(Click on a photo and the link will be listed below it!)

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The Dress Every Nursing Mama Needs!

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I brought my flowy wrap dress to the beach a couple weeks ago to wear to church. One evening, the sunset was just too beautiful to pass up a fun photo shoot with my mom and sister, and of course I had to wear this dress!

A flowing dress + the ocean winds + sunset = the perfect combination!

I love wrap front dresses lately! They are great for easy access for nursing. I snatched this dress up from Piper & Scoot while I was still pregnant because I knew I’d need something forgiving in the tummy area, and with a no-fuss option for breastfeeding! It has worked out great so far! Another thing that I love about wrap dresses is how they make your curves look good and your waist look small!

We had so much fun snapping away at some pictures that night at the beach, with Curtis and my sisters husband making us giggle! Here are a few of my favorite shots from that night!

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My dress is no longer available, but below I rounded up some really cute wrap dress options for you! Just click the photo, then the link below each photo will take you straight to it! Hopefully you fellow nursing mama’s out there will find something you like! I find it SO important to find post-baby outfits that are not only functional, but that make you feel GOOD! Don’t you!?

Let’s Talk: Body Image

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A few weeks ago I was at the gym doing squats and for the first time in a really longggg time, I saw myself in the mirror and thought, “You know what? It’s not terrible. I can work with this.”

I’ve since joked about my “revelation” with friends and family members, but it really got me thinking about body image, especially among women. The topic comes up often when I’m chatting with my friends. We are all mothers of young kids, but even as we’ve been in different stages (pregnancy, post-baby, a few years post baby, etc), we all still struggle with accepting our bodies. It’s so easy to pick apart the things that we don’t like. Social media definitely has something to do with it, and in my case striving to stay thin as a dancer for many years, has a lot to do with it. But I still am left wondering why it’s so hard?

I 100% love the fact that my body created 4 beautiful human beings. I loved labor because it made me feel strong and empowered. But I’ve struggled, 4 times over, to respect and embrace the body that’s left after all of those “empowering” moments have passed.

I’ve pondered on this topic a lot over the past few years, and I recently came to the conclusion that to get respect, you have to give it. If I’m tired of feeling “blah” about myself, then I need to find ways to start giving myself respect.

With this new mindset, I’ve started making changes…small changes. I’ve tweaked my diet. I don’t necessarily cut anything out, but instead I’ve added things like a lot of vegetables and more water. I’ve tapered down my caffeine intake and I’ve made rest and an earlier bed time (for me) a priority. I feel really great after a workout and so I sneak one in as often as possible! I even do squats while I brush my teeth, lunges while the popcorn pops, or ab work while Lucy and the boys play. None of these changes are groundbreaking, and I’m not necessarily trying to lose a ton of weight. I just want to feel better, not only physically, but mentally as well.

Part of making changes has also meant trying to change my mindset. It is really hard to look at myself in the mirror and not focus on the things that I don’t like, but I am really trying to add a more positive dialogue in my head. Focusing on the things I like about my body and trying not to get hung up on the “problem areas” has really been the hardest thing for me to change. But even small strides have made a difference, which brings us back to my “revelation” from earlier.

I still have down days. I still get frustrated when a pre-Lucy skirt still doesn’t fit. But when I can look at myself and say, “That’s not so bad,” I consider it a small victory, and a step in the right direction!

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(Swimsuit by Love Winnie James)

What do you think? Are you a women/mom struggling with body image like me? What are ways you give yourself respect? I’d love to know! Comment down below your thoughts, experiences, or advice!

Must Have, Adorable, One Piece Swimsuits!

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I know that spring barely started, but I can’t help myself from dreaming about summer already! I have been loving all of the cute one piece swimsuits this year! When I was a kid, and my mom wanted me to wear modest swimsuits, there was NOTHING cute to choose from! I always wore speedos (and pretended I was on the swim team) because it was either that, or look like a mom!

Luckily, there are SO many adorable one piece options these days! I love that they have come into style. And now that I am actually a mom, I don’t necessarily have to look like one! Although, there’s really no hiding that I have had four kids…

Below are some of my favorite swimsuits from around the inter-webs. Can you tell I love florals?

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Moving from Left to Right and Top to Bottom:

The Weekender ::  Floral Lace Halter ::  Zinnia Plunge ::  Ruffled Halter ::  The Bridgitte

 

The Floral Lace Halter is a suit that I found at Target! It is almost identical to a swimsuit at Anthropologie for a much lower cost! Isn’t that awesome?!

Which one would you choose? Can you guess which one I’ll be sporting this summer?

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“Can we speak in flowers? It will be easier for me to understand…”

-Nayyirah Waheed

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Spring, flowers, and warm weather are my love language. I know I’m not alone in how much weather affects my mood. On warm sunny days, I feel so chipper and happy and ready to conquer anything. On cold, wintry days, I am moody and sad and snappy!

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We were spoiled with an extremely warm February. We had so many beautiful 70 degree days. I was in heaven. We ventured to the park every afternoon, and I didn’t feel so bogged down by my lack of sleep. On one of these unseasonably warm days, we went to the “dragon park” (the boys have their own names for every park. ie: mulch park, castle park, blue park, etc). I wore one of my favorite dresses, snapped away with my camera, and we enjoyed a little picnic dinner!

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As I’m writing this, it is March, 30 degrees, and the wind will knock you down! I’ve been in a bad mood, refusing to take off my pajamas, with a knot in my pony tail the size of Texas, all day. I know that spring will come back eventually. But for now, I will just have to stare at these pictures and dream of happier times!

:: I got my dress at a cute little market in San Antonio, TX during our Thanksgiving road trip, but here are some similarly embroidered dress options you could try: here, here, and here! ::

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bump update :: 32 weeks

How is it possible that time is simultaneously flying by and dragging on? The months of April and May are such a blur. We were busy with kid sports most weekends, we went on a couple trips, had a few birthdays (including my 31st! Ahh!), and yet I can hardly remember anything else I did. What I do remember is being sick with a mutant head cold that I thought would never go away! 
Lucky for me, I finally feel better and school is officially out for summer! The boys and I plan to spend the remaining weeks of this pregnancy getting all of their energy out at the pool while I lounge in the cool water! We also have a fun beach trip planned and then a few weeks later, we’ll be welcoming this little gal into our home! Summer is the greatest!

Now on to a little “bumpdate:”
How far along? When the pictures were taken and as I’m writing this I’m 32 weeks. As you read this, I’ll be at 33! 
Craving? I have never really had any abnormal pregnancy cravings. I still like all the things I always like. I do, however, seem to detest eggs lately. Even the thought makes me nauseous.
Sleeping? I’ve had a pretty rough time sleeping the past few weeks, but I’ve got a little bed time routine now that definitely helps relax me! I’ll have to share more later!
Wearing? I’m at the stage where nothing fits, even my maternity clothes are getting tight. Lucky for me, it’s summer and I’ve been wearing a lot of flowy dresses and bathing suits! 
The dress pictured is a new favorite that is not maternity, but fits my bump perfectly! You can get it here, at one of my favorite online shops! I live in my Salt Water Sandals, and I recently got this bathing suit and love it!
Feeling? Baby’s head is officially down, but she hasn’t quite moved down yet so I get a lot of great kicks to the ribs lately! But all the kicking leads to some great moments with the boys and Curtis. They’ve gotten to feel her and see her move and that is really precious!
Buying for baby? My favorite recent baby girl purchase has to be these swaddle blankets
Crazy dreams? YES! I keep dreaming about leaving Milo at home alone. It is the absolute worst nightmare ever. I dreamt we were driving home late at night and forgot that we left Milo home alone. As we pulled up to our neighborhood we found him walking down the street. It was horrifying. I must be feeling anxious about him not being the “baby” anymore, but he doesn’t seem to be too concerned about it. Thank goodness they’re just dreams! Ugh!

Sunday Style {reflections on Mother’s Day}

 

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In all honesty, I don’t feel like I’ve done much mothering lately that’s worth celebrating. Pregnancy and allergy season has inflicted a monster cold that I haven’t been able to shake for a couple months now. I’ve had a hard time getting through the day without a lot of rest and in the meantime I’ve let a lot of things slide. Laundry and dishes get backed up, vacuuming doesn’t happen, and the kids have heard me complain about being sick one too many times. It has been frustrating and I feel so inadequate, but lucky for me the boys still love me anyway! They spoiled me yesterday with breakfast in bed and gifts from the heart. They love so unconditionally, and I am so blessed to be constantly learning from them.
Besides the support from my boys, sometimes just getting dressed and getting outside can be so beneficial! Yesterday, I got dolled up in an adorable maxi dress from Motherhood Maternity, curled my hair (seriously this one thing alone makes me feel like a million bucks), and after church we went for a stroll around a favorite lake. It turned out to be kinda hot, and there may have been some whining, but I was grateful that everyone indulged me for one afternoon!
Being a mom is hard. So much responsibility rests on my shoulders and sometimes that overwhelms me. But it’s also brought more joy and love into my life than I could even put into words. It humbles me and teaches me how to appreciate small and simple things. So even though this year on Mother’s Day, I didn’t feel like I had been doing such a great job, I do know that I have little people who love me no matter what and a husband who supports me, and that’s all that really matters.
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our Easter and my favorite twirly dress!

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We had a really great Easter weekend! Pretty much every holiday is more exciting now that I’m at parent. I love doing special things for them. This year, Ande had seen a video where a kid planted jelly beans and by Easter they had “grown” into plastic Easter eggs. He was dying to try it out and see if it would really work. On the Friday before Easter, we went to my parents house and let the boys plant dozens of jelly beans in the grass. When we came over for Easter dinner on Sunday they were SO excited to find that all of their jelly beans were suddenly colorful eggs scattered throughout the yard!

On Sunday we got all dressed up in our Sunday best. I finally got to wear a dress that I fell in love with and bought a few weeks ago. It probably wouldn’t have fit if Easter was even one day later, but I sucked in and literally twirled in it all day long!

Another thing that made the weekend great was that I was filled with gratitude for my family and for this sweet baby kicking in my belly. Last year we battled hard with infertility. But as I took some time to think about the real reason for Easter, I felt so grateful that my Savior was right there with us through it all. Because of His sacrifice, he knew exactly how it felt and was there to comfort us at every turn.

I confess I still have a childish love for holiday traditions and gifts, but I’m glad I was able to look past the fun stuff a little bit this time and to reflect on the real gifts in my life!

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Boy’s shirts: Old Navy here and here
Boy’s bowties: imperfectly made last minute by me
My twirly dress: Chicwish

my blush pink skirt and my "outfit post" insecurities

Outfit details: 
Shirt from Old Navy
This skirt from H&M (and it looks to be on sale!)
I love clothes and I love shopping but for some reason, I’m always reluctant to post outfits here on Le Blog. I think part of it is due to the fact that I still feel silly posting pictures of myself in unnatural poses (not sure I’ll ever get over that one). It could also be that I have really specific taste and I don’t know if you guys will get tired of my insistence on only wearing dresses or skirts. I hate jeans. HATE them. And I’ll never be that girl in the cute skinny jeans and tall brown boots. I also have never found a pair of knee high boots that didn’t feel like clown shoes on me.
But in the off chance that you love dresses and skirts, and belong in a different era like me, I am going to share this feminine and comfortable outfit with you! I don’t think fall has to be all about the dark, rustic colors. This blush pink skirt and fun floral shirt are a great outfit for these cool mornings and warm afternoons that we are having right now! I also love the giant, deep pockets on this skirt to hold all of the Legos, snacks, and rocks that we collected while exploring a garden the day of this shoot!
And just so I can maybe add yet another skirt to my collection, what is your favorite go-to comfortable skirt!?

sunday style {my vintage dress refashion}

I got this dress at a clothing swap that we did with a group of women from church. I’m pretty sure it is originally from some time in the 90’s, and it was pretty big on me, but I saw so much potential in it! I loved the bright red color, which thankfully wasn’t faded, and who doesn’t love polka dots? The dress has these perfect little fabric covered buttons along the front and I particularly love the three buttons along the band at the waist. The chest is darted and the sleeves puffed just a little bit. Once I got the dress home I cut the sleeves so they would be a little shorter, but kept the “puff.” I took in the bodice on each side, all the way down to the waist, then tapered back into the original seam so that the skirt remained the same. Lastly, I took the hem up a few inches so that it hits just below my knees.

I love how this dress refashion turned out. It used to be a frumpy, shapeless, out of style dress and it became this amazing, vintage looking, 40’s style dress! I wore it this past week when my family and I stayed at a beach side cottage for the week. My mom and I had so much fun traipsing around the yard snapping photos of each other in our Sunday outfits! The big trees in the backyard reminded me of a southern plantation home from long ago, so it turned out to be the perfect backdrop for my little polka dotted vintage dress!

Taking old, forgotten things and making them fresh and new again is so fun! What are your consignment store clothing cast off redo’s? Share them with me via Instagram with #lovecityblog!

Dress: old, refashion by me