This is me

Thursday, August 31, 2017

The other day I took a quick peek at some of my early blog posts...waaaaay back in 2011 when I first started this little ol' thing. I was trying to remember why I started this blog, and as I stumbled through some embarrassingly weird, awkward, rambly posts (as mine often tend to be), I remembered that I started it for myself. This was back before social media was what it is today- basically the ruler of our modern lives. Back when I started this blog, blogging was the way to connect with other people, to share your life with your family and friends, and to keep a sort of record of your daily or weekly happenings. I started it because I liked to write, even though I'm not the best at it. I'm not some eloquent speaker, nor do I come across that way in print, but I've always loved journaling and writing my thoughts and ideas down...even if it's just for myself. Most of my stuff ends up being way too long or wordy, but that's me- I'm the friend who sends you a wall of text on Facebook messenger or in a text message.

Nevertheless, my point with that already too-long introduction paragraph, is that while browsing through some of my archives, I realized how different I was back then. That while this little blog URL might still be the same, the person writing it isn't. When I shared my very first blog post I was a 20-something stay at home mom with two little kids. I was bored and lonely. My two kids were the easiest, sweetest, super low-maintenance, most self-sufficient kids on the planet, and I was living in a new town with no friends or family close by. I needed something for myself. So I started this as a hobby, to keep track of things, share my latest crafts and projects (back when I still had time for that sort of thing), and to occasionally get a little too personal and ramble my way through whatever little "thing" I was going through or dealing with at the moment. All of that seems like a lifetime ago, and the person I was back then feels like a completely different version of myself. Since it's been a whopping 6 years and counting since my first little introduction, I felt like maybe I should introduce myself now.

Where do I even start? If someone asked me to tell a little about myself, I honestly don't know what I'd really say at this point. All of my adult life "who I am" has always been defined by my marriage, my children, my job, and what I like to do for fun. Those are the basics, right? Let's see- I'm a 30-something, still-married mom of four kids. I went to beauty school 10 years ago and quickly realized that I didn't want to be working in a salon setting and that I just wanted to be a stay at home mom. I'd now consider myself a mom who works from home, running my blog and my new-ish home business (SeneGence) from my house while trying to juggle motherhood and wife stuff. Most days I feel like I fail to keep all of those balls in the air. This last year has been a freaking doozy (more on that in another upcoming post- I promise), so my blogging has slowed down considerably lately. My hobbies include drinking coffee, trying (usually failing) to keep the house clean, and making sure each child makes it to bed still alive and breathing at the end of the day. Once upon a time, my bio probably said something about loving to read, write, sew, craft, etc. Now I can't even remember the last time I picked up a book (that wasn't made of cardboard so a baby can't tear it up) and my sewing machine is sitting in a corner of my basement covered in a thick layer of dust and surrounded by half-unpacked boxes from our move 6 months ago. I used to love keeping up on the latest nail trends, staying up late doing something crafty, and devouring books like they were my favorite cup of coffee, but nowadays I just don't have the time. While I used to live for doing my nails on the weekly, getting dolled up almost every day and keeping my hair freshly colored no matter what, now I find myself with broken, chipped nails (oh, the horror for this nail tech!), my makeup gets done maybe 2 days a week (when I'm leaving the house), and my hair maintenance is laughable (thank goodness that ombre, roots-showing look is still somewhat in style, am I right?)

The old me probably wouldn't recognize the me that I see in the mirror now, and that's something I've been struggling with lately. Have you ever heard the phrase "Comparison is the thief of joy?" It's so relevant for me. Not because I'm comparing myself to other people (which I totally do too), but because I'm comparing myself to the person I used to be. That young, naive, overly-eager girl has been replaced by an older, slightly wiser, way more tired, busy mom of four just trying her damnedest to take care of her family, keep the love alive in her marriage, and raise kids who grow up to not be assholes. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in what I'm not anymore that I fail to see what I am.

So here's a little reintroduction of sorts for you guys, but mostly for myself, because I need to just be OK with who I am now at this point in my life. I'm a wife. A mom. A beauty enthusiast. A book lover who doesn't read. A crafter with lots of good ideas and no time to follow through. I was born in California, moved to Idaho for my school years, and I now consider Washington my home. I hate to cook. I yell at my kids. Cleaning is my therapy. I love coffee more than food. I'm a procrastinator. I loathe grocery shopping. I think every mom should drive a minivan (cuz they are awesome!) I'm a former TV junkie. I can sew but I don't follow patterns. I'm very impatient. I have major anxiety and am dealing with PPD. I hate sweating and feeling hot. I love to get mail. I'm an Amazon addict. I think I'm funny. I love to make lists. I have a really hard time talking about things face to face. I don't like the taste of alcohol. I'm not a fan of sports. I love hanging out at home. I have naturally curly hair that I hate. I'm terrified of flying. I love candy and sweets. I'm not a fan of talking on the phone. I've never left the west coast. I can grow anything in my backyard but I kill indoor houseplants every single time. And I hate wearing jeans. This is me. *waves*

Baby Loved, Science Proven

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Playtime is such a crucial part of early childhood development. Babies and children learn through playing, so wouldn't it make sense that we should be picky about their toys? Lamaze Toys are baby loved and science proven, meaning they are designed with every stage of your baby's development in mind. I'm sharing a few of our favorite Lamaze Toys, as well as a promo code to get 20% Lamaze Toys on Amazon, so read on to see which ones my kiddos and I recommend. 

Octotunes has got to be Josiah's favorite. This adorable, giant plush octopus has 8 musical tentacles that are made of different textures and patterns. When squeezed, they play a different musical note, so you and baby can make some sweet music together. Josiah laughs when you squeeze them- a skill he's mastering once he has a little more hand strength. He loves to stare at the big, friendly eyes and smile, which promotes healthy eye development. He loves wrestling around with this thing! It's fun to watch his face when he falls over and accidentally hits a musical note. 

Cosimo Concerto is a soft, plush zebra that doubles as a piano. Each of the colorful stripes plays a different note when pressed. The bright, bold colors and patterns are great to help your baby focus and stimulate visual development. The crinkles and multiple textures are fun to feel and stimulate tactile senses. There's also a switch you can flip on the back to play musical tunes instead of just notes, which encourages movement! Josiah likes to rock and sway when squeezes the zebra and turns on the music. 

Lastly, the Counting Animals Book was a big hit for us. Josiah loves things that crinkle, and he loves flipping through books and stares at the pages. This interactive book has high contrast pages for him to look at and work on his visual development. He's able to grip and grab the soft, crinkly pages and develop fine motor skills. He loves to grab his book and bring it over to me- already knowing perfectly how to climb up on my lap as we turn the pages together and count the different animals. I also love that this book has a little clip on it, so I can easily hook it on his car seat or stroller strap so he has something to look at in the car or while running errands. I can always hear the crinkling from the backseat!  

Right now through August 26th you can get 20% off Lamaze Toys on Amazon by clicking here and using the promo code 20octotunes! If you or someone you know has or is expecting a baby, pass along this code to them- Lamaze Toys make a great baby shower or new baby gift and promote independent learning. 

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Melissa Swenson and Lulu & Sweet Pea