Motherhood and the Fear of Missing Out

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Jam is a second grader. Can you believe it? According to my archives, I started this blog over 3 years ago before she even began kindergarten. I remember writing about those trying times and wondering what the future would hold.

Well, I guess it held second grade because here we are.

Last year, with Jam being hospitalized and all of us being extremely traumatized from that ordeal, we decided to ease into the school year. We started late, took our time, didn’t sweat the BS, and for the most part, everything went smoothly. Would you believe that this year has been the total opposite? Like the complete opposite of last year. Between both my husband and I starting new jobs, Jam starting school, plus some of other family drama that spilled over into the fall, this school year has been quite the challenge. I’ve had to set some boundaries that I’ve never had to set before and it’s difficult. Challenges that I never thought I’d have to deal with are starting to come to ahead and I’m not sure how to respond. I guess we’ll just have to see how that plays out.

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Raising a Caring Kid

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Denny’s. All opinions are my own.

Caring Kid

I’ve always been a “do-gooder.” From as far back as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to help people, show them that someone cared, and just be there. I’m sure that totally explains my initial desire to go into law, and my subsequent career in social work. Just a natural “do-gooder,” I guess. Unfortunately, I think that my desire to help comes from the fact that I really, really wanted someone to help me as a child. Coming from a family that had very little, I can attest to what it feels like to go without. And quite frankly, it sucks. It’s like you’re living on the outside of life. You can see all these things happening around you, but you’re not a part of them. It’s like everyone is leading a life that you can see, but can’t touch. Like I said, it sucks. One thing that being poor taught me, though, was the importance of caring about other people. When our family had nothing, there were so many people that reached out helping hands. From helping us get furniture, to making sure that my brother and I experienced childhood things like amusement parks, slumber parties, etc, to giving us clothes and shoes when we needed them.  As a child, I admit that I thought it was super embarrassing to be wearing my friends’ hand me downs, but I was thankful nonetheless. When I look back on those times, it’s amazing to me how far I’ve come and how those experiences shaped me into the person I am today. One of the beautiful things that my childhood experiences gave me was the ability to care. I can’t say that I wouldn’t have been the person that I am today, had I not gone through what I went through as a child. I can’t say that. I definitely think that hardships mold you and can make you into a better person if you allow them to, but do you have to go through hardships to become caring? To be a better person? Absolutely not. I mean, if I have any say so in it, my daughter will never go through a hardship that I and her father can’t handle. However, my expectation is that she still become a caring person and that begins by becoming a caring kid.

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Back to School with a Kid-Friendly Snack Station

 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ZiplocBackToSchool #CollectiveBias

Easy snacks in ziplock in cookie jar for easy, diy snack station.

School’s out for summer! Psyche! School’s actually quite in, or at least it will be in within the next few weeks or so. Just like every other parent in America with school age children, we are officially in back-to-school prep mode. This means going school supply shopping, figuring out what we’re going to do for lunch and getting ready to jump into our new back-to-school routine. I know that usually this time of year comes with a lot of excitement for both parents and kids. I’ve already started daydreaming about all the ways I’m going to make this year amazing for Jam. So, I’m saying goodbye to the PTA, goodbye to the District Advisory Committee, and hello to more mindful, engaged parenting. This includes making sure that everything has a place, and that everything is in its place, starting with snacks.

Seriously, am I the only parent in the world that has a hungry, hungry hippo child by the time they get home from school? My child, as tiny as she is, is like The Hulk when it comes to snacking after school. From the time the car door slams when she gets picked up from school, all I hear is, “Mommy, I’m so hungry!” Once we’re home, it’s hardcore foraging and constant questions like, “Can you make me this? Do we have that? Why don’t we ever have foooood!?!”

Ya’ll, the struggle is real.

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Birthdays Are a Big Deal & How to Celebrate Solo

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SendSmiles #CollectiveBias

birthday

A few weeks ago, Jam turned 7.

I’m not sure what it is about turning 7, but it just seems like she’s not a baby anymore. She so grown up, you know? From waking up when she’s told, to showing care and compassion for others, to saving money and setting goals. Now don’t get me wrong–we still have our days, but for the most part, I can tell that my little girl is becoming my big girl. This year, we decided to celebrate her special day with a solo birthday celebration.

white frosting cupcake with confetti sprinkles and a number 7 candle

Why a solo celebration?

As an introverted mom, I have a hard time with parties. There’s just too much…activity. There’s too much noise and too much movement. And that’s just being at a party! I couldn’t imagine hosting one. With that said, I do realize that one day, I’ll have to bite the bullet and throw a party for Jam. She wants it and honestly, I believe that every child should have a party. Birthdays truly are a big deal. While I’m sure there are some parents that feel like I do, I know that there are other parents that actually would like to throw a major soiree, but can’t for various reasons. Maybe it’s a lack of funds, or as in our case, a lack of space? Or maybe (just maybe) a huge party is not the kid’s style? As a child, I also thought I wanted a party, but deep down I know that I wouldn’t have enjoyed it. So over the years, I’ve found some great alternatives for parties. I’ve celebrated my birthday with an intimate dinner with my close friends, been whisked away on an impromptu getaway with only my husband, and on some birthdays I’ve just been left alone to have my own “private party” as India Arie would say. I’m no amateur when it comes to celebrating birthdays solo.

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House Hunters

Today I signed my last lease agreement. Next year this time, I won’t be an apartment dweller, but a homeowner. Yay! Cue the band.

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In addition to working and saving like woah, this also means that we’ve officially become house hunters. Eek! Almost every weekend, we jump in the car as a family and ride through Omaha’s many, many neighborhoods, oohing and ahhing over what our city as to offer. We pull up in the driveway (if the home is vacant) to see how it would feel coming home every evening. Does it feel like home? Would I be proud to look up and see this home, my home, every day?

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Does the front door look and feel welcoming? Can I imagine looking out my front door or bay window and seeing my daughter and her friends walking up the sidewalk from school? It may seem like we’re putting a lot of pressure on this “driveway test” and that we’re being silly, but we’re honestly very serious. As a family, we’ve experienced what it’s like to be uncomfortable in our own home and it’s not cool. Not cool at all. So we test. If the home passes the “pull in test,” we grab a flyer, make note of the realtor, and conduct a little research once we get home.

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As I said before, we’re still a year out from buying. We have sooo many things to get into place that it’s kind of overwhelming. Credit, a preapproval, down payment, closing costs, etc are just a few things that we’re working on to be as competitive as possible come 2016. So that’s why we’re starting so early.

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We are so stinkin’ excited…and nervous. Since we’ll be the first ones in our immediate families to own homes, we’re literally starting from scratch. I’m researching everything I can with relation to home ownership and talking to everyone who’s willing to talk to me. Luckily, I have some awesome co-workers that are willing to share their knowledge about the home buying process and steps we should take. They’re even commending us for putting so much thought into and for starting so early! I found that hilarious because I figured that was what everybody did.

So the countdown to getting those keys for the Morris’ humble abode is in full effect!

What advice would you give new “house hunters?”

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