Sunday, August 30, 2015

Pinterest - The Devil or Best Invention EVER!?

Who isn't on Pinterest?  For that matter can you pronounce this wonderfully insane website??

It is addicting, there are meme's everywhere depicting how addicted we women are.  So how do you use it?  Are you pinning things just for fun?  Are you a craft enthusiast and make the things you pin?  Do you love food and pin all kinds of yummy things only to order pizza?  You could be a combinations of these or you use Pinterest for totally different reasons but in my case I am all of these things and more.

I started with a love of food.  I pinned so may Yummy Appetizers that I created a whole new board for it!  Then I moved onto Yummy Dinners because of course my family needs to eat dinner and what better way to find a good meal idea than Pinterest

And then I was hooked!

I was pinning everything from pictures, to dream vacation spots, desserts, clothes, funny things, you name it I will pin it if it's something I find awesome.  So a little while back I realized I was making my meal plans from Pinterest on a weekly basis so I created a board for my Weekly Menu Planning.  I have tried so many of these recipes that I pin the next step is to create a board that shares which recipes I have tried and enjoyed.

After awhile I realized I was gaining quite a lot of followers with is addicting let me tell you!  I am constantly pinning and editing my boards to make sure my Pinterest boards are interesting.  Why do I do all of this?  Well, there are millions upon millions of pins!  You could get sucked in for days!  However it has really helped me get organized with my weekly menu.  It has opened a world of food that I would have never found.  We are trying food from across the world which is so fun and interesting for the boys.

I have always been into crafts and DIY things for my house which as you probably know if you know anything about Pinterest those types of things are in abundance on Pinterest.

How do you use Pinterest?  Let me know in the comments and feel free to follow my pins!

If you are a blogger, small business owner, or just interesting in learning more about how to gain followers on Pinterest, send me an email and I would love to help!

 

The Reason We Drink

Have you ever had one of those days.  You know the one, where everything seems to be screaming "YOU'ARE FAILING!"??  Yea, you know the ones I am talking about.  The days when the baby has explosive diapers, he doesn't take a nap, and proceeds to cry all day long.  The days when you wake up and know its going to be a good day only to find a toilet overflowing, the light bulb is out in the kitchen, the dog pooped on the carpet and a certain 1 year old is playing in it....

I could go on but you get the point.  It's in those days that I just pray for 6 o'clock when my husband walks through the door and I can spend 5 blissful moments sipping a glass of wine while I peacefully cook dinner.  Did you get that, 5 minutes....

After those 5 minutes, the dog needs to go out, kids need mom for everything, and my husband has disappeared.  While there is nothing better than being a mom it is truly the most exhausting job you will ever have.  You cook, clean, make sure homework is done, change diapers, and worry every step of the way if you are screwing up.  No matter how together you are, we all have those days. 

This is why we drink.  Not because we are all raging alcoholics but because by the time evening rolls around we need just a small pick me up to get us to the next day. 


Wine, you beautiful thing you!

Do we actually "need" the wine?  No, but it's not really a need.  It's a want, it's one thing that is ours, not the kids!  Every time one of my boys asks me what I'm drinking, I always respond with "It's wine and is only for mommy" because lets face it, we share EVERYTHING with our children.  I cannot pee alone, or shower, dress, clean, cry, eat chocolate.  The list is endless. 

I love my kids, they are a blessing but mommy needs her wine.

 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Summer 2015 - In Pictures

Instead of writing a long post on what we did this summer I'll just keep it interesting and keep it easy.  So this summer told in pictures!


















Monday, April 20, 2015

Mourning The Loss - Being the Queen

I love my boys.

The dirty, messy, no frills, not much drama, booger eating, mud slinging, sports playing boys.  I love all of that.  The title of my blog says it all, it allows me to be the one and only Queen of this house but there are days, days like today, that that statement makes me sad. 

I find myself getting sad that the house is always dirty with mud, pee, grass, or leaves that the boys have brought in, spilled, or couldn't aim.  Seriously how do they get pee all over the toilet!!! 

When it comes to my shop, I can't help but makes girlie things and it doesn't help since I have one niece and she probably doesn't want all of my hand made stuff.  Even if she did, it's hard not being able to see her in it right away, dress her all of the time, or just see the excitement on her face and it's also not the same since she isn't mine but beyond that, I want that connection between my husband and his daughter. 

I will never be the mother of the bride and plan a wedding with my daughter.  I will never be able to hold her hand while she gives birth or go shopping together and listen to her talk about guys.  I will never hold her while she cries over her first heart break.  I will never fight with her over her clothes or teach her to be proud of who she is and never let someone else define her.  I will never have her as my best friend later in life when she calls and thanks me for being the best mom I could because she now has children of her own and understands.

When it comes to sons, they will eventually leave.  They have to and I get that.  They will eventually replace me with a wife of their own and I will no longer be the top woman in their lives.  I'm ok with this, I certainly don't want my mother in law put ahead of me and I know that one day I will have daughter in laws that I maybe close to but it's not the same.  They will have their own mother's.  

So, on days like this, I feel sad and I mourn the loss of a child that I never had and won't have.  I try not to indulge this feeling because I have no regrets and I love all of my boys.  I am beyond blessed to have 4 healthy and crazy kids.  I not only feel sad but then that sadness turns into mommy guilt...  yes, you know who she is... 

However for a short time I let myself mourn her, that sweet little girl that was not meant to be.  Then I laugh at the boys as they roll down the hill laughing while I secretly dread trying to get out the grass stains. 


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Planning Long Trips With 4 Kids

If you don't know this already, my husband is originally from Panama.  His grandfather, Aunt, and lots of cousins live there still so we try and get down there once every 2 years.  The first time we went Conner and Noah were 2 and 3.  The second time we added Evan who was a few months away from being 2.  This time we will be traveling as a family of 6!  What were we thinking?!?!

But seriously, it wasn't that hard since I planned way in advance for a multitude of things to keep the kids from going crazy.  This isn't a vacation where we go to a big city and do lots of things.  We fly into Panama City, spend the night in a hotel and then the following day drive 4 hours to Las Tablas which is a small town in the middle of no where.  Dariens grandfather has updated his house but there is little electricity, no AC (it's crazy humid and always around 88) and surrounded by cattle fields.  I don't mean it to sound boring because it's far from that but for kids it can be if we don't plan things.

We are going in June and will be gone for 10 days, I've already been planning and finding flights, rental cars( which is insane in itself), what to pack, etc.  This isn't my first rodeo but not only are we going to Panama but Conner asked to go camping for his birthday, and my wonderful parents scheduled a beach trip for July! 

Is it summer yet?

Everytime I feel overwhelmed, I sit down and work on planning everything. 

Next up, passports renewal for Conner and Noah plus a new passport for Ryan!

I won't be surprised if I end up with a ton of new gray hairs...

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Perfect Imperfections

I always knew I wanted 4 kids.

My dream was always a boy first (bc I wanted an older brother to protect me) and then a girl and twin boys.  I had pictures of each child in my mind and dreamed about them frequently, the husband never had a face.

Creepy right?!?!  What child dreams of a man without a face??  It wasn't a scary no face man, just more like I couldn't picture him.  Anyways, my dream was typically about breakfast and getting ready for work/school.  Then one day I sat down and looked at my life and realized although I love it, it's far from dream like.

I am a mom, and have always wanted to be a mom but it doesn't quite fulfill me.  As soon as I think those words the evil mom rears it's ugly head and tells me what a horrible mom I am for even having that thought.  You know that voice, the one that tells you that you aren't good enough?

You know you do, we all have it whether you are a mom or not.  Some people can ignore that voice better than others but in some way it affects us all.  Sadly for parents we don't just have our own voice, we have the voices of numerous others who choose to put you down for some reason or other.  You choose to homeschool, you're crazy and hurting your children by sheltering them from other kids.  You choose to go to McDonald's, you are horrible for feeding your child junk.  You let your 9 year old walk 2 blocks to the local park, you risk jail time for neglect.  The list goes on and on and there are people on both sides shouting.

For goodness sake people, give it a rest!!

As I sit here typing this my 3 year old is watching cartoons.  I look around at all of the toys my almost one year old has literally thrown all over the living room but is now napping.  There is laundry to be done, bathrooms to clean because there are 4 boys peeing all over the place.  Seriously can't you aim those thing directly into the toilet and not around it??  You get the point, there is a never ending list of things to get done and I never seem to be enough.

Yes, I never seem to be enough.  I'm not, I am not Wonder Woman, although I like to think I am at times.  I drink wine at night when the kids are all finally in bed.  I watch cartoons with Evan just to sit and snuggle with him so I have an excuse to not do my list of chores. 

I am not perfect, who is??  My kids are not perfect and never will be, so why do we try to reach some strange sense of normal or perfection? 

I'm perfectly ok with my imperfections about 95% of the time.

Hopefully I can learn to be ok with them more the older I get. 

So to sum this all up, MOMS!!  You are not perfect, none of us are, so stop letting the negative comments get to you.  The saying "It takes a village" is so true, so call your mom and remind her how much she means to you or call the person that showed you how to be happy in the imperfections.  Make a point to teach your kids that they aren't perfect and never will be.  We do the best we can and pray God helps us handle the rest.

Have a great day!

Side note, it's ok if you are in sweatpants all week.  I know I will be :)

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Four Boys One Queen - The Shop is Open

If you follow my blog you know that I have a crafting habit.  Typically it's just a couple things here and there when I get time but after the big move I needed something.  I have been a stay at home mom since my first son was born but even then I worked.  I coached cheerleading since he was 5 months old and worked at my families ice cream store nights and weekends.  So when we moved to Asheville all of that stopped.  My job became solely being wife and mom.  I've had no identity beyond that and I really didn't think it would be as hard as it was to live that life. 

So, I took up knitting again and started selling headbands which I love!  Of course the way my brain works I started branching off and wanting to make more and more different item's.  It took me a couple weeks to take a step back and think about where I wanted to go with this.  I needed to stick with things that didn't take a week to complete because being a mom of 4 boys I just didn't have the time to put into that.  So I pulled out my multiple boxes of crafting materials and got to work. 

Through the years I made jewelry, mostly for myself or friends but I had boxes of materials to work with and after a couple weeks of playing around with ideas an Etsy shop was born. 

If you are anything like my spouse you would think the whole "set up an Etsy shop" would be relatively easy but there is a lot that goes into it and some of it is just not my skill set but in order to grow you must live and learn. 

The first step was narrowing down items that I had perfected enough to sell.  I went through quite a few materials before this particular part happened.  Although nothing is every perfect I actually like it that way.  It's not made by a machine, it's made by me, BY HAND!  Then the next step is figuring out cost of materials, how much your time is worth, paypal and etsy fee's, and shipping.  All of this feeds into how much an item is worth and once you have figured that out there are still further steps!  Seriously, like way more work than I thought it would be but it was a challenge that I was excited about.

So, we have cost, list of items to sell, and now I needed pictures.  This is still a work in progress.  My cell phone takes relatively good pictures however my next step is more professional photo's of my items in order for my Etsy store to stand out. 

The store has been live for less than a week and I still find myself editing descriptions, adding more items, and perfecting pictures.  The best part is, is that it's mine!  I look at a finished project or a customer sends me a picture and I think, "I made that!".  This is so gratifying to do something and feel good about it that you're doing something people like.  When I was coaching, my goal was to make a difference and most of the time I was never really sure if I was.  A win was a huge accomplishment but the best part was knowing I was helping the girls themselves.  This shop gives me a little of that feeling back. 

It may not be much but it's mine and I'm enjoying every bit of it.

www.etsy.com/shop/FourBoysOneQueen

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Stitch Fix - Round 2

I love you Stitch Fix.

You really make shopping so much easier and I get so excited to see what surprises you have for me in that box on my front porch.  This box had so many positives and I totally almost kept all of it but regretfully I had to send some things back.  

This first picture is a lovely black and grey shirt which I added a tank under.  You can't tell from the photo but it's pretty see through without the tank.  I did keep this and I really loved the slight angle at the bottom.

Ugh this dress...  I tried so hard to find a way to keep it but it was just not super flattering.  The scarf helped but I didn't want to keep it and always have to add the scarf.  The lines at the top made my large chest look even bigger and there wasn't much definition in my waist which made me look much heavier than I am.


I ended up keeping this shirt although I couldn't get a picture of it that looked good.  Everytime I raised my arm it hung differently which isn't a very accurate representation of how it actually fit.  

Maybe I need a selfies stick...



This last picture is of 2 items, the blazer and the bracelet.  I kept the bracelet and returned the blazer.  I liked the fit of the blazer but I just couldn't see myself wearing it that often to make it worth the purchase.  However I loved the bracelet and I almost told my stylist not to send me anymore jewelry after the last time.  Thankfully I didn't because the silver and gold go with everything!

I am looking forward to my next fix and hopefully keeping all 5 items and getting the extra 20% off!  

Until next time!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Boots Are My Favorite

I love Winter and Fall for a lot of reasons but the main reason is that I can wear boots.  Any kind of boot!

My husband thinks I have too many and I of course think I could buy one pair a day for months and still find more that I love.  However, money doesn't grow on trees and my shoe closet doesn't look anything like Mariah Carey's. 

A girl can dream though...

Anyways, I decided today I would pull my outfit together around my riding boots.  When I get dressed my main thought is "will Ryan tug, chew, or slobber on this and will I look ok after that?"  So I threw on blue skinny jeans, a grey shirt that is actually a Gap maternity shirt (shhhh), and then I got stuck...

I always get torn with a scarf or necklace.  This outfit needs something big and colorful but Ryan will definitely chew on it and possibly break it and statement pieces like that aren't cheap or they are cheap (like the majority of mine :)) and will break easily.  Scarves are easy and add color that a necklace may not bring and I'll be honest, I have more scarves than shoes.  It's a problem, I know.

Hello my name is Amanda and I am a scarf addict.

So, this time I decided on both!  I don't normally do this but since my necklace is long and the scarf is on the thinner side, it works.  A larger scarf would look great too but then I would need to forgo the necklace. 

I am currently critiquing my picture, looking at the mess behind me when it suddenly dawns on me that this is life.  My life is messy with 4 boys and I rarely get time to just focus on myself so why cover it up.  Ryan cried most of the time I was getting ready and Evan needed help going to the potty.  You may wonder why I even bother looking nice, I wonder the same thing most days, but ultimately I feel more positive about the day when I look nice.  I may end up putting sweat pants on in a few hours and we may not make it to the store because stuff happens but I am the only girl in a house full of male testosterone and pee on the toilet.  I need to do something for myself.

What are you wearing today?

Monday, January 5, 2015

Confession Time - Is Yelling Affective?

Do you know who your biggest critic is?

You

Not Susie Pinterest or Karen the organizer or even Judy the judgemental, it's you.

You compare yourself to everyone you think is doing a better job than you.  You put yourself down for not living up to some standard that we set for ourselves that are 99% of the time unrealistic.  I say this not because I am judging you, putting you down, or just pointing out the obvious but because we are all the same.  You may struggle with different aspects of life than I am but we all struggle.  I have 4 boys, you may have 2 but both are hard!

My boys have recently began pushing me to the boiling point.  Some of its my own stresses from moving, dealing with a very needy 3 year old and 8 month old but it's also them getting older and pushing boundaries.  Plus, who am I kidding, they are boys!  Young men and we all know men don't typically listen that well...

Sorry men...  but it's true.

I find myself repeating the same things over and over again until I lose it and yell.  I then spend 10 to 15 minutes beating myself up about yelling and promise myself to do a better job the next time until the next time comes and it's the same vicous cycle all over again.

At the same time I am typing this Ryan is screaming for the 4th time tonight.

So does yelling work?  It seems like it, at least it gets their attention but are the down sides out weighing the positive of them finally paying attention?  I'm not sure if it does but nothing else seems to be working.

As a mom I am tired.

The little ones need me all of the time but the older ones are growing so fast I feel like they are growing too far away from me.  Is this a common theme with families of more than three kids?  I surely cannot be alone in this but I feel like it.

I worry the most about Noah, my sweet sweet Noah who seems to be struggling the most with his younger siblings.  I want more time with him to nurture his sweet side but I can't seem to find enough time in the day when Ryan doesn't need me or Evan who has an insanely strong personality is being his very crazy self.

I don't have the answers, who does?  We do what we can to the best of our ability and give the rest to God.  It's all I can do as a very imperfect person.

Ultimately I love my boys and am 200% determined to show them and tell them as often as I can.

Stitch Fix - This is why I don't like clothes shopping

I look forward to these emails now.

That email from Stitch Fix let's me know that the box is on its way and I track the box every single day until it's on my steps and then I have the joy of opening it! 

What is Stitch Fix?  Well, it's heaven in a box for all of you who like clothes but don't have the time to deal with shopping.  You can sign up to receive your fix as often as every week or once every other month.  Once you sign up you are asked a lot of questions about your style which helps your personal stylist choose the best options for you.  You can also link your Pinterest board which is awesome since pinning is my hobby. Is that a legitimate hobby?  Maybe not but who cares, it is now!  So, back to the point, you will receive 5 items in each box and you can select what you want to see more of.  I don't wear that much jewelry but the stuff that I do wear tends to be staple pieces so I requested jewelry to come not that often.  You can choose your price range and if you want accesories then you just wait for your first fix!  You will be charged $20 when it ships but that will be credited to whatever you purchase and if you send it all back then it will go towards your next box.  Anything you send back is sent back in a prepaid shipping bag that you just drop off at the post office!  It's that easy folks!

So let's move on to the good stuff!

This week my 5 things included 2 shirts, one pair of black pants, a sweater/jacket, and a necklace.  I also got a very sweet note from my sylist commenting on how awesome my Pinterest page was and she loved my style.  She probably saw this to everyone but of course it was a little boost to my fragile mommy self.

Ok so here is my honest opinion...

Side note - try and ignore the mess and the toddler bed in the corner...  



The first picture is the shirt, necklace and. black pants.  I like the fit of the shirt except the neck is large and shows my bra strap which I am not a fan of.  The necklace is ok but feels like cheap plastic and for $40, not worth it to me.  The pants fit great and are a legging feel without the thinness of a legging.  They stretch a bit but hold up so I'm hoping they don't stretch out like jeans. 

 


The second photo is the sweater/jacket which I just added to the top of the previous outfit which may have changed the fit.  It's very soft and comfortable with a funky design but it seems to hit me in a strange way and it could very much be because of my boob size but I'm on the fence either way.


Now onto the last piece...  I love love love this color but I knew when I saw the style sheet that it wouldn't be flattering.  This type of blouse just makes me look pregnant and I totally blame the boobs this time.

They are always getting in my way and sabotaging very lovely outfits.  

All in all I am definitely keeping the pants but will sleep on the dark grey shirt and jacket.  For sure going back is that beautiful emerald shirt and necklace.  

Check out my Pinterest page for more style options and if you are interested in a Fix of your own to you can sign up for your own Stitch Fix!  

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Moving is hard! And lonely...

What a lame subject...

We moved almost 2 months ago and the kids are doing fantastic.  We love living here and the holidays were insane but now we can settle in a little bit more and it's a little more intense...

...

(... = me trailing off into eye rolls and a big sigh)

.........

Ok so the boys have made friends, they love the new house, both seem to be adjusting to school, we love trying new things and getting outdoors.  There is so much to do and see plus everywhere you go you see mountains!  It's heaven!

And here it comes...

The but.

But it's lonely.  I miss my family and friends.  I miss my spouse who works way more now than he use to which I knew going into this that a promotion meant more time at work.

The absence of the holidays means reality of being here alone sets in.

I am not a shy person but I'm picky about my friends.  Friends are not something I rush into and I am not use to being mom 24/7 and nothing else.

That sounds harsh.

I love my kids but they are not my identity. 
I'm sure this phase will get easier but right now it's really hard and feeling distant from the hubs makes it worse.

If you have made it this far into my depressing post, thank you. :)

On a positive note!  Baby weight is falling off with all of these stairs!  There are stairs everywhere and carrying my 8 month old 22 lb chunk is a total work out.  Bad/good part is I need smaller pants but I purged them all before the move because I gave up fitting back into them. 

Enter Stich Fix! 

I started using them in November because I just don't have time to shop so they do it for me!  My next fix comes Monday and I can't wait to see what they send.

My New Year's goal is to not be a stranger to my lonely blog.  :)

I'll be back!