Once upon a time, there was a family of 4, a father, mother, daughter and son. This family of 4 always spent lots of quality time with family. The mother’s family was from Evansville and the father’s family was from West Virginia. Growing up, this family had many traditions, including many Easters spent in West Virginia and many Thanksgivings in Evansville and a few Christmases when the kids were babies. As the kids grew up, the daughter ended up loathing travel for the holidays. After all, that was the time that all her friends had plans and wanted her to be a part of them, that was a week or more out of school that she should be spending with her friends. The brother never seemed to mind spending the holidays away as much as the social butterfly daughter with a friends only agenda. He enjoyed the “nothing to do” country scene and spent his time hunting or fishing with the father and grandpa.

Every trip to Evansville seemed to cause more boredom than the previous trip for the daughter. It was the 90’s and her grandparents lived in front of a cow pasture in the middle of nowhere with no VHS player or cable. No call waiting and no long distance either. The daughter finally started bringing her own VHS player and hooking it up in the basement of her grandparents house and spent her days watching every movie imaginable and writing scripts for movies because there was nothing else to do. She and her brother spent time feeding the cows and playing with the neighbor’s husky pups and the neighborhood basset hound Buford. The only thing enjoyable about the trips to Evansville was when A League of Their Own was filmed there and the daughter was able to visit all the sites and see first hand for herself how awesome the magic of movies was; not that she didn’t already know.

The family became busier and busier as the kids got older. FINALLY Christmases and Thanksgivings were spent in town, at the family’s house and the grandparents would drive up from Evansville for a week or two at a time to visit. This made the daughter happy and the son was happy too, even though he still scheduled mini trips to Evansville to hunt with family from time to time. The grandparents would come up for 2 weeks at Christmastime. They would bring Little Debbie Dunkin Stiks and cinnamon pin wheels. They would also bring Christmas happy meal toys from McDonalds along with our present of cash in a bright red envelope, sometimes with a $2 bill included for fun. The parents enjoyed having a built in babysitter so they could finish Christmas shopping and the daughter enjoyed not having to miss time with her friends. The mother and grandmother were very close. Secretly, I think the mother loved that the grandmother did dishes every night and laundry too. Oh and speaking of laundry, it was always folded in the living room during All My Children or General Hospital and the washcloths were always folded diagonally, not in a square. The mother hated the drama of soap opera’s but the daughter always enjoyed the “green light” to watch them when the grandparents visited.

The grandparents also started visiting for a few weeks at a time during the summer. They would help with the mother’s annual yard sale and visit with the family. As the kids got older and their lives got busier, they realized it was a good thing that the grandparents came to visit so they could spend some family time with them.

Years passed, and the grandmother became sick. The mother invited her to come live with her family so that she could take of the grandmother. The grandmother agreed and came to live with the family. Under the mother’s care, the grandmother improved and was able to move back home. After a few rough winters with several bouts of pneumonia and congestive heart failure, the grandmother passed away. Life changed, and the grandfather had a double knee replacement surgery and was wheelchair bound for over a year. He was no longer able to drive, so the visits to the family ended. No more Christmases with dunkin stiks and pin wheels, no more summer visits with General Hospital and diagonally folded washcloths. No more stories from the grandfather about how he met someone at the local Dairy Queen that was “looking for her”. The daughter thought she was tired of the story after hearing it for 15 years, until it was no longer told to her. The grandfather started showing signs of dementia and was placed in a nursing home a few years later.

Visits were made to the nursing home by the mother and father and sometimes the son and daughter. It was sad. It was lonely and the grandfather wasn’t the same. The mother would send Christmas gifts and decorations for his room and the uncles would visit and take photos of the grandfather’s progress. The grandfather had his good days and bad and many ups and downs. He passed away in his sleep on January 18th, 2016 at 86 years of age.

There is a piece that will never be filled quite like it once was. The annoying trips to the middle of nowhere with no VHS player, the many hours conquering boredom by writing pages and pages of scripts, the staying home on a Friday night because the parents said the grandparents were coming to visit, the long visits during Christmas breaks and the long visits in the summer.

The daughter is this girl writing this, and this girl will miss all of those things.

My heart hurts a little around Christmas every year, thinking about the feelings of pure excitement my brother and I had when our grandparents would come up during our Christmas breaks. Excitement because their arrival signaled the start of Christmas break. Excitement because grandparents always brought the best candies and goodies, excitement that Christmas was just weeks away. A few months ago I spoke to my cousin about this and she felt the same way. If only we would have appreciated it more back when it was happening. But, that’s how things go….hindsight, you know?

This chapter has ended but we will forever have our memories. My only hope is that our own kids have fond memories to look back upon. That they will be able to tell stories about their parents taking them on annoying, boring trips to visit family. Though it may seem like the craziest thing in the world during those younger years, those memories will be the ones they treasure when they are parents themselves.

Rest in Heaven Grandpa, I wish you eternal life with Grandma, that includes plenty of bingo, sweets, story telling, vegetable soup (with the corn picked out) and music.

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Christmas, around 2 years old. Sitting on my grandparents old green striped couch.

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My Uncle Randy and Aunt Brenda’s wedding. I was upset because I decided at the last minute I didn’t want to be the flower girl, but I wanted to wear the dress.

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My grandma and grandpa at my Uncle Randy and Aunt Brenda’s wedding. I’m sure it was my mom taking the picture since everyone’s heads are cut off and my grandma’s eyes are closed. 😉

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Thanksgiving at my grandparents house. I have no idea why my brother looks like he’s auditioning for a Coke commercial.

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Such a great picture!

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Buford, the basset hound

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My grandpa, my mom and my Uncle Randy at Brock and I’s wedding

https://modmommymk.wordpress.com/2016/01/19/939/

New Year! New Outlook!

What will the New Year bring for you?The New Year is always fun for me. I think it just kind of gives everyone the clean slate they need. Usually December is crazy busy and stressful and then you get to sleep in a few days and wake up with a new outlook.  

Also, I always find myself doing the same two things on New Years Day; watching Clueless and getting on the treadmill while watching Friends….but only the episodes from the first 3 seasons. Apparently something happened to me in 8th grade over Christmas break that was magical because I seem to do these 2 things every year and Clueless came out on VHS on Christmas break my 8th grade year and Friends was in Season 2 that year. Strange how memories like that can make my stress melt away, even just for 2 hours or so.

I was able to be home for about a week and it was just me and the boys, all day, everyday. It was so nice to be able to get up, make them breakfast, play a game with them, read to them, get on the treadmill for 45 minutes during nap time and have dinner fixed. I felt like I actually had “ME” in my life again. Even though I only spent about 45 minutes actually on me with treadmill time, I was able to truly accomplish a few things everyday and it brought such a sense of relief. I mean, BIG relief. That should be a sign. That should tell me something. I need to slow down and spend more time with my kids, I need to be able to fix dinner even though I hate being in the kitchen, I need to have a bit of time for me and get on the treadmill. 

I’m trying this new concept out…..when anxious (which is a lot) or nervous (which is a lot) jump on the treadmill (if I am at home and if the kids are safely occupied) and see where it gets me. I want to escape to the Friends world, even if it’s just for 30 minutes; most likely letting my mind get caught up in my favorite TV show will ease some of my tension.

Aside from trying to spend more quality time at home with the family and fixing meals, I would love to go to a professional makeup artist….and learn makeup tips and tricks specifically for my face. I’m not talking about someone who works part time at the MAC counter on weekends…..I’m talking about someone local that works on television sets or on actual talent that has done makeup their entire life. I also want to be a lipstick wearer! I have always been a bronzer and eye makeup type of girl, but I feel like I want to give lipstick a shot. Nothing like Gwen Stefani red or anything, but just a hint of color with a gloss over it.

Speaking of makeup, another goal of mine this year is to transition to natural makeup. I use organic brushes (most of the time) and organic skin care (most of the time-but for the most part I haven’t found a skin care system I like and trust) and I’ve tried organic mascara with no luck, but now that Jessica Alba’s Honest Beauty line has launched, I’m so excited about transitioning to natural makeup! I’m ordering the “everything primer” and eye pencils this weekend. I’ve noticed eyeliner runs by the end of the day and makes my eyes burn. At first I thought it was my mascara, so I went about 3 days without wearing mascara to test this theory and it was still happening and the only thing I was wearing around my eyes was a 3.00 cover girl eye pencil. After I integrate the primer and eye pencils into my everyday routine, then I’m moving onto the powder in a darker color for a bronzer and a luminizer. I’m not sure whether I will switch my eye shadows and lip color yet. As mentioned before, I don’t really wear a lot of lip stick and I’m REALLY set on my MAC lip glass since it’s basically been my favorite lip gloss since I was 19. But, regardless, I feel like I’m doing a great thing by switching to organic products that cover 95% of my face and right around my eyes. The primer will be on my eyelids before applying eye shadow anyways, so there is an organic barrier there. Or, at least that’s what I tell myself.  Seriously though, check out http://www.honestbeauty.com

 They have everything from skin care to foundation, lip crayons, eye shadows, eye plumper and lots of other fun finds. Have questions? The staff is AMAZING at answering any question and they will pack it full of stats and helpful information.  

I also want to spend a little time decorating our house a bit and my husband is planning on building a built in shelving system in our playroom and living room. So that’s really exciting too!

What are some things you plan to get done this year? Please share!

 

 

 

My Christmas wish to you…

My Christmas wish to you is simple. Love Jesus, Love family, Love yourself and love to love.

Christmas was hands down my most favorite holiday growing up. Gifts played a part in that of course, but I really, honestly, believed in the magic of the season. My brother and I would put up lights around our bedroom ceilings and windows, we would decorate trees for our rooms, we would sing Christmas songs together, go to Church programs, help my mom bake her famous sugar cookies and sit and listen for reindeer hooves on the roof on Christmas Eve. We were in the moment and loving every second of the season.

When Brayden came along, I tried my hardest to make sure he had some Christmas tradition in his life and I worked so hard to make Christmas the most wonderful time of the year for him. I wanted him to feel how my brother and I felt every Christmas.

Somewhere a long the way it got really hard to even accomplish the basics.

The other night I was having (dramatic girl voice) “the worst day ever”. I cried and it’s like a faucet turned on and I couldn’t stop crying. I was to the point of never using Instagram again. I couldn’t handle seeing ONE MORE PICTURE of families at Yuletide, Christmas at the Zoo, downtown, baking together or basically any Christmas related task. I was so stressed about getting wrapping done, all my shopping done, getting the playroom cleaned up and ready for the next round of toys to come home from Christmas gatherings and only a billion other things. This was after working about 45 hours last week and a few nights getting home when Mason was already asleep, which basically rips my heart into pieces and feels like the pieces are being stomped on.

I don’t have time to bake or have Christmas craft time with my kids; I barely see them during the week! And scratch any type of baking in general because I haven’t had a few extra hours to do it—even on the weekends. I will say that the intention was there though, which is why I have 4 bags of mini chocolate chips in my baking cabinet and 2 bags of coconut and about 5 different types of flour. I tried to have a family night one night a couple weekends ago and drive downtown to see the circle and tree, and Brayden complained after about 10 minutes because all he wanted to do was get to Target to get a toy. We did get to make a very quick trip to see Santa last Friday though, we saw Santa, grabbed take out and headed home since the boys were both hungry. Brayden didn’t want to watch a Christmas movie, so Brock and I sucked it up and bought Minions for him. I feel like a terrible parent this time of year because on a normal day, I’m basically just trying to keep my head above water. Throw in the fun activities and tasks that Christmas brings and I’m spent.

When did this happen? When did normal every day things come between the joy I used to always feel at Christmas? The even bigger question is….what do you do to fix it? I have to have a job, our kids have to go to school, homework doesn’t stop, evenings don’t get longer, houses don’t clean themselves….

I mean, there are some really crappy things happening around the world right now. I think a lot of people wonder if it will ever get better or become a kinder place to live. It makes me very thankful for what God has given to us.

Here’s what I do know, even with all the crazy I listed above, as with anything in life, it just takes one person to take the lead. Start leading by example, start making kindness contagious. Good ol fashioned pure kindness and genuine love. One by one, and after a while it will make a difference. Love to love. Tell your kids you love them often, your spouse, your parents, and friends….mood boosters like that are passed on when you make someone else’s day.

Love Jesus. After all, Christmas is the celebration of His birth. A few days ago, when I was having my “worst day ever”, the only thing I knew to do was get my Bible. Only, I couldn’t find it. So, I ended up with Brayden’s Bible, reading chapter after chapter. The more I read, the more I could feel my insides unwinding and my mind calming down. I prayed for Him to lead me down the right path and for my family and I to never forget the reason for the season of giving and to always be thankful for what we have.

Love yourself. You know what they say? You have to love yourself before you can love others. Make good decisions, get your health on track, do something nice for someone else, pay it forward, have more friends nights, have more date nights. I’m personally taking my own advice on this one. Life gets complicated and extremely busy, but I need to plan ahead more. I will probably be just as busy next year, maybe busier, but there has to be a way to squeeze more time out of the day for family. My goal for 2016 is to schedule a date night more than 2 times a year, and around the holidays I will make a calendar of events I would like to take the kids to, so everyone knows in plenty of advance so we can all plan our schedules accordingly.

 

I wish you a wonderful, fantastic, super, stupendous, slap happy, amazing, joyous MERRY CHRISTMAS.

From my family to yours….. xoxoxo

 

 

Throw Back…on a Monday

Throwing it way back to November 2012 today with THIS POST 

Enjoy!!

Favorite Fall Scents–the Natural Way!

It’s finally fall. Mixed feelings, as you know (refer HERE and HERE). Living in Indiana, you get to experience all four seasons. I’m more of a three season type of girl myself. Maybe one day I will live in a state that only experiences three seasons.  Even though I DREAD what comes after fall, I do think fall is gorgeous here and there are so many great things about the season that I like!

My absolute favorite three things about fall are:
The food
The fashion
The smells

I know everyone is thinking “OK, smells, Mary?” But, hear me out!  A lot of memories can be brought on from a scent.  When you smell fresh air and cut grass, you think of summer.  When I smell warm spicy smells and citrus together, I think of fall.

I used to be the girl running to Bath and Body Works when the fall candles came out. I would also stock up on their fall scented wall plug-ins.

Last year, after getting started with essential oils, I decided I was no longer going to be the candle/wall plug-in girl. There are so many carcinogens in those manufactured products, and I’m assuming the better the plug-in smells, the more junk it contains. I didn’t want our kids to be breathing the chemicals all the time, not to mention the plug-ins are major fire hazard! I guess I could learn how to make my own scented candles, but that sounds like it would take a lot more time than I have right now.

Now I use our home diffuser from Young Living (part of the premium starter kit) and a variety of 100% pure essential oils from Young Living. I can mix-and-match to make the perfect fall scents and the best thing is that I can breathe easy (pun intended) knowing it is not hurting my family’s lungs, or putting our house in danger while we are gone for long periods of time.

Here are some of my favorite oily combos to diffuse for fall:

–Thieves (8 drops)
–Thieves with Orange (6 drops Thieves, 4 drops Orange)
–Christmas Spirit (6-8 drops)
–Clove with Orange (5 drops Clove, 3 drops Orange)
–Cinnamon Bark (6-8 drops)
–Cinnamon Bark with Orange (6 drops CB and 4 drops Orange)
–Thieves with Lemon (6 drops Thieves, 6 drops Lemon)

{Thieves, Lemon and the home diffuser are all included in the Premium Starter Kit with Young Living.  Until October 31, 2015, I will be giving a bottle of Orange or Christmas Spirit to anyone who purchases a Premium Starter Kit}

With just one home diffuser, we can safely enjoy fall scents throughout the entire first floor of our home!  We have a really open entry way that opens up to a huge loft when you walk up the stairs, so if I have the diffuser going in the kitchen, I can even smell whatever is diffusing upstairs in the loft area as well.

An added bonus, when you are diffusing oils, you will also receive the therapeutic benefit as well.  2 birds. 1 stone.

I can’t control a lot of things in life, but this is something I actually can control.  To me, it’s the best of several worlds…it’s completely natural, it is therapeutic and if our 2 year old gets into it and spills it, it’s a cool mist (similar to a humidifier) and won’t hurt him like candle wax would.

diffuser vs wax

If you have a cool mist diffuser and Young Living oils at home, give some of these blends a try to make fall come alive in your home:

fall scent guideRE

Let me know if you try any of these combos, and what you thought.

Happy Fall All!

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