Saturday, January 15, 2011

Days of Play--Keepsake Snowy Tree Craft

I came across this picture the other day on Kaboose and loved it!


Photo Source

In December I had my kids do handprint wreaths and Christmas trees.  Even so, they are growing so fast I think I'll have them made another one ... a piece of winter art that can adorn the walls until March.

Interested in making this super easy, super fun, kinda messy, but you can eat a smidgen of sugar while you make it, art project?

Click this link ---->RIGHT HERE<----- and get the directions.

Friday, January 14, 2011

{Guest Blogger} How NOT to Be Frumpy Mommy

Hello WITMIM? readers!  

My name is Natasha.  I'm a stay at home mom, living in the great white north (AKA Northern British Columbia) with my husband, daughter and dog.  I have a serious (but practical) eye for fashion.
I am so excited to be a guest blogger on WITMIM?
Being a mother is a balancing act and often, looking stylish is the last thing on a busy mom's mind.

Before my daughter was born I knew I wanted to make sure that I didn't turn into a "frumpy mommy."  

Two months after Vyla was born I started my fashion blog Required2BeInspired to give myself no other option but to dress well!  My daughter is now 15 months old, and as long as she's awake I can't get a single thing done without my house being destroyed.  

This means I have to get dressed in a hurry, or my closet will be torn apart!

I've put together three different quick outfit ideas that should work for all busy mothers using clothing pieces that most women already own.
 
This first outfit is casual wear at its finest!
Wardrobe staples:
-Plain long sleeve t-shirt
-Skinny Jeans
-Tall Boots
To keep the outfit from being boring all you have to do is add one "statement" piece (a necklace, scarf or funky belt work best--you know what Reagan says about accessories!).
This next outfit is perfect if you need to dress up, but are short on time.
Wardrobe staples:
-Neutral turtle neck
-Printed flirty skirt
- Tights to match top
-Heels or Flats
To dress up the outfit a bit more I added a statement necklace as well.
This last outfit is built around winter's best hybrid: the sweater dress!
Wardrobe staples:
-Neutral sweater dress
-Colored tights or leggings
-Boots
Give a little spice to the outfit by adding a funky scarf or a great belt.
The greatest thing about all these outfits is they all work great with heels or flats, which means you can still look great and successfully chase after your children!

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Thank you, Natasha for your guest blog submission!
 If you want more fashion tips, please check out Required2BeInspired.  One of my favorite parts of Natasha's blog are her DIY tutorials.  Love her looks but don't have the time (or desire) to craft and create?  No prob!  Just check out Natasha's etsy shop.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Things I Love--Glee

I'll admit it loud and proud.

I'm a Gleek!
Photo Source
 I know the show has come under fire for not demonstrating reality in glee clubs (after all, how many glee clubs can pull off seven musical numbers in a week AND have coordinating outfits for each one?) but I still love it.

Though Glee doesn't fairly portray glee clubs the TV show does portray some pretty raw, very real life problem.
  1. Teenagers are having sex and having babies. 
  2. Athletics are often over-funded while the arts are under-funded.
  3. Differently abled students do not receive "fair" or "equal" treatment.
  4. Bullying and harassment--especially as directed toward sexual minorities--is out of control.
  5. Teachers most often respond to bullying (again, especially directed to GLBTQQI) without response.  Non-intervention is a systemic problem that only exacerbates harassment.
I love that Glee is bringing up some tough issues.  I love that Glee can temper these tough issues and make them ironic.

And I really love that Glee doesn't back down.  The show has come under fire for numerous issues: drug use, teenage sex, homosexuality ... the list goes on.  But the writers and actors seem to get something: these are REAL issues and ignoring them for the past few decades hasn't exactly work.

Perhaps Glee's IN YOUR FACE approach is what I love most.

They show us our true colors.  And if we don't like what we see, then perhaps it's time for a change.  Not in channels, but in society.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What I Think About--Miley Cyrus



Oh my goodness, there is a lot of controversy surrounding Miley Cyrus, isn't there?
Photo Source
The young lady dresses scantily, grinds against men old enough to be her father, and enjoys a hit on the ol' hooka bong now and then.

Kinda makes me sad and reminisce about the days when she looked like this:
Photo Source
Is her progression from quirky teen to sexy woman normal or is Miss Cyrus trying to tell us something with her "Can't be Tamed" CD title?

Honestly, I think the desire to "flip" from one persona to another is a very normal, developmental change in teenagers.  I'd wager a bet that I'm not the only one who went to college hoping that the "new" Reagan would be prettier, wittier, and more fun than "high school" Reagan.  I'd even bet I'm not the only one who, when not under the microscope of Steve the "that's skirt is too short" fashion police father, tended to dress a bit sexier.  I'm probably not alone in saying that I too dabbled in parting and "hooka-ing" and grinding.

I guess what I'm saying is ya, I wish Miley Cyrus would have kept her young, innocent look but I'm not surprised that she wants to grow up.  Are you still wearing the clothes and behaving the way you did when you were eleven?  Of course not and we can't expect Miley to stay eleven forever, either.

So many moms I know are super irritated at Miley's new look because she is no longer a role model for young girls.

I take exception to this.

In order to get good role models for our daughters, we allow someone else's daughter to be thrown onto a very adult world pedestal.

We let those girls work adult hours and make adult money so that our daughters are entertained.

We sacrifice the youth and innocence of someone else's little girl because they are getting paid.

We have no problem with role model girls living adult lives as long as they look like kids but the second those role model girls become women--the second they want to rid themselves of their teenage persona and grow up, we turn on them because they no longer meet our expectations of all things good and pure. 

We lament their bad choices in hair color, boyfriends, and clothing not because we care about THEM but because of how they might affect our children.

Isn't it about time we stop and think about the ways in which our need to have role models for our children (rather than BE role models for our children) and our insatiable desire for our kids to be entertained leads to the creation of these "role model girls gone wild"?

Am I the only one pondering how the American obsession for child "role model" stars leads to those child stars being absolute messes as adults?

What I think about Miley Cyrus is that she is a beautiful and talented young woman.  I wish that she would focus on her talents and character more than her body and parties but when it comes down to it, I recognize that for the past 10 years, we've paid her to entertain us like an adult. And now she's an adult, trying to entertain us like so many adults do--with her looks and her body more than her self-worth and value.

I'll end with this, if you want a good role model for your daughter and son, I'd suggest that you put them around real, quality men and women--and that includes YOU.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tuesday's Too Clean Tip--Stop Cleaning

My husband and I enjoy attending couple's counseling sessions.

I know counselors get a bad rap and that people who attend them are stereotypically bonkers but that's not how it is with us.  Matt and I want to make our marriage work and that means we have to work on it.  For us, having a third party help us talk over issues has been incredibly helpful.  We may never stop our couple's counseling.

Are you wondering what in the heck this has to do with cleaning?

Nothing and everything.

At our last session Matt revealed something that was eye-opening, hurtful, and convicting all at once.

He said that I'm task oriented at the expense of being people oriented.  A Martha instead of a Mary.

I've always liked things cleaned and organized and am happy to labor day in and day out to have stuff in order.  But there is a problem with that.  My husband feels like get gets the last of me.  That when there is nothing left to do at the end of the day, I'll spend time with him.  That when it comes to intimacy, I'm the pool of exhausted goo in bed that he must try to woo.

I can't even begin to explain how heartbreaking it was to hear that he often feels like he is at the bottom of my priority list.  That tasks like dishes, vacuuming, and toilet scrubbing leave him in last place.

To be honest, I feel like a collassal failure.

I've always thought I was keeping the house nice for my family.  That a hot meal when he came home made Matt feel loved.  But my family doesn't feel like I'm doing it for them.  They feel like I'm doing it for me.  And the more I think about it, the more I know THEY are right.  It is all about me.

When people comment about how clean my house is, who feels proud?  Me
When people ask me about cleaning tips who feels thankful to know the answer?  Me
When I can tell you exactly where something is because I put it there (and labeled it) who feels like she's got it all together?  Me

Cleanliness, organization, and "having it all together" are so highly esteemed in our culture.  I bought into it--hook, line, and sinker.  What's worse? I've encouraged OTHERS to buy into it too.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with a well organized and clean home UNLESS the people that make the space feel like home are left in the dust (or in the newly polished furniture streaks, in my case).  That's my family.

And that's why I have a challenging New Year's Resolution: Stop cleaning.

You might be thinking "that's easy" but for me, it's not.

I actually LIKE to clean.  My urge to clean is directly connected to my self-defense mechanism (you should see me clean and organize when I'm mad or sad) and helps me "feel" like I'm in control.

Not having everything where it should be is sort of like asking me to run a naked 5K.  It's gonna be hard and it's not going to be pretty.

Cleaning and organizing are my idols.  And they can't be.

On 1/1/11 I vowed to pick charades over cleaning,  love over laundry, and making memories over making dinner.

Of course I'll still clean my house and make dinner but in moderation because my baseboards won't care if they don't get wiped down this month but my kids and my husband will care that I spend more time with them than with my dust bunnies.

Monday, January 10, 2011

You Say It's Your Birthday ...

Na na na na na na

It's my {blog's} birthday too, ya!

Where is the ME in Mommy? is officially one year old.  WaHoo!

Ah, such sweet memories.

As I reminisce over this blog I am forced to remember why I started it. What was my vision?  My mission?  My goals?  Have I stuck to them?

{GULP}

This is NOT where I tell you that this is my last post and that as of now, Where is the ME in Mommy? is no longer a functional blog.

This IS where I confess a few things about blogging.

1.  I started a blog because I was struggling with balancing all of my identities and wanted to be a part of a community of women struggling with the same issues.  Perhaps we could encourage one another.  Perhaps not feeling alone would be enough to help us not pull out our hair.

Today, I'm not sure I'm meeting that goal.  I never do anything "half way" so I really feel like I have to post something everyday.  So I came up with a schedule of "things" to help organize my thoughts and get something written. Everyday.

But then I stopped writing because I longed for encouragement and community and started writing because it was on my "to do" list.  That's not who I want to be or what I want this blog to be.

2.  When I started blogging I had no idea about the "niche" blog concept.  Niche blogs focus on one main topic and dabble in smaller topics.  For example, a fashion blog deals with fashion but might extend into decorating and arts.

Suffice it to say having a blog about balancing the roles of women isn't exactly a niche. It's a "jack of all trades" approach.  Most people say this approach won't work--that if you cover too much you won't have an audience.  So I tried *really* hard to limit what I wrote about.  This helped organize my days of writing: cleaning, opinions, dates, play ideas ...

What I've come to realize is that even focusing my main topics into a few areas really isn't what this blog is about.  How do you break down topics surrounding women, wifehood, and motherhood into one or two simple "niche" topics?  Isn't that the problem?  We try to limit women to a few areas at the expense of others.  Why can't I share the wide variety of my thoughts and struggles mixing issues of faith with fashion with funny stories about poop?  Isn't that what "finding the balance" really looks like?

Yes, I like fashion, but I like more than fashion.  Yes, I love my kids but I'm interested in more than my kids.  Yes, I love to cook but I like more than cooking.  Why then must I limit myself and my blog to certain "niche" topics?

Plus, when it all comes down to it, even "niche" blogs have limits too.  I mean, book review blogs or celeb gossip blogs only draw the attention of people LOOKING for those topics.  So maybe no one will come to my blog since it isn't solely focused on crafts.  If that's the worst that will happen, I'll take it!

3.  Followers are addicting.  Early on I was watching my stats page like a crazy person and rejoicing each time I had a new follower.  Of course this means I was practically distraught on days with fewer than a hundred looksies and I can't even begin to explain the trauma behind being "un-followed".

Sigh.

I wish I didn't want to be like so much.  But I'm human and I do.  The question is, at what cost?  Do I want to be liked at the cost of foregoing my mission, vision, and values?

I guess the reason I'm writing this is to say, I'm going to keep blogging ... MY WAY.

It might not be everyday but I'm going to keep it up.

I'm going to stop "forcing" topics because they are on the "To Do" list.  This means you may not see many cleaning/organizing posts.  It means you might not see a post on Tuesday (because something awesome is in the works for Friday).

I am going to keep my priorities straight.  I'm passionate about women being opinionated (and educated) so you can expect me to keep writing "What I Think About" posts.  I am passionate about dating your husband and spending INTENTIONAL play time with your kids so you'll see posts on that too.

Other than that, I can't tell you what 2011 will look like for Where is the ME in Mommy?

And I kinda like how that feels.