Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Just a Mom

Major life changes are never an easy transition.  Getting engaged, having a baby, changing jobs, or moving, among so many others, always comes with a series of emotions.  Everyone deals differently, and not everyone will react the same way to these changes.  With our upcoming move to Dallas, we are inevitably facing a lot of new things.  By now, I have a good handle on my feelings towards this new life of ours, but I what I wasn't ready to encounter were other people's reactions.

When we (finally) get there, I won't be looking for a job.  That doesn't mean I won't ever work out of the home again, but we are fortunate enough to not have to rely on my income.  While telling coworkers and colleagues about our upcoming move, they of course want to know where I will be working in Dallas.  The shock, and yes, sometimes horror on some of their faces when I say I won't be working has been nothing less than offensive.

Why is it so wrong to be a stay at home mom?  Why shouldn't I be the sole caretaker of my children if we can afford to do so?  E and A are little, and are going through a huge change as well.  We both feel that if I am home it might help with the transition.  And really, isn't this what I have always wanted?

But even more...

Why do I feel like I have to defend myself?  As women, we should each be able to define ourselves.  And we should never be limited in those definitions.  I will never be "just a mom", no mother is.  I am a wife, a friend, a daughter, a professional, and so so much more.  We all are.

Throughout this whole crazy month, I have learned a lot about myself, and those around me.  But the number one lesson is that I can't control others reactions, but I can control how I react to them.  And to those negative reactions - being "just a mom" is the best job I've ever had, and I'm more than grateful for that label.

Linking up with Emily for Grateful Heart Monday.

Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Next Chapter

Oh, hello, little blog of mine.  I unintentionally took a small break from this space - but keep reading, it will all be self explanatory by the end of this post!

If you haven't heard, we sold and moved out of our old house.  We put it on the market in March, knowing that we wanted to move to another Chicago community this summer to get E in to a different school district.  When we were under contract, we started house hunting here and quickly found our perfect next home.  We negotiated back and forth, came to a deal, and signed the paperwork - excited to move on to our next home.

God had other plans.

Two days after coming out of attorney review (in Illinois you can leave a contract any time during attorney review), Tim was promoted.  Yay, right?!  Yes... except we were in this contract for a new house, here.  And with this promotion came a regional move for us.

I panicked.  We were expecting to have to move in to this new house, Tim would have to travel, and I would be home all week without him.  I didn't want that for my girls, or myself if I'm being honest.  The other option was to break the contract and potentially be sued by the sellers, which is what we were expecting.

God had other plans.  Again.

We were able to get out of our contract and received all of our earnest money back!  His timing was perfect, and makes the next step of our lives feel like it was meant to be.

We are moving to...... DALLAS, Texas y'all!

We have had a whirlwind of a few weeks, finding places to live here in Chicago, traveling to Dallas to find a new home, visiting my family in Iowa, and somewhere in there me finding time to finish up work here.  

The stars really aligned for us this past month.  Everything has seemed to work out pretty perfectly thus far, and it just reinforces our decision to make this move.  We are excited for the next chapter - which includes so many changes for us, not just geographically, but we are ready to take them head-on and make the best of it.  Life is a journey, and we are most certainly enjoying the ride.

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Friday, July 17, 2015

Blogger Love v.48

It's Friday again, YES.  I need this Friday so badly.  So badly, friends!  Since selling and moving out of our old house, we have been "homeless" - living with friends, my in-laws, and now in Iowa with my parents.  I can't wait to share with you all our next step - and what has been making me so scattered lately.

Until then, how about some Blogger Love?  Through the chaos, I managed to read and fall in love with a few posts this week:

"20 Common Beauty Mistakes (You Might Be Making)" by But First, Coffee.  Oops.  I definitely fall in to some of these mistakes.  There are some good tips here too!

"Happiness Update" by Sincerely, Brianna Leigh.  I sincerely loved reading how happy this blogger has been after a rough year last year.

"Release Your Expectation of Happiness" by Hey Kerri.  I needed to read this at that very moment.  And if nothing else, go for the picture :)

Do you have any posts that really stood out for your this week, written by others?  Please link up below and share with us!  I'll need some reading material - as I don't currently have cable while in between homes.  (The horror!!)

All the Joys - Blogger Love
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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Free Ad Space - Giveaway!

It's the best time of the blogging year - it's a free ad space giveaway!  Now, technically, this happens a few times a year, but if you are a blogger you'll want in on this action.

This time, I am teaming up with 17 other bloggers to giveaway a total of twenty-three (that's right, TWENTY-THREE) ad spaces!  That means that 23 lucky readers will walk away with FREE ad space, no strings attached!  The spaces being given away range from 200x200 spots to in-post ads, and are from bloggers you've all heard of and love!  

Ad Space Giveaway - The So-Called Homemaker
The rules are pretty simple: 1. Open to everyone, including our out-of-country friends! 2. All entries will be verified. Although we are saving you some time by not asking for your username for Instagram, Bloglovin', etc., your entry will be verified before you can be declared a winner. If one of your entries cannot be verified, you will be disqualified completely! 3. One ad space per winner...that means there will be a total of 23 unique winners from this giveaway! Enter below and best of luck to you all!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The End of an Era

Remember when I wrote about how we were putting our house on the market?  Shortly after doing so, we realized that our plan wasn't the plan, and although it took a lot of inner turmoil, I finally learned to trust in that.  

I didn't mention anything, because I still believe in jinxing things, but in early June we accepted an offer on our house.  We actually had another offer, from this man that kind of stuck around.  He went way under asking, and we just said "no".  Having that on the table helped with the second offer, and it was extremely close to our asking price!

I can say now that we have closed on our old house, and it's a done deal. 

Good, right?  Mostly.  I was in such a hurry to sell that house, that when it came time to actually pack up, all of the emotions that I had hidden away started to come out.  On the last day before closing, the house was empty.  I was there waiting for the final meter reading by myself (mistake #1).  I just walked around, room by room, (mistake #2), and all kinds of memories came flooding in.  

|| Moving in, while seven months pregnant with E

|| Having a painting party with my girlfriends (the whole house was wallpapered when we bought it!)

|| Bringing E home from the hospital

|| Bringing A home from the hospital

|| Sleepless nights in A and E's rooms - while picturing them as newborns in their cribs

|| Celebrating new jobs, new friends, and entertaining our best friends

|| Adding our touches to each room, making the house our home.

And so so many more.  I just sat in the empty living room and cried.  Do you ever have those moments where all of the emotions you haven't let yourself feel for months just come pouring out?  That was me.  The poor meter man that showed up had no idea what he was getting in to!

Now, of course, the next question is "Where are you going?"  That, my friends, is a whole other post that will be happening in the next couple of weeks.

Until then, I will leave you with this picture - this is what it looks like to have all of your most important belongings in your car, while jumping from house to house.  (A big thank you to our friends and inlaws for having us!)

Beer front and center.  Priorities.
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Friday, July 10, 2015

Blogger Love v.47

First of all, I have to apologize for skipping Blogger Love last week.  I know that all 650 of you came here to see my favorite posts, and were shocked to see I hadn't posted (I kid!).  But really, the life events that have been keeping me so busy are finally coming together - and I plan to share all about them on Monday!

Until then, I wanted to take a moment to share some of my favorite posts from this past week.  If you have a few moments, I highly recommend reading these!

"Your Content Is Worthy" by Bourbon, Lipstick and Stilettos.  Blog for you, absolutely Lindsay!

"My Most Favorite Announcement. Like, Ever" by Ember Grey.  Mine too!

"Mom Guilt" by The Celebrating Momma.  I completely relate to this lately!

"Our Biggest Failure" by The Celebrating Momma.  What can I say - Jamie really spoke to me this week!

"10 Blogs to Follow for Blog Tips" by Love the Here and Now.  Blogging about blogging - love it.

Did you read posts by others that inspired you?  Link up below and share them with us!

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Thursday, July 9, 2015

To My Sweet A

My Lovely A,

Before I had babies, everyone used to tell me that "time flies by" with young children.  I always used to nod my head and say "it sure does!", all while thinking that I had all the time in the world with you.

Today is your second birthday.  And I can remember that day like it was yesterday.  You were ten days late, and I remember thinking how ready I was to meet you, even though you had no plans to grace us with your presence yet.  Looking back, I wish I would have enjoyed my pregnancy with you more and let you come on your own, as it was probably my last.  When you were born, my heart swelled to a level I didn't know was possible - the second you looked in to my eyes, I knew we were meant to be together.  

Since then, you have grown in to quite the toddler.  The love and admiration you have for your older sister is just amazing.  Everything she does or says, you do too (or at least try!).  You have a serious obsession with books and reading, and it amazes me how long you can sit and flip through a story - never lose that!  When you aren't busy "reading", you can have sort of a sass to you.  I'll let you in on a little something - I secretly love that sass - and you somehow know when to pair it with your sweetness that almost always gets your Daddy and I to do whatever it is you want.  I probably shouldn't admit that, but by the time you read this, you'll have figured that out on your own! 

This year brings a lot of huge changes for our family, none of which you will probably remember when you are older, but I know you will take them with a huge toothy smile on your face.  Always, always remember how much you are loved.  I promise to cherish every moment I have with you, because they were right - time is flying by.

Happy Second Birthday A!

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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Stitch Fix - July

Oh, Stitch Fix.  I have a love/hate relationship with you.  I love the fun and excitement you bring me - the sheer joy I get when I see that you've shipped me a new fix.  I hate how after seventeen fixes, you have yet to wow me with a "I'm keeping everything!" box.  I would think that if we've been together this long, you would really have a great sense of my style and kill it each and every month.

This past month was oh-so-disappointing.  Spoiler alert - I kept a whopping zero items.  But in the spirit of keeping it real, I'm going to share them with you anyway. 

 Mystree Smith Maxi Dress - $74.  I thought I might like this, and it was perfect for the 4th of July.  But I quickly realized the the horizontal stripes were not my friends and made me look quite wider than I actually am.  Returned.

 Loveappella Dixie Crochet Sleeve Dress - $78.  This just wasn't my style.  The tightness, the sleeves, the length.  Pair that with the price, and it wasn't a keeper.  Returned.

 Lavender Brown Noel Silk Dress - $64.  Oh, where do I begin with this one.  The pattern is totally not my style, not even a little bit.  And the silk?  Just based on all of the wrinkles from being in a box for a few days was enough for me to say no.  Returned.

 Market & Spruce Bruce Double Strap Blouse - $64.  When I first saw this, I rejoiced because I thought I had a winner!  I love the colors and style.  But, it was too boxy and ended a bit short of me.  So disappointing.  Returned.

Bay to Baubles Grove Stone Drop Earrings - $28.  These just aren't my style.  Returned.

So there you have it.  My first fix that resulted in me sending everything back.  For those of you who love your fixes every month, who is your stylist?  Share her/him with me!  I've done the detailed notes, the style profile and the Pinterest board - let's hope next month is amazing!

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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Checking In: 101 in 1001

About a year ago, I began my journey to complete 101 things in 1001 days.  At the time, I thought to myself, "Self, you have all the time in the world to complete these - dream big!"  Now?  Well now is a different story.  I have about a year and a half.  To travel, eat, make memories, and so so much more.

Today I wanted to check in on myself and see what I've accomplished, and what I have left.  For each remaining month I have left, I will be breaking this list down in to "monthly to do lists".

To date, I have completed 30 items, seen here.  Some others I have made good progress on and intend to cross off soon.  This month, I will focusing on these:

|| Go to a flea market
|| Take new portrait pictures
|| Go on a picnic
|| Finish two books (Part of "Read 20 books")
|| Paint Pottery

We, as a family, have some big life things going on this month (all good and I will share very soon!), so I chose items that I can do easily during the summer months.  I'm looking forward to checking back in in early August!

Have you done a 101 in 1001 list?  Leave the link so I can check it out - and if you'd like, I'll add it to my 101 in 1001 page.

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