Peaks of the Week [in the middle of the week...]

Hi lovelies!

So I know the point of my "peaks" posts are to give sort of a weekend roundup and share what's been goin' on with me and my herd. I also know I haven't been very on it lately and I have much to share so, I decided I'd bend the rules (it is my blog right?) and just sum up life lately on a Tuesday. Livin' on the edge over here, people. Look out.

I come with good news... Hudson is officially and completely 100% potty trained! Yaaaaaaaaaay! He really put me through the ringer! Bella and Leland both took to the new way of life pretty easily, but my little Buggy just takes a lot longer to embrace change I guess. It's so much nicer (and cheaper) now with just one in diapers. Fist bump for a mom life victory!

We've been going to the beach a lot. My favorite thing to do as a family!

Emmett has started boppin' when he hears a song he likes. Although it's mostly his right leg that does the dancing....

Emmett is also now sitting in the cart on our errands (only sometimes because I love wearing my baby).

We went to see Phantom of the Opera at the Pantages in LA, which has been a dream of mine since I was six-years-old and my parents brought me the soundtrack after they went to see it. It was amazing!

Our days spent at home are my most favorite. 

In other news, I have done absolutely zero preparing for our right-around-the-corner homeschool year and I've been slacking in the blog department because my life has been turned upside down by a gigantic, looming change. I don't want to be annoying or leave you in the dark (is there anything more annoying than when someone shares but doesn't share??) but if you've been on my Facebook page recently you may have an idea of what's up. God has been placing something B I G on our hearts, and recently some things we've been waiting and praying for have fallen into place. Doors have flung open and peace has been given to us, so right now we are just holding our breath and dying to know if this is it and if God is really gonna call us to where we think He is. Eeeeeek! I promise I'll share everything once I know for certain what the heck is going on!

God has been moving in mighty ways in my heart. He has really been molding and shaping me, and it's been very difficult. I've cried a lot and held onto my desires with a death grip, and let go, then grabbed onto them again and again and again. Right now I am all calm and peaceful and surrendered. But I guarantee you, because I am that human, I will be gripping on again later this week if I don't purposefully command my flesh to stay at the foot of the cross. Dying to yourself is as brutal as it sounds.

One thing God has recently showed me about myself is that I tend to bury my head in the sand like an ostrich when I feel Him calling me to do something hard or against the grain. He laid a phrase on my heart one day when I finally pulled my head up and looked to see His face, and it revealed so much about who I am.

"You say 'I will follow You anywhere', but if it's somewhere you don't want to go, you ignore my voice."


I've said before that as frustrated as I get with my defiant son, I understand him so much. I am God's strong-willed child, and I am in desperate need of shaping.

It feels good to be honest about what God has been doing in me lately, even if no one really reads all those words I just typed, that's okay. When I write it, it becomes more concrete in my spirit, and it's like the lessons I have been learning are officially completed. At least it feels that way.

I love you guys. Thanks for coming to this little space of mine on the giant that is the Internet.

(don't forget to follow me on Instagram if you're not already!)

 photo post signature.png

When Your Husband is Discouraged

It's so easy to be self-centered, especially in marriage. I find that my relationship with my husband exposes all my worst flaws sometimes. Being so incredibly close to and intimate with another person, living together, raising kids together, seeing all of each other's ins and outs all works together to bring out our very best as well as our very worst. I'd say one of my ugliest flaws is how my selfishness can show itself when my husband needs me the most.

When I'm going through a hard time, I am always grateful for how sweet, understanding, and comforting my husband is. He's a very giving, naturally selfless person. I, however, have found myself to be very selfish when the time comes that he needs me. Not all the time- there have certainly been times when I've set myself aside and was there for him when he needed me- but in general, I tend to be irritated rather than understanding when Brian is discouraged, down, or struggling with something. It's my first natural reaction, my fleshly response to him needing something from me. 

Brian and I have recently been going through a time of uncertainty based on a job promotion that may or may not come through. Although I trust that God's will will come to be because of prayer, Brian feels a great burden to perform well and be perfect at work. He feels the burden of his responsibility for whether or not he gets a better position at work. When the timing we were hoping for didn't come through, he became very discouraged, and I became frustrated, not with him but with the situation. Seeing my disappointment in the situation, Brian took the blame for it and sank to a low place of discouragement. Through prayer, God showed me a lot about my husband and what it is he needed in this hard time.

When life happens and it doesn't go as planned, a man can become very discouraged very easily. Men tend to define themselves by what they do for work, and how their job is going, so when something in life, especially in that area of his world, isn't going well- money problems, not getting a promotion at work, feeling inferior in the workplace, feeling unappreciated at home or elsewhere, etc.- it affects him on a deep, personal level. It affects him at his core. How a wife handles herself in her marriage when her husband is struggling with deep discouragement can make all the difference in the world. We have so much power over our husbands! We have the power to build them up to towering and confident or to tear them into dust, just with our words, body language, and response to situations. That is an incredibly powerful fact. 

So how do you use this power for good while balancing your flesh? What do you do when your husband is discouraged? What do you do with your own feelings of frustration when the man you're married to clearly needs affirmation?
  • Be on his team. Encourage unity in your marriage by taking on your husband's worries as your own. As hard as it may be, don't just keep to your own stuff and leave him to deal with the problem on his own. Don't just tell him you'll pray for him then exit the situation. Get down in the mud with him, be by his side, pray with him, pray over him, lay hands on him, cry with him. Show him you're a team and he isn't alone. Be all there with him.

A wife of noble character is her husband's crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones. 
Proverbs 12:4
  • Pray like the warrior God created you to be. When you married, God joined you and your man together as one flesh, and when that happened, it gave you this incredible power that far too many women don't even realize they have! It's the power to pray for your husband and intercede for him, which means to intervene on behalf of another. This means that when your husband is caught in the muck of life and feeling depressed, you can actually step in for him and go before the throne of grace, asking things for him when he doesn't! Use this power, ladies! Pray peace, guidance, a sound mind, a good reputation, and prosperity over your husband. If you don't know what to say when you pray, invite the Holy Spirit into your quiet time and ask Him to help you find the words. He will.

    In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 
    Romans 8:26
  • Affirm him. Your husband needs constant reassurance that you're not blaming him, angry with him, or disappointed in him. If you are, you need to go to the Lord and ask for help in overcoming those feelings and for the strength to speak to your husband in love. He needs to know you still respect him. Tell him you're proud of him, give examples of why, and don't stop speaking words of affirmation. In this hard time, the moment you do is the moment he stops believing he can do anything right. Every step he takes is guided by your words, and you decide if those steps are backward or forward.
  • Touch him. I always get harsh feedback whenever I talk about giving your physical self to your husband. Someone almost always leaves a comment about how this isn't 1951 and we aren't sex slaves. All of that is completely ridiculous and irrelevant and not at all what I am saying. The straight fact is that men are physical and we are emotional. Marriage is a give-and-take relationship. We take emotion from our husbands because we need that. Why should we not also be giving of ourselves physically when they need that?

    Your man desperately needs to be touched by you because it affirms him. It's how he feels loved. Would you feel very confident if you were going through a hard time and feeling discouraged and your husband just stopped saying that he loved you? Of course not. That is how a man feels when you withhold sex or don't want to touch him.

    Reach out your hand and take his, rub his leg while he vents to you, stroke his back, touch his face, kiss him, hug him, tell him you want him to hold you when you're sitting together, initiate sex. Love on him because he needs it! Women so often don't have to say anything... by touching your husband you are communicating a load of love and respect and changing his whole world for the better.
  • Listen to him. Sometimes Brian needs to talk about something. Sometimes I honestly don't care and don't feel like taking the time to pause and really listen, but he can tell when I'm not paying attention. I should be giving him my time and attention because he's my husband and he needs to feel respected, whether or not I'm interested in what he wants to discuss. By listening to him without judging or commenting with my opinion, I'm giving him an outlet. Sometimes your husband just wants you to be there.
  • Don't point out his flaws. It's so easy to look at our husbands with judgement and see what it is they did wrong or what they should've done differently. It's also easy to tell them exactly that, but it really damages their egos when we do. Anyone can look at someone else's actions and see flaws. Remember that your husband is a human being in need of grace, just like you. It's hard for him to tell you when something isn't going well, especially at work, so don't make it worse by drawing a big red circle around his mistakes. Be gracious, affirm him, encourage him, pray with him, touch him, and he will go out there and slay dragons for you.

    I know it's hard to be a wife and a mother and have people needing you all day long and then be needed by your husband at the end of a long day. Maybe you feel like you just can't handle it. I know I can't. But God's desire for my marriage is that it thrive and be holy, so He grants me the grace and strength I need to be a godly wife despite my failing flesh. If you just ask and be willing, He'll do the same for you and that will bless your marriage beyond what you can imagine.

 photo post signature.png

Peaks of the Week

Another week gone! Since starting this little weekly series on my blog I realize just how fast a week goes by, even though the days feel like they drag. I had a few peaks this week, although I did have an epic breakdown. No seriously, I really think I had a mental breakdown. I have been without alone time, something I used to be so good about scheduling for myself, for a long time (like months) and it definitely caught up to me on Friday. I don't think I've ever been such a flawed human being as I was that morning, yelling at my husband, locking myself in our room, acting so wrongly, all because I pushed myself too hard for too long and I just needed a breath.

I ended up driving to my parents' house, picking up my seventeen-year-old sister, and leaving her with my napping kids while I went for a drive. I hit the Carl's Jr drive thru pretty hard and just ate my feelings for a little bit. Maybe that wasn't the healthiest thing to do, but let me tell you... it sure helped. So did the wind in my hair and the sun on my face and the loud music drowning all the negativity that had piled high in my head.

I walked around Target for about forty-five minutes, just being in my happy place and sipping a Passion Tea Lemonade. I ended up buying some new denim shorts, which I desperately needed. Retail therapy, right?

I realized I needed to make alone time more of a priority, like I used to, and I did that today. I'm happy to report that I am writing to you from Starbucks with an iced coffee sitting next to me and acoustic covers playing in my ears. I was just at the diner across the street where I got myself a nice big breakfast and read half of one of my favorite Sally Clarkson books that really refocused me as a mother. Heaven. Now that I've confessed my low point to you, let's focus on the peaks of this week.

1) I got on some weird post-partum nesting kick (is that even a thing?) and purged my house even more. I scrubbed and cleaned and reorganized and moved furniture around... I feel like I hit restart in my house and it felt so good. Worth all the makeup-free, sweaty days I spent on my knees with my rubber gloves on!

Bella and Emmett share a bedroom, and his crib used to be on the wall next to her bed. I cleared out their closet which has no doors (we removed the giant sliding mirror-doors a few months ago), I moved his crib in, and added curtains and art to give him his own little faux nursery. He loves it!

2) A good friend of mine (who also happens to be my neighbor) started a homeschooling nature group last year that I have been wanting to join, but because it's the same morning as my Bible study, we've had to pass on all their wonderful adventures. This summer though, we've been able to join them since Bible study is on break. This week we went to the Fallbrook botanical garden, which I didn't even know was there but highly recommend! We learned about caterpillars and butterflies, birds, critters, flowers and plants... the kids loved it! Although Leland did loudly tell me that he wasn't a fan of the tour guide with the beard. Not embarrassing at all....

3) The 4th of July is my favorite holiday, and even though this year it followed a very hard day for me, I'm so glad I was able to sort through my emotions and feel better for it. We went to the sports park we always go to, set up a blanket and hung out with friends and family the whole evening. It was a very good day.

And now I'm finishing the week with some much-needed me time, coffee, writing, and wandering the town with a book... perfection! This next week promises to be a good one because I've been refueled :)

#MomLife Hacks for Those of Us with A Million Kids

Like I've said more than a few times before, motherhood is pretty much total chaos. We are all struggling to find balance, choose joy, and raise our babies to be the best human beings possible. I don't like it when mothers put themselves against one another; I think we are all in this thing together, and since it's a pretty tough gig most days, I think we should encourage and lift one another up.

One way I like to do this, being a busy mom of four kids age six and under, is by sharing what helps make my gig a little less chaotic. Nothing makes me click away from a blog post faster than a snooty blogger chucking smug parenting advice at me, and while I've only been a mom for 6.5 years, I get asked "how do you do it??" a lot. Maybe my tips won't work for you, maybe you've got your own good thing goin', that's cool. But on the off-chance that something I've figured out on my own personal journey sparks something in you, I'd like to share what helps me out. Last week I shared my #MomLife beauty hacks, today I'm sharing my hacks for the day-to-day stuff involved in being a mother, especially for those of us with a large herd of tiny humans.

Running Errands

I'd say this is probably the area that has been the biggest frustration for me in daily mom life. One kid is whining while another is pooping and another is crying for a snack and yet another is lost somewhere in the store. Serenity now! I have finally figured out a few things that work.

  • Bring lollipops. Seriously, I don't care how health-conscious you are, how bad they are for their teeth, when you have to get everything on your Target or Costco list and you've got a herd of cave-people to bring with you, lollipops are Godsends. 
  • Be a crazy person about who stands where. Bella always walks right by my side, Leland holds onto the left side of the cart and walks, Hudson sits in the seat part, and Emmett is in the Ergo on me. And nobody moves from their assigned locations. It just has to be that way or I won't be able to get a thing done; all I'll be doing is telling the kids what to do and what not to touch. There's already enough of that even with their location assignments, it would be total chaos if I didn't have them set up like that. They know if they move from where they're supposed to be, they lose their sucker and have to spend ten minutes in their room when we get home. Don't mess with the shopping cart locations, people. 
  • Go fast, mama. I organize my shopping lists beforehand whenever I can, that way I've got my list in order of the store's layout, and can move like a breeze down the aisle, grabbing what I need and reaching checkout before the lollipops are gone. It doesn't always work out this way, but when I plan ahead and am organized, it usually does. 
  • Go first thing in the morning. This is the time of day that my kids are their best selves. I may be my worst, as I am not a morning person by any means, but the kids are at their best, so I grab an extra large cup of coffee and we head out as early as I can get everyone dressed, fed, and out of the house. 
  • Save technology for the checkout line. My kids always start to get antsy at the end of the shopping trip, and I've found that when I hold off on letting them watch YouTube on my phone until we're checking out, it's a lot easier. Unloading a cart full of crap while wearing a baby isn't easy, but knowing the other three kids are happily crowded together at the front of the cart watching funny cat videos allows me to do what I need to do quickly, without interruption. 
  • Park near the cart corral. I have to. Leland hyper-focuses and will walk into an oncoming van, Hudson wanders...I need to be able to just get everyone straight out of their car seats and into the cart. 

I'm sure you've heard the saying "Cleaning with a toddler in the house is like straightening papers on a desk with the fan on". It's true. But kids aren't toddlers for very long, and even while they are, we've got stuff to do and a house that needs keeping. I go into a lot more detail in my e-book, Mama Needs A Reboot, but here are some of the bullet points that help me. 
  • Clear dishes, wipe the table, and sweep underneath it after every meal. No exceptions, just do it. 
  • Teach your kids to pick up after everything they do. After a little while it'll be a habit for them and less work for you. Win-win.
  • Start the day on a productive note and it'll keep you going that way. Right when you wake up, make your bed, then start a load of laundry, then have your coffee. I promise you'll feel like you've got it all together and it really only takes up a few extra minutes.
  • It takes twenty-seven days to form a habit, so form a good one. Choose one thing that you wish you had a habit of doing every day. Maybe it's making your bed in the morning or running the dishwasher every night. Whatever you choose, make it something that would make your life a little bit easier, write yourself a reminder or set one in your phone- make sure it will get your attention at one point every single day- do it for a month and it will become a habit. 
  • Keep the kitchen sink clean and the house will feel clean. This is a trick I learned from Fly Lady that's so simple but really works. When I keep the sink free of dishes and food, I normally end up treating the rest of the house the same way and having less to clean up at the end of the day. Clean as you go, keep your sink clear, and you will feel great about your house and be ready for company at the drop of a hat. 
Feeling Good About What You Do

If you feel defeated all the time, you're going to lose your drive to do what you need to do, and if you're like me, you might even start to struggle with depression. When I feel good about what I do every day, when I am reminded of my purpose and feeling accomplished more days than not, I do this motherhood thing really well. How I feel affects everything. Here's what works for me:
  • Make a list of only 5-7 things that need to get done each day. This keeps you from setting unrealistic expectations for yourself and keeps you focused on what really needs to get done rather than what would be nice to have done. Your goal should be to tackle important tasks and feel accomplished at the end of the day, not to make a giant to do list and feel defeated when bed time rolls around. Having a longer list doesn't mean you'll get more done, it just means that's how much more you'll feel you failed, even if you actually got stuff done that day. 
  • Hit restart any time of the day you need to. Sometimes a totally crap day comes around, and no matter what you do or how prepared you were the night before, things don't go as planned and you feel like you got dragged nine blocks by a semi by 9AM. When this happens to me, it is so helpful to pause, mentally hit the reset button, and give myself a fresh start to the day. Maybe it's your big cleaning day and you needed to tackle your chore list, but your baby woke up with a fever. Maybe you were gonna work on a project after the kids went to bed but your husband came home after a horrible day and needs you. Reevaluate, move your priorities around, and hit restart. I've done this in the morning, the afternoon, even at night. Sometimes you just need to start over, so go ahead!
  • Get the kids dressed from head to toe. Most days I get myself at least somewhat put together, because I feel good when I'm dressed, but there are plenty of days when I'm gonna be cleaning and I don't even bother. Either way, it really helps me feel "on it" if I've got my kids dressed. Usually after breakfast (which is always at 8:00 in our house), I'll have the older kids dress themselves and I'll get the younger two changed out of their jammies. Then I have them brush their teeth and I do all their hair. When they're put together, I feel put together. It's a simple thing that helps me a ton. 
  • Smile at the starers. I used to think I was a little paranoid, but now I know people actually are very rude sometimes. They stare, mouths gaping at how many kids I have, they ask my age (whaaaa??), they make rude comments on my lifestyle choices, they're obsessed with what's going with me while I walk through Target, and I really don't get it, but it's rude regardless. I've learned that smiling back at them puts an ends to it usually and lets them know that I don't care and I'm good and I've got this. Even if Bella is asking a thousand questions and I'm about to lose my stuff. Just smile....
  • Let the little things go. This is my weakness, but I try to keep the big picture at the front of my mind. In the end, will it really matter that Hudson brought his juice into the living room and spilled it on the rug? When all is said and done, will it really matter than someone had a stomach flu explosion all over my new leather couch? Everything is fixable and none of that stuff really matters. So I try to let it go, Elsa style. 
  • Schedule yourself some breathers. If I know I am going to get the young ones down for naps at the same time, and I have Netflix ready-for-hire at the same time and can get lost in a novel for an hour in the middle of my day, I feel so much better! If I know Brian is bringing home a bottle of wine and we're gonna binge on Seinfeld reruns, I can handle whatever chaos the day brings me. If I know at the end of the week I've got a sitter coming over so I can go thrifting with a cup of coffee for two hours, then I am really on top of things that week. Taking care of me is important. I always say you can't give to your family out of your well if it's empty. 
When You Have Somewhere to Be in the Morning

Why are most events for moms so early in the morning?? 9AM, really?! It is so. hard. to get myself and four children fed and dressed and presentable and out the door by 8:45, but sometimes that's what I have to do to be somewhere I need to be. I never used to be late, like ever. But since Emmett came along, I have been about 10-20 minutes late to pretty much everything, and I've had to be okay with it and just do my best. There are a few things that help me get out of the house without screaming bloody murder or cancelling the event altogether though, so... that's good.
  • Pack everything the night before. This doesn't always happen, because I honestly really don't need another thing to do at the end of an incredibly long day. When I do pack for the next morning the night before, I never regret it. I get diapers and wipes in the diaper bag, PBJ's made if we'll be out during lunchtime, sippy cups filled, apples sliced, shoes by the door, and supplies like the park blanket, lawn chairs, etc in the car. This can shave like thirty minutes off a chaotic morning!
  • I lay out everyone's outfit, including mine, the night before. Similar to the point above, but another morning-saver. There have been so many mornings where I'm rushing around, looking for something to wear that ends up being dirty, or I'm unable to find somebody's other shoe. I save my time and my sanity and spare my kids from seeing Mean Mommy when I have everything prepared the night before. 
If you made it to the end of this post, I applaud you. You're either very desperate for help or you just really love me. Either way I hope I helped! If you have a question, leave it in the comments. I'll always get back to you :)

For the Mom Who Googled "I Don't Want to Be A Mom Anymore"

This morning I was checking my blog stats, which allows me to see how new readers are finding me, and what Google searches are leading people to my website. Normally it's about the same...

Husband works too much...
Makeup for broken out skin...
How to pray for relationship with daughter...

But today was different. Among the top searches that led people here were heart-wrenching phrases that made me put my coffee down and choke back tears.

I don't want to be a mom anymore...
Overwhelmed mom depressed...
Motherhood is too hard...

I was thinking about those words later as I washed dishes and tried to listen to the acoustic station I had playing as my boys bickered back and forth from their bedroom. My gosh. Can I just get five minutes of peace while I clean up?

I realized the reason those words had hit me so hard wasn't just because they were sad.; it was because I have been the mom that felt like that. 

There have been dark days when depression overthrew me, and maybe I would have reached for my iPhone and typed in desperate words, hoping for a magic answer. I've been the mom in the bathroom with the door locked, tears running down my face because I just didn't know what to do about my strong-willed child. I've been the mom screaming at a defiant toddler instead of reaching for her heart and asking what's wrong. I've been the bitter wife, I've been the ungodly mother, I've been the housewife so overwhelmed that I just do nothing.

Sweet overwhelmed mama, whoever you are, Jesus came so that you would have life, and have it abundantly. Do you really believe that being so overwhelmed and isolated that you reach out to Google is abundant life? It's not. There is so much more than you can even imagine waiting for you in the palm of His hand. And it's all for you. You just have to turn around, look at Him, and take it.

You're right that you can't do this. You're right that this is all too much for you. You're right that some days are depressing. But you can do all things through the One who gives you strength. That is about as cliche as it gets, but when you pause and really think about that beautiful truth and apply it to your motherhood, you can feel the giant weight that's been crushing your shoulders start to lift, it gets lighter and lighter as you say "yes" to His help. He did not create you to be able to do all this on your own. In fact, He knows that you can't and never had any expectation for you to be able to. You did that to yourself. He wants you to let go of that and let Him guide you. Let Him give you peace that diffuses your anger, love that overcomes your frustration with your children, joy that breaks the chains of depression.

Take a deep breath, quiet your spirit even if all around there is noise, feel yourself letting go of all this and reaching to touch the face of your Savior. Get up and walk in the Light now, because a daughter of the King deserves better than to be taken down by the lies of the enemy.

"The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly."
John 10:10

"When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him."
Isaiah 59:19

#MomLife Beauty Hacks

Motherhood is chaos, to say the least. That's probably why the question I get asked the most is, "how do you look dressed and put together every day with four kids?!"

The short and most honest answer is... I don't.

I don't Instagram a photo of my entire self every single day, so how could you know? Most days (like right now), I'm in my pajamas for longer than any person over age twelve should be, I've got pimple cream on, and my hair is in a bun at the top of my greasy head. Super attractive. 

But I will say that I care a lot about how I look most days. I care because it affects how I feel. When I don't have a decent outfit together and my hair styled, I just don't feel good. That's a part of my personality- how I work- and not everyone is like that. I believe you've got to know yourself and do what works for you. With that said, I work best when I look and feel put together. I am a happier mom, a more content person, and I'm in a better mood when Brian gets home from work. I just feel good when I feel together. 

When I became a mom of more than two kids, I really noticed a change in my days. There was no longer plenty of time to get dressed...heck, there was hardly even any time to take a shower! I spent months unkempt, feeling yucky, struggling with depression, and just not feeling very happy. I wasn't able to function as my best self and motherhood was taking over in a negative way. I started getting creative, looking for little increments of free time to get ready for the day, figuring out "hacks" that would help me do what I needed to feel good about myself in my days spent as a housewife and busy mom.

Today I'm sharing some of my beauty hacks with you all, in the hope of inspiring you to feel good about yourself if you sometimes don't, and to provide a cheat sheet of shortcuts so you don't have to dig as much as I did for them.

Getting clean. Why is showering so difficult?! There are still days during which I can't even find five minutes to bathe myself, and that seems sort of pathetic to me, but it's true. The real problem is the baby. At seven months old, he can't entertain himself much, and he whines when I'm not with him. What I find helpful most days is putting him in his jumper or swing and turning on something entertaining (and probably over-stimulating) like an episode of Baby Einstein, or assigning his happiness to one of the older kids.

I literally jump in the shower, get wet, squirt soap on my loofa, give myself a good all-over scrubbing, rinse off and jump out. I only shampoo my hair once a week, which may sound gross but is actually very healthy for your hair, and this saves me a load of time! Dry shampoo is how I go seven days between washes. I use it on days three, five, and sometimes the morning of day seven (I wash at night before bed). Not only does it remove the oil from my hair and clean it without me having to wet it, but it gives me great volume and texture. My hair looks its best on dry shampoo days.

Awhile ago on my Facebook page, you guys asked for a tutorial on exactly how I apply dry shampoo. Here ya go!

Personal maintenance. Being a woman involves so. much. maintenance. It's overwhelming in itself, really. Throw in being a mother and you may feel like jumping in front of a bus. I've had to accept that I just don't have time to do it all perfectly all the time. Enter beauty hacks.

I pretty much always have my finger and toe nails painted. The cheat for this is that I give myself a good pedicure about once a month, then touch up the polish just by filling in the grown-out parts as needed, which is about every other week. Easy. The same goes for my fingernails. I push back my cuticles every once in awhile while Brian and I watch TV, and the rest of the time I'm just throwing on a quick coat of Essie nail polish (goes on the easiest, stays on the longest) and just fill it in once or twice until I want to change the color. The time I spend on my nails is about an hour, collectively each month, and just a few minutes each week. Nailed it. (see what I did there...)

Shaving adds time to my showers, which I really can't spare most days. A couple of times a week, when I'm bathing the kids, I sit on the side of the tub in my pajama shorts and shave my legs. I wait till they're about to get out or are already out and drying off next to me and just quickly clean myself up. I do my underarms quickly in the shower every couple days.

Make up. As someone with acne-scarred skin, my makeup should take me quite a bit of time in the morning, but it really doesn't. I'd say it takes about five minutes. I think the products I use work really well, so I don't have to spend a bunch of time layering for coverage.

One important hack that saves mostly money, not time, has to do with my eyelashes. I noticed some thinning after I had Emmett, so sometimes (not usually just on a normal day in the life) I want some thickness. I can't afford, nor do I want to spend money on eyelash thickening products. I found that applying some baby powder to a Q-tip, then putting it on my lashes in between mascara coats gives me some pretty intense volume and thickness. Here's how I do it:

1. Curl lashes
2. Apply one coat of mascara
3. Apply baby powder while mascara is still wet
4. Apply second coat of mascara
5. Wipe away powder from under-eye area

I pair this trick with smoky eyes for date night or weddings.

Hair styling. Like I said above, dry shampoo is my best friend. Another perk that comes with using it is that I really only need to style my hair in full (which takes me about twenty minutes, and I have pretty thick hair) once a week. On the day after I freshly wash it, I spend time curling my hair and spraying it with some good holding spray. The next day I really just have to touch up the front curls. Using dry shampoo the rest of the week helps hold my curls somewhat in place, so that all I need to do is throw in a few fresh ones each morning, which takes less than five minutes. Personally, I like my hair a little messy, not perfect curls, so this works for me. I get a just-out-of-bed, messy waves look every day without more than five or ten minutes of my time sacrificed.

Exercise. This is another thing I get asked a lot about. Before I got pregnant with Emmett, I really fell in love with running. I used the Couch-to-5K app (for iPhone, for Android) to lose some weight and get acclimated to running. I recently re-downloaded the app and started working through it again. I went from hating exercise, especially running, to training for a 5K with four kids. Crazy! I had to make the decision to care about my health, to want to be fit and my best beautiful self for myself and for my husband and choose to dedicate time to this area of my life.

I would say making time for exercise is the hardest part of all this. But without exercise, no amount of cute clothing, makeup, or dry shampoo is going to make me feel good about myself, so I have to make it happen.

I aim to run three days a week, with a day or two of exercise DVD's or strength training exercises in between. I need to keep it simple and just focus on getting healthier and losing this baby weight. I love kickboxing and Tae Bo type of workouts, so I normally do a DVD like that. I read that doing strength training on the days you're not running is very good for you and beneficial to you as a runner as well. I have a list of simple exercises that build strength, and I normally choose three or four to do real quick while I hold the baby or while breakfast is cooking.

  • Squats- 3 sets of 15 (nice, slow, full squats each time)
  • Lunges- 10 to 20, then rest or switch exercises & repeat
  • Calf raises- 20 or more
  • Pushups- 10 to 20, rest and repeat 2-3 times
  • Bridge- 20 repeats, or hold as long as you can
  • Plank- 30-60 seconds, keeping body perpendicular to ground

This is a summary of how I take care of myself in the midst of raising four kids, feeding a hard-working husband, making time for my marriage, the never-ending list of household chores, and everything else that comes with my life. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment! Hope this helps!

Peaks of the Week

I've never been a big fan of when bloggers say things like "I'm sure you've noticed it's been quiet around here lately". I read it as "I'm sure that I am so important to everyone that when I skip a week of blogging your world stops turning..." I won't do that to ya.

But I did miss a couple weeks of Peaks, whether or not you noticed ;)

This week I will not suck as much, and I will grace your eager presence with one heck of an awesome Peaks post, right now.

1) We joined my family on a little trip to the LA area, where we met up with my grandparents at the Early Bird Cafe, which I have to say, was amazing. The best breakfast I have ever had. They didn't have any typical plates. It was all really unique, eccentric dishes that may have changed my life forever. Deeeeeelish.

My siblings are all pretty young. I do have a brother who is twenty-four, but my sister and youngest brother are still in high school. I always love our time together, and feel like it's really special they want my advice and love talking to me. Our morning at the Early Bird Cafe was a pretty great one for sure.

After breakfast we all drove to a beautiful old park that was built in the 70's, tossed a football around, played tag, and watched the kids play on the swingset. Perfection. 

2) You probably already know from my Facebook page that Brian and I did a giant IKEA trip last week! Woohoo! We don't do credit cards, so we worked extra hard and saved for this trip, which was the start of our redecorating project, so I was more than ecstatic that it was finally time to go!

We got lots of good stuff, which I will share in a post later this week ;)

3) I finished a little DIY project, which came out very imperfect, which is why I love it so much. I put it above our bed, which seemed perfect since it's a tiny piece of one of our favorite songs. Love!

[hey look! a little peek at our ikea trip! #newbed]

4) The kids and I needed a beach day. I've never taken all of them to the beach by myself, not even when there were only three of them. Going it alone with three + a seven month old seemed insane. Which is why I had to try it. I nailed it, except for when the oldest two took off in a race and......never stopped, scaring me half to death

Here's to a great weekend and a productive, fun-filled week next week! For all of us :)

For Brian, On Father's Day

I really wanted to give Brian something sentimental this Father's Day. My best friend, Jules had the idea of making him a video where the kids each say something sweet about their Daddy, and since I recently learned how to use a new video editing program, I decided it was the perfect thing.

So this is for my sweetest friend and the father of our four babies. You are so appreciated, and so very adored. Happy Father's Day!

Note: the song playing in this video is the song that was playing while I took a pregnancy test, waited for the results, and found out I was pregnant with Leland. This song has a very special place in our hearts, which is why I decided it needed a part in this video :)

How I Cover Scars & Blemishes with Drugstore Makeup

I have battled acne since eighth grade. I have tried all the expensive products, I have gone on medication, I have tried all the natural remedies, I have balanced my hormones, I have changed my diet a hundred times, and my skin just breaks out bad once every month. I also scar very easily, which has left me with permanent marks on my face from my teen years when my breakouts were far worse than they are now. I used to go to expensive makeup stores and get top quality products to give me the appearance of smooth skin.

I spent a lot of money. It came to a point where I realized the hundreds of dollars that were going into covering my scars and blemishes and I just wasn't okay with it anymore. I decided to go on a hunt for drugstore products that would provide great coverage, natural shades that matched my skin tone, and didn't give my husband a heart attack every time he checked the balance of our bank account.

After trying a bunch of different products, I was astounded to find that the drugstore makeup I settled on was actually, in my opinion, better than the high-priced makeup I had been using before. Today I'm getting into a really vulnerable place with you all for the sake of maybe helping someone else with skin problems. I'm not looking to get emails about products that I should try or things that worked for someone else who needed to clear up their skin, I'm not looking for rude comments about what my face looks like naked, I'm not even looking for compliments. I simply want to inform and help others who might feel like I do about their skin, and just want to cover flaws (and be able to afford it) so they can leave the house with confidence.

Here is my skin without any makeup, freshly washed, on a pretty bad breakout day, without any filters or editing.

As you can see, there is a ton of scarring on my temple, where I once had extremely bad cystic acne in high school. Yesterday there was more redness, things are dying down today as I treated my breakouts last night. But this is a pretty typical day during my "breakout week", as I call it.

Here is what my skin looked like the day before yesterday, on my worst breakout day, with makeup on, in natural light, no filter or editing of any kind.

Sure, you can look closely and see a couple breakouts, but there is a world of difference here, and you'd never guess that I have two blemishes that are completely inflamed and painful. You'd also never guess that every single product I use on my face is from the drugstore, the most expensive one ringing up at $12.99. 

Here's what I use...

Primer: Rimmel London Stay Matte

I learned through experience that primer is a must-have. I use to skip it, but once I found a good one at a high-end makeup counter and saw how it filled in indented scars and smoothed out my skin, I never went back. Finding a good primer at the drugstore was a challenge since most of them are total crap. Rimmel London's did not disappoint. In fact, I liked it just as much as the expensive one I was using before than cost me $30. This one rings up at around $5. 

Concealer: Hard Candy Glam Heavy Duty Concealer & pencil

This. Stuff. Is. Amaaaaaaaaazing. I cannot boast about this concealer enough. It changed my life, really. Use the little pencil to draw a circle around a blemish, then put a tiny dot of concealer over it, and it will be minimized almost completely. Some makeup artists say to use concealer under your foundation and some say over. I have found that using it both times is very effective for how marked up my skin is. I apply a dot of concealer to each blemish or heavily-scarred area of my face immediately after applying primer, then I use my foundation, then I do the pencil-concealer technique. I use a shade lighter than my foundation. I have only been able to find Hard Candy's products at Walmart, which I hate, but it's worth a quick stop for this magic. You can also buy it online once you know which shade looks best on you. My previous concealer was about $25. This one works 100% better and is only $6. 

Foundation: Revlon Colorstay Whipped

I'd say finding a foundation was the most difficult part of this process for me. I am very picky about my foundation matching my skin color exactly, and I need a lot of coverage, but don't like to look like I've got pounds of makeup caked on. Revlon Colorstay delivers. It gives me a smooth, flawless finish, and BONUS: it stays on all day! I very rarely need to reapply to go somewhere at the end of the day. I have seen this foundation at Target for $10.99 and I've seen it for $12.99. Either way it's a heck of a lot better than my old total, which was anywhere from $30 to $79. Ouch. 

Powder: Rimmel London Stay Matte Long-Lasting Pressed Powder

I had been using a translucent loose powder by NYC when a friend of mine mentioned how much she loves Rimmel London's powder for the extra coverage it gave her. I tried it out and have been using it for over a year now. I once used a powder that cost $65 at Sephora, and in total honesty, I feel like this powder comes very close to the coverage and finished look that powder gave me. This rings up at around $4.

Note: In my experience, what you use to apply your foundation makes a huge difference. After speaking with a makeup professional and trying different options, I have found that using a natural hair foundation brush gives the best and most flawless finish. I have used several different brands ranging from high to low prices, and I didn't really notice a huge difference. The one I have now is one I grabbed at Walmart the last time I picked up concealer, and I love it as much as the expensive one I bought at Sephora last year. 

Those are the products I use as a base to cover blemishes and give me more of a flawless canvas to work with before I move on to the rest of my makeup. I hope this helps! If you have any questions for me, feel free to ask in the comments. I'll always get back to you.

Note: Since these products contain ingredients that can agitate skin prone to breakouts, it's important to wash it off every night and give your skin plenty of makeup-free days to breathe!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Ready To Be Make Elegant Blog

Put Some Purpose In Your Inbox!